Section 2: How to Prepare for the Exams
This section of the preparation manual provides information to help you prepare to take the TExES exams.
Learn What the Exam Covers
You may have heard that there are several different versions of the same exam. It's true. You may take one version of the exam and your friend may take a different version. Each exam has different questions covering the same subject area, but both versions of the exam measure the same skills and content knowledge.
You'll find specific information on the exam you're taking in the Overview and Exam Framework section of the preparation manual, which outlines the content areas that the exam measures and what percentage of the exam covers each area.
Begin by reviewing the preparation manual for your exam in its entirety, paying particular attention to the content specifications. The content specifications detail the knowledge and skills to be measured on the exam. The Educator Standards section of the prep manual lists the standards necessary for a teacher of that subject.
Once you have reviewed the preparation manual and the standards, you can create your own personalized study plan and schedule based on your individual needs and how much time you have before exam day. Be sure to also seek other resources to strengthen your content knowledge.
Keep in mind that study habits are individual. There are many different ways to successfully prepare for your exam. Some people study better on their own, while others prefer a group setting. You may have more energy early in the day, but another test taker may concentrate better in the evening. Use this guide to develop the approach that works best for you.
Assess How Well You Know the Content
Use your review of the competencies to focus your study time on those areas containing knowledge and skills with which you are less familiar. You should leave yourself time to review the content of all domains and competencies, both the familiar and the less familiar ones, but the focus of your preparation time and priority in your studying should be placed upon those areas about which you are least confident.
Think carefully about how well you know each area; research shows that test takers tend to overestimate their preparedness. People often glance at the specifications, or at the exam questions (with "a peek" at the answers at the same time), and think that they know the content of the exam. This is why some test takers assume they did well and then are surprised to find out they did not pass.
The exams are demanding enough to require serious review. The longer you've been away from the content the more preparation you will most likely need. If it has been longer than a few months since you've studied your content area, make a concerted effort to prepare. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose from such an approach.
Familiarize Yourself with the Different Types of Exam Questions
The TExES exams include several types of exam questions, which can be broken into two categories: selected response (multiple choice) and constructed response (for which you write or record a response of your own that is scored by trained raters based on scoring guidelines). You may be familiar with these question formats from taking other standardized tests. If not, familiarize yourself with them so you don't spend time during the exam figuring out how to answer them.
How to Approach Unfamiliar Question Formats
Some questions include introductory information such as a table, graph, or reading passage (often called a stimulus) that provides the information the question asks for. New formats for presenting information are developed from time to time. Exams may include audio and video stimulus materials, such as a movie clip or some kind of animation, instead of a map or reading passage.
Exams may also include interactive types of questions. These questions take advantage of technology to assess knowledge and skills that go beyond what can be assessed using standard single-selection selected-response questions. If you see a format you are not familiar with, read the directions carefully. The directions always give clear instructions on how you are expected to respond.
For most questions, you will respond by clicking an oval to choose a single answer choice from a list of options. Other questions may ask you to respond by:
- Selecting all that apply. In some questions, you will be asked to choose all the options that answer the question correctly.
- Typing in an entry box. You may be asked to enter a text or numeric answer. Some questions may have more than one place to enter a response.
- Clicking check boxes. You may be asked to click check boxes instead of an oval when more than one choice within a set of answers can be selected.
- Clicking parts of a graphic. In some questions, you will choose your answer by clicking on location(s) on a graphic such as a map or chart, as opposed to choosing from a list.
- Clicking on sentences. In questions with reading passages, you may be asked to choose your answer by clicking on a sentence or sentences within the reading passage.
- Dragging and dropping answer choices into "targets" on the screen. You may be asked to choose an answer from a list and drag it into the appropriate location in a table, paragraph of text, or graphic.
- Selecting options from a drop-down menu. This type of question will ask you to select the appropriate answer or answers by selecting options from a drop-down menu (e.g., to complete a sentence).
Remember that with every question, you will get clear instructions on how to respond.
Approaches to Answering Selected-Response Questions
The information below describes some selected-response question formats that you will typically see on TExES exams and suggests possible ways to approach thinking about and answering them. These approaches are intended to supplement and complement familiar test-taking strategies with which you may already be comfortable and that work for you. Fundamentally, the most important component in ensuring your success is familiarity with the content that is covered on the exam. This content has been carefully selected to align with the knowledge required to begin a career as a teacher in the state of Texas.
