How to Pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET)
Young or old, fresh graduate or teacher for many years, in order to be a licensed teacher, one needs to pass the board exam for teachers or the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). To test-takers, the mere idea of taking a comprehensive exam is enough to make one shiver and sweat. All the more if the exam lasts an entire day!
I took the LET in October 2009—and PASSED! Read about my personal experience here.
Here are some tips and tricks that can help you review, prepare and even pass!
- Familiarize yourself with the LET’s table of specifications and point system. The table of specifications, as every teacher should know, identifies the topics covered by a test and how much weight each topic is given. Every board exam has one. A copy of the LET coverage (updated November 2011) is included in the “kit” the PRC gave you after your application. The general distribution of items is: General Education, 150 items; Professional Education, 150 items; Major or Specialization, 150 items (as of April 2011, thanks to update from Jhay_Cee). Your score won’t be based on the raw score but on this percentage distribution: General Education, 20%; Professional Education, 40%; Major or Specialization, 40%. The passing rate is 75%, but you also need to get 50% in all three areas. Given all those numbers, you can plan out your approach to achieving the passing rate!
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses. So you hate Math and love Literature. Knowing your strong points and waterloos will help you identify topics to prioritize and spend more time in during your review. Because of the rating system, it’s crucial you score high in all three areas. Even if you get a perfect score in your specialization, you still need to correctly answer Math and Statistics questions to pass the other two areas.
- Set a study schedule. Unless you’re one of those people who perform better when cramming, and are sure they will pass the exam without much effort, then you need to set a study schedule. If you’re already teaching or working, this will help you manage your time. Make a timetable with dates and time frames, and topics you plan to study. Some review centers start as early as four months before the exam. Assess your capacity and situation if you need more or less time than that.
- Keep a healthy body for a healthy mind. In order for your brain to be on tiptop shape, your body has to be in excellent shape. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits, especially berries, nuts and cruciferous veggies like broccoli. Choose fish over pork. Always stay hydrated, too, and get ample sleep time. Exercise! Take a stroll every day, or do stretches while at work. Physical activity pumps oxygen-rich blood into the brain, firing up your neurons.
- Answer sample tests and reviewers. Lots of them. The LET is a board exam, and like all board exams, it has a test bank or inventory of questions. This means that more often than not, a lot of test items have already appeared in past examinations, and some appear in every examination. There are a lot of reviewers you can choose from, but I suggest picking those by Philippine Normal University (PNU) professors. (They’re the ones who draft the test questions) Answering sample tests, complete with answer sheets, also serves as practice for you in test-taking especially in terms of managing your time and in shading circles.
- Ask for help. Maybe you’re a fresh graduate, maybe you’ve been teaching for some years already. No matter, reviewing is always much easier and more fun when you have someone to help you. That someone could be a co-teacher, a department head, a former professor or an entire class of reviewees. The point is, if you come across a topic you can’t put your finger on, or an interpretation you need to clarify, someone’s there to answer your questions. This will save you some research time, and earn you more tips and information, too.
- Make a cheat sheet. I’m not talking about a cheater's sheet or kodigo, of course. With all the information you need to remember, and all the addenda you have written on your notebooks, sometimes the most basic can get lost. Write down all your mnemonics, definitions and formula on small-sized paper or index cards. Bring your cheat sheet along with you wherever you go, so you can easily take a peek for a quick review.
- Exercise your HOTS. With 600 questions, you might be tempted to think that the best way to go is through memorization. But the LET is also designed to test your HOTS—higher order thinking skills. There are test questions that will require your powers of analysis. Practice analyzing quotations and short situational studies and drawing generalizations from your analysis. For Professional Education where majority of the questions are on learning theories, mnemonics won’t be enough. To make analysis easier, choose one situation or object, and apply the theories on that. When you encounter a question on a theory, all you’ll have to do is think of that situation or object. Example: If a teacher saw a student sleeping in class, what would she do if she believes in (insert philosophy of education)?
- Rest before the big day. Prepare everything a week before the big day so you’ll have no worries and errands bothering you. Buy the things you need such as pencils and envelopes, and even the snacks you will bring along with you. Have the clothes you will wear ready and hanging in your closet already. The temptation to study right to the very last hour before the exam will be strong—but fight it! No more studying at least three days before exam day. Do recreational activities like watching a movie or taking a stroll in the park.
- On exam day itself—stay calm! Why is it that even graduates from reputable schools sometimes fail the LET? Maybe they panicked or they were overconfident. Moderation is the key, so feel confident about the things you studied and stay calm even if you don’t know the answer to the very first question. Read the question carefully and look at all the options before answering. Always check the time to make sure you have enough time to answer all questions. And also, check if you’re shading the right circle under the right number.
*photo by Arjun Kartha