Saturday, September 4, 2010

How To Pass The Revised RICA

Most of the advice I have for this one is in a previous post. I am happy to report I passed the revised RICA. Many are struggling with this test, and I do agree that since the State of California revised the test in August 2009 it is a lot harder to pass than before. I met and spoke with a teacher who let her credential lapse after taking time off from work to start a family. She explained to me that she had previously taken the test and passed it prior to the revision. When she retook the revised version back in July she was shocked to learn that she had not passed and was repeating the test at the same time I was attempting to try again too. What I can say from experience is if you walk in prepared it is a test that can be passed.

I don't know of nor can I recommend any preparation programs here in the State of California, but I can teach you some strategies you can use on your own in order to help you pass that test. Like the average person I will attest I "HATE TAKING TESTS." Standardized tests are about the worse. For an individual seeking to be a newly credentialed teacher in the State of California this one exam can make the difference between finding and keeping a job. It truly is not the end of the world if you walk in prepared.

The good news is not everyone has to take this test. If your seeking a single subject credential in the State of California you're looking at taking the CSET specific to the disciple you are interested in teaching and the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test). On the other hand if your interested in becoming an elementary (K through 6) or Education Specialist (Special Education) teacher both of which I am pursuing, or if your interested in becoming a reading specialist then yes you're one of us folks that has this exam to face.

But on to how to pass it, there were a few methods I tried and they were well worth it. Rather than repeat myself a million times I will refer back to my first post on Passing the RICA were I share what worked for me. If you don't have time to read that whole post then the cut and dry of it is this....First and foremost don't walk in blind or unprepared. The two books I recommend without hesitation are Ready for the Revised RICA, the third addition by James Zarrillo and Case Studies in Preparation for the California Reading Competency Test, third addition by Joanne Rossi and Beth Schipper. You can get these books really cheap at

Keep in mind the Case Study portion of the RICA is worth 20 percent of the total grade. That has both its advantages and disadvantages depending on how you look at that 20 percent. My advice is that you make sure to become familiar with as many case studies as the Case Studies in Preparation for the California Reading Competency Test as possible. You will not regret it. In the long run practicing the Case Studies will also prepare you for the rest of the tests because the Case Study covers all the domains of the test. Don't misunderstand me. You cannot rely on just the Case Studies book alone, James Zarillo's book is first and foremost the tool that you need to get ready for the test. Rossi and Schipper's book really only prepares you for the Case Study.

Back to why I say the 20 percent is both good and bad. Keep in mind the Case Study is only 20 percent of the test. In reality if you're one of those people that is an excellent test taker you may be one of the very few that could bomb the Case Study and still pass the test, but I wouldn't rely on that alone. That test is no walk in the park. Prepare well for the entire test and you will do well.

Coletha Browning
Education Specialist
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