Can I Begin My National Board Candidacy Now? (Part I)
Monday, February 17, 2020 by Joetta M. Schneider, NBCT

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

By now you may know that February 28th, 2020 is the deadline to register as a candidate for National Board Certification for Teachers and to pay for any components you want to take this cycle.

To be registered, you must go to this page and create an account and pay the $75 registration fee. After you have an account, you will be allowed to choose the component(s) you want to submit by mid-May OR pay to take the Component 1 test between March 1st and June 15th of this year. 

The Test

Component 1 is the test on content knowledge for your certificate. You may take it during any of the first three years of your candidacy and you don’t have to take it first just because it’s called Component 1. This component is also known as C1, when you see it on blogs or social media posts. If you haven’t done anything at all toward your national board certification journey, you still can do well on C1 under certain circumstances.

The aforementioned circumstances are: 

  1. Whether you are a good test taker anyway and also pretty well-versed in your content. You can look at the practice prompts for your certificate area to get a feel for what you’ll be asked to do. (See #5, below.)


    If you are a World Languages candidate, you must first take the ACTFL.


  1. You really need to read the philosophy of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) who administer the certification process. This is a lengthy document called “What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do.” In a shorter form, we call these ideas the Five Core Propositions.
  2. After you’ve read the philosophy behind national board certification, you will need to decide which certificate area is appropriate for you. The certificate areas for national board certification do not necessarily align with the certification area you have from your state. This document will help you make a good choice.
  3. Now you can scroll to the bottom of this page to go to the resources for your certificate area. Find and download your certificate area Applicable Standards. Today, just skim through them. There are nearly 100 pages to read more thoroughly between now and the time you attempt any of your components. Looking them over will tell you whether you think you’re interested in studying these ideas and feel comfortable testing on them in about three months.
  4. Also on the page from #4, above, the actual content of your test will be similar to the prompts for the Constructed Response questions found in your Component 1 Instructions. Spend some time studying the prompts and even practicing writing the prompts. Look at the Level 4 Rubric near the end of your instructions for C1.
  5. Once you’ve done all these things, what are some more considerations you may have before deciding whether to take the C1 test this year? Well, you may be a poor test taker and not want to wait until the last opportunity to see the test and get a feel for what you’d need to do to pass it. Some candidates have advised that waiting till the last to complete C1 will leave you extra time on your hands because you can’t do much during the year before March when the testing window opens. Some candidates successfully completed the other three components and needed to re-test the last couple of years. They felt like they were wasting time just waiting throughout the year to see if they’d achieved. Conversely, some candidates are excellent test takers and strategized that by re-taking portions of C1, they could boost their overall score if they had lower scores on other components. C1 accounts for 40% of your overall score.

Other Resources

Here are some additional resources that might help you with C1:

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