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Do You Know Which TExES Exams You Need to Take?

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You have put in countless hours to become a teacher, and now it comes down to taking a TExES test.

But what TExES exams do you need to take? And in what order?

There are so many to choose from. It can be quite overwhelming, but don’t worry! We are here to help you figure it out.

In this article, we will give you information to help ease your anxiety and make you feel more comfortable moving forward with your TExES exam preparation. You may have questions about the differences between exams and the minimum score needed to pass. We will tell you all about this, plus how much each TExES exam costs and how long you have to wait before you can retake a TExES exam. We will also provide you with study guides and practice tests to help you pass your exam.

It’s time to get started.

What is the TExES?

TExES stands for Texas Examinations for Educator Standards. These exams ensure new teachers have the content knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level teachers in Texas public schools. There are many to choose from, including core tests and subject tests. Some of them seem to overlap. You might be wondering if you need to take more than one TExES test. We will help you with that in a moment.

Who has to take the TExES?

Anyone who wants to teach in the state of Texas has to take TExES exams. Usually, you will take your test(s) after finishing your degree. You can take exams while enrolled in a certification program. College graduates planning to teach through an alternative certification program might need to take an exam before entering into the program. If you are already a certified teacher in Texas, you can take a TExES exam at any time (to supplement your current certifications).

What TExES tests do I have to take?

Early Childhood

Beginning in January 2021, teachers who want to teach Early Childhood Education can focus on PK-3 by passing the new (292) Early Childhood: PK-3 (EC-3) exam. Previously, the only exam offered was the broader CORE EC-6 exam, which teacher candidates will still be able to take. The EC-3 exam just allows for a more targeted certification.

Elementary School

There are Core Subjects tests for both elementary school and middle school. If you are planning on teaching elementary school, you need to take the Core Subjects EC-6 (291) exam. It consists of 267 selected-response questions with five subject exams:

  • English Language Arts and Reading & Science of Teaching Reading (801)
  • Mathematics (802)
  • Social Studies (803)
  • Science (804)
  • Fine Arts, Health, and Physical Education (805)

Beginning January 1, 2021, teachers certifying in PK-3 (early childhood), EC-6 Core Subjects (elementary), 4-8 Core Subjects, 4-8 ELAR (English Language Arts), and 4-8 ELAR/SS (English Language Arts/ Social Studies) are required to take the Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam. Portions of this exam were previously included in the English Language Arts and Reading & Science of Teaching Reading (801) section of the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 exam. Keep this in mind as you plan for your exams because the STR exam is an additional fee.

To pass the Core Subjects EC-6, you need to score a 240 or higher on each subject exam. Failing one or more subject exams prevents you from passing the test. However, if that happens you can retake just the subject exam(s) that you failed. You are required to wait 30 days to retake the exam or part of the exam. The cost for the total exam is $116 but if you only need to retake a single subtest the cost is $58. You will register for the full exam if you need to retake more than two sections.

For more information on the TExES Core Subjects EC-6, visit the TExES Core Subjects EC-6: Ultimate Guide and practice test here.

Middle School

If you are planning on being a middle school teacher, you have options. The first option is taking the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 (211) exam. This exam consists of 200 selected-response questions and includes four subject exams:

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

Beginning January 1, 2021, teachers certifying in PK-3 (early childhood), EC-6 Core Subjects (elementary), 4-8 Core Subjects, 4-8 ELAR (English Language Arts), and 4-8 ELAR/SS (English Language Arts/ Social Studies) are required to take the Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam. Portions of this exam were previously included in the English Language Arts and Reading & Science of Teaching Reading (801) section of the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 exam. Keep this in mind as you plan for your exams, because the STR exam will require an additional fee.

To pass the Core Subjects 4-8, you need to score a 240 or higher on each subject exam. Failing one or more subject exams prevents you from passing the test. If that happens, however, you can retake just the subject exam(s) that you failed. You are required to wait 30 days to retake the exam or part of the exam. The cost for the total exam is $116 but if you only need to retake a single subtest, the cost is $58. You will register for the full exam if you need to retake more than two sections.

