This post is about how to pass the BTLPT Texas certification exam.
You’ll get lots of great tips!
I want to share with you what I did to pass the BTLPT exam the 1st time around.
You’re on your way to a wonderful career as a bilingual educator, and I’m here to help you get there!
You’ll soon be saying…
Learn from my successes (and mistakes) so that you maximize time and resources.
Let’s get into it…
The Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test, better known as the BTLPT, is one of the required teacher certification tests for individuals who’d like to teach bilingual education in the state of Texas.
Prospective bilingual teacher candidates in Texas who wish to teach in an elementary school setting must pass 4 exams (yes, four!) in order to be fully certified as a bilingual teacher.
Below are the required tests:
1. TExES Core Subjects EC-6 exam
Required for ALL elementary teacher candidates; tests knowledge of the main content areas taught in elementary school such as math, science, social studies, literacy, art, etc.
2. TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental exam
Just for those teacher candidates who want to be bilingual certified; tests knowledge of second language pedagogy.
3. TExES Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test for Spanish
This one is a doozy and just for bilingual teacher candidates. It demonstrates one’s knowledge of the Spanish language within the context of education. This post is about this exam.
4. TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities, or PPR, EC-12 exam
Required for ALL teacher candidates K-12. It assesses knowledge of general teaching practices, educational ethics, and pedagogy.
You get five chances to pass each test, and each one costs about $116 + fees.
The cost alone motivates most of us to step into action!
My Experience with the BTLPT
First of all, let me share with you a little bit about me.
My name is Eduardo, and I’m one of the BTLPT content creators here at Curriculum Chef.
I grew up in Honduras and started my career in the field of banking and business years ago.
Eventually I met my wife who was teaching at a local school in my country.
After marrying, we moved to a couple of other countries in Central and South America due to her teaching job.
It was during that period that I started growing my Spanish tutoring business because her colleagues continuously asked me for lessons!
Subbing at my wife’s school every now-and-then helped to grow my client base, and with it, my love for teaching the Spanish language and culture grew, too.
After locating to the U.S., I decided to transition into teaching as a full-time career.
While participating in an alternative certification program, because of my background and experience, my advisor suggested the bilingual certification route.
Hesitant to take the Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test (BTLPT) because of all the stories I’d heard of the test’s difficulty, even for some native speakers like myself, I finally decided to just go for it (in addition to the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Spanish certification exam).
The BTLPT Led Me Here…
I developed a study plan, took the BTLPT, and passed ~ the first time!
Honestly, I passed with no problem, but my wife wasn’t so lucky. 🙁
She failed the BTLPT the first time, and needless to say, it was a hit to her spirit considering her lengthy background in studying Spanish formally in addition to living in Spanish-speaking countries for almost a decade.
Talk about feeling defeated!
Eventually, she regrouped, re-strategized, and implemented some very specific study techniques.
Combining that with my support and help, she did finally pass!
Along our BTLPT journey, we’ve met countless prospective bilingual teacher candidates who are in the same position that we faced ~ a place of constant anxiety about passing the BTLPT.
Maybe you, too, are feeling nervous about how to pass the BTLPT.
Since passing the BTLPT, I’d helped numerous individuals like yourself succeed in tackling the BTLPT.
I’m here to guide and support you, too, as you prepare to pass the BTLPT.
This post on how to pass the BTLPT gives you tips that I used myself and have shared with other BTLPT test takers.
I share these strategies with you so that you can be successful on the btlpt.
The tips aren’t complicated or hard to implement.
It’s really just about arming yourself with knowledge and confidence.
Don’t walk into that testing center unprepared and with the wrong mindset.
Let’s instead do this right!
This post arms you with the knowledge and resources you need to pass the BTLPT the first time! Soon enough, you’ll be celebrating!
How to Pass the BTLPT: General Tips
Before getting into what I did in order to pass the BTLPT, here’s some general advice you should know.
1. Be Honest with Yourself About Your Spanish Language Proficiency.
Ask yourself, “Do I really have a good, in-depth command of the Spanish language?”
Speaking Spanish colloquially with family and friends throughout your life may not be enough.
- Are you able to understand spoken Spanish in different regional dialects?
- Can you orally communicate your thoughts and messages clearly within a variety of contexts?
- Do you understand a wide range of academic texts in Spanish, including history and literature?
- How’s your writing? In addition to communicating and organizing your message well, do you have good knowledge of grammatical rules, correct use of accents, appropriate register?
If you answered “no” to any of the above, decide if you’re ready to put in the required time and energy to improve upon your weaknesses.
I knew that I had not only the motivation to pass the exam but also the right skill-set.
I just needed to focus my energies, align my mindset, and hone some of my linguistic skills.
Always be realistic about your linguistic strengths and weaknesses. Only you know if you truly have what it takes to pass.
2. Learn the Format of the Test.
Passing the BTLPT exam involves getting acquainted with the format of the test.
The official BTLPT manual from Pearson can help you with this.
During test day, the test gives you instructions on what to do in each section, but don’t waste your time figuring this stuff out on test day. Get familiar with the exam format beforehand.
That way, during test day, you can focus your energies on doing your very best and not on test structure.
3. Evaluate and Focus on Areas of the Test in Which You are Most Weak.
If you’re aware of your weaknesses in only one or two sections, focus your efforts on those areas.