The questions on each exam are designed to assess your knowledge of the content described in the competencies of each exam. In most cases, you are expected to demonstrate more than just your ability to recall factual information. You may be asked to think critically about the information, to analyze it, to compare it with other knowledge you have, or to make a judgment about it.
Be sure to read the directions carefully to ensure that you know what is required for each exam question. Leave no questions unanswered. Your score will be determined by the number of questions you answer correctly.
You may see the following types of selected-response questions on the exam:
- Single Questions: one question is related to a single stimulus
- Clustered Questions: at least two questions are related to a single stimulus
Below you will find descriptions of these commonly used question formats, along with suggested approaches for responding to each type.
Questions with Stimulus Material
All questions on this exam are preceded by stimulus material that relates to the question or questions. Types of stimulus material will include reading comprehension passages and listening comprehension selections. You will be asked to read or listen to the stimulus material and identify important characteristics or draw conclusions based on the stimulus material.
To listen to the stimulus material in this preparation manual, click the play button on the audio player to hear the selection. For the listening comprehension section of the exam, you will be asked to listen to a selection and then respond to four selected-response questions related to that selection. You will hear each selection once and then you will have time to preview the questions before you listen to the selection a second time. You will then have a short period of time to think about and select your response.
You can use several different approaches to respond to these types of questions. Some commonly used approaches for reading and listening comprehension are listed below.
|Strategy 1||For reading comprehension, skim the stimulus material to understand its purpose, its arrangement, and/or its content. Then read the question and refer again to the stimulus material to verify the correct answer. For listening comprehension, listen to the stimulus the first time to get a general sense of its purpose, its arrangement, and/or its content. Listen to the stimulus the second time more carefully and critically.|
|Strategy 2||For reading comprehension, skim the question before considering the stimulus material. The content of the question will help you identify the purpose of the stimulus material and locate the information you need to respond to the question.|
|Strategy 3||For reading comprehension, use a combination of both strategies; apply the "read the stimulus first" strategy with shorter, more familiar stimuli and the "skim the question first" strategy with longer, more complex or less familiar stimuli. You can experiment with the sample questions in this manual and then use the strategy with which you are most comfortable when you take the actual exam.|
Whether you read the stimulus before or after you read the questions, you should read it carefully and critically. You may want to note its important points to help you answer the questions.
As you consider questions set in educational contexts, try to enter into the identified teacher's frame of mind and use that teacher's point of view to answer the questions that accompany the stimulus. Be sure to consider the questions only in terms of the information provided in the stimulus — not in terms of your own experiences or individuals you may have known.
Example 1 — Listening
Excerpt from a conversation.
Escuchará la selección dos veces.
|Narrator:||Escuche la siguiente conversación.|
|Woman:||Buenos días, señor Iglesias.|
|Man:||Buenos días, señora Trillo. La estaba esperando. Siéntese, por favor. ¿En qué puedo ayudarla?|
|Woman:||Bueno, quería hablarle de mi hijo Miguel. Miguel lleva quejándose de dolor de cabeza desde la semana pasada. Ayer cuando regresó a casa tenía un poco de fiebre y dolor de estómago. Al principio no le dimos demasiada importancia, pero después de cenar le subió la fiebre y vomitó. Hoy sigue con fiebre, así que le voy a llevar al médico para que le examine y nos diga qué tiene. Por eso, no va a poder asistir a su clase de matemáticas hoy.|
|Man:||No se preocupe. Miguel es un buen estudiante y no va a quedarse retrasado porque falte a clase un día.|
|Woman:||Sí, ya sé que le va bien en su clase de matemáticas, pero a él siempre le gusta hacer toda la tarea y estudiar antes de la siguiente clase.|
|Man:||¡Qué maravilla! Ya me gustaría que todos los estudiantes fueran así.|
|Woman:||Sí, Miguel es un niño muy responsable. Por eso, me gustaría pedirle el favor de que le mande la tarea y lo que han cubierto en clase para que no se quede retrasado.|
|Man:||Por supuesto. Se lo puedo mandar todo con su hermana Marta o por correo electrónico, como usted prefiera.|
|Woman:||Sería estupendo si pudiera enviárselo por correo electrónico. Así también sería más fácil para él volver a enviarle la tarea hecha en caso de que tenga que quedarse en casa unos días.|
|Man:||Me parece estupendo. Salude a Miguel de mi parte y espero que no sea nada serio.|
|Woman:||Muchas gracias. Le agradezco su ayuda.|
1. ¿Quiénes hablan en esta conversación?
