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Get prepared for the Middle Grades General Science exam

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Middle Grades General Science Study Guide

ISBN Number: 978-1-68317-115-7

Our online, easy-to-use study guide comes with a guarantee of passing and a 48 hour no-questions asked refund policy. Use our study guide risk-free and be confident you have the best material to prepare for your important exam.

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  • 205 Practice Questions
  • 37 Pages of Content
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205 Interactive Practice Questions and 37 Pages of Instructional Content!

Nature of Science

38 Questions with Explanations
12 Pages of Instructional Content

Learn about skills and concepts related to scientific inquiry and process.

Physical Science

54 Questions with Explanations
8 Pages of Instructional Content

Learn about scientific skills and concepts related to physical science.

Life Science

67 Questions with Explanations
9 Pages of Instructional Content

Learn about scientific skills and concepts related to life science.

Earth and Space Science

46 Questions with Explanations
8 Pages of Instructional Content

Learn about scientific skills and process related to earth and space science.

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Take an NES Middle Grades General Science Practice Test!

How well do you know the test?

Can you pass the test?


What’s on the General Science Exam

The NES Middle Grades General Science exam is a required exam for anyone wanting to teach middle grades science in NES-required states. The purpose of the test is to ensure that candidates have sufficient knowledge in all relevant areas.

Taking the NES Middle Grades General Science exam can be a daunting task.  Because its goal is to test your classroom readiness across the spectrum of content, it covers a lot of ground.  This breadth can make it hard to know how to prepare.  Luckily, if you understand how the test is organized and what it is testing, you will have no problem prepping for this test.  In order to cover everything needed to teach middle grades science, the exam is broken into four content domains–which are further explained through descriptive statements.


Now that you have your test date set, you can turn to preparing for the exam itself. To begin, let’s look at the structure of the exam. The NES Middle Grades General Science exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. The test is administered via computer. Because of this, there can be a variety in the style of questions that are asked. You should expect to see three main types of questions: single-answer, stimulus-based, and cluster. You should expect most questions to require you simply to click an oval next to the correct answer. However, there may be questions that utilize the technology more. They may ask you to zoom in on details in a graphic or picture, click boxes next to all that apply, click on check boxes, click on parts of a graphic or sentence, use a drag and drop feature, or select your answer from a drop-down menu.

You Need to Pay for the Exam.

The Cost of the Test is $95

 ETS accepts all major credit cards for payment


You will have 3 hours to complete the 150 questions.


General Science

3 hours

Exam Content Domains

Content Domain I: Nature of Science

Competency 0001: Understand principles and procedures of scientific inquiry.

Competency 0002: Understand the history and nature of science.

Competency 0003: Understand the relationships between science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and society.

Content Domain II: Physical Science

Competency 0004: Understand the properties and characteristics of matter.

Competency 0005: Understand physical and chemical changes in matter.

Competency 0006: Understand the characteristics and transformations of different forms of energy.

Competency 0007: Understand relationships between force, mass, and motion.

Competency 0008: Understand characteristics and properties of mechanical and electromagnetic waves.

Content Domain III: Life Science

Competency 0009: Understand the characteristics, organization, and processes of cells.

Competency 0010: Understand characteristics and life processes of living organisms.

Competency 0011: Understand the concepts and principles related to genetics, the theory of evolution, and the classification of organisms.

Competency 0012: Understand characteristics of different biomes, relationships between organisms, population dynamics, and the flow of matter and energy through ecosystems.

Content Domain IV: Earth and Space Science

Competency 0013: Understand the history of Earth, characteristics of Earth materials and resources, and the geologic processes that shape Earth.

Competency 0014: Understand characteristics and properties of the hydrosphere.

Competency 0015: Understand Earth’s atmosphere, weather, and climate.

Competency 0016: Understand characteristics of the solar system and the universe.

 Passing Scoring

Your score will be based on the number of questions you answer correctly. The passing score varies depending on the state you are testing for. See Registration and Testing section below for detailed information.

Registration and Testing

The first step in getting yourself ready for this exam is to complete the registration.  Some NES tests are offered continuously while others are offered during testing windows that occur several times a year. However, because of that, it is important to register as soon as possible to make sure you get the date and location you want.  It is also a good idea to register early, so that you leave enough time for yourself to prepare.

What Test Do I Need to Take?

Each US State has unique testing requirements in order to display proficiency. Please visit the NES website and select your desired state in order to determine which specific test you need to take.

When Can/Should a Person Take the NES?

Each US State has a unique timeline. Please visit the NES website and select your desired state in order to determine when your state recommends you should take the exam in order to obtain a new license, add a concentration to your current license, or obtain a license in a different state.

How to Register

Applicants are required to create an account in order to register for any NES Exams. You can create an account by providing your email, desired password, and answers to a variety of security questions at the NES Test Registration page. It is crucial that the information you provide at the time of registration matches your government-issued I.D. Early Registration is strongly encouraged in order to schedule a desired seat and meet the required deadline for any NES exam.

Preparing for the Exam

Beginning to Prepare

After you have determined which exam you need to take, have registered and paid the exam fee, it is time to begin preparing for the NES. The most effective way to prepare for the NES Exam series is to develop a study plan. Your study plan should include understanding the standards, the structure of the NES, what study materials are available, practice or diagnostic assessments, studying strategies,  how to write a CRQ (if applicable), and developing a study schedule as discussed below.

Understanding The Standards

The NES was designed to align with nationwide learning standards and content standards for teachers. The Professional and Subject Knowledge exams will measure proficiency in their respective fields based on the standards for that field. You can find information about these standards on your state’s Department of Education website.

Structure of the NES

Each NES exam is a computer-based assessment that consists of a unique format and time allotment. Please visit NES website and select your desired test for more information.

What to Expect the Day of the Test

You should plan to be at the testing center at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled test appointment. You should dress comfortably and in layers. Wear soft-soled shoes in order to maintain a quiet testing environment for all testers.

Lockers are provided at most testing centers. Please double-check by calling the testing center in advance.

You need to have a government-issued I.D. to verify your identity. When you check in your I.D. will be checked, your digital signature recorded, your palm scanned, and your photograph taken.

Each testing center has computers separated by partitions as well as a proctor to prevent cheating. Before beginning the exam, each tester will complete a computer-based tutorial session designed to show you how to navigate through the test successfully. If you would like to preview this tutorial, please visit and follow the instructions.

Test Scores

Passing Score

The national benchmark for a passing score for every NES subtest is 220. Some states like Arizona, New Mexico, and Oregon may require a higher score in order to qualify for a license. Please visit the NES website and select your desired test in order to determine the passing score for that test required by your state.

When Do I Get Scores?

A benefit of the NES structure of computer-based testing is that you receive an unofficial score report at the testing center upon completion of your test.

An official score report will be emailed to the email address you provided upon registration as soon as it is available, so it is important to keep your registration information up to date. You can also access a PDF version of your score report 45 days after the test date by logging in and following the prompts. You can also find your results, when they become available, here.

Understanding Your Score Report

Your Score Report will include the date of the exam, your total test score out of 300, and a pass or fail status. In order to help testers understand their strengths and weaknesses in testing areas, sub-area scores are provided. You do not need to pass every sub-area in order to pass the exam. Please visit the NES website in order to read a detailed NES Score Report Explanation and a NES State-Specific Score Report Explanation.

State Reciprocity

NES Exams are accepted in a wide variety of states. In order to get accurate and up-to-date information about individual state requirements, please visit your state’s Department of Education website, or follow the links on the NES website.

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