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What TExES Exam Do I Need to Take?

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If you’re confused about what TExES exam you need to take to get certified to teach, then look no further. Here you’ll find information about the Core EC-6 and 4-8 exams, as well as the 4-8 subject exams. Keep reading to find out more!

What IS the TExES?

So you’re ready to become a teacher. You’re eager to inspire and shape young minds and you start to get a little twinkle in your eye thinking of how you’ll organize and decorate your classroom. But before you get lost in daydreams about your future, you’ve got to cross one giant hurdle.

Getting certified.

Maybe you’ve started looking into the certification tests you need to take and have stumbled into the dark hole that is TExES – or the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (just in case you think we can’t spell). Chances are you’ve run across more than a few of all of those confusing numbers and test codes – 291, 211, 801, 117, ‘Core’ this and ‘subject test’ that, combined tests – and on and on it goes.

Outside of committing to an hours-long internet deep dive, how does anyone figure out all of the test differences, requirements and decipher what to sign up for?

Maybe you thought you could just google ‘what test do I take…” in the hopes the internet would magically provide the answers you need. Well, consider your wish granted because you made it here! Feel free to call us your genie in a lamp because we’re here to help you out and break down the TExES EC-6 and 4-8 tests for you.

Teaching Elementary School

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Well then, you’ve got to pass the Core Subjects EC-6.
(AKA Core EC-6, 291, CORE, EC-6 exam, subject tests 801-805)

This test replaced the Generalist EC-6 (191) exam in 2015, so whatever you do, don’t call it that. It is a comprehensive test designed to “assess whether a test-taker has the requisite knowledge and skills that an entry-level educator in this field in Texas public schools must possess,” according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

The test contains 267 multiple-choice questions that range from grades EC-6 and cover five distinct subject areas – English Language Arts and Reading & the Science of Teaching Reading; Mathematics; Social Studies; Science; and Fine Arts, Health and Physical Education. One thing to be aware of is that each exam also includes field questions that do not count toward your overall score. These are new questions that are being tried out on test-takers before they are approved to be incorporated into future exams. If you see a question that seems really confusing or different from the rest of the test, chances are that its a field question.

The Core Subjects EC-6 is the TExES heavy hitter, with close to 18,000 potential teachers taking it each year. The way the test is set up, you will need to pass all five subtest subject areas – ELAR, Fine Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies – to pass the exam.

The Core Subjects EC-6 is the TExES heavy hitter, with close to 18,000 potential teachers taking it each year. The way the test is set up, you will need to pass all five subtest subject areas – ELAR, Fine Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies – to pass the exam. If you fail a subtest, you fail the test. However, you are able to retake the failed subtest(s) individually.

So, for example, say you take the test and pass everything but Science. You’ll receive a ‘Not Passed’ score, but the scores from any subtests you did pass will be saved. You can then focus all of your study time on the Science subtest to pass on your next test attempt without worrying about the others you already passed. To pass the EC-6 exam, you’ll need to score a 240 or higher on each individual subject exam.

The individual subject exams are all housed under the 291 test code, but have their own test codes as well. It sounds confusing because, well, it is. When you need to register for a subject exam, you will see the test codes 801-805, denoting ELAR/STR, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, and Fine Arts/Health/Physical Education – in that order. The cost to take a single subject exam is $58, so you if you need to retake two or more tests you’ll register for the full exam instead, which costs $116.

Just remember, there’s a 45-day wait time in between certification exam attempts. Also, you get four retake attempts for the test before the TEA starts requiring some additional steps to allow you to register again. Of course, that applies to any TExES exams you take, not just the CORE EC-6!

Let’s recap what’s on the Core exam:

For a detailed breakdown of the Core Subjects EC-6 exam and some great testing strategies to help you pass, be sure to check out the 240 Tutoring Ultimate Guide and Free Practice Test here: https://www.240tutoring.com/texes-prep/core-subjects-ec-6-practice-test/

Teaching Middle School

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Then you need to take the CORE Subjects 4-8 exam.
(AKA Core 4-8, 211, subject tests 806-809)

Like the 291, Core Subjects 4-8 got an upgrade and new name from the Generalist 4-8 (111) exam in 2015. This test is comprehensive and covers four subject areas – English Language Arts and Reading, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. This test has 200 multiple-choice questions that correspond to content taught in grades 4-8. One thing to note about this test is that the question distribution is not equal – of the 200 test questions, approximately 37% of the test (or 74 questions) focuses on ELAR, and the three remaining subject areas each make up about 21% of the test (42 questions each). Not all of the questions count toward the overall score as the test contains field questions – trial questions being considered for future exams.

