TExES Special Education Supplemental Practice Test

What is the TExES Special Education Supplemental Exam?

The TExES Special Education Supplemental exam, or the TExES 163 exam, is a certification exam used in the state of Texas for aspiring special education teachers teachers in early childhood to 12th grade who already have a base certification in the field. The exam covers 3 different domains:

  • Understanding Individuals with Disabilities and Evaluating Their Needs
  • Promoting Student Learning and Development
  • Foundations and Professional Roles and Responsibilities

Within these domains, test takers will answer questions pertaining to 10 different competencies. Here, we will examine the TExES Special Education Supplemental exam in greater detail.

What is the Difference Between TExES Test 161 and 163?

Special education (SPED) certification Texas includes a few different exams. The biggest difference between TExES test 161 and 163 is that the TExES 163 is not a stand-alone certification. This supplemental certification can be added to other base certifications, such as TExES Core Subjects EC-6 and TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12, which would certify teachers to be special education teachers from early childhood to grade 6.

The TExES Special Education EC 12 or TExES 161 exam is the first certification needed to work in special education for early childhood to grade 12 and contains more questions than the TExES 163 exam.

TExES 163 Exam Format

Those who already have a base certification, but want to earn SPED certification Texas can take the 5-hour TExES Special Education Supplemental exam. The TExES 163 test is a computer-based test that contains 100 selected-response questions. Some questions that are on the exam will not be included in the score.

These selected-response questions cover 10 different standards for the field. Although all of the questions are selected-response, test takers may have to complete different actions to select the answer. For instance, some questions may have test takers select the answer from a drop down menu, while others may have takers drag and drop, click a checkbox, select all the answers that apply, or type in an entry box. Finally, there may be some questions that contain graphics or passages that require candidates to click on parts of the graphic for answers or select sentences within a passage.

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

Domains of the TExES Special Education Supplemental Test

The different domains of the TExES Special Education Supplemental test are designed to test the skills and knowledge of entry-level teachers in public schools in the special education field. It is important for test takers to understand the content of the exam in order to pass. Therefore, we will examine the different domain areas here.

TExES 163 Domain I: Evaluating Needs -- 20%

The first domain, Understanding Individuals with Disabilities and Evaluating Their Needs, covers two different competencies that test candidates' understanding of:

  • The characteristics and needs of students with disabilities
  • The different assessments and evaluations used to identify student competencies and make instructional choices

Test takers will need to know the characteristics of a range of disabilities, including their different levels of severity. These disabilities may be behavior disorders, medical conditions, physical disabilities, or others. How do these different disabilities affect students' development over time? Questions may test candidates' knowledge of formal and informal assessments, as well as how to design and analyze them, and how to apply the results to properly plan instruction time. Topics in ethics and legal requirements related to evaluations will also be included in this section. This domain comprises 20% of the TExES Special Education Supplemental test.

TExES 163 Domain II: Student Learning and Development -- 50%

The second domain, Student Learning and Development, is the largest domain and covers five different competencies. This portion evaluates candidates' specific skills and knowledge of:

  • Instructional planning procedures for students with disabilities
  • Managing the learning environment and including technology
  • Helping students achieve in various settings to encourage overall educational performance
  • How to teach social skills and appropriate student behavior
  • Understanding transitions across time for those with disabilities

Within this section, test takers will need to know the ins and outs of Individual Education Programs (IEPs), learning in a range of environments, as well as how to use instructional time effectively. Other specific topics in this section may include assistive technologies, student motivation techniques, behavioral curricula, and strategies for modifying learning environments. This section will also test candidates' abilities to collaborate and communicate with various people involved in students' lives, such as parents. This domain comprises 50% of the TExES Special Education Supplemental test.

TExES 163 Domain III: Professional Roles & Responsibilities -- 30%

The final section, Professional Roles and Responsibilities, covers three competencies. In general, this domain examines the role of the special education teacher, and test takers will respond to questions designed to test candidates' understanding of:

  • The different foundations of special education (history, legal issues, philosophical issues, etc.)
  • The responsibilities of a special education teacher including the ethical and legal requirements
  • Communicating and collaborating in a range of professional settings

Test takers may need to answer questions about specific topics such as educational terminology, cultural variations, special education regulations, confidentiality, effective communication, and collaborative conferences. Testers will also need to demonstrate their skills in creating programs for those with disabilities, forming relationships with other teachers, and analyzing issues for those with disabilities. Topics from the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Code of Ethics may also be covered in this domain.

Registering for the TExES Special Education Supplemental Test

The TExES Special Education Supplemental exam is available every day of the year. Test takers must first register for the TExES 163 exam with an account before scheduling. TExES registration is completed by creating a Pearson testing account on the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website, linking a TEA ID number, selecting the exam, selecting an available test date, answering background questions, and submitting payment for the exam.

TExES 163 Cost

The TExES exam cost is $116 each time a candidate takes the exam (including retakes). Candidates can pay for the exam with a VISA or Mastercard debit or credit card, but will not be able to enter a PIN for payment. Refunds for the exam are available for those who cancel within at least 48 hours of their exam, but at minus $25.

Testing Policies for the TExES Special Education Supplemental Exam

Test takers must be sure to schedule their TExES Special Education Supplemental exam within 170 days of registering for the exam. Refunds are only available to those who cancel 48 hours or more in advance. During testing for the TExES 163, candidates must follow all test center rules. For example, if they are more than 15 minutes late, candidates will not be admitted. Test takers are allowed up to five attempts, but must wait 30 days between test dates. At the end of the exam, test takers will have the option to cancel their scores, but this does not come with a refund and canceled scores cannot be reinstated.

