TExES Core Subjects EC-6: Social Studies Practice Test

TExES 391 Social Studies Exam

The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) Core Subjects EC-6 exam is a computer-administered exam designed to measure the skills and knowledge of prospective educators seeking licensure in Texas. The TExES Core Subjects EC-6 version 391 replaces the older 291 version and includes more questions regarding teaching practices and methods. This TExES exam is intended for those who wish to teach at the middle school grade level.

The TExES 391 includes 210 selected-response questions and takes 5 hours to complete. This test is divided into five separate subjects known as 'domains':

  1. English Language Arts and Reading
  2. Mathematics
  3. Social Studies
  4. Science
  5. Fine Arts, Health, and Physical Education

The test can be taken all at once, or the individual exams can be taken alone. This article will only cover the Social Studies (903) test.

The TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Social Studies exam is comprised of 40 selected-response (aka multiple-choice) questions and takes 50 minutes to complete. It accounts for 19% of the total exam score. Test-takers must earn a scaled score of 240 to pass, and testing can be done either remotely or through a Pearson Professional testing center.

Practice tests give you a better idea of the topics you have mastered and those you should keep studying.

TExES 391 Social Studies Standards

Each subject exam on the TExES 391 is comprised of sets of standards that are used to define the knowledge and skills a prospective educator should possess before becoming a licensed teacher in Texas. There are 10 standards listed under the social studies exam:

  • Comprehensive Knowledge - In-depth knowledge of the social sciences and understand its value.
  • Integration - Incorporating various disciplines within the social sciences.
  • Teaching - Effectively designing and administering curriculum, instruction, evaluations, and assessments in accordance with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
  • History - Significant historical events and applying historical interpretations and concepts to help students learn about the past and its relationship to the present and future.
  • Geography - Knowledge of places, environments, and cultures and an ability to help students develop an understanding of the geography of their state, their country, and their world.
  • Economics - How economic systems are organized, how they produce and distribute goods and services for consumption, and using this knowledge to teach students about economics and how to make informed economic decisions.
  • Government - How power structures operate, establish order, and distribute resources; how to use knowledge of economics to effectively teach students about how people can utilize political systems to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Citizenship - Understanding citizenship both nationally and globally and be able to instruct students on how to participate in society.
  • Culture - Understand various cultures, how they develop, and how they adapt. Using this knowledge to help students understand, appreciate, and respect cultural diversity.
  • Science, Technology, and Society - Scientific and technological developments and helping students understand the social and environmental outcomes of innovation and discovery.

Skills and Competencies Assessed

Each standard in the social studies domain of the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Social Studies exam is associated with a list of competencies (skills). Each competency contains two parts:

  • the competency statement, which provides a general idea of what prospective educators should know, and
  • the descriptive statement, which provides a more in-depth look into the specifics of the knowledge and skills that are measured by the test.

Although there are 10 standards in the TExES Social Studies EC-6 exam, there are only five competencies due to shared competencies within domain standards. These five competencies are more thoroughly described below:

Social Science Instruction

The Social Science competency covers basic knowledge of the social sciences. This includes the ability to effectively use social studies terminology; create maps and graphics depicting various features, distributions, and relationships; and recognize and relate social science trends and issues and their practical applications. The candidate should be able to:

  • understand the TEKS as it relates to social science including social studies content, performance standards, prerequisite knowledge and skills, and the vertical alignment of the social sciences from one grade level to another
  • utilize tools and information from the TEKS to measure student progress and to help plan instructional curriculum for a diverse student body with a range of needs and interests
  • understand the importance of student growth and development in planning and implementing social science learning activities
  • effectively communicate the value of social sciences to diverse audiences
  • use appropriate strategies, activities, technologies, tools, and materials to teach social studies concepts and to promote students' knowledge and use of social studies terminology, tools, and skills
  • integrate knowledge, skill, methods, and concepts across various social science disciplines


The History competencies of the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Social Studies exam include a comprehensive knowledge of state, national, and world history. Examinees should review the industrial history of Texas, reform movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Civil War, European exploration and colonization, the Revolutionary Era, westward expansion, and Reconstruction as well as significant people, issues, and events that shaped that history. Candidates should have an understanding of how mathematical, scientific, and technological innovations affect the environmental, social, and political development of history. They should also be able to

  • problem-solve and show decision-making skills
  • understand how economic, social, and political factors influenced the development of Texas and the United States
  • understand the basic concepts and processes of culture; how societies form, develop, and endure; and how various factors influence cultures
  • perform historical research including utilizing standard research methodologies, formulating research questions, using primary and secondary sources, and analyzing historical information
  • analyze, interpret and communicate historical information from different frames of context

