The Professional Readiness Exam (PRE)

Writing Section

What is the PRE?

The Professional Readiness Exam (PRE) is an initial exam in the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) process. This first exam tests students who wish to be admitted to the College of Ed to make sure they understand the basic English, Math, and Writing skills required to teach in Michigan schools. As students progress in their College of Ed careers, they will take other specific subject area tests. The PRE has recently replaced the Basic Skills Test.

How long is the PRE Test?

Students will get 4 ½ hours to complete the entire test. This means that those taking the test will need to determine how much time they should devote to each section.

What is in the Writing part of the test?

The Writing Subtest consists of forty-two multiple-choice questions and two written constructed response assignments. The written portion of the essay includes an Analytic Argument of approximately 300-400 words and an Explanatory essay of approximately 200-300 words. Both essays are evaluated on appropriateness, focus and unity, organization, development, grammar, and conventions.

Steps for Success:

Source information: The Michigan Test for Teacher Certification Study Guide document; the GVSU College of Education. For the PRE: Writing Study Guide, visit

Step 1

Look through the test packet before you begin. Get a sense of the kinds of questions that are being asked and figure out how long you think each section will take you. Make sure you leave enough time for both of the essays in the Writing part of the test.

Step 2

Read each prompt and any supporting information carefully to make sure you understand what it is asking. Decide which essay you want to write first.

Step 3

Determine your stance/thesis for the essay before you start writing

Step 4

Take five minutes to draft an outline and thesis. You should structure your essay in the 5- paragraph format for simplicity: Intro/Thesis, Support #1, Support #2, Support #3, Counterargument (somewhere), Conclusion. When you are coming up with support paragraphs for your paper, make sure you use specific examples to back up your argument.

Step 5

Write! Remember, the essays are short (300-400 words for the analytical essay and 200-300 words for the explanatory essay), so try to be as concise as possible. Double-space your essay so you have room to make corrections in the skipped lines. Use straightforward transitions (such as “first, second, third”). This will make it easy for readers to move through the logic of your essay.

Step 6

Take 5 minutes to proofread for spelling mistakes, missing punctuation, and illegible handwriting (if taking the handwritten exam).

To view or print our Helpful Handout, click here: PRE Handout

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