Preparing for the TExES Special Education Supplemental Test

Once registered, test takers should carefully prepare to take the TExES Special Education Supplemental test so that they can pass it as quickly as possible. Although the exact study time needed will vary from student to student, on idea is work backward on the calendar to schedule study time. Ensure that there is enough time to study each domain and each competency in depth. The amount spent on a specific domain and/or competency will likely vary based on a tester's personal areas of strength and weakness, but notice that the domains are not equally represented in the exam, so it may be a good idea to focus more on the second one, which comprises 50% of the total test.

Other study tips for taking the TExES 163 include:

  • Learn about the format and content of the exam
  • Evaluate one's own strengths and weaknesses with the content
  • Understand the different types of questions on the exam
  • Collect additional study materials (study guides, text books, flashcards, etc.)
  • Join a study group
  • Use TExES practice test to monitor progress

TExES 163 Study Guides, Preparation Manual, and Practice Tests

Proper preparation for the TExES 163 is invaluable. Learn about the format and content of the exam by using the TExES preparation manual, which essentially serves as a study guide, offered on the Pearson Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website. This guide provides test takers with detailed information on the number of questions, domain and competency topics, types of questions, and more. Test takers can use the manual to get familiar with the exam and evaluate their skills.

TExES 163 practice tests are also available and can help testers monitor their study progress and identify additional areas of trouble within the content. These tests also help candidates prepare for test day, as they usually simulate the time limit, question types, and format. Some practice tests may serve as an additional study tool with correct answers and explanations listed for the different questions.

TExES 163 Testing Day

On test day, test takers will need to be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early and to to bring a valid form of ID with them. They are not allowed to bring any personal items into the TExES testing centers. Restroom breaks are allowed during the exam, but the time continues to count towards the time allotment for the exam.

During the test, test takers should be sure to guess on questions they are not sure of, as there is no penalty for a wrong answer. Testers should also monitor their time, read through all questions and answers carefully, check answers as time allows, and try to stay calm and not worry about their score while taking the exam.

Expert Contributor

Andrea Pickens

Andrea Pickens, Ed.D. has worked in the field of education for over 7 years, including more than 4 years as a middle and high school science teacher. As the Science Content Lead at her school, Andrea provides instructional support and resources to other educators. Andrea has passed the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 exam and the TExES 4-8 Science exam. She completed an Ed.D. at Baylor University and an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction at Texas A&M University.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you get sped certified in Texas?

    SPED certification Texas requires educators to first pass the 161 Special Education exam. Those who already have a base certification can pursue the 163 Special Education at a later date.

  • What is a sped certificate?

    SPED certification Texas is the requirement needed for educators wishing to work in special education. This certification shows that educators have met the necessary qualifications in the field.


Take a TExES Special Education Supplemental Practice Test Online

Exam Instructions:

Complete the practice test below to test your knowledge of TExES Special Education Supplemental.
Choose your answers below. Complete the 15 questions then click "See Results."

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    Use this material to answer question #1

    A nine-year-old who loves comic books and collecting pencils often struggles during independent classwork. When she is called on in the classroom, she struggles articulating a clear answer to questions she is given. When she does answer, her responses are brief and simple. She rarely elaborates on her responses both in speech and in writing. At recess, she wants to play simple games that her peers have outgrown. For the past several weeks in class, the student has had difficulty learning about story elements. Her work has been incomplete, even if given extra time to complete it. This student has been having outbursts the past several weeks, as well.

  1. Use the information below to answer the question that follows. When the teacher gives the student her graded work back, the teacher says something similar to the following: ''It's clear you worked hard on what you completed. Now, let's try to get a bit more done on your work before you hand it in.'' This is an example of which of the following?
    • Correct Answer
  2. Which institution is required to ensure that staff within school districts have appropriate resources and that such resources align with district goals?

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  3. A school district is rewriting academic objectives and goals. In doing so, the district must make sure which of the following occurs?

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  4. Students are practicing strategic note-taking. They first identify the topic of text they are reading while also identifying key points. They seek out vocabulary that they do not understand while also making connections between the information in the text and the key points they have identified. The ultimate outcome of this activity is that students will be able to

    • Correct Answer
  5. When teaching students how to write letters, a teacher first has students write and practice writing the capital form of a letter. Then, students work on the lower-case form of the letter. The teacher takes this approach with each letter before students then work on writing different letters into words. This is an incremental lesson, as long as the teacher
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  6. A special education teacher prepares varied assessments at the end of each unit. Students then choose which assessment they want to take. This approach ensures that students are

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  7. Alternative keyboards can help students who have difficulty

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  8. What should be the first intention of teachers who partake in a home visit program the first time they visit a student's home?

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  9. During the Planning and Placement Team meeting, all but who is most likely going to attend?

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  10. Which of the following differentiates the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) from No Child Left Behind (NCLB)?

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  11. A Texas school district is developing a professional development day that focuses on the ethical models within Texas' Educators Code of Ethics. In particular, event coordinators want to cover the four modules of the Texas Education Agency online course. In the morning, staff will partake in activities associated with boundaries and off-campus behavior. Early in the afternoon, teachers will learn about appropriate and ethical social media use. To ensure that the teachers are aware of all four modules, they should focus on which of the following after learning about social media use?
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  12. At the beginning of the school year, students complete a survey about what their interests and hobbies are. In doing so, the teacher is

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  13. Which of the following objects is an example of an orthotic tool?

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  14. A student has had difficulty coping with challenges and disruptions. If a counselor is providing the student with problem-solving therapy, the counselor will first encourage the student to

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  15. After each writing assignment, a teacher schedules conferencing time with each student. The time allotted to each student depends on how well each student has done on the assignment and each student's overall writing skills. This time allotment is characteristic of

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