CORE Subjects EC-6: Complete

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Core Subjects EC-6

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What’s in the Study Guide

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Practice Questions
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Pages of Study Material
 DomainNumber of QuestionsPages of Content
English Language Arts29970
Mathematics200139
Social Studies232122
Science29965
Fine Arts10081

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Science

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Social Studies

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Fine Arts

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What’s on the TExES CORE Subjects EC-6

The TExES CORE Subjects 291 Exam is a required exam for anyone wanting to teach elementary school in the state of Texas.

The TExES 291 Exam is a required exam for anyone wanting to teach elementary school in the state of Texas. The purpose of the test is to ensure that candidates have sufficient knowledge in all relevant subject areas to teach students from Early Childhood through 6th grade.

Knowing the structure of the exam helps, but taking a core subjects exam can be a daunting prospect, and the TExES CORE Subjects EC-6 exam is no exception.  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 elementary education, the exam is broken into five main domains—each of which is presented as its own subtest—which are then broken into 5-18 competencies, which are further explained through descriptive statements.

For more information, visit this CORE Subjects EC-6 breakdown.

CORE Subjects EC-6 Breakdown

What to Expect

 DomainQuestionsTime Limit (Minutes)
English Language Arts75105
Mathematics4760
Social Studies5135
Science5240
Fine Arts5240

This adds up to a total of 4 hours and 40 minutes testing time.  You will also begin with twenty minutes to complete requisite tutorials, follow direction screens and sign nondisclosure agreements.  This brings the entire testing time to 5 hours.

NOTE: There are no scheduled breaks with this test.  You also cannot take a break once a subtest has started.

Structure

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.

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Things to Remember

Test Day: Can you imagine doing all of this work to get ready, and then getting turned away on test day? To make sure that isn’t you, read through these guidelines:

Be on time! Pay careful attention to the time on your “Admission Ticket” and plan to arrive 30 minutes in advance.  This will give you enough time for any snafus or complications.  They will not let you test if you arrive after this time (and they won’t refund you!).

No electronic devices! In fact, all you should have with you is your Admission Ticket and your ID.  If there is anything else you must carry into the testing facility with you, put it in a small bag.  There will be places to store your belongings inside.

Check your ID before you go. Your ID should be the one you used during registration. If it does not exactly match what you entered into ETS and TEA, you will be turned away.  Make sure it also has your picture and signature on it.

You will be photographed and fingerprinted at the testing site in order to verify your identity. If you refuse, you will not be allowed to test.

Study Time: Make sure to read through all of the competencies and descriptive statements—they are there to guide you! If you have mastered those, you should have no problem on the test.

Practice: To make sure you are adequately prepared, do some practice questions. 

Scratch Paper: You will have scratch paper to use during the exam—use it! It will in no way be considered in the scoring of your exam. However, don’t forget to put the actual answers into the computer!

Calculator: You may not use your own calculator on the math section. Instead, you will use the online calculator provided at the testing site.  It’s a good idea to practice with this in advance.

Once you request access, you will be issued an activation key, which will be good for 90 days. Time your test to make the best use of this; you want to be a pro by test day.

Specific Concepts to Know

English Language Arts

  • The developmental process of oral language and how to help students in this development.
  • About phonological and phonemic awareness, and how to help a student’s development in these.
  • What the alphabetic principle is, and how to teach students it’s importance in spoken and written language.
  • About literacy development and its corresponding stages, from emergent to proficient.
  • About word identification skills (such as decoding, blending, structural analysis, sight word vocabulary, and contextual analysis) and know how to help students practice these.
  • About reading fluency and how to help students improve in that area.
  • The importance of reading for understanding, the components and processes of reading comprehension, as well as how to help students improve their comprehension.
  • Vocabulary development and how to teach reading, listening, speaking, and writing.
  • How to help students understand and use research and inquiry skills.
  • English writing conventions and how to teach this to students.
  • The development of written communication and how to help students grow in this.
  • The skills for interpreting, analyzing, evaluating, and producing visual images and messages.
  • How to assess literacy development.

Mathematics

  • How students learn mathematical skills.
  • The properties of numbers and concepts related to them.
  • Patterns, relations, functions, and algebraic reasoning.
  • Geometry and measurement concepts.
  • Probability and statistical concepts.
  • How to reason mathematically and understand mathematical processes.

Science

  • How to oversee scientific learning to make sure students are safe.
  • The history and nature of science, as well as the process of scientific inquiry.
  • The impact of science on daily personal and societal life.
  • The unifying concepts and processes of science.
  • The theoretical and practical knowledge on how students learn science.
  • The appropriate ways to monitor and assess science learning.
  • The relationships of forces and motion.
  • The physical and chemical properties of matter.
  • Energy and its interaction with matter.
  • Energy transformations, as well as conversations on matter and energy.
  • The structure and function of living things.
  • Reproduction and heredity.
  • Adaptation and the theory of evolution.
  • Relationships between organisms and the environment.
  • The structure and function of Earth systems.
  • Cycles in Earth systems.
  • How energy affects weather and climate.
  • Characteristics of the solar system and the universe.

Social Studies

  • Social science knowledge and skills, as well as how to teach them.
  • Significant historical events and developments with their varying interpretations, according to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
  • The geographic relations between people, places, and environments in Texas, the US, and the world.
  • Cultural development, adaptation, diversity, and interactions between science, technology, and society, according to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
  • Economic systems and why people organize them.
  • Concepts of government, democracy, and citizenship.

Strategy

Now that you know the “what” and “how”, it is time to develop a solid test-taking strategy that will maximize your preparation.

First, go through the test and answer all of the questions that you are confident about.  The questions that will probably be fastest to answer are the single-answer questions.  These will be direct-response questions or unfinished statements.  Make sure to read all of the answer options before responding.

Stimulus-based questions are also a good place to start.  Look at the chart, graph or image first, then examine the answer choices before selecting the right one.  Just like with single-answer questions, though, if you don’t know the answer right away, move on and come back to it.

Once you have answered all of the questions that are easiest for you, head back to the beginning to work on the questions you skipped.  (NOTE: You can mark questions you are skipping as you go so that you remember to go back to them later.)

For single-answer questions, the best approach is to use process of elimination and then educated guessing.  There is no penalty for guessing—no points off for wrong answers—so it is worth a shot.

For cluster questions, you want to take your time.  Cluster questions are a series of questions that are based off the same stimulus or set of stimuli.  For a graph or image, it is usually best to read the questions first, then look at the graphic to find your answer.  For reading passages, you should flip that. Read through the passage, making note of key points, then read through and answer the questions.  This way, you can more quickly find the information you need.

Scoring

Your score will be based on the number of questions you answer correctly.  Although you will answer 267 questions, only 230 of those will be scored (too bad you can’t know which ones in advance!).  Each subtest is graded separately.  So, for each subtest, your correct number of answers will be converted to a number between 100 and 300.  In order to pass, you must receive at least 240.  While you will take all five subtests at once, it is not an all-or-nothing system.  You can pass some tests, but not others.  For information about what to do if you do not pass them all, look below.

Pitfalls

  • Pay attention to the weighting of each domain. You will want to give more attention to the Reading and Language Arts competencies, but notice that they are not that much more heavily weighted.  You still need to pass all five domains in order to certify.
  • Just being able to recite the competencies and descriptive statements is not enough. Very little of the test will be recall; instead it will mostly focus on critical thinking and application.  That’s why you should make sure you practice!

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