- Una estudiante y su profesor
- Una madre y un profesor
- Una directora de escuela y un padre
- Una profesora y un profesor que son colegas
2. ¿Cómo trata el señor Iglesias a la señora Trillo?
- Con ternura
- Con indiferencia
- Con indignación
- Con amabilidad
Suggested Approach — Listening
Listen to the stimulus carefully and critically. Then read the questions and think about what it is asking and the situation it is describing. Eliminate any obviously wrong answers, determine the correct option, and select it on the computer.
The first question asks you to identify the people taking part in the conversation. The question does not ask for specific details about the meeting, even though the conversation includes details. Keep the question in mind as you listen to the passage, which will be played twice.
Option A states that the people taking part in the conversation are a student and the teacher. The conversation is about a student, but a student is not participating in the conversation. A student is mentioned in the conversation, "Bueno, quería hablarle de mi hijo Miguel," and "Miguel es un buen estudiante." Therefore, option A may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option B states that the people taking part in the conversation are a mother and the teacher. One speaker mentions "quería hablarle de mi hijo Miguel" indicating that she is the mother and adds "ya sé que va bien en su clase de matemáticas," which shows that the other speaker is a teacher. Therefore, option B may be identified as the best response to this question.
Option C states that the people taking part in the conversation are a school principal and a parent. The conversation does involve a parent "de mi hijo Miguel," but a school principal is not involved, "ya sé que va bien en su clase de matemáticas," revealing that a teacher is involved in the conversation. Therefore, option C may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option D states that the people taking part in the conversation are two teachers who are colleagues. The conversation involves one teacher "me gustaría que todos los estudiantes fueran así," and another speaker "quería hablarle de mi hijo Miguel" who is a parent. Therefore, option D may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Of the four options offered, the speakers participating in the conversation can be identified as the mother and a teacher. Therefore, the correct response is option B.
The second question asks you to identify how Mr. Iglesias treats Mrs. Trillo. The question does not ask for specific details about the meeting, even though the conversation includes details. Keep the question in mind as you listen to the passage, which will be played twice.
Option A states that Mr. Iglesias treats Mrs. Trillo with tenderness. Mr. Iglesias refers to Mrs. Trillo as "señora Trillo" which shows respect not tenderness. Therefore, option A may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option B states that Mr. Iglesias treats Mrs. Trillo with indifference. Mr. Iglesias states "No se preocupe" indicating thoughtfulness not indifference. Therefore, option B may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option C states that Mr. Iglesias treats Mrs. Trillo with indignation. Mr. Iglesias states "¡Qué maravilla!" indicating excitement not indignation or anger. Therefore, option C may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option D states that Mr. Iglesias treats Mrs. Trillo with kindness. Mr. Iglesias states "Siéntese, por favor. ¿En qué puedo ayudarla?" and "Salude a Miguel de mi parte" showing kindness. Therefore, option D may be identified as the best response to this question.
Of the four options offered, the manner in which Mr. Iglesias treats Mrs. Trillo is with kindness. Therefore, the correct response is option D.
Example 2 — Reading
Read this article.
Lea este artículo.
Periódico en Internet
Maravillate con las Monarcas
CERRO PRIETO, México. - Si usted prefiere ver mariposas en lo alto de una montaña que embadurnarse con bloqueador de sol en una playa atestada de turistas. México es un destino ideal en invierno.
El ecoturismo está atrayendo interesados a los estados centrales de Michoacán y México, gracias a la espectacular migración anual de millones de mariposas monarca, de vistosas alas negrianaranjadas.
En delicadas bandadas, los lepidópteros enfilan al sur desde Estados Unidos y Canadá hacia México, donde se depositan en los pinos y los cerros desde noviembre hasta fines de marzo. Se congregan en números tan notables que los automóviles que pasan por la Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposas Monarca a veces tienen que disminuir su velocidad a un par de kilómetros por hora para evitar forrar el parabrisas con las delicadas criaturas.
"En muchas ocasiones he visto españoles, italianos, estadounidenses, canadienses y mexicanos llegar a las colonias de mariposas y ponerse a llorar", dijo Lincoln Brower, experto en esos insectos en la Universidad de la Florida. "Es una experiencia emocional intensa advertir que uno está observando esas decenas de millones de mariposas monarca que han llegado a este rinconcito de México", agregó.
