I began the process in the 2004-2005 schol year. During the summer I started to collect my professional development materials. When school began I was ready to begin video taping science. Next I tackled SS and finally writing. I submitted in March and tested in May. Unfortunately, I missed passing by 12 points! UGH!
I redid the professional part and retested in 2 areas in 05-06. I passed the second time.
It seems to be the average in my area to take 2 years to complete the process. Fortunately you can bank your points and only redo the parts that you feel you need to.
I did not see much of my husband or children during the initial process. I spent many nights and much money at Barnes and Noble with a friend. Most weekends were consumed with it.
The assessment has 6 parts. You do not know the questions ahead of time but you do know the subject areas. Information is available on the website that gives you ideas of what may be in each section. In addition, they give you a rubric for how they will score it.
I would suggest not taking the assessments until you have completed the portfolio. To prepare, I would get textbooks in Science and SS for the grade levels in your cert. area to brush up on things. My first assessment in SS blew me away. I had no idea that they were talking about.
You will not receive your scores until November. Usually it is the Friday before Thanksgiving.
If you would like to look at any of my entries, please email me and I will send you a copy.