Geography and Culture

Competencies in the Geography and Culture section of the TExES 391 Social Studies exam covers key concepts such as locations and their physical and environmental characteristics (both past and present); the relationship between people, places, and environments; and physical processes and how they influence environmental and settlement patterns. It also covers basic cultural concepts and processes. Prospective educators should understand:

  • how geography can influence human interaction, migration, distribution, adaptation, environmental modification, economic development, and political relationships
  • how to utilize primary and secondary sources, design and implement geographical and cultural research, and how to formulate research questions
  • how to analyze, interpret, translate, communicate, and represent cultural and geographical data
  • how to use geographical tools, processes, and systems to create and interpret different types of maps
  • the ways race, ethnicity, religion, philosophy, gender, socioeconomic status, stratification, and culture affect lifeways
  • how art, customs, celebrations, beliefs, and traditions are used to represent cultures in various locations
  • how innovations in the fields of science and technology can influence political, social, cultural, and economic issues and events and the availability of natural and human resources


The Economics competencies of the TExES Social Studies EC-6 exam include basic economic concepts, the history of economics, the Industrial Revolution, economics and gender roles, free enterprise, and the law of supply and demand. Economics competencies also cover economic indicators, patterns of work and economic activities, spending, saving, and budgeting. Candidates should know:

  • the interdependency of various economic systems at local, national, and global levels.
  • how government regulation and taxation affects consumers, economic development, and business planning
  • the processes of immigration, migration, limited resources, mass production, specialization, and division of labor and recognize how they affect different economic systems
  • various types of economic systems, the processes of economic development, and major events, trends, issues, and influences in economic history
  • the free enterprise system and how consumers and producers are affected by a variety of economic and geographical factors and issues

Government and Citizenship

Government and Citizenship competencies deal with the creation, development, and organization of government systems and the tenets of citizenship. It covers the origins of democratic government, the different types of government, landmark Supreme Court decisions, the rights of American citizens, how government is financed, and the relationship between local, state, and national government. Prospective educators should know:

  • the rights, rules, laws, and freedoms of a democratic society and the individual's role in making and enforcing rules to ensure societal welfare
  • basic structures, functions, and political processes of United States government and how the political system works
  • early Texas government organization and development and its interdependency with local governments
  • major political documents including the Bill of Rights and Amendments of the Constitution
  • the processes - both formal and informal - of changing the Constitution and recognizing the impact those changes may have
  • how symbols, landmarks, and customs contribute to national unity

Registration Process

TExES registration for the Core Subjects EC-6 Social Studies exam is done through an online TExES account. Test-takers must create a TEAL account with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), fill out their educator profile, and receive their TEAL ID.

Next, they will need to create their TExES account and log in to register. TExES exams are available year-round by appointment only and testing centers are located throughout the United States. Test-takers will need to pay for their exam after scheduling.

The TExES exam cost of the Core Subject exam is $116 for the total exam and $58 for a single subject exam. Registrants may pay for their test fees with a VISA or Mastercard or bank or debit card.

Testing Policies for the Exam

Test-takers will need to present two valid, original forms of ID to their test center administrator before taking the TExES Core Subjects exam. The ID must contain their name, photo, and signature. Accommodations for those with disabilities, health issues, and nursing mothers are available but vary by location (special requests must be pre-approved).

In accordance with the TExES exam retake policy, test-takers who wish to retake the TExES exam will need to wait 30 days after their score is reported. There is a limit of five attempts to pass the TExES Core Subjects exam. Test-takers who reach this limit will need approval from the Texas Education Agency to take it again.

Scoring the Exam

The Social Studies portion of the Core Subjects exam is scored by earning one raw point per correctly answered question. The points are then totaled and the final score is scaled for difficulty. Test-takers will receive a pass/fail score for their entire exam. Individual subtest scores are recorded on a scale of 100 to 300 and test-takers must make a minimum of 240 on each subtest to pass the TExES Core Subject EC-6 exam. Candidates can immediately see their unofficial scores for their subtests.

Preparing for the Exam

Preparing for the TExES Core Subject EC-6 Social Studies exam requires time and effort. Utilizing the TExES preparation manual can help test-takers discover what content will be on the exam, where they need to focus their efforts, and how to develop a study routine.

Study guides are a great resource for learning what content will be on the test and can be purchased or found online for free. Test-takers should schedule regular times for study sessions and make sure to balance study time with breaks and activity. On the day of their test, test-takers should try skipping more difficult questions while keeping track of their time. They can use the remaining time to answer these questions and check their answers. The TExES score itself does not matter, as long as the minimum score of 240 is achieved.

TExES Core Subjects EC 6 Social Studies Practice Test

TExES Practice test is another important resource to help test-takers prepare for their exam. Taking multiple practice tests gives a feel for the flow, content, and types of questions the test will include. The TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Social Studies Practice Test will include two types of selected-response questions,

  1. Single questions, which consist of one stand-alone question. In this format, test-takers will be asked to respond to a direct question. They may be asked to complete a phrase or sentence or there may be a graphic or passage associated with the question. Questions are answered by selecting one of four possible choices. Examinees can eliminate the answers that they know are incorrect and then choose from the remaining answers.

