I'm new here, but I've used these forums for about a year and a half for help on many things. I'd like to give back and help anyone who is taking the EC-6 test.
I passed this test back in April, and also passed the 4-8 generalist about a year ago with high scores on my first try. This is what I did by spending no money on study materials.
(You should set time aside to study for the tests at least 2 weeks before the test if you are busy. Studying an hour a day for 2-3 weeks before the test is what I would recommend.)
1. I first checked out the XAM book from my university library for each of the tests. I do not recommend buying the book. There are errors in the tests, so do not take the practice tests. Although they are flawed, they give you a feel for what you should study and will see on the test.
2. After the XAM books, I looked through the study guides offered on the ets website. Most people do not read the study guide and just do the practice tests, but you must READ the packet. It goes through in detail which subjects/topics to study for the different grade levels. Highlight/underline what you feel like you need to review. I made a list of topics/subjects I felt like I needed to study. Do this - I recommend it.
3. Then I used the study guide's practice test. Look at the questions you missed and the TEK. Underline any vocabulary in the questions that you did not know or were iffy about. Put vocab that you need to review on your study list. Put any TEKs you felt you did not know on your list as well.
4. This is the time consuming part. You wikipedia/google about the subjects/vocab/TEKs that you had trouble with. Unfamiliar with reading strategies and what an "emergent reader" is? Look for reading websites (my favorite - readingrockets) on strategies. Maybe you need to review science (my weakness)? Google "science for kids" or "teaching _____ to kids/elementary/middle school students". I found many good interactive learning games that helped me for science. Teachers have these resources out there (in all subjects) for each other and for their students. Use them, they help tremendously.
I emphasize that you must STUDY. Yes, it is elementary level material, but it does not mean that the test will be easy. For young people who remember their elementary days - the material has changed.
Good luck to everyone!