Test Information Guide

Overview and Test Objectives
Field 11: Physics

Test Overview

Table outlining the test format, number of questions, time, and passing score.
Format Computer-based test (CBT); 100 multiple-choice questions, 2 open-response items
Number of Questions
  • Subarea I: 14–16 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea II: 16–18 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea III: 16–18 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea IV: 18–20 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea V: 17–19 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea VI: 13–15 multiple-choice questions
  • Subarea VII: 2 open-response items
Time 4 hours (does not include 15-minute CBT tutorial)
Passing Score 240

The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) are designed to measure a candidate's knowledge of the subject matter contained in the test objectives for each field. The MTEL are aligned with the Massachusetts educator licensure regulations and, as applicable, with the standards in the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks.

The test objectives specify the content to be covered on the test and are organized by major content subareas. The chart below shows the approximate percentage of the total test score derived from each of the subareas.

The test assesses a candidate's proficiency and depth of understanding of the subject at the level required for a baccalaureate major according to Massachusetts standards. Candidates are typically nearing completion of or have completed their undergraduate work when they take the test.

Pie chart of approximate test weighting.

Sub area I 12%, Sub area II 14%, Sub area III 14%, Sub area IV 15%, Sub area V 14%, Sub area VI 11%, and Sub area VII 20%.

Test Objectives

Table outlining test content and subject weighting by sub area and objective.
Subareas Range of Objectives Approximate Test Weighting
I Nature of Science 01–05 12%
II Force and Motion 06–08 14%
III Energy, Momentum, and Heat Transfer 09–11 14%
IV Electricity and Magnetism 12–15 15%
V Waves, Sound, and Light 16–19 14%
VI Modern Physics 20–22 11%
VII Integration of Knowledge and Understanding 23 20%

*The open-response items may relate to topics covered in any of the subareas.


Subarea I–Nature of Science

Objective 0001: Understand the nature of scientific inquiry and scientific processes.
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Objective 0002: Understand the processes of gathering, organizing, analyzing, and reporting scientific data.
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Objective 0003: Understand scientific tools, instruments, materials, and safety practices used in physics demonstrations and investigations.
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Objective 0004: Understand the historical and contemporary relationships among science, technology, and society.
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Objective 0005: Understand the use of mathematics in physics.
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Subarea II–Force and Motion

Objective 0006: Understand concepts related to motion in one and two dimensions.
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Objective 0007: Understand Newton's laws of motion.
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Objective 0008: Understand characteristics of uniform circular motion, rotational dynamics, and fluid mechanics.
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Subarea III–Energy, Momentum, and Heat Transfer

Objective 0009: Understand the concepts of energy, work, and power and the principle of conservation of energy.
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Objective 0010: Understand the conservation of linear momentum and angular momentum.
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Objective 0011: Understand heat transfer and the principles of thermodynamics.
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Subarea IV–Electricity and Magnetism

Objective 0012: Understand principles of electrostatics.
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Objective 0013: Understand characteristics of electric current and electric circuits.
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Objective 0014: Understand magnetic fields and electromagnetic induction.
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Objective 0015: Understand applications of electromagnetism and electronics.
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Subarea V–Waves, Sound, and Light

Objective 0016: Understand oscillations, waves, and wave motion.
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Objective 0017: Understand the characteristics of sound waves and the basic principles of acoustics.
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Objective 0018: Understand characteristics of electromagnetic waves.
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Objective 0019: Understand the principles of lenses and mirrors.
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Subarea VI–Modern Physics

Objective 0020: Understand the atomic nature of matter and the basic principles of special relativity.
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Objective 0021: Understand the basic principles of quantum theory.
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Objective 0022: Understand the principles of radioactivity and characteristics of nuclear reactions.
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Subarea VII–Integration of Knowledge and Understanding

Objective 0023: Prepare an organized, developed analysis on a topic related to one or more of the following subareas: Nature of Science; Force and Motion; Energy, Momentum, and Heat Transfer; Electricity and Magnetism; Waves, Sound, and Light; and Modern Physics.

(Refer to objectives 0001 through 0022 and associated descriptive statements.)