PRE-ADMISSION CONTENT TEST (PACT)
Simply put, the PACT allows candidates to register for and take a TExES exam before being accepted into an Educator Preparation Program. Before the PACT, all candidates needed approval from an EPP before taking a teacher certification exam in Texas, otherwise known as the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES). PACT now allows individuals to take any TExES exam, apart from the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam, before being enrolled in an Educator Preparation Program.
FAQ’s for the PACT
WHAT IS THE PACT?
Really, the PACT allows someone who is 1) not a certified teacher and 2) not in an educator preparation program (EPP) to take a TExES exam.
The PACT is not an actual exam required for admission into a teacher certification program–an EPP. The Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) is actually no test at all, but a way to register for a Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES) exam.
WHAT IS ON THE PACT?
Since the PACT exam is ultimately the opportunity to take your content exam before being accepted into an EPP, it will have whichever content exam you are taking. There are exceptions to the PACT, which are exams that cannot being taken in the PACT. Those are the following:
- Education Diagnostician
- Health Science 6-12
- Marketing 6-12
- Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12
- Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities for Trade and Industrial Education 6-12
- Reading Specialist
- School Counselor
- All Master Teacher certification tests
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE THE PACT?
You should take the PACT when you are confident you want to become a teacher. Passing your TExES content test (by registering as a PACT test-taker) can be the first tangible step in obtaining your teacher certification.
Also, since the PACT is only available for qualified candidates, you should first check to see if you are qualified to take it.
To put it simply, you will want to take the PACT exam if you have not been accepted into an Educator Preparation Program (EPP). The PACT exam will not guarantee that you are accepted into an EPP, but will allow you to bypass the approval that was needed to take the TExES content exam.
WHERE CAN I REGISTER FOR THE PACT?
To register for a PACT, use the Pearson Online Registration System:
When you access the Pearson online registration system for the first time, you will be required to create a Pearson testing account. To establish a Pearson testing account, you will need to provide your:
- TEA ID number
- First and Last name
- Date of Birth
If you do not have a TEA ID number, do not create a profile on TEA.
Instead, follow the New User Account Creation guide:
HOW MUCH DOES THE PACT COST?
The average cost is $131. In the past, the PACT exam was set at $120. However, the PACT exam now correlates with the exam that you will be taking, the average of which is $131.
5 Things to Know About the PACT
1. The Pre-Admission Content Test is not an actual test–it is a way to register for a test. To take a teacher certification exam in Texas–the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES)–the state requires a test-taker obtain approval to take the exam. Typically, approval is received either by a teacher certification program, otherwise known as an Educator Preparation Program (EPP), or by already having a teacher certification. For people who want to take a TExES exam but do not fit one of those two categories, the state created the Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) approval option.
2. You can only take the PACT route if you already have a bachelor’s degree or are scheduled to receive a bachelor’s degree before being placed in a classroom.
3. Choosing to take the PACT will cost the same as whatever the content exam would normally cost. There is no extra fee to take the content exam simply because you are taking the PACT route.
4. Individuals who live in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, and Mexico can test under the TExES PACT program, as long as the test they require is being offered.
5. Passing the PACT exam is nearly impossible without the help of a comprehensive study guide like that of 240Tutoring. Our study guides have helped literally thousands of teachers pass their certification exam.
How to Prepare for the PACT
Because the PACT is a unique opportunity to take a content exam before being enrolled in an Educator Preparation Program, you will want to do everything you can to pass it. Preparation is tantamount to your success. But not all preparation is created equal. Preparation for a content exam must be both extensive and beneficial. Simply cramming content will not suffice for most individuals who take the exam. Because of this there are a few steps you can take to make sure you are well prepared for the PACT:
- Obviously, identify the appropriate test for your program or desired content area.
- Register and set a test date. It is so easy to feel intimidated and not set a date for your exam, but setting a date will solidify in you a resolve to prepare for the exam like you need to.
- Diagnose your current understanding of the material with a sample or pre-test.
- Prioritize content or subtopics based on your diagnostic performance. It is of no help to study what you are already competent in.
- After having prioritized the content or subtopics, your job is now to use high-quality preparation materials and practice exams for your TExES or Praxis exam. The steps leading up to this are of no help if you neglect to use high-quality preparation materials that are both extensive and beneficial.
Developing a Study Plan
In order to take the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES), the first thing you need to do is know exactly what your test is going to cover. There are free preparation manuals for every TExES Certification test which are located at: http://www.tx.nesinc.com/PageView.aspx?f=GEN_PreparationMaterials.html.
Each test has specific competencies which are organized by domains. Domains define the specific areas of the test. The more competencies found in each domain indicates the emphasis of that domain on the test. You are likely to see more questions on the test of a particular domain if there are more competencies found within it. Luckily, our 240Tutoring study guides are broken down into competencies, and will show you which competencies need more attention in your studying.
Candidates should carefully review the domains and the competencies for a clear understanding of what they are expected to demonstrate while taking their test. This will also help test-takers organize domains based upon which areas they feel competent in and also identify those areas in which they are less familiar. While test-takers should plan to study and review all domains, candidates can plan to focus their study times on those areas they are not as experienced.
