How to Pass the TExES Exam

What Are the TExES Exams?

The Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES) Exams is used to measure prospective educators' level of skills and knowledge necessary to become a first-time public school teacher. It is required by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and is administered by Pearson. The TExES exam contains all the content exams available. Prospective teachers will choose a TExES content exam based on expected teaching subject(s). TExES exams all contain multiple choice questions, and some will contain other types of questions such as written or verbal responses. The exam is available to prospective educators who have no teaching certification but who are enrolled in an educator prep program, current Texas teachers who are looking to become certified to teach in a different content area, current teachers outside of Texas who are looking to teach within Texas (pending approval from the TEA), and current charter school teachers.

Individuals looking to learn more about the TExES Exams, how to pass it, how to understand the scoring procedures, and more, need to look no further. This guide will provide all the tips to a successful exam experience.

How Are TExES Exams Scored?

Passing the TExES exam takes planning and dedicated studying time. Understanding what scores are required to pass and how answers are graded can be helpful when beginning to plan for the exam. The TExES exam passing score is ranging 100-300 points, however, a score of 240 is considered to be the lowest acceptable passing score. Fortunately for test takers, passing the TExES exam is made easier since there are no points deducted for wrong answers.

The TExES exam will contain selected-response or multiple-choice questions and may also contain constructed-response, mixed-format, and pretest questions. Selected-response or multiple-choice questions are instantly calculated via computer after exam completion earning one raw score point per correct answer. Constructed-response questions are not calculated immediately since they are scored by trained professionals who hold expertise in each content area. These professionals utilize a traditional standardized scoring system which helps maintain equitable scoring. Mixed-format questions are scored depending on whether they are a selected-response or a constructed-response question accordingly. Pretest questions, found on the TExES exam, will not impact the test-takers' score.

Score reports are able to be emailed to test-takers and are often available within a week of exam date. However, TExES exams with constructed-response questions may take up to 28 days for turnaround. The Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website provides test-takers with schedules listing the earliest turnaround time for their exam depending on TExES exam dates.

How to Interpret TExES Exam Scores

The TExES exam score report is broken down into sections: Total Test Performance, Performance by Domain, Performance by Competency, and Holistic Scores. Score reports can be found on the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website and are able to be printed and saved for future access.

Total Test Performance

The Total Test Performance score identifies the exam as "Not Passed" or "Passed." Receiving a score of at least 240 on the exam is considered to be "passed." Any score below 240 is considered to be "not passed." The Total Test Performance is the only section of the score report that will be labeled as "not passed" or "passed." Identifying a score as scaled signifies that there are various versions of the TExES exam being scored in similar ways. Scales are developed and put into place by the Commissioner of Education and input from Texas educators.

Performance by Domain

The Performance by Domain score provides test-takers with results relating to specific main content areas. In each main content area, or domain, the number of correct answers and the total number of scored questions are able to be identified. The Performance by Domain score section needs to be reviewed with care. Due to the availability of exam versions, scores will be varied. Domain scores are not considered "not passed" or "passed." To learn more about how each domain is scored refer to the exam preparation manual for the specific domain, which can be found on the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program Website.

Performance by Competency

The TExES exam provides score reports for specific main content areas, or domains, and it also supplies test-takers with a breakdown of scoring within each domain subsection, or competencies. Performance by Competency scoring allows for a scoring breakdown of each subcategory within specific domains. The Performance by Competency score results will show how many scored questions total and how many were answered correctly. There are no "not passed" or "passed" scores in the Performance by Competency section. This section is available for educational purposes only as a way to provide test-takers with an overview of how many and what kind of content areas were accessed in the exam. It is also a way to provide test-takers with an overview of correct answers that were used to determine total score.

Holistic Scores

Holistic scores can be found for TExES exams that require constructed-response questions. TExES exams where Holistic Scores are available include: TExES Braille, TExES English Language Arts and Reading 7-12, TExES Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test (BTLPT) Spanish, TExES Languages Other than English (LOTE)-excluding Latin, TExES Languages Other than English (LOTE) Latin, TExES Principal as Instructional Leader, and All Other TExES Examinations with Constructed-Response Assignments. Points correlate to the scoring scale and indicate the level to which the question was answered in line with the ideal traits for each content area. The Holistic Scores section is scored by professionals who are experts in each content area.

