TExES Science 4-8 Study Guide

What is the TExES Science 4-8 Exam?

The TExES Science 4-8 (116) exam is an exam required by the state of Texes for teachers who wish to teach science at the 4th- 8th grade level. The TExES Science 4-8 tests the examinees knowledge of science and ability to teach science topics to students of the specified grade level. The test covers topics that science teachers in those grade levels will need to know - including physical science, life science, and earth science. Upon passing the TExES exam, you will be eligible to apply for certification to teach upper elementary and middle school science.

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

TExES Science 4-8 Exam Format

The TExES Science 4-8 exam is a computer-administered test (CAT), and does not require hand-written responses of any kind. The TExES exam contains 100 questions, each of which is "selected-choice." You'll be given a question and asked to pick the correct response(s) from a list of possible answers. Examinees will not be required to write an essay or provide any other form of written or constructed response.

On test day, you'll be given 5 hours to complete the exam. The 5-hour testing period is broken up into two parts:

  • A 15 minute beginning section, which contains the compliance agreement for the exam and a tutorial on how to take the test
  • A 4 hour, 45 minute main section, where you'll answer the 100 exam questions

Additionally, the TExES Science 4-8 contains questions that are "ungraded" and do not count towards your final score. You will not know which questions are ungraded, however, so you should give your best effort on every question!

TExES Science 4-8 Question Types

As mentioned in the previous section, the TExES science 4-8 (116) is made up entirely of selected-response questions. There are no essays, graphing, or other constructed responses. You will be provided with a question and asked to select an answer out of a list of possible correct answers.

In terms of content, the state of Texas has several standards that guide the material on the exam. Some of these standards are:

  • Understanding the proper use of laboratory tools
  • Understanding classroom management
  • Having a solid grasp of science education strategies
  • Knowing science history and the fundamental nature of science, as well as the limitations of science
  • Being well-versed in the content-specific areas (we'll touch on these later)

While this list covers the foundational material on the test, it's not exhaustive.

Domains and Competencies

Now that we've completed our general walk-through of the test, it's time to dig into the content that this exam contains. The content of the TExES Science 4-8 (116) exam is divided into 5 domains. Each domain focuses on a specific competency.

Here are the TExES 4-8 Science competencies:

Domain Percent of Exam Approx. Number of Questions
1: Scientific Inquiry and Processes 22% 22
2: Physical Science 22% 22
3: Life Science 22% 22
4: Earth and Space Science 22% 22
5: Science Learning, Instruction and Assessment 13% 13

Note: percentages do not sum to 100 due to rounding.

Because science education at the upper elementary and middle school level is often very broad in terms of content, the material on this exam is also broad. You'll need to have a good working knowledge of everything from basic chemistry to cells to the water cycle. We'll spend the next several sections going through what you need to know to ace this test!

Domain I: Scientific Inquiry and Processes (22%)

Making up 22% of the exam, the Scientific Inquiry and Processes segment of the TExES Science 4-8 (116) focuses largely on your knowledge of science fundamentals. The specific competencies covered in this domain include:

  • Managing learning activities to ensure student safety
  • Correct use of tools, technology, materials, and scientific equipment
  • Comprehending the nature and history of science, as well as the process of scientific inquiry
  • Understanding the daily impact of science on the lives of students, as well as society as a whole
  • Knowing the concepts and processes that are constant across all types of science

Domain 1 of the exam focuses on two primary ideas: fundamental science knowledge and science classroom management. This domain will test the foundation of your abilities as a science educator. Do you have a deep understanding of the scientific process, how science impacts our lives, and how to create a successful and safe classroom environment? These are the overarching fundamentals that this section covers.

Domain II: Physical Science (22%)

The second of the TExES 4-8 exam competencies is the domain of Physical Science." Physical science - which includes everything from electricity and magnetism to motion and collisions - features heavily in the exam. This is one of the most practical portions of the test.

Here's the list of what the Physical Science domain focuses on:

  • Forces and motion, as well as their relationships
  • Physical properties and changes of matter
  • Chemical properties and changes of matter
  • Energy, as well as matter-energy interactions
  • Energy transformations, plus the conservation of energy and matter

The material in this domain can be separated into a few broad categories, including kinetics, chemistry and matter, and energy and energy transformations. To excel in this portion of the test, you should be sure to pay close attention to these concepts. The required knowledge won't be quite as in-depth as what you'd need if you were taking a higher-level test (e.g. a certification exam for high school science), but you'll still need to be readily familiar with ideas such as the makeup of atoms, the transformation of energy from one form to another, and how moving objects interact with their environment. You should also study up on basic mathematical and chemical equations.