La Reserva de la Biosfera, un área con protección federal postulada para recibir la calificación de patrimonio de la humanidad, abarca unas 50 mil 180 hectáreas (124 mil acres) a lo largo de dos estados. La entrada cuesta 50 pesos (menos de 5 dólares) y unos 100 pesos (casi 10 dólares) la visita guiada. En algunos sitios, los visitantes pueden pasearse en caballos y burros alquilados.
Los agricultores comunales son dueños de los terrenos y tienen el derecho exclusivo a conducir las giras. Estos agricultores opinan que no se debería permitir la entrada sin guía a la reserva para evitar el deterioro de los terrenos. "Los turistas quieren explorar todas las partes de la reserva y a veces pasean por lugares de acceso prohibido", comenta Inocencio Navarro, representante de los agricultores.
El presidente mexicano Felipe Calderón piensa invertir más de 50 millones de pesos (4.6 millones de dólares) extras al presupuesto anual de la reserva de 400 millones de pesos (36.4 millones de dólares) a fin de mejorar la infraestructura y dar más comodidades a los turistas.
Cuatro refugios para mariposas están abiertos al público: El Rosario y Sierra Chincua en Michoacán, y El Capulín y La Mesa en el estado de México.
Brower, que ha estudiado estos vistosos insectos durante 52 años, recomienda los refugios de Michoacán, que dice están entre los más populares y tienen acceso fácil por automóvil. Sugiere que los visitantes vayan en febrero y marzo cuando las mariposas se aparean con un ostentoso ritual.
"Los machos eligen a las hembras, y después las circundan para atraparlas en el aire y caer verticalmente a plomo", explicó. "Después el macho vuela llevándose a la hembra y aterrizan en los árboles para acoplarse durante varias horas."
Astrid Fisch, directora de operaciones de Ecotours de México, dice que aconseja a los extranjeros ir los días de semana para evitar las multitudes de turistas mexicanos. Pero hay que prepararse para caminar entre 20 minutos y más de una hora, a menos que se alquile un burro. Sólo se puede llegar hasta las mariposas en senderos establecidos por la reserva, y como congregan a alturas extremas -de 2 mil 700 a 3 mil metros (entre 9 mil y 11 mil pies), los visitantes deben estar en buenas condiciones físicas para sortear las inclinaciones empinadas.
1. Según el pasaje, el ecoturismo resulta interesante para personas interesadas en
- la cultura de México
- las mariposas monarca
- el turismo de invierno
- las playas turísticas
2. Según el pasaje, ¿qué se puede deducir de los turistas que visitan la reserva?
- Son estadounidenses y canadienses en su mayoría.
- Tienen protección federal.
- Llegan a este lugar de México cansados.
- Les interesa la zoología.
Suggested Approach — Reading
Read the digital newspaper article carefully and critically. Carefully consider the information presented in this article. The first question asks you to identify the type of people interested in ecotourism. Keep the question in mind as you read the article. Eliminate any obviously wrong answers, determine the correct option, and select it on the computer.
Option A states that ecotourism is attractive to people interested in the culture of Mexico. The article mentions Mexico as the background for the article "El ecoturismo está atrayendo interesados a los estados centrales de Michoacán y México"; "México es un destino ideal en invierno" but does not give any indication that it is the culture of Mexico that is attracting them. Therefore, option A may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option B states that ecotourism is attractive to people interested in the monarch butterflies. And in fact, the article mentions that ecotourism is attracting people interested in observing the annual migration of monarch butterflies to two central states of Mexico "El ecoturismo está atrayendo interesados a los estados centrales de Michoacán y México, gracias a la espectacular migración anual de millones de mariposas monarca." Therefore, option B may be identified as the best response to this question.
Option C states that ecotourism is attractive to people interested in winter tourism. The article mentions Mexico as the ideal winter destination "México es un destino ideal en invierno" but this has nothing to do with ecotourism. The butterfly migration happens to be during the winter months "desde noviembre hasta fines de marzo." Therefore, option C may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option D states that ecotourism is attractive to people interested in popular beaches. The article mentions popular beaches "playa atestada de turistas" to contrast two types of tourists, those who like to watch the butterflies versus the ones who like to slather themselves with sun block on popular beaches. The ones interested in popular beaches are at the opposite end of the spectrum from those interested in the butterflies. Therefore, option D may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Of the four options offered, ecotourism is attractive to people interested in the monarch butterflies. Therefore, the correct response is option B.
The second question asks you what can be inferred about the tourists who visit the Reserve. Keep the question in mind as you read the article. Eliminate any obviously wrong answers, determine the