Select a practice test to help you prepare for your upcoming exam.

How to Prepare for the TExES Exam

Passing the TExES exam requires an ample amount of preparation time and the ability to pull from previous education, teaching experience, and skills. Test-takers can ensure a smoother testing experience by following a study plan, using TExES exam study guides and taking advantage of practice tests.

Develop a Study Plan

The TExES exam requires time dedicated to studying and preparing which can be managed more easily with the development of a study plan. Study plans can help test-takers gain a clearer understanding of what content areas need more practice. Developing a study plan can also help with determining what content area needs to be studied further. A study plan can also be used to schedule blocks of study time in a more organized fashion. Access to relevant TExES resources such as class notebooks, textbooks, and old study guides may help with improving content knowledge.

Utilize Study Guides & Practice Tests

Passing the TExES exam will require coordinated study efforts and quality study time which is made easier through access to TExES practice exams. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website offer study resources such as preparation manuals, practice tests, sample questions, and other exam frameworks specific to each content area for free. Taking practice tests can be a solid way to ensure a passing score. Practice tests allow test-takers to become familiar with the exam setup, wording of questions, and overall exam composition. Practice tests also allow test-takers to see how ready they are for the real exam. Generally, when the TExES exam passing score is achieved on a practice test the test-taker is said to be "test-ready" and is considered ready to register to take the real exam.

How to Pass the TExES Exam

Learning how to pass the TExES exam takes more than just content knowledge. There are essential tips to passing the TExES exam that can make a difference in scores:

Guess - The exam does not take points away for wrong answers. Points are given for correct answers only, so when stumped by a question, it's best to guess at the answer because that guess may just be correct.

Read through answers thoroughly - If an answer is confusing, read through each of the available options, reread the question, and try again.

Manage Time - During the exam make sure to frequently check the time. Don't spend too much time on one question. Keeping an eye on the time ensures there is sufficient time to go back to more difficult questions if necessary. Extra time left over also allows for answers to be reviewed and for any mistakes to be rectified.

TExES Exams Retake Policy

The TExES Exam retake policy is fairly straightforward and offers test-takers four retake opportunities. In the event of exam failure, the TExES exam can be retaken no earlier than 30 days after the last exam date. Test-takers who attempt to retake the exam before the 30-day mark risk having their scores and exam retake rights revoked. Exam scores do not carry over and will not be counted towards future exams. TExES exam retake registration will not be open until the scores from the most previous exam are posted. The TExES exam may be retaken four times for a total of five passing exam attempts. Test-takers who have not passed the exam by the fifth exam will need to apply for a test-limit waiver from the Texas Education Agency website in order to attempt the TExES exam again. However, if a test-taker is associated with any Educator Preparation Program (EPP) a prior approval to retake the exam is required.

Registration for the TExES Exams

TExES exam registration is easy! Test-takers must first create an account with the Texas Education Agency and follow the registration instructions. After creating an account, the next step is to register in the Pearson exam scheduling system. Through the Pearson Testing Account, test-takers will be able to schedule the exam, review scores and prior testing history, and reschedule exams up to 48 hours prior to an exam date. It is important to note that an exam must be scheduled and taken within 170 days of registering.

Expert Contributor

Amy Mayers

Amy Mayers, M.Ed. has taught middle school math for over 7 years. She is a Texas certified teacher for grades 4-12 in mathematics and has passed the TExES Math 4-8 and the TExES Math 7-12. Amy graduated with a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Houston and a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long should I study for the TExES exam?

    Studying time for the TExES exam varies depending on level of readiness and knowledge. However, it is recommended to study for 6 to 8 weeks prior to exam date. This allows for an hour or two of study time, five days a week.

  • How many questions do you have to get right on the TExES exam?

    Since the TExES exam is offered in different versions with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the versions, there is no way to identify the number of questions required to pass the exam. The TExES exam is scored on a range of 100-300 points. Passing the TExES exam requires a minimum score of at least 240.

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