Domain III: Life Science (22%)

The third domain comprising this exam is that of Life Science. Like physical science, life science plays a prominent role in upper elementary and middle school science education. When you think back to your time in school, do you remember learning about the parts of a cell? Perhaps you even got to do fun experiments, such as look at cells under a microscope. or grow plants under different colors of light.

If you did this, or anything similar, you were learning about life science!

This section of the TExES Science 4-8 content test will assess your knowledge of:

  • Structures and functions of living organisms
  • Reproduction and heredity
  • Organism adaptation and the theory of evolution
  • Regulatory mechanisms and behaviors (e.g. homeostasis, response to stimuli, etc.)
  • Organism-environment relationships

Included under these content areas are more detailed competencies, such as understanding taxonomic groups, tracking genetic changes across different generations of organisms, and being familiar with concepts such as carrying capacity and food chain niches.

Domain IV: Earth and Space Science (22%)

In addition to physical science and life science, another essential element of science education is Earth and Space Science," and is the fourth domain of the TExES Science 4-8 (116). In this domain, you'll be tested primarily on the following ideas:

  • Functions and structures of Earth systems
  • Cycles in Earth systems
  • The role energy plays in weather and climate
  • Characteristics of the solar system and the universe at large
  • History of the Earth system

It is this portion of the exam that you will be tested on elements such as: plate tectonics, the difference between climate and weather, and the history of the solar system. This is one of the more creative sections of the exam, and of the science classroom.

Domain V: Science Learning, Instruction, and Assessment (13%)

The fifth and final domain of the TExES Science 4-8 is Science Learning, Instruction, and Assessment." It counts for around 13 percent of your total score. This last domain of the exam is similar to the first, as it deals less with your knowledge of science facts and more with your knowledge of science education and instruction.

As such, the competencies covered in this domain are:

  • Knowing both the theory and practice behind teaching science, as well as how students learn science
  • Understanding the process of scientific inquiry and the role of this process in education
  • Knowing how to use appropriate assessments to monitor student learning, including assessments in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in the field

Domain 5 is focused on the strategies and mechanisms behind science education. It addresses questions such as: How do students learn science? What assignments are useful to monitor student learning? How do you effectively teach science curriculum to students? These are the main ideas that this portion of the exam will test you on.

Registering for the TExES Science 4-8 (116) Exam

To register for this exam, you must be seeking TExES teacher certification in Texas. Registration is completed by visiting the official TExES website and navigating to the "Science 4-8" section. You will need an account to register for this exam.

After creating an account, you will be prompted to enter basic background information about yourself, thus creating a personal profile. Then, you'll be allowed to select a time and location upon your TExES exam registration.

Appointments are available year-round at multiple testing centers both in Texas and around the United States.

Cost of the Science 4-8 Test

The TExES Science 4-8 exam has an exam fee of $116. Additional small fees may apply. These fees serve to support the operations of the Texas educator website. Payment may be made only via a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card. No other forms of payment (checks, cash, or other credit/debit brands) will be accepted.

After the payment has been processed, you'll have 170 days to schedule and take your exam. During this time, you'll be able to get a refund if you: (1) request to cancel at least 48 hours before your exam appointment, and (2) submit a withdrawal request through your account. If you fail to appear for testing and do not cancel your exam (or you wait beyond 170 days after registration to take the exam), you won't be eligible for a refund.

Testing Policies for the TExES Science 4-8 Exam

On exam day, you'll be expected to abide by the test center policies. These include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Personal items (except for eyeglasses or clothing worn for religious purposes) are not allowed in the testing room. You'll be checked for prohibited materials before entering the room.
  • No notes or calculators are permitted
  • No food, drink, or chewing gum is allowed
  • No collaboration is allowed with other test-takers

There are other test center policies which can be viewed on the official Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website.

In addition to the policies described above, the TExES exams have specific policies regarding identification. To verify your identity on test day, you must submit two official identification documents. One of these - your primary document - has to be an original piece of government identification. That includes driver's licenses, passports, a state-issued ID, or a military ID. It is important that these be original - no photocopies will be permitted.

Your secondary document can be anything you want, provided that it is a valid form of ID containing either your photo or your signature. Additionally, the name on your ID (excluding prefixes/suffixes, hyphens, spaces, etc.) MUST match that on your test registration. If it doesn't, you will not be allowed to take the test and you will not receive a refund.

