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Testing in Missouri

Testing in Missouri

Learn about the exam(s) you need to take, and how to prepare and report your scores

COVID-19 Update: Many Praxis tests can now be taken at home. Learn more from ETS.

Jump to:

  • Overview
    • The Core Academic Skills Requirement: MoGEA or ACT
    • The Content Area Test: MoCA
  • Choose Your Test
  • Prepare for the Test
    • Create a Schedule
    • Test Prep Resources
      • Provided by DESE
      • Provided by Third Parties
  • Take the Test
    • Registration
    • Test Day
    • Your Scores
      • Viewing Your Results
      • Reporting Your Scores

If you have any questions about your exam or this process, reach out to a  TEACH Kansas City coach or teacher preparation program staff for support. We’re here for you!


To earn your teacher certification in Missouri, you’ll need to take and pass one or more tests, depending on your current level of education and the grades and subject you want to teach.

Test What is it? Who Takes It? When?

Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA)


American College Testing (ACT)

Test of core academic skills

Students applying to undergraduate teacher preparation programs must submit scores for either the ACT or the MoGEA.

Usually in the sophomore year
Missouri Content Assessment (MoCA) Test of knowledge in the subject you want to teach Everyone seeking a teaching certification in Missouri Usually prior to student teaching

Out-of-state educators applying for certification in Missouri must have their credentials reviewed by the DESE (Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education). Check with DESE before registering for an assessment.

The Core Academic Skills Requirement: ACT or MoGEA

The Core Academic Skills requirement  is for undergraduate teacher certification only. You can fulfill this requirement with either the ACT or the Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA). These tests measure your skills in reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies. 

Educator preparation programs set the required scores, with a minimum required score of 20 on the ACT, though some programs will require higher. For the MoGEA, required scores typically range from 170-220 on each section of the MoGEA. Check with your program for specifics.

You will need to take the ACT or MoGEA before you apply to your undergraduate teaching program. The MoGEA is not required for post-graduate educator preparation programs.

The Content Area Test: MoCA

MoCA refers to the Missouri Content Assessment Test. These exams test your knowledge of the subject you want to teach. All teacher preparation programs require that you pass the MoCA content exam in order to be recommended for certification in the State of Missouri. Depending on the subjects you would like to be certified in, you may take multiple MoCA exams.

If you are enrolled in an undergraduate program, you’ll usually take the content exams halfway through, prior to student teaching. For graduate programs, each program will determine when you are required to pass the MoCA, typically after the program begins. 

If you are still exploring which grades and subject you want to teach, you can find a comprehensive list of certification areas and endorsements on our About Certification page. The Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments site details the specific exams you'll need based on your chosen teaching field.

Remember: You must pass the MoCA for your subject in order to earn your teaching certificate. The chart below details when you’ll typically take the MoCA. 

When do I need to take and pass the MoCA content exam?

Institution Program Before Applying After Applying, but Before the Program Begins After the Program Begins
Teach for America Kansas City (TFA) Alternative Certification Program  

MoCA test

Kansas City Teacher Residency (KCTR) Residency Program    
Baker University Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree    
Northwest Missouri State University Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree    
University of Central Missouri Bachelor's Degree    
University of Missouri – Kansas City  Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree    
University of Missouri – St. Louis Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree    
WGU University Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree    
William Jewell College Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree    

Choose Your Test

You are eligible for MoGEA if you are applying to a teacher preparation program in the state of Missouri. You will need to pass the MoGEA or receive a passing score on the ACT before you are admitted. Each teacher preparation program sets the passing standard.

You are eligible for MoCA if you have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, are getting ready for student teaching, or are scheduled to receive a degree before being placed in a classroom. You must pass the MoCA before receiving a teacher certification in the state of Missouri.

Prepare for the Test

There are general things you can do to prepare for all of your tests. There are also more specific study guides available based on the test or test subject areas. We cover them both.

Remember: You’re taking these tests for a reason. You want to become a teacher in a specific subject, and this is your chance to prove it. Take the time necessary to truly understand the information. You’ll thank yourself for it (and your students will thank you, too).

Create a Schedule

We recommend a two-pronged approach to structuring your study time:

  1. Create a work-back schedule. Start by writing down the day of the test. Then, outline the steps you need to accomplish before that end date: Include time for researching test prep resources (our favorites are in the next section), studying your subject matter area and taking practice exams. Here's a template you might want to follow.
    • Research test prep resources. Check out the next section for our recommendations.
    • Study your subject matter area. This is where the bulk of your time will be spent. Don't rush it.
    • Take practice exams. Even when you know the information, you'll need to get used to the test-maker's phrasing and topical area distribution.
  2. Make smart right-before-the-test choices. These are the obvious ones: Get plenty of sleep the night before, eat a decent breakfast the day of, bring a water bottle, and show up early. Hanging outside the testing center 20 extra minutes is better than causing your brain undue stress minutes before having to think critically.

Not all tests are offered on a continuous basis. Some, including the World Languages test, are offered only in specific administration windows. Find test dates for MoCA and MoGEA here.

Test Prep Resources

There are a number of options available from test-makers directly, and some third-party services have come up with options, too.

Provided by DESE

These resources are endorsed by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

  • Tests at a Glance by DESE provide the test name, code, length, number and types of questions, and domains, competencies and approximate percentages. We recommend taking a look at yours to get an idea of where to focus your study time.
  • Study guides by DESE include examples of the different types of multiple-choice questions, sample test instructions, test-taking tips and strategies along with practice questions, an answer key and rationales.
  • Practice Tests are full-length practice tests that include correct answers, explanations for correct answers and an automatic score summary report. Practice tests are available for the MoGEA and MoCA tests and range in price from $17.50 to $29.95.

Provided by ACT

The ACT offers a suite of test prep guides and online practice opportunities, both free and paid, including:

  • Live webinars
  • Free study guides
  • Online practice
  • Writing Samples

Provided by Third Parties

There are a number of free and paid options for getting prepped for your exams.

Preparation Materials for Similar Exams.

Although they may not be identical to the MoCA, it may be helpful to review materials for the Praxis exams in your subject area. Many states use Praxis exams for teacher certification and they offer free test prep!

Take the Test

Register for the right exam, know what to expect on test day, and report your scores on time.

  1. Registration

    Once you know which exam you’re taking, head over to the online registration system for DESE. There, you will:

    • Click Create a new account (below email and password).
    • Enter your personal information.
    • Follow the prompts to create an account.
    • Select Register for a test.
  2. Test Day

    You’ve settled on a content area, verified which test is required for your program application, studied hard, and now you’re ready to take the exam.

    Make sure you:

    • Verify your test location. Even if you think you know where your exam is being held, double-check that the test center schedule hasn’t changed.
    • Bring required materials. Depending on the test-maker, you may be required to bring a printed admission ticket, your ID, a calculator or other materials. Double-check with the service you registered with.
    • Dress in layers. Test centers can be chilly, and you’d rather be able to remove a jacket than be uncomfortable for the duration of your exam.
    • Show up early. You will not be admitted if you miss your reporting time.

    See Pearson's On the Day of the Test page for the nitty-gritty.

  3. Your Scores

    Find out how you did—and make sure your program does, too!

    • Viewing Your Results. Paper scores are so yesterday. Get yours online. To find out when your score will be available, review Pearson's score report dates.
    • Reporting Your Scores. Generally, you will report your scores on your online application itself. (Your checklist has a step for this!)  In some cases, submitting your “score report” will be part of the required paperwork during a program’s onboarding process.
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