NES Exam Resources


Some text as placeholder. In real life you can have the elements you have chosen. Like, text, images, lists, etc.

NES Exam Resources

Passage of a standardized test is a basic requirement for teacher certification in the state of Arizona.  The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and Rio Salado College (RSC) require passage of the National Evaluation Series (NES) Subject and Professional Knowledge exams.

NES Subject Knowledge Exam Deadlines for RSC:  

  • Traditional Post Baccalaureate Candidates: RSC requires passage of the NES Subject Knowledge exam prior to submitting the Level II/Student Teaching Application.  Teacher candidates pursuing Special Education certification will not need to pass a subject knowledge exam.
  • Teacher in Residence (TIR) Post Baccalaureate Candidates: RSC requires passage of the NES Subject Knowledge exam prior to applying to the TIR program.  Teacher candidates pursuing Special Education certification will not need to pass a subject knowledge exam.

Subject Knowledge Exam - The subject knowledge evaluates a candidate's understanding of the subject itself, it also assesses a  candidate's ability to explain material effectively.   

NOTE: RSC will not accept a bachelor's degree in the content area to meet the NES Subject Knowledge exam requirement.  Additionally,  RSC will not accept a comparable out-of-state exam score. Only the NES Subject Knowledge exam will be accepted for the Traditional Post-Baccalaureate Program and Teacher in Residence Program. 

Professional Knowledge Exam - Measures pedagogical knowledge and skill and is required prior to applying for a teaching certificate.  *** Please note: The ADE will accept verification of teaching experience to meet the Professional Knowledge exam requirement.

Testing Tips and Strategies

  1. Identify the required exam needed for the certification area you are seeking. Click on the Program Plan for your certification area. If you are uncertain of which exam to take, please contact for guidance. 
  2. Review the test framework. Each NES exam has a test framework that serves as the basis for the test content. The test framework provides a breakdown of the subject into content domains where the candidate is to apply and demonstrate their knowledge of the given subject area. 
  3. Understand how NES exams are scored.  
  4. Develop a study plan. A study plan can assist you in identifying which areas you will need further strengthening. Examine how well you know the content, list what resources you have and/or need that cover the content and establish dates you will study the content.
  5. Watch the testing tutorials and demonstrations for the NES exams. 
  6. Review past AEPA Study Guides. Although the NES replaced the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) the objectives and content is still similar.
  7. Optional: The NES has study guides and practice exams for purchase.

Rio Salado College Resources

It is important to recognize that the resources provided may not directly align with the NES exam content. The following resources are offered to aid in the development and understanding of basic concepts and terms.

  • Student Learning Resources -  Outcomes Work Lab (OWL): OWL serves as a great resource for candidates who are struggling with writing mechanics, reading, and critical thinking. 
  • Rio Salado College Tutoring  Center- Free virtual face-to-face tutoring. Before scheduling a session, it is recommended that students come prepared with the NES Diagnostic Report ( if you have taken the exam) and have a basic understanding of gaps in knowledge.
  • Brainfuse - provides additional online tutoring in several discipline areas.  Click on "Academic Tools" and "Skill Surfer" to also see a listing of discipline areas covered.   
  • Secondary Content Areas- RSC provides course offerings for secondary content areas.  


  • Completion of the optional courses are not required for teacher certification.  
  • Completion of additional courses for the subject matter is not covered by Rio Financial Aid. 

Additional Resources

  • NES Fee Waiver Request Form  - Teacher candidates receiving financial aid may be eligible to qualify for the fee waiver through the NES.
  • RSC Counseling and Career Services - Learn strategies to help you study and be at your best. RSC's counseling department can provide you with study skills,  test-taking resources and tips on conquering your test-taking fears.