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This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about the RICA exam. It is organized into five sections: RICA Overview, RICA Registration, Studying for the RICA, RICA Testing Day, and RICA Test Results.

If you have additional questions about our prep programs, please see our general FAQs page and our Info & Help Videos page.


RICA Overview

What is the RICA?

RICA stands for Reading Instruction Competence Assessment. The assessment can be completed either by written exam or by video performance. It is used primarily for teacher credentialing in California. More information can be found on our RICA page.

Who takes the RICA? What does the RICA qualify you for?

The RICA is primarily required as part of licensure for a Multiple Subjects or Educational Specialist credential.

What changes have been made to the RICA?

There have not been any changes to the official content specifications for the RICA for many years; however, in 2021, the Written exam was adjusted to be three subtests instead of one. Also, California did make temporary adjustments to when teachers were required to pass the RICA.

Is the RICA still required in California?

Yes, the RICA is still one of the main ways a candidate can satisfy the licensure requirements. Plans to phase the RICA out have not been finalized, but may take effect in 2025.

How do I get my RICA waived?

There are situations in which the RICA requirement may be waived - mainly based on requirements being met by the prospective employer. There are also exemptions from taking RICA based on prior education or experience. For more details, please see the state credentialing office website.

How long is the RICA good for?

A passing RICA score on file with the official testing service must be used for credential purposes within ten years.


RICA Registration

Where can I take the RICA?

Computer-based and online-proctored testing are available by appointment. For computer-based (in-person) testing, there are a variety of testing centers available. For more information about testing center locations, please visit RICA Registration Info.

How often is the RICA offered?

Computer-based testing is offered at testing centers year-round by appointment, Mon-Sat (excluding some holidays), on a first-come, first-served basis during testing windows. Online-proctored testing is by appointment during one-week testing windows each month. For further information, please see RICA Test Dates.

When should you take the RICA?

Many candidates will have restrictions based on their organization’s timetable. In the absence of such requirements, candidates are advised to take the RICA as early as is practical as the test can be re-taken if necessary and appointments may not always be available at convenient times. For more information, please see RICA Test Dates.

How much does the RICA cost?

Basic registration for a computer-based RICA test has a fee of $57 per subtest. For further details, please see RICA Testing Costs.

Is there a fee waiver for the RICA?

To inquire about a fee waiver for the test itself, please contact the official testing service that administers the RICA. If you are looking for financial assistance for our prep programs to study for the RICA, please see Financial Assistance.

Do I have to pay to retake the RICA?

Yes – there is no fee to change a registration, but regular fees apply to retaking the RICA. For more details, please see RICA Testing Costs.

How long do I have to wait to retake the RICA?

You must wait 45 calendar days to retake the RICA.

How do I cancel my RICA?

To cancel a RICA registration, please contact the official testing service.


Studying for the RICA

How long should I study for RICA?

The average amount of time an individual spends studying is around two months, but that varies widely, depending on several factors, such as your existing familiarity with the test content, and the amount of time you have available to study each day.

Which is the best RICA test prep book?

There are many good RICA study guides available from major educational publishers like Cliffs, Kaplan and others. If you plan to buy one, we recommend going to a physical bookstore so you can read through the various options and see which is best for you.

Our company doesn’t offer any physical books. Instead, our RICA prep options let you learn test content and strategies directly from caring, experienced teachers. Options include live classes, one-on-one tutoring and self-paced online prep.

Is your RICA prep up-to-date?

Yes – whenever the test is updated, we adjust our prep programs accordingly.

Can I take the RICA subtests separately?

Yes, you may take the RICA sections separately or all together. For more information, please see RICA Registration Info.


RICA Testing Day

Is the RICA difficult?

That depends on the individual. A good way to get a sense of the level of difficulty is to take a RICA practice test.

How long does the RICA last?

Subtests 1 and 2 each allow 1 hour and 15 minutes. Subtest 3 allows 1 hour and 30 minutes.

How many questions are on the RICA?

Subtest 1 has 35 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response questions. Subtest 2 has 35 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response questions. Subtest 3 has 25 multiple-choice questions and 1 constructed-response question, which is a more in-depth "case study" question.


RICA Test Results

What score do you need to pass RICA?

You must have a scaled score of 220 to pass the RICA. To get a sense of your likelihood of passing, you can take a free RICA practice test and have the multiple-choice sections auto-graded.

How do I get a copy of my RICA scores?

Your score will be emailed to you, if you requested that option, and it will be available to you through your account with the testing service. You may view or print your RICA scores up to 2 years after your test through your account with the testing service. After that, you may fill out a form to request a copy of your scores.

Where do I send my RICA scores?

RICA scores are sent to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing as well as any institutions you specify when registering for the test.

How long until I get my RICA results?

Computer-based test results are available within 4 weeks of your test date. Online-proctored test results are available within 3 weeks of testing. For more details, please see RICA Test Dates.

What happens if you fail the RICA?

You may retake any section that you failed after a waiting period of 45 days.


Our Core Plus Online Prep Programs feature: 

  • instructional videos that teach you the exact content you need to pass
  • interactive practice tests that replicate the real exam
  • virtual tutoring videos that guide you through every practice question
  • advanced diagnostics that offer in-depth insights into your strengths and weaknesses
Learn more about RICA Online Prep
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