This test has 200 multiple-choice questions that correspond to content taught in grades 4-8. One thing to note about this test is that the question distribution is not equal – of the 200 test questions, approximately 37% of the test (or 74 questions) focuses on ELAR, and the three remaining subject areas each make up about 21% of the test (42 questions each).

To pass the 211, you have to pass each subject test with a 240 or higher. If you fail a subject test, you fail the CORE Subjects 4-8. However, the scores for any subject test you do pass are saved so you won’t have to take them again and can instead focus on the remaining subtest(s) to pass on your next attempt. All users are provided an on-screen calculator and a definitions and formulas sheet for the Mathematics exam, as well as a periodic table for the Science exam, so don’t worry about dedicating unnecessary brainpower to memorize those.

Each subject test in the Core Subjects 4-8 exam has its own unique code, 806-809 for ELAR, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science, respectively. If you end up needing to retake a subject test, keep those numbers in mind – otherwise, fuhgeddaboudit. The cost to take a single subject exam is $58, so you if you have two or more subjects to retake you’ll register for the full exam instead, which costs $116.

Also, for any test-taker who needs to retake the test, there is a 45-day wait time in between attempts. You do get a few attempts before TEA makes the testing process a bit more complicated. Oh, and one more thing to keep in mind – there’s another set of 4-8 subject tests with different test codes and these tests are NOT interchangeable with the Core Subjects 4-8 exam. For more information on those, see below.

Let’s recap what’s on the Core 4-8 exam:

For a complete breakdown of the Core Subjects 4-8 exam and some helpful testing strategies to make passing a breeze, be sure to check out the 240 Tutoring Ultimate Guide and Free Practice Test here: https://www.240tutoring.com/texes-prep/texes-core-subjects-4-8-ultimate-guide/

Other Middle School Options

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4-8 Individual/Combined Subject Tests
Individual: 115-118
Combined: 113, 114

The test standards between these exams and the Core Subjects 4-8 exam are the same, but there is one big difference: if you take the Core exam you must pass all four subject tests to become a teacher whereas if you take the individual subject test you can get certified by passing just one test.

If you are interested in becoming certified to teach a specific subject to 4th-8th-grade children, well then, bless your heart! The good news is, you can do that without taking the Core Subjects 4-8 exam. The bad news is, you’ll most likely be teaching middle-schoolers – we kid, we kid! TExES offers individual and combined subject tests for 4-8 ELAR, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. The test standards between these exams and the Core Subjects 4-8 exam are the same, but there is one big difference: if you take the Core exam you must pass all four subject tests to become a teacher whereas if you take the individual subject test you can get certified by passing just one test.

Other similarities to the Core 4-8 exam include a passing score of 240 or higher, testing content that evaluates the knowledge and skills you possess as a potential entry-level educator in the Texas public school system, and field questions – which do not count toward your final score but are being assessed for incorporation into future exams.

The individual subject tests for Mathematics, Science, English Language Arts and Reading and Social Studies are coded 115-118, in that order. The Math, Science and ELAR tests each have 100 questions and the Social Studies test has 90. One interesting thing about these exams is the same amount of time is allotted to take a 4-8 subject test (roughly five hours) as for both the Core Subject EC-6 and 4-8 exams. Definitely something to keep in mind if you aren’t required to have a Core certification and struggle with test time limits!

Another option TExES offers that is unique to the 4-8 subject tests is a combined subjects test. There are two combined tests; 113 – English Language Arts and Reading/Social Studies 4-8 and 114 – Mathematics/Science 4-8. They can be considered as a sort of middle ground between the 4-8 subject test and the Core exam since they do provide two areas of certification but also require the test-taker to pass both subjects to pass the exam. Both of the combined exams contain 120 questions divided evenly between the two subject areas and have the same subject competencies as the individual exams. These tests also have a passing score of 240. However, unlike a comprehensive exam, both sections of the combined test have to be passed at the same time to pass the test. You will not be able to pass one section and retake the other section in a separate test attempt.

But, just like the Core exams, there’s a 45-day wait time in between certification exam attempts. If you haven’t passed the exam after four retake attempts there are some additional requirements you will have to fulfill to register again, which costs $116 for both the individual and combined tests.

Here’s a recap of what’s on the 4-8 exams:

Take the Free TExES Practice Test

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You can use the links below to take a free practice test for each 4-8 subject test:

ELAR
Mathematics
Science
Social Studies

So, now that you know the difference between some of the most common TExES exams, it’s time to start studying to pass those exams and become a teacher! If you need help preparing for your certification exam, we’d highly recommend looking into the study guides 240 Tutoring offers HERE. And as always, be sure to check out the free 240 Tutoring Resources HERE for more information on any of your test prep and certification exam needs.