Scoring Guidelines for the Science 4-8 Content Test

The TExES Science 4-8 exam passing score is 240. The test is scored on a scale from 100 to 300, with 100 being the lowest possible score and 300 being the highest. All scored questions are worth the same amount of points. After testing, you will typically receive your TExES exam results within 7 days.

According to statistics available from the 2016-2017 academic year, the average score on this exam was 243.3. 61 percent of test-takers passed the exam.

TExES Science 4-8 Test Preparation

The key to success on any test is study and preparation. But how you study is just as important as how much you study. Here's what you should consider doing during your TExES Science 4-8 test prep:

  1. Make a plan. The most effective way to do this is to go domain-by-domain. Dedicate portions of your study specifically to the material contained in each separate domain, breaking it up into "bite-sized" chunks. It is here that you'll essentially be building your 4-8 Science TExES study guide.
  2. Take your time studying. To truly make sure you understand the material, you should spread out your studying over time, versus cramming. Don't study too much at once!
  3. Take practice tests. This is one of the most important parts of your study plan. We'll discuss these in more detail below.

TExES Science 4-8 Practice Test

Taking TExES practice test is essential to prepare for any exam, as they allow you to effectively prepare for the real test. The score you get on a practice test can also help you understand how much you need to study, and what areas you need to study.

As such, you should incorporate practice test heavily into your TExES Science 4-8 test prep. Try to take a variety of different practice tests, as this will expose you to a wider variety of material.

As you complete practice tests, go back over your answers. Make sure you understand why you got the answer right (or why you got it wrong,) as this will help you improve in the future. Additionally, you should be sure to practice good test-taking strategies as you work through your practice tests. Good test-taking strategies include: eliminating incorrect answers, using context clues, and, if you don't know the answer, guessing. These strategies will serve you well when take the real exam.

TExES Science 4-8 Difficulty

Because this exam covers a wide range of science and education principles, it can be rather difficult. However, it is by no means the toughest TExES test - the TExES 4-8 Science difficulty can probably be rated as "medium."

As we found out earlier on, 61 percent of test-takers passed this exam the first time around. This is encouraging news! To ensure success on your first attempt, make sure that you put together a study plan and build an effective 4-8 Science TExES study guide. If you study well and take plenty of practice tests, then you should be able to succeed in your TExES 4-8 Science exam.

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

  • What TExES exams do I need to take?

    This depends upon what you want to teach. If you wish to teach upper elementary and/or middle school science, you will need to take the TExES Science 4-8 exam.

  • How many times can you take the TExES exam?

    You can typically retake them 5 times. According to the TExES official website, you must wait at least 30 days after the date of your last test before re-taking the exam.


Take a TExES Science 4-8 Practice Test Online

Exam Instructions:

Complete the practice test below to test your knowledge of TExES Science 4-8.
Choose your answers below. Complete the 15 questions then click "See Results."

You have answered 0 out of 15 correctly.

The correct answers are highlighted with green below.

  1. Dinosaurs lived during which era of geological time?

    • Correct Answer
  2. In the following food web which animal or animals are third level consumers and will, therefore, have the least amount of energy available to them?
    In the following food web which animal or animals are third level consumers and will, therefore, have the least amount of energy available to them?
    • Correct Answer
  3. What is the independent variable in a scientific experiment?

    • Correct Answer
  4. When referring to an organism that is "fit" in evolutionary terms what does the word "fit" mean?

    • Correct Answer
  5. Which of the following is an example of a non-renewable resource?

    • Correct Answer
  6. These are naturally occurring triglycerides that have double bonds in their carboxylic acid chains. Most of these fats are in liquid form.

    • Correct Answer
  7. Which of the following is not true about informal assessments?

    • Correct Answer
  8. On a hike, you see a dark band of rock cutting up through the red rock around it. This dark band of rock is most likely which type of rock?

    • Correct Answer
  9. When the air pressure is low, we expect

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  10. As you move through earth, from the crust to the inner core, which property or properties increase?

    • Correct Answer
  11. Which phase of the moon would be seen when the moon is in position A in the following image?
    Which phase of the moon would be seen when the moon is in position A in the following image?
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  12. What is discovery learning?

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  13. Which is the correct level of organization in living things?

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  14. The type of chemical bond where two or more atoms share electrons is called:

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  15. The equation to calculate work is force * distance = joules. John carries a 50 N box 10 meters up a flight of stairs, Max carries a 25 N box up two flights of stairs (20 meters). Who does more work?

    • Correct Answer