For a significant number of those that I’ve worked with to pass the BTLPT, the oral expression section is a challenge, especially for non-native Spanish speakers.
I’ve been told that it’s quite intimidating to be surrounded on test day by native speakers mumbling off their oral expression exercises like a pro!.
I empathize. I really do.
You’ve got to…
Focus, Focus, Focus!
That’s what I decided to do~FOCUS!
Simply spend your study time practicing speaking exercises with time limits and within the context of educational topics!
4. Practice with Distractions and Time Limits.
Whatever sections you need to work on, do so within time limits and add a few distractions.
One of the tricks of how to pass the BTLPT is to master working within time constraints and with a few distractions.
All parts of the BTLPT exam are timed and during the actual exam, you’ll hear everyone around you!
It’s like blah, blah, blah…. SO DISTRACTING for many.
The first time my wife took the test, she totally let these distractions intimidate her.
She let that get into her head TOO much.
She was a mental wreck!
So she studied with the TV on, with soft music playing in the background, to my purposely annoying tap, tap, tapping of a pen on the table as she worked 😜, to a timer, etc., and it worked!
During that successful test day, though the distractions were still present, they were much less intimidating to her.
She was so much more calm and relaxed.
Give it a try!
So those are some general tips on how to pass the BTLPT certification exam.
So what more can you do to be successful in passing each section of the BTLPT?
How to Pass the BTLPT Section by Section
Let’s delve into each area of the test so that you have the best tips on how to pass the BTLPT section for each one!
1. How to Pass the BTLPT Listening Comprehension Section
During the listening section, you’ll hear each recording twice. When you listen the first time, listen strictly for comprehension.
Quirky Tip: I pressed the headphones to my ears to eliminate the sound of others around me.
After the first hearing, you’ll get a 40-second sneak peek of the questions.
Make shorthand notes (the testing center provides paper and pencil) of the main idea of each question.
That way, when you listen to the recording for a second time, you’ll know exactly what points to listen for.
After the 2nd hearing, you have 20 seconds to answer each question. If you took decent shorthand notes and listened carefully, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
As an extra tip, knowing a bit of Spanish and “Latino” culture, literature, and history is definitely beneficial as some of the listening comprehension passages come from those areas.
The other listening passages tend to center around educational settings (e.g. a principal speaking with a teacher or a parent conversing with a teacher).
2. How to Pass the BTLPT Oral Expression Section
For the speaking section, be aware that the timing and quickness of the exercises make it a little more challenging.
Be sure when responding during the simulated conversation & presentations that you give a response that specifically answers the questions and/or flows with the dialogue appropriately.
You can give the best statement with great points and perfect grammar, but if your response doesn’t answer the question or isn’t logical, you will be marked down.
For the oral expression parts that involve a presentation, you’ll have from 45 seconds to 2 minutes to prepare your statements before speaking.
Take advantage of this time and take shorthand notes about what you plan to say.
It’s almost like a doing a super-fast mini brainstorming session.
I made a general outline of what I was to say and then used that outline to guide me as I spoke. It worked pretty well.
Additionally, remember to speak in the appropriate register throughout.
Last but not least, you may be tempted to repeat information, but don’t.
If the prompt asks to share two or three reasons with examples, make sure to give two or three very different responses.
3. How to Pass the BTLPT Reading Comprehension Section
Those reading passages are pretty in-depth and cover a wide variety of topics.
Here are my tips on how to pass the BTLPT reading comprehension section:
- Read the question(s) first and then scan the passage to find clues to the correct answer.
- Watch out for tricky words or phrases in each answer choice. One word or phrase could make the entire statement untrue for the corresponding question.
- Eliminate the answer choices that are obviously wrong. There are usually two of them. Then make the best selection from the remaining choices.
As an extra tip…
It’s helpful to possess a decent foundation of “Latino” culture, literature, and history as some of the reading passages relate to those areas.
4. How to Pass the BTLPT Written Expression Section
For this section, you’ll have three tasks: respond to an email, write a lesson plan, and construct an essay.
Pace yourself so that you complete all three tasks in the allotted time.
You sort of need an “education” background for this section because the email and essay parts will be in the context of education.
- Practice writing a lesson plan in the BTLPT format, and don’t deviate too much from it.
- Know a wide variety of vocabulary from different content areas. You don’t want points taken off simply because you don’t know words related to the given subject area.
- For the essay, construct it as you would an essay in English. Have an introduction, two or three main idea paragraphs with supporting details, and a conclusion that sums up the main point.
- Throughout the written expression section, write in the appropriate register, and make good use of accent marks!
- For the email response, begin on a positive note and make sure to answer the question(s) asked of you. Don’t forget to begin with a salutation (e.g. Estimado Señor Pérez) and end with a simple closing (e.g. Sinceramente).
Wrapping Up: How to Pass the BTLPT
These are my tips for how to pass the BTLPT Texas certification exam.
Streamline your study techniques, create a schedule, and STAY CONSISTENT with preparing for the exam.
An amazing bilingual teaching career awaits you!
With motivation, determination, and focused strategies, you’ll pass that darn BTLPT test!
¡Suerte con sus estudios!
WHAT TO READ NEXT:
- If you haven’t yet taken the supplemental exam, check out this post for tips on passing the Bilingual Supplemental exam.
- Review the official BTLPT preparation manual from the Pearson company.