Pediatric Therapeutic Services

Top Five Tips for Passing Your SLP Board Exam

Smiling speech-language pathology graduate completes practice SLP board exam on laptop computer and writes notes in notebook.

You’ve finished your graduate coursework in speech-language pathology. Now for the next step: the SLP board exam!  

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) requires the Praxis examination in Speech-Language Pathology (5331) for national certification. (Many states also accept Praxis scores for state licensure and/or certification from the Department of Education.)

This two-and-a-half-hour exam contains 132 selected-response questions to assess your knowledge and skills in ASHA’s “Big Nine” practice areas:

  • Articulation
  • Fluency
  • Voice, resonance, and motor speech
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Hearing
  • Swallowing
  • Social aspects of communication
  • Cognitive aspects of communication
  • Communication modalities

The SLP Praxis passing score is 162 on a 100-200 point scale.

At Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS), we surveyed 53 speech-language pathologists in Pennsylvania. An impressive 92% passed the SLP board exam the first time they took it.

We also asked what test preparation methods this group of SLPs had found most helpful. Here are their top tips for you.

Follow These Proven Paths to a Passing SLP Praxis Score

You’re best off taking your exam soon after completing your coursework. The information will be fresh in your mind, and you’ll have plenty of time for a retake if needed.

But here are five tactics for increasing your chances of earning a passing score on your SLP Praxis exam on the first try:

1. Take a practice exam.

In PTS’ survey, 65% of clinicians who passed on their first try took an SLP Praxis practice test. Aside from having a better understanding of the type of questions that could be asked, it may help alleviate any associated stress surrounding the exam.

Taking a practice exam may also help you with pacing—use a stopwatch to track your time. 

2. Review your class notes.

Your coursework was designed to prepare you for the SLP board exam, so take time to review your notes. However, don’t try to re-read every note you took in school. Instead, focus on the courses you found most difficult.

Reviewing the courses you took at the beginning of your graduate years may also pay off. Stick with the main ideas, and avoid memorizing minutiae.

Two female and one male speech-language pathology graduates in SLP board exam study group consult tablet computer.

3. Know your study style.

Our survey showed SLPs’ study methods varied. Some studied with a group, while others looked through online resources. Four individuals even said they did absolutely no studying (we don’t recommend that approach)!

They also spent different lengths of time studying. Individuals who passed the Praxis spent anywhere from zero to 20 hours or more studying.

Think about the most success you’ve had preparing for an exam. What did you do then that you could apply to now?

4. Invest in a study guide.

In our survey, 59% of first-time SLP board exam passers used a study guide or book to prepare.  

Several companies have developed study guides you may find useful. Generally, these guides include an overview of each area assessed on the test, as well as practice SLP Praxis questions like those you’ll find on the actual exam.

If your budget’s tight and you’d rather not buy a guide, make your own! Individualize it to fit your needs by choosing the areas where you’d most like to place your focus.  

5. Take care of yourself.


Your mental and physical health can affect your ability to perform on any test. Here are suggestions for making sure you’re at your best on the big day:

  • Pace your studying. 
  • Take study breaks and go for a walk or jog. 
  • Eat a full, balanced meal on test day. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam. 
  • Try relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or yoga.

PTS Can Help You Build Your Career in Working With Students

Once you pass your SLP board exam and have your ASHA certification, consider working with PTS to help kids achieve communication outcomes they need to access their education. You can always find our available SLP positions on our website.

We’ll help you find the right place for making the biggest possible positive impact. We’ll also help you lay the foundation for a long, satisfying career in pediatric therapy. 

Find out more about joining the PTS team as an independent contractor by watching our on-demand webinar.

But first, go show that SLP Praxis test what you’re made of!

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