Praxis II

Who needs to take the Praxis?


Category: Praxis II

Majors pursuing traditional Licensure

  • To receive Standard Professional 2 license (three years after receiving Standard Professional 1; formerly A license)  if one does meet NC HOUSSE, National Board Certification, or state determined distinction

Majors pursuing lateral entry licensure

  • To receive Lateral Entry License and Standard Professional 1 license
  • Students without a history major or 24 hours in history
  • To be admitted to lateral entry program
  • To receive Lateral Entry License and Standard Professional 1 license


Middle School

  • Praxis 0089 Middle School Studies with a score of 149 or higher

High School

  • Praxis 5081 Social Studies: Content Knowledge with a minimum score of 158
  • Praxis 5624:  Principles of learning and teaching grades 7-12 with a minimum score of 157

Praxis II: Social Studies Workshops

The PRAXIS II: Social Studies test can be a major hurdle which students must overcome before they can be licensed as teachers in North Carolina (and many other states). Unlike Praxis I which is an assessment of basic verbal and mathematical skills, PRAXIS II is a test on your area of content expertise--and pedagogical skills. History and Social Studies. NOTE: this page is only concerned with the SOCIAL STUDIES CONTENT KNOWLEDGE parts of Praxis II.

Since knowing what to expect from PRAXIS II: Social Studies and preparing yourself both in the long and short run will help you do well on the test, we have gathered together on the pages below information which will be useful to you. We have included both basic information about the test, sample questions direct from the test maker, and advice on taking the test.

For information concerning the Praxis II social studies workshops, see workshop announcements.

Test Information


Category: Praxis II

Praxis II: Subject Assessments and Specialty Area Tests

What is the Praxis test series?

Praxis I and Praxis II are tests required by North Carolina and 35 other states to measure the academic proficiency of perspective teachers. The state department of education sets the minimum scores needed to pass the test. Praxis I is a preliminary test that measures the academic possibility of a perspective teacher. Praxis II measures the academic proficiency of individuals finishing their education classes before entering the teaching field. Praxis II is a two part test covering professional knowledge, US History, World History, Economics, Geography, and Government. One must obtain a combined minimum score for full NC licensing.

What Praxis II: Social Studies test(s) do I take?

This depends if you are applying for a Middle Grades (6-9) or for a Secondary (9-12) Social Studies License. If you are applying Middle Grades (6-9) Social Studies License, you need to take the 0089 Middle School Social Studies test and pass it with a score of 149 or better. If you are applying for a Secondary (9-12) Social Studies License, you need to take the 5081 Social Studies: Content Knowledge, and the 5624 Principles of teaching and Learning tests.

Here is an explanation of the social studies tests

Content Knowledge (5081)

This is a 2 hour test that is multiple-choice questions. There are 130 questions. This test covers the six social studies fields and asks questions from each area (US History- 29 questions, World History- 29 questions, Government/Civics/Political Science- 21 questions, Geography- 19 questions, Economics- 19 questions, and Behavioral Sciences- 13 questions). This test is designed to measure content knowledge needed by a beginning teacher in the Social Studies field.

You have two hours for this part of the test; depending on how fast you work, this may be plenty of time or only just enough.  To make best use of your time plan to go through it two or even three times. 

I. On the first pass, answer only those questions you are sure you know the answer to without a lot of thought.  Mark the questions you didn't answer with an X, but put a question mark by an answer you think might be correct but would need more time to make sure.

II. On the second pass, go through and answer all those questions you thought you knew the answer to the first time.  Now you've got a little time to think about the other answers; remember, knowing that one or more of the options is wrong can be a big help in getting the right answer.

III. On your third pass, tackle the questions you didn't have a clue about the first time.  Hopefully there won't be many and you'll be able to take some time with each knowing that  you have already answered most of the questions.

A few key things to remember about the multiple choice part of the test:

  • You get the same score for a wrong answer as for no answer.  So, if you can reject 2 out of 4 of the options, you've got a 50/50 chance--that's better than leaving it blank.
  • In the two history sections (US and World) use chronology as a helping tool all the questions are in chronological order!  SO, the right answer to a question will not pertain to a period before the previous question or two or after the subsequent question or two.
  • Beware for cleverly worded choices which appear to be correct but have a tricky modifier (but, except, etc.).  There are not many of these, but they are easy to fall for.
  • 'Study' for the test by reading the textbooks and notes from your survey level courses; especially in US and European history, and compare.