For the mathematics subject exam, you will have access to an on-screen calculator and a formula sheet. You also get an on-screen periodic table for the science subject exam.

For more information on the TExES Core Subjects 4-8, make sure to visit the TExES Core Subjects 4-8: Ultimate Guide and free practice tests here.

Another option for middle school teachers is to become certified in a specific content area for grades 4-8. Passing a 4-8 content test also means you shouldn’t need to take the TExES Core Subjects 4-8. The scoring is the same, so you’ll need a 240 to pass. The subject tests are Mathematics (115), Science (116), English Language Arts and Reading (117), and Social Studies (118). Each test consists of 100 selected-response questions, and you are allowed five hours to finish. This is quite a bit of time, considering that you are only given five hours in total for the core tests.

To take a free practice test and get more information on these subject tests, visit here:
TExES Mathematics (115)
TExES Science (116)
TExES English Language Arts and Reading (117)
TExES Social Studies (118)

Your final option is to take combined subject tests. These tests give you more flexibility as a teacher because you will be certified to teach two different subjects, without having to take the TExES Core Subjects 4-8. The combined tests are English Language Arts and Reading/ Social Studies (113) and Mathematics/ Science 4-8 (114). Just like the single-subject tests, each of these costs $116, and you are allowed five hours to finish. However, each test includes 120 questions. There is a 30-day wait if you need to retake a test.

For more information on the TExES Mathematics/ Science 4-8 test and to take a practice test, make sure to visit here.

High School

There isn’t a TExES Core high school test. If you plan to teach at a high school level, you will take the test that certifies you for your specific content area. To pass, you need to score a 240 or higher on each exam. If you need to retake an exam, there is a 30-day waiting period. Below are the most common high school TExES exams.

To take a free practice test and get more information on these tests, visit here:
Mathematics 7-12 (235)
Social Studies 7-12 (232)
History 7-12 (233)
ELAR 7-12 (231)
Science 7-12 (236)
Life Science 7-12 (238)
Physical Science 6-12 (237)
Chemistry 7-12 (240)

All Levels

All EC-12 teachers are required to take and pass the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 (160) exam. This tests your knowledge and skills of educational theory and pedagogy. To pass this test you need to know lessons and assessments design and implementation, classroom management, and management of professional roles and responsibilities.

This exam consists of 100 selected-response questions, and you have five hours to finish. To pass, you will need a score of 240, and it costs $116. If you need to retake the test, there is a 30-day waiting period.

Make sure you check out the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 (160) Ultimate Guide and practice test here.

There are also supplemental certifications that you can get in addition to your primary certification. Some school districts might require these, or you can choose to get certified in them on your own. These supplemental certifications include:

  • Bilingual Education Supplemental (164)
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Supplemental (154)
  • Gifted and Talented Supplemental (162)
  • Special Education Supplemental (163)

The Special Education Supplemental (163) exam consists of 100 selected-response questions, while the other three supplemental exams contain 80 selected-response questions. The fee for each exam is $116, and you have five hours to finish. To pass, you need a minimum score of 240. If you need to retake one of these exams, there is a 30-day waiting period.

Check out the Ultimate Guides and free practice tests for these exams:
Bilingual Education Supplemental (164)
English as a Second Language Supplemental (154)
Special Education Supplemental (163)

Hopefully, now you know which TExES test(s) you need to take to become a certified teacher and are ready to start studying! For more help, don’t forget to check out our Study Guides (found here) and our TExES exam resource page (found here).

Picture of: Kari Wasmer

Kari Wasmer

Kari is a microscopist at an environmental testing company, but her passion is science education. She has experience writing and editing science textbooks and loves helping educators understand how to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In her free time, she enjoys gardening with her young daughters, sewing, and knitting.