PRAXIS II Social Studies: Content Knowledge Exam

This exam is designed for individuals who would like to teach social studies at the secondary level. You will be given two hours to complete this 130 multiple-choice question exam. There will be 13 questions regarding behavioral sciences, 20 questions covering economics, 19 questions covering geography, 26 questions covering political science, civics and government, 26 questions covering world history, and 26 questions covering American history.

Behavioral Sciences
This section of the exam will cover topics like how human behavior is influenced by society and society’s groups and institutions, how culture and diversity influence human behavior, and how individual behavior is affected by learning and development.

This section of the exam will cover micro economics and macro economics. The macro economics questions will cover money, banking, international investments, finance, economic growth, fiscal policy, national income determination, inflation, unemployment, and business cycles. The micro economics questions will cover factor markets, income distribution, production and cost, product markets, supply and demand, market efficiency, economics systems, and trade. The micro economics questions will also cover comparative advantage, elasticity, scarcity, choice, economic systems, and, the cost of opportunity.

This section of the exam will cover geography, society and the environment, human systems, physical systems, regions and places, and spatial terms of the world. The geography questions will cover using geographic concepts to plan the future and, interpret the present and the past. Questions regarding the environment and society will cover natural resources that are renewable and non-renewable; the impact of humans on the environment; and the impact of the environment on humans.

Political Science, Civics and Government
This section of the exam will cover international relationships, comparative politics and government, politics and American government, and political theory. Questions regarding international relationships will cover international law, issues and power of international organizations, the practice of international relations, and the theories of international relations. Questions regarding comparative politics and government will cover, foreign-policy, electoral systems, and forms of government (democracy, autocracy, federal, and parliamentary). The questions regarding American government will cover political beliefs, political parties, civil rights, civil liberties, national political institutions, federalism, interest groups, constitutional underpinnings, powers, and structure. The political theory questions will cover political orientations (conservative, liberal etc.), major political theorists, and major political concepts.

World History
This section of the exam will cover topics like the main aspects of the transformation of classical civilizations as a result of invasions and the spread of religions in the period, the major causes and consequences of revolutions and nationalism, the major developments of the post–Cold War world, how technological innovations and adaptations have shaped world societies, and the major demographic trends in world history and their effects.

American History
This section of the exam will cover the Second World War, the postwar era, the First World War and the progressive era, the Civil War era, the development of the United States, the American Revolution, European colonization and exploration, Native Americans, and the physical geography of North America.

PRAXIS II Social Studies: Content Knowledge Practice Questions

1. Cultural diversity encompasses what societal differences?

A. Language
B. Dress
C. Traditions
D. All of the above

2. Which of the following is not part of macroeconomics?

A. Value of goods and services produced
B. Individual households
C. Business income
D. Number of employable people working

3. Reconciling core values of different cultures in defining international business ethics includes:

A. searching for accepted universal values
B. consideration of religious perspectives
C. cultural imperialism
D. All of the above

4. Cultural geography does not study:

A. language
B. religion
C. biosphere
D. demographics

5. The study of world history examines:

A. common cultural patterns
B. reasons for cultural differences
C. how societal structures developed
D. All of the above

Answer Key For Social Studies: Content Knowledge

1. Answer: D

Diversity is the fact or quality of having distinct characteristics. When used to describe a society, diversity means the cultural differences found within the language, dress, arts, and traditions of the aggregate group. There are differences in how individual groups are organized, their understanding of morality, and the ways in which each group interacts, both inside and outside their circle. Members of an ethnic group usually identify with a shared ancestry and are frequently bound by a common language, cultural heritage, religious belief, and behavior patterns.

When students are taught to appreciate diversity, it enables them to function more effectively in a complex, multicultural society. They learn to respect the historical experiences of every cultural group and understand how past actions affect present circumstances. Integrating information about and studying the impact of all cultures greatly enhances students’ ability to get along with different racial, ethnic, and gender groups. America may be a melting pot, but that pot contains the hopes, dreams, history, and struggles of many ethnic groups. Each one made unique contributions to the society we have today.

2. Answer: B

ECONOMICS is the social science that studies the production, allocation, and use of goods and services. Economists research issues and analyze data to determine the most effective ways to use scarce resources to meet the needs of the greatest number of people. Because the world of the twenty-first century is connected in many ways, the economies of every nation play a role in the production, distribution, and consumption of every known resource and commodity, so it is important to take a global view in order to truly understand how economics works.

MACROECONOMICS is the study of an entire national economy. It includes the value of goods and services produced, the total personal and business income earned, how many employable people are working at any one time, and how and why prices change.

MICROECONOMICS is the study of the components of the national economy, including individual companies, households, and consumers. It considers how everyone is a producer and consumer and analyzes how production and consumption determine availability and prices, thereby defining the market for a particular commodity.

3. Answer: D

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines ethics as “a set of principles of right conduct; a theory or system of moral values.” Business ethics is applying this definition to an organization’s or a country’s approach to conducting affairs in the commercial arena Early on, business people did whatever was expedient to sell their goods and services and make a profit.

Because of many factors, in the last few years, the international business community has been forced to take a look at some of its practices and find alternate ways of conducting commerce. This has resulted in new laws in many countries. The tricky issue is how to reconcile core values that may be very different in individual cultures. Issues being studied include:

  • A search for accepted universal values
  • Comparison of business traditions in different countries and cultures
  • How religious perspectives affect commerce
  • Globalization and cultural imperialism
  • Varying standards, i.e., child labor, living wages, etc.
  • Multinational groups outsourcing to take advantage of varying standards
  • Conducting business with rogue governments

4. Answer: C

Geography is the study of earth and its human, animal, and plant populations and how they interact. It is considered the “mother of all sciences.” Human beings have always been curious about the world around them. Satisfying that curiosity by discovering and exploring new places, cultures, and ideas became the building blocks of geography. Studying this science led to the search for answers in other areas such as biology, anthropology, geology, mathematics, astronomy, and chemistry, to name a few. Studying geography helps us learn how to be better stewards of our earth and its resources.

Cultural geography is the study of how human culture interacts with the land. It is a broad field that includes language, religion, medicine, politics, population, and demographics, urban and rural areas, transportation systems, economics, entertainment, and food choices.

Physical geography is the study of the surface of the earth. The earth sciences are concerned with the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere. These three working together create the conditions needed to sustain the biosphere, which is composed of all living organisms, as studied in life science or biology.

5. Answer: D

The U.S. Department of Education states that “key concepts of geography, such as location, place, and region are tied inseparably to major ideas of history such as time, period, and events. Geography and history in tandem enable learners to understand how events and places have affected each other across time.” This statement clearly explains the reasons history and geography should be studied together: One without the other merely offers isolated dates and individual facts but doesn’t allow students to understand how they are connected to one another and how each affected the other.

World history examines common patterns found in all cultures, as well as the reasons differences have evolved over time. To truly understand how man and his various societal structures developed, it is necessary to study all areas that impact the evolution: political science, anthropology, sociology, economics, geography, and the arts. In this age of globalization, understanding how individual nations define these areas is important to addressing shared health and welfare issues, developing a stable world economy, and working to prevent misunderstandings between countries.