Possible Topics

  • American History
    On the whole, these questions are relatively specific in that they require you to know particular pieces of information.  Most of the questions deal with relatively traditional topics: politics and government, foreign policy.  The questions are strictly chronological, so you can use a question's position to eliminate incorrect answers.
  • World History
    These questions are much more general than their American history counterparts.   In general, instead of presidents and treaties you need to know about 'big' cultural characteristics (e.g. the characteristics of an Asian religion) or about 'broad' historical processes (e.g. the rise of industrialization) or about concepts (e.g.  any -ism you care to name).  Only in questions covering the 19th and 20th century were specific facts more commonly incorporated in questions.
  • Politics
    These questions covered three basic areas:  the U.S. political system including both 'civics' (the constitution, etc.) and modern politics; international/comparative politics; and political philosophy.  Probably half the questions were on the US material, one third on comparative, one sixth on philosophy.
  • Geography
    Most questions involved things like map reading skills and knowledge of climate/geography principles.  There was little direct testing of knowledge of a world map--geographical or political.
  • Economics
    These questions covered basic economic theory and their application to modern situations.
  • Sociology/Anthropology/Psychology
    This is something of a grab bag section of the test, but there are only a handful of questions.


Middle School Social Studies (5089)

This test consists of two parts to be completed in 120 minutes. The first part consists of ninety multiple-choice questions (Apr. 26% US History, 21% World History, 16% Government/Civics/Pol. Science, 17% Geography, 15% Economics, 3% Sociology, 2% Anthropology). This part seeks to primarily test the applicant's content knowledge. The second part, which consists of three multidisciplinary constructed essays, tries to measure the applicant's ability to apply knowledge and skill in one integrated exercise. One will receive at least 1 question, which combines US History with Government and Civics, and 1 question, which combines World History with Geography. The Third question is 1 of 4 possibilities: US with Economics; US with Geography; World with Government/Civics; World with Economy.

Manage your time carefully: 90 minutes for multiple choice, 30 minutes for essays. For hints on how to answer the multiple choice portion, see 0081 above. For the constructed part:

  • Identify of which discipline combination the question is constructed so one uses the proper type of evidence.
  • Answer the question but add direct knowledge to the essay
  • Show cause and effect

Possible Topics

  • A constructed response question on the migration to the West

When should the Praxis II be taken?

Praxis II is suggested to be taken right before or during student teaching. The test is comprehensive and covers material learned in all education classes, so for this reason the test should be taken after all course work has been finished. Student teaching allows the future teacher to spend time focusing on Praxis II preparations if necessary.

Do you offer workshops?

Yes, the Department of History does offer workshops for the preparation of taking the Praxis II.  You can find more information at:

How do I register for the test?

You can register online at

What happens if I miss the registration and late registration deadlines?

You can still possibly take the test on a standby basis. You must arrive early at the test center and you may be accommodated if that testing area has seats open-up due to no-shows or under-booking. If you are able to take the test on a standby there is a fee in addition to the normal registration and test fees. You must have a pre-filled out registration sheet before you arrive at your testing center. Standby testing does not guarantee a seat for you, so keep track of registration dates and apply early to avoid missing registration dates.

When and Where are the Praxis II tests offered?

For specific test facilities see

How much do the tests cost?

Tests vary in price. See for details.

Who receives my test scores?

You must fill in UNC Charlotte as a recipient of your test scores (code --RA5105) and the NC division of Teacher Education Services (code --R 7846). You will receive your test scores approximately 50 days after you take the test.

What if I miss my test date?

See the praxis website for details.


Test Taking Hints


Category: Praxis II

PRAXIS II test is not an easy test, but it is not impossibly difficult either.   Anyone who is reasonably intelligent and who pays attention to the world around them (by reading a good newspaper or listening to quality news reporting on public radio or TV) will probably do fine.  (You can't do much about the first, so better start on the second now, and if you choose newspaper over radio don't forget to subscribe!)

That said (tongue only partly in cheek) there are some things you can do to prepare for the PRAXIS II test.  One thing that may help is to take the right kinds of classes, and these are outlined on our Hints and Help page.  You should also attend one of the workshops on PRAXIS II whose schedule is given at the top of this page.

Sample Questions


Category: Praxis II

You can access the test sample questions at the following website:
[ ]   (You will need to choose the 'Tests and Test Dates' page. Click on the test number in order to download the booklet in Adobe Acrobat format.

Although we cannot reproduce questions from previous tests, reports from individuals taking the test in the past year indicate that there were questions on the below topics.  It is highly unlikely that these questions will appear again, however, they will help to give you a sense of the kinds of questions you may be asked to answer.