In order to prepare to study, test-takers should also gather the materials and resources needed to adequately prepare. In addition to preparation manuals, there are many other resources one can use to help prepare them for the certification test. Ideas for other materials that can help you prepare for your exam include:
- Identifying relevant college coursework materials and textbooks
- College and local library resources
- Collaborating with a college professor or current teacher in your field of study to help guide your plan for studying
- Purchasing a 240Tutoring study guide
Candidates should be advised not to overestimate their readiness for a demanding test such as the TExES Certification Exams. Developing a realistic study plan can help ease any anxiety and can prevent test-takers from feeling overwhelmed with the amount of material that should be reviewed prior to your certification exam. Questions to consider in developing a study plan include:
- What is your most effective method of studying? Some people prefer to study alone; other prefer to study in a group format. Given the information you need to review, should you join or develop a group for general review, or one that focuses on your weaker domains and competencies? Do you need the accountability of having a study partner or group so that you stick with your plan? Carefully consider this before developing a study plan.
- How often can you study? If you are working full-time, are you able to study on weeknights? Given your professional and personal responsibilities, would it be better if your schedule includes only studying time on the weekends? The answers to these questions should not only guide your study plan, but when you plan to take your exam.
- When do you intend to test? Since there are frequent administrations offered for more tests, select a test date that can provide you with plenty of time to prepare. Once you have identified that date, you can begin to develop a realistic study schedule.
Day of the PACT Exam: What to Do
This is one of the most asked about topics when it comes to certification exams. The day of the exam is finally here, a day that has the potential to be life-changing. So how do you remain calm? How do you know you have done enough to pass your exam? Hopefully at this point you have already invested your time into a comprehensive study system like 240Tutoring. Having devoted yourself to studying, there are a few things you can do the day of the test that will also help you be better prepared for your exam. These are listed in chronological order, and begin the night before your exam.
1. Sleep Well
This is a little bit subjective, as different folks need different amounts of sleep to function with the most efficiency, so let’s not get hung up on specifics. Whether you need 7 or 10 hours of sleep to be firing on all cylinders, get that sleep! The worst thing you can do to your brain, after having studied so religiously, is to rob it of its full ability to think and function. If you sacrifice sleep to cram, you’re really setting yourself up for mental blocks, and you’ll likely only remember the last information you looked at. Don’t make that sacrifice. It’s not worth it.
2. Eat Well
You’ve likely heard this your entire life. Even as kids, our parents would wake up early to make a big breakfast the day of our standardized test. Well, that’s because it’s been proven to work. Our brains are like engines, and they run the most efficiently on the best fuel. Oddly enough, the best fuel does not consist of processed sugars, or nothing but black coffee. When you wake up from your full sleep, eat some brain food. The options are endless, and there are guides to brain food cooking all over the internet. Your brain will thank you, and your test scores will show it.
As stated earlier, this does not mean cramming. Reviewing means running through the content you’re studying at a very high level. Maybe hitting a few areas of emphasis, but mostly just studying with extremely broad brushstrokes. This is to get your brain in the right frame of mind, and also to keep topics you’ll be tested on at the top of your mind. The best piece of advice we can give you here is to not get bogged down in any specific details. If you get too focused in your final morning review, you’ll remember those specific topics well but be hazy on others. Trust us on this one.
As you’re sitting & waiting for that exam to reach you, you’ll likely be racked with nerves. Just take a breath. Count your breaths. You need to relax. Your study and exam prep has put you in a great position for success, and no amount of fretting over the upcoming test will change the outcome. The only effect the stress you’re feeling will have is to cause your score to drop. If your score can’t get better by stressing, just don’t do it. Stay loose, stay relaxed. You’ve got this.
This point can’t be suggested enough. At this time, your exam is in front of you and you are digging into the real thing. You’re prepared, you’ve slept well, ate well, reviewed, and are relaxed. There is only one tip left for you, and that is to calmly read the questions. These aren’t designed to trick you, so don’t read too much into them. Just relax and read exactly what the question is asking. Read the answers clearly, and begin eliminating the ones you know to be incorrect. You’re on your way to passing this certification exam.
Employing all 5 of these strategies in order will give you the final push you need to pass your PACT exam, or any exam for that matter. If you’re a little bit further back from taking the PACT, then you should certainly consider enrolling in a comprehensive certification exam study system. At 240Tutoring, we combine years of experience with a money back guarantee to help put students in the best possible position to pass their exams. Our system has worked for thousands of teachers, and it can work for you too. Keep studying, and most of all: Good luck!
Test-Taking Strategies for the TExES PACT
Having strategies to understand multiple-choice questions are often as important as knowing the content for which you must indicate competency. The ability to clearly understand what a question is asking for, and how to check your answers for accuracy are crucial in receiving a passing score on the exam. Please refer to the following guidelines for tackling various types of multiple-choice questions:
- On multiple-choice questions, there is not a penalty for a wrong answer, so it is to your advantage to guess when you are unsure of an answer.
- Problems with understanding the question: If you don’t know a word in the question, don’t panic! Re-read the question and try to put it in your own words. What is the question looking for? Look for the answer that fits based upon those criteria.
- There are no trick questions on the TExES Certification exam. The questions are designed to be a way for you to clearly demonstrate your knowledge.
- Constructed Response Questions: You must read these questions carefully, and answer all parts of the question. When faced with these questions, make a list of the various components needed to answer the question completely. Scoring deductions are mainly made on these questions because test-takers did not answer all of the question’s components.
For more helpful strategies on how to calm test-anxiety, download our free Test Taking Strategies Guide.
Where to Take the PACT
You can take the PACT at any Pearson testing location–they are almost anywhere in Texas and surrounding areas.