Dec 8

How to Study for TExES in 2023

The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) is an assessment for prospective teachers in Texas. 

The primary purpose of the TExES exam is to ensure that aspiring teachers are well-prepared to meet the learning needs of Texas students. It evaluates their competencies in instruction and subject matter understanding.

In Texas, passing the TExES exam is mandatory before you’re certified as an educator. It is a way for the state to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining high education standards.

If you’re an aspiring teacher in the Texas public school system, you must take the TExES exam. The requirement also applies to most private schools in the state.

In this article, we’ll share preparation tips to help you pass your TExES exam. We’ll also discuss all the relevant information you need to know about the exams, including exam structure, question types, requirements, and scoring.

What is a TExES Exam?

In Texas, new teachers must pass the TExES exams to be licensed to teach in the state’s classrooms.

These exams are designed to verify that educators have all the necessary skills and competencies to excel in their teaching roles.

TExES exams are specific to the candidate's area of expertise. Prospective educators are expected to demonstrate their content-area proficiency by passing exams relevant to the subject or grade level they wish to teach.

The TExES program offers over 60 content exams, each tailored to assess the knowledge of various teaching disciplines. For example, chemistry, biology, CORE Subjects, Journalism, Health Science, and Special Education.

TExES exams are administered on a computer. However, candidates requiring paper tests for specific needs, such as typing, speaking, or braille usage, are accommodated differently with braille and oral examinations.

Candidates must pass these content-specific exams to demonstrate competency in their teaching areas.

TExES Requirements

The TExES exams have specific eligibility requirements that candidates must meet to take these tests.

To be eligible for the TExES exams, you must be either a college graduate or a practicing teacher. The requirement ensures that test-takers have foundational knowledge in education.

If you’re enrolled in a teacher certification program and want to register for the exams, you’ll need permission from the program to take the TExES exams.

Candidates who are already certified to teach in Texas have more flexibility. They can take the content exams at any time because they have already met the initial requirements for certification.

The best time to take the TExES exams is often after completing a college degree and before entering a certification program. Such an approach will help you avoid the additional hurdle of requiring permission from the program.

For aspiring teachers in early childhood through grade 6 (EC-6) or grades 4–8, taking the CORE Subjects exams is a common requirement. These exams assess general knowledge and content-specific knowledge.

The CORE EC–6 (391) include:

  •    Mathematics (902)
  •    Social Studies (903)
  •    Science (904)
  •    English Language Arts and Reading (901)
  •    Fine Arts, Health and Physical Education (905)

The CORE 4–8 (211) includes the following subject exams:

  •    Mathematics (807)
  •    Social Studies (808)
  •    Science (809)
  •    English Language Arts and Reading (806)

As a candidate, you should take the CORE Subjects EC-6 and CORE Subjects 4-8 exams first. Once you’ve attempted these exams, you can go ahead and take individual CORE subtests if needed.

Texas Exam Structure

The TExES exams are computer-administered tests (CAT) that follow a specific structure and format. 

Each TExES testing session begins with a 15 to 20-minute computer-administered tutorial and a compliance agreement. The tutorial familiarizes candidates with the testing platform and its features.

For each testing appointment, candidates are allocated 5 hours to complete the exams. They start with the CORE Subjects exam relevant to their teaching level, for instance, CORE Subjects EC-6 or CORE Subjects 4-8, before moving on to individual subtests. 

Passing one subject test under the CORE Subjects exams will not qualify you for certification. You must pass all required exams to meet certification standards.

In case you fail, you must wait 30 days before being eligible to retake the TExES exams.

TExES exams' specific format and structure varies depending on the exam, but the following elements are common in all TExES exams:

  •    Selected-response/multiple-choice questions: Many TExES exams consist of selected-response multiple-choice problems. The number of questions in this format can range from 70 to over 200.
  •    Speaking or writing constructed tasks: Some TExES exams include three to five speaking or writing tasks. These tasks assess a candidate's ability to communicate and demonstrate knowledge through spoken or written responses.
  •    Available all year round: Being available throughout the year provides candidates with flexibility in choosing their test dates. However, remember several exams require appointments and have specific testing windows.
  •    Paper format: In some cases, TExES exams are available in a paper format that requires candidates to develop an original response as an essay or a short written answer to a content-specific question.

Take note of all requirements and content areas relevant to your exams and be well-prepared for these rigorous assessments.

Understanding TExES Score

TExES exams are scored on a scale ranging from 100 to 300. The minimum passing score for the exams is 240.

The selected response/multiple-choice questions on TExES exams are evaluated by a computer immediately upon completion. Each correct answer earns one point, and there is no penalty for incorrect answers.

Professional scorers with expert knowledge of the content-specific field assess candidates' responses for speaking or writing constructed-response questions.

TExES scores are available within a few days after testing. Candidates can access their scores online by 10:00 PM central time on the designated score release date, usually 7-10 days after the test date. Scores are communicated via email.

Preparing for the TExES Exam

Preparing for the TExES exams is necessary to eliminate the jitters that come with exams.

Successful preparation for the TExES exams requires rigorous dedication.  You must commit time, effort, and focused study to excel in these assessments.

Just as the TExES exams are not to be taken lightly, TExES exam preparation should also be approached with seriousness. Let’s explore some of the critical steps you can take to prepare.

1. Go through the questions.

When preparing for the TExES exams, you must clearly understand the types of questions you'll encounter and the formats they may take.

TExES exam questions typically fall into two main categories:

  •    Selected-response, multiple-choice questions: These are the most common questions in TExES exams. In this format, candidates are presented with a question or a statement and must choose the correct answer from a set of options. TExES multiple-choice questions have four answer options, and candidates must select the one that best answers the question or completes the statement.
  •    Content-constructed questions: These come in various formats, including written, typed, or spoken, depending on the specific test and content area. Content-constructed questions are open-ended, and candidates must provide a detailed response in essay or short answer form. These questions assess a candidate's ability to communicate and demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.

    In addition to these question formats, TExES exams may include various question types, such as:

  •    Entry boxes: Candidates are required to type in a numerical response or a specific word or phrase.
  •    Checkboxes: Candidates are asked to select multiple correct answers from a list of options.
  •    Choosing a graphic: Choosing a specific illustration or diagram that best represents the information provided.
  •    Highlighting a sentence: Test-takers are asked to highlight a particular sentence or section of text within a given passage.
  •    Drag and drop: Require candidates to rearrange items in a specific order.
  •    Drop-down menus: Candidates are required to choose answers from a drop-down menu.

2. Find the best study material.

Finding and following high-quality preparation materials and study resources can impact your success in TExES exams. Well-structured materials will help you build the knowledge required for the tests.

Your choice of  TExES exam material should accurately reflect the actual exams' content, format, and structure. The more closely your study materials align with the actual exams, the better prepared you will be.

Patching together study material from various random sources, whether from the internet or printed study guides, can be counterproductive. Inaccurate or outdated information can lead to misconceptions and hinder your preparation.

Researching the type of study materials you need is nearly as important as the materials themselves. Look for reputable publishers, official TExES resources, and review materials with a track record of success among candidates.

3. Create your plan.

Preparing for the TExES exams is a significant undertaking for candidates aspiring to become certified educators in Texas. To do this successfully, developing a comprehensive preparation strategy is essential.

Understand that the TExES study guide is just the first step in the process. While it's a valuable resource, you must consider other factors in your exam preparation strategy.

For instance, the best way to start your preparation is by establishing and maintaining a regular study schedule. Consistent, individual review of study materials is crucial to reinforce your understanding of the content.

Consider forming or joining study groups with other individuals preparing for the TExES exams. Collaborating with colleagues seeking the same certification allows you to share experiences and knowledge, providing a support system. Group discussions and shared study resources will enhance your preparation.

4. Take practice tests.

One of the most effective ways to prepare for the TExES exams is by taking practice tests.

Practice tests provide a realistic overview of the TExES exam format, structure, and question types. Taking these tests helps you fully understand what to expect during the actual exams.

The tests assess where you currently stand in your preparation. They help you determine your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus more study on areas that need improvement.

It's essential to approach practice tests with a serious mindset. These are not just trial runs but opportunities to simulate real exam conditions and evaluate your readiness.

There are several TExES practice exams available, covering various content areas and subjects. You should take advantage of these resources to tailor your preparation to specific exams.

5. Be organized on the TExES Test Day

Having prepared adequately, you must remain organized on the exam date to reduce anxiety and exam-related panic.

Follow these steps to remain organized and relaxed on your TExES exam day:

  •    Sleep is essential for cognitive functioning and memory recall. Therefore, get a good night's sleep on the eve of your exam.
  •    To avoid oversleeping, set multiple alarms with different wake-up times to help you get up on time.
  •    Eat a nutritious breakfast to sustain your energy throughout the exam.
  •    Take a few moments to relax and calm your nerves before the exam. Deep breathing exercises can help.
  •   Pace yourself during the exam. Don't spend too much time on a single question. If you're unsure about an answer, mark it and return to it later if there's time.
  •    Bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated during the exam.
  •    TExES exams have scheduled breaks. Use them to rest, stretch, and have a quick snack. Use the restroom as needed to avoid discomfort during the test.

Remember: Don't Panic. If you encounter difficult questions, take a deep breath, move on to the next question, and return to the challenging one later if necessary. Maintain a positive attitude and confidence in your abilities. A positive mindset will help reduce stress and improve performance.

The Costs of TExES Exams

It’s good to be aware of the associated costs. Here's a breakdown of the costs for TExES exams:

  •    Each TExES exam costs $116.
  •    Some certification areas require you to take both the $116 TExES exam and a CORE Subject exam, which costs $58.
  •    If you no longer want to take the exam after registration, you’ll be refunded your money after a deduction of $25
  •    $11 of your testing fees will be waived if you're a veteran or if your spouse is an active military member.

One Step Closer to Your Teaching Career

The TExES is a series of exams that aspiring educators in Texas must pass to become certified teachers. The exams assess candidates' preparedness to teach effectively in Texas classrooms.

Candidates must carefully plan their TExES exam preparation by choosing high-quality study materials, creating a regular study schedule, and the value of practice tests.

We suggest you seek guidance and support from The Learning Liaisons to enhance your TExES exam preparation.  As we’ve established, it’s necessary to approach these exams with the right preparation and resources.

Get the assistance you need to achieve success in your journey toward a teaching career in Texas.