  2. Cluster questions, which contain a group of questions that must be answered about a single visual stimulus or passage. Test-takers may be given a graph, map, table, or other stimulus and must answer more than one question concerning that stimulus. Test-takers may choose to read the questions before reviewing the stimulus, or review the stimulus, then read the questions while referring back to it. Use the first option for longer, harder, less familiar stimuli and the second option for shorter, easier, more familiar stimuli.

Expert Contributor

Zenobia Denny

Zenobia Denny, M.A. has been a dedicated educator for over 10 years. She holds teaching certifications in Elementary Education, Special Education, and ESL. She has taken and passed numerous Praxis and TExES exams, including the TExES Principal Certification exam. Zenobia completed an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Walden University and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Gifted and Talented.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How hard is the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Social Studies Subject Exam?

    The TExES Core Subjects EC-6 has recently been updated to a more difficult version that contains more pedagogical content. Of course, the term "hard" is subjective, but teacher who are well prepared and utilize study guides and practice tests will get a sense of how difficult it will be for them.

  • How do I pass the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Social Studies Subject Exam?

    Passing the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Social Studies Subject Exam will require preparation. Study guides, practice tests, and a good study plan help to focus efforts and keep on track while preparing for this exam.


Take a TExES Core Subjects EC-6: Social Studies Practice Test Online

Exam Instructions:

Complete the practice test below to test your knowledge of TExES Core Subjects EC-6: Social Studies.
Choose your answers below. Complete the 15 questions then click "See Results."

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  1. Which of the following characterizes the eight strands of social studies TEKS?

    • Correct Answer
  2. Use this material to answer question #2

    '' So long as we have merely the substitution of a smaller number of large competing businesses for a larger number of small ones, no radical change is effected in the [120] nature of industry. So long as every purchaser is able to buy from two or more equally developed and effectively competing firms he can make them bid against one another until he obtains the full advantage of the economies of large-scale production which are common to them. So long as there remains effective competition, all the productive economies pass into the hands of the consumer in reduction of price. Nay, more than this, a competing firm cannot keep to itself the advantages of a private individual economy if its competitor has another private economy of equal importance. If A and B are two closely competing firms, A owning a special machine capable of earning for him 2 per cent. above the normal trade profit, and B owning a similar advantage by possession of ?~?cheaper labour,?~? these private economies will be cancelled by competition, and pass into the pocket of the consuming public.''

  3. This except from Hobson's The Evolution of Modern Capitalism emphasizes the advantages of_____.
    • Correct Answer
  4. From which regions did the Pony Express span?

    • Correct Answer
  5. What type of political participation is involved when students, disputing a tax that would result in a teacher pay cut, partake in a peaceful protest?

    • Correct Answer
  6. Which event would most appropriately fit into the table?
    Which event would most appropriately fit into the table?
    • Correct Answer
  7. Use the information about Texas demographics in the table to answer the question that follows.

    Which of the following correlates with the information in the table?
    Use the information about Texas demographics in the table to answer the question that follows.<br clear="all" /> <br clear="all" />Which of the following correlates with the information in the table?
    • Correct Answer
  8. Which identifies the influence that suburban sprawl has on a region?

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  9. Slavery was finally ended in the United States due to

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  10. Use the information in the table to answer the question that follows.

    Which of the following observations correlates with the information in the table?
    Use the information in the table to answer the question that follows.<br clear="all" /> <br />Which of the following observations correlates with the information in the table?
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  11. Which of the following acts stipulated that the Supreme Court should have six justices?

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  12. Which of the following figures led the first expedition to circumnavigate the world?

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  13. Use this material to answer question #12

    ''. . .is responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medical products more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medical products and foods to maintain and improve their health./// . . .also plays a significant role in the Nation's counterterrorism capability. . . .fulfills this responsibility by ensuring the security of the food supply and by fostering development of medical products to respond to deliberate and naturally emerging public health threats.''

  14. The excerpt above is a mission that would most align with the duties of
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  15. Which of the following was a major long-term effect of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published in 1962?

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  16. Use this material to answer question #14

    Manuel was researching various institutions of higher education that he would consider attending in the fall. He established a two-month deadline. Initially, Manuel visited his local college campus and was immediately transfixed by the location, the offerings, and the overall cost. Manuel did not need any time; he made his decision. A year later, however, Manuel was not satisfied with his decision and wanted to transfer to another school.

  17. Based on the character's decisions in the passage, which steps or steps of decision making did the character exclude initially?
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  18. Which of the following assessments would help a teacher to gauge student understanding of the key events of the Revolutionary War in an efficient, no-stakes manner?

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