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CORE Subjects EC-6: Social Studies 2017-11-29T18:41:00+00:00

CORE Subjects EC-6: Social Studies

Practice Test and Breakdown

This page is going to prepare you for and breakdown the CORE Subjects EC-6: Social Studies test.

My name is Scott Rozell. I’ve helped thousands of teachers pass the CORE Subjects EC-6 test and today- I’m going to help you.

Specifically, this page is going to show you three things:

As a bonus, if you have already taken the test, at the end of the page I will show you how to breakdown your score report.

CORE Subjects EC-6: Social Studies Overview

The CORE Subjects EC-6: Social Studies test consists of 5 areas (or competencies): Social Studies Instruction, History, Geography and Culture, Economics, and Government and Citizenship.

I know this, because Educational Testing System (ETS for short) releases these helpful PDFs called “Test Preparation Manuals”. In each of these Test Preparation Manuals, ETS breaks down each TExES exam by domains, then competency, and then tells you what type of information can be on the test.

If ETS gives me this breakdown, then why are you reading this page?

Great question!

This page is helpful where the ETS preparation manual is INCREDIBLY vague. For example:

CORE Subjects EC-6: Social Studies, Competency 2 [History], Item B.


CORE Subjects EC-6: Social Studies, Competency 4 [Econ], Item A.

Where to even begin?

And even when the ETS Preparation Manual is specific, it only points you in a general direction. For example:

CORE Subjects EC-6: Social Studies, Competency 2 [History], Item S.

So what does the test mean by “significant individuals” or “significant events”?

That is one of the tricky parts of studying.

And really, there are two ways to go about studying. Both are good options.

The First Option to Study

The first option is simply to Google: significant individuals from the Revolutionary War.

Take the first 3-4 results in Google and read through. Chances are, you will get the right information you need.

But, and here is the catch, you have to do that for EVERY POINT in the ETS Preparation Manual.

There are 97 points, just for the EC-6 Social Studies.

So that’s at least 97 Google searches, a minimum 291 web pages to read- and that’s even if you know what to search for, and tens, if not hundreds, of hours of reading material.

I wouldn’t even know how to search for this point:

CORE Subjects EC-6: Social Studies, Competency 4 [Econ], Item A.

While this is the hard way of studying, it is a great option to prepare for the test.

The Second Option to Study

The second way to study is easier.

You use a study guide.

I personally recommend using the 240Tutoring study guide since it’s got hundreds of authentic practice questions, targeted instructional content, simple and reliable flashcards, and a full-length practice test- plus a money-back guarantee of success.

Now let’s skip to the super-helpful part of the page. I tell you a few concepts that are almost certain to appear on the exam so you can get a head start on studying.

Concepts on the Test

Social Studies Instruction

How to read the following graphs and tables: bar graph, scatter plot, pie chart, a population pyramid, or basic tables.

Pie Chart

Scatter Plot

Bar Graph

Population Pyramid


The biggest thing you need to know for Geography: How does geographic features of land influences human behavior?

Simply put- humans respond to their geographic circumstances.

Examples would be: every single major city founded before 1900 is by a river or water source. This is because humans need freshwater and water was the faster and easiest form of transportation until the invention of the steam engine and railroads.

Additionally, you need to know the three main parts of the water cycle are: Evaporation, Condensation, and Precipitation.

The major geographic features you need to know:

  • Sahara Dessert
  • Himalayan Mountains
  • The Amazon River
  • The Mississippi River
  • The Ganges River
  • The Rocky Mountains.


History can be extremely vague.

But these specific concepts are very likely to be on the test.

Manifest Destiny– the belief that the United States’ destiny is to stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This was a huge factor in westward expansion during the mid-19th century in the United States.

Columbian Exchange– the trade established by Columbus in 1492 between the New World Columbus discovered and the Old World. There is a lot cover here- check out this website for more information about American History.

Sectionalism– Sectionalism refers to the division between the North and the South prior to the American Civil War. The big aspects of sectionalism are: The Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Mexican-American War, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Northwest Passage– The Northwest Passage is a non-exist sea route across the North American that would establish trade between Europe and China. It was the primary cause of North American exploration by Europeans.


These specific concepts are likely to appear on the government questions for the CORE Subjects EC-6:

Articles of Confederation– The Articles of Confederation was the first governing document for the United States of America. These Articles created a weak federal government, that really couldn’t respond to the demands of the new nation. The Articles of Confederation were replaced by the U.S Constitution of 1787.

13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment– These three amendments were ratified after the Civil War and eliminate slavery in the U.S. and secure voting rights for any race ethnicity.

19th Amendment– Allowed women to vote in elections.

The New Deal- A series of economic programs passed under the President of Franklin D. Roosevelt to help stimulate the American economy.

Plessy v. Ferguson– Segregation in schools is legal and allowed under the United States Constitution. Set the bar for “separate but equal”.

McCulloch v. Maryland– States cannot impede the power of the federal government when the federal government is exercising its constitutional powers. And, the Consitution has “implied” powers that the federal government can exercise.

Marbury v. Madison– Established the principle of Judicial Review- which states that the Supreme Court has the power to invalidate laws it deems “unconstitutional”.

Dred Scott v. Sandford­– Established that slaves were property and not entitled to rights of citizens. Overturned after the Civil War.

Common Sense– A pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1776 that helped sway American opinion in favor in independence.

Mayflower Compact– An agreement between pilgrims on the Mayflower. Set the precedent of representative, democrat rule for British colonies.

Magna Carta– An English agreement between the King and the English nobles that limited the power of the King and granted important powers to the nobles- one of the first agreements in history to limit the power of government.


These specific concepts are likely to appear on the government questions for the CORE Subjects EC-6:

Opportunity Cost– The cost of the next best forgone conclusion. Opportunity cost is the realized cost – not monetary cost – of a choice. The real cost of an action is whatever a person would do instead of the action chosen.

Scarcity-  The idea that humans live in a world without limitless resources. Scarcity forces humans to choose and prioritize their time to pursue different goals. Without scarcity, we could all have what we all wanted.

Mercantilism– The belief that a country’s power is measured by its gold reserves. Mercantilism was the prevailing economic philosophy for almost 300 years between 1500 and 1800.

Supply and Demand– A basic economic principle that says economic activity is dictated by the supply of a good and the demand of that good. Generally speaking, when demand goes up, supply will go up. When demand goes down, supply will go down. If there is a lot of a good, it will be cheaper than if there was a little of that same good.

Monopoly/Oligopoly– A monopoly is where one firm (or business) controls and entire market. A firm (or business) that has a monopoly can charge whatever they want for their good or service. An oligopoly is where a few firms (2-3) have total control of a market and can collude together to set prices.

Comparative Advantage– An economic idea that some people can do things better than others. Firms (or businesses) that can produce a good faster, cheaper, or better than other firms (or businesses) have a comparative advantage.

So those are the big concepts that I HIGHLY recommend you know for the exam.

Now, lets look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Practice Question and Examples

Social Studies Instruction

Sims wants to demonstrate to her students how the price of gasoline has increased as the uses for gasoline have also increased. Which of the following graphs would best help Mrs. Sims visually demonstrate this concept?

A. Bar graph
B. Pie chart
C. Two dimensional diagram or scattergram
D. Population pyramid

Correct Answer: A

A bar graph is useful in analyzing one element by plotting data for each month or year, observing the trend. A bar graph uses bars to represent, in this case, the price of gasoline. This will allow students to see the price changes across a period of time in an easy to understand manner.

For which of the following reasons would a teacher use a population pyramid, like the one above?

A. To show the distribution of population based on age in the United States
B. To show the average age of populations in a given geographic area
C. To show the median ages of various socio-economic demographics
D. To show the number one cause for death in a given age group

Correct Answer: A

The graph shows the distribution of a population based on age.

Geography and Culture

The three main physical processes of the water or hydrologic cycle are:

A. Transpiration, perspiration, and sweating.
B. Building dams, creating canals, lowering the aquifers.
C. Evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
D. Irrigation, desalination, and insolation.

Correct Answer: C

The start of the water cycle begins with the Sun’s radiation evaporating the ocean water. As the vapor rises, it condenses to form clouds. The wind systems drive the moisture bearing clouds over the land. Winds are forced to rise over mountains as the “orographic effect” produces rain or snow. Liquid water either submerges into the soil to form ground water or runoff into rivers, drains the land, and returns to the ocean where it begins to start over again.

Which of the following best describes the primary purpose for the first European settlers settling around the San Francisco Bay area?

A. The area was rich in oil deposits
B. The bay was rich with gold deposits
C. The bay was far from government oversight so individuals could evade taxes on various economic goods
D. The bay was a natural harbor that protected ships inside the bay from turbulent weather and conditions outside the bay

Correct Answer: D

This is the correct answer. One of the most important features when settling a new land is the creation of a harbor so that goods can be shipped in and out of the region. This is why areas like New York, Charleston, and New Orleans are so significant. They are natural harbors. When the first settlers settled California, one of their highest priorities was establishing a harbor for trade; the Bay Area is a natural harbor.

Which of the following is the most common reason for forests to be cut down in developing countries?

A. To make land suitable for farming
B. To increase tourism destinations
C. To decrease carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere
D. To create more logging jobs

Correct Answer: A

Developing countries, generally, have an agrarian economy, an economy based upon agricultural production. Most forests are cut down to create additional land for farming.


Which of the following best describes the concept of Manifest Destiny?

A. America was not destined to expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean
B. God’s will for America was to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean
C. Taking land from Native Americans was wrong and Americans should not settle west of the Mississippi River
D. America should expand from coast to coast but in collaboration with other European nations

Correct Answer: B

Manifest Destiny was popular in the 19th century and was the concept that it was the will of God that the United States stretch from sea to shining sea. The concept was used in the political sphere to justify the Mexican-American War and other military conflicts that resulted in land acquisition. The concept was also used to justify the transcontinental railroad subsidies and as a political tool to unite Americans towards a common goal.

Which of the following best describes the primary goal of the first French explorers of North America?

A. Establish a vibrant fur trade
B. Establish a military outpost to combat Spanish dominance of North America
C. Convert American Indians to Christianity
D. Discover a western sea-route to trade with Asia

Which of the following most significantly disrupted the balance of free states and slave states prior to the Civil War?

A. The Mexican-American War
B. The Missouri Compromise
C. The Presidency of Andrew Jackson
D. The Texas Revolution

Correct Answer: A

The Mexican-American War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which led to the admittance of the land of California into the Union as a free state without a balancing slave state. This upset the balance of free states and slave states.


Mr. Scotts breaks up a dispute among two second grade students. In discussing the situation with the students, Mr. Scotts  realizes they were arguing over the use of class resources. This situation could best be used to teach which of the following economic principles?

A. Scarcity
B. Opportunity costs
C. Mercantilism
D. Free trade

Correct Answer: A

Scarcity refers to the limitation of resources in a given scenario. Scarcity is a fundamental economic problem that humans have needs and desires, but live in a world of limited resources. On a daily basis humans must choose how best to spend their time to accomplish their priorities; humans cannot pursue all their desires and needs due to the limitation of time and resources. Scarcity leads to the idea of opportunity costs. A person must decide to pursue opportunity A or opportunity B and the cost of pursuing opportunity A is that opportunity B cannot be pursued (and vice-versa).

A market where a few firms compete against each other is known as:

A. A monopoly.
B. An oligopoly.
C. Monopolistic competition.
D. Perfect competition.

Correct Answer: B

An oligopoly is a market where only a few firms supply a good or resource. A few examples would be Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors which produce 80% of the beer sold in America; AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint which control roughly 89% of the cellular telephone service in the U.S.

Mr. Smith begins a project among his fourth grade class. He gives the class $20 to purchase pencils and has his students sell them to students who have forgotten pencils at home. Which of the following economic principles can Mr. Smith’s students learn from this project?

A. Opportunity cost
B. Supply and demand
C. Comparative advantage
D. Impact of imports and tariffs

Correct Answer: B

Mr. Smith is introducing his students to the concept of supply and demand because his students would supply pencils to students who forgot them at home and needed them, or to those who had a demand for the pencils.


Which of the following Supreme Court cases established that the Supreme Court had the power to rule laws passed by Congress unconstitutional?

A. Plessy v. Ferguson
B. McCulloch v. Maryland
C. Marbury v. Madison
D. Dred Scott v. Sandford

Correct Answer: C

Marbury v. Madison (1803) established the principal of judicial review. Although the Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court this power, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall reasoned that the checks and balances system created by the Constitution required that the Supreme Court be able to void laws deemed unconstitutional. It should be noted that no surviving framer of the Constitution argued against the principle of Judicial Review; it was generally assumed that the Supreme Court would have this power at the ratification of the Constitution.

Which amendment abolished slavery in America?

A. 1st
B. 13th
C. 16th
D. 17th

Correct Answer: B

The 13th Amendment (1865) outlaws the institution of slavery in the United States. It states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Which Constitutional Amendment prohibits the denial of voting based upon race, color, or previous servitude?

A. Thirteenth Amendment
B. Fifteenth Amendment
C. Nineteenth Amendment
D. Twenty First Amendment

Correct Answer: B

The Fifteenth Amendment prohibits the denial to vote based on race, color, or previous servitude.

The legal doctrine known as “separate but equal” was instituted in which of the following cases?

A. Plessy v. Ferguson
B. Brown v. Board of Education
C. Marbury v. Madison
D. Mapp v. Ohio

Correct Answer: A

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) ruled that state laws requiring segregation in public and private sectors was constitutional, using the test of “separate but equal.”

Score Report

Now let’s look how to breakdown a score report.

Here is an example of a score report.

As you can see, there are 5 competencies listed, Competency 001 through Competency 005.

These competencies are identified and elaborated upon the ETS Preparation Manual.

  • Competency 001- Social Science Instruction
  • Competency 002- History
  • Competency 003- Geography
  • Competency 004- Economics
  • Competency 005- Government

Based on this score report, the test-taker seems to be scoring well in Social Science Instruction and Economics, but needs a lot of help in History, Geography and Government.

From this information, it would be best to focus on those three competencies. You can get more information, specifically, of what you should study in by reviewing the ETS Preparation Manual.

The Next Step

You’ve made a great decision reading this page so far. You are dedicated to passing the CORE Subjects EC-6 Social Studies.

But you might also be feeling overwhelmed, intimidated, or simply lost in studying for the exam.

Don’t worry!

Do you remember at the beginning of the page where I said I had helped thousands pass their CORE Subjects exam? I can help you pass to.

At 240Tutoring, we have made an amazing study guide for the CORE Subjects EC-6. This study guide has over 275 authentic practice questions, targeted instructional material that covers each of the important concepts the exam is likely to cover, and has simple, reliable flashcards to ensure you are prepared for the exam.

Do not waste your valuable time studying for information you don’t need to know.

Go to and sign up for our CORE Subjects EC-6 Social Studies study guide.

It comes with a 48 hour no questions asked refund policy, so if you don’t like it, you can request a full refund within 48 hours.

Also, it comes with the 240Tutoring Guarantee. If you score a 90% or higher on our practice test, but fail the real exam, your entitled to a money-back refund.

240Tutoring Guarantee

Each study guide comes with the 240Tutoring Guarantee- if a student earns a 95% Cumulative Score or higher on our study guides and is unsuccessful on the test, 240Tutoring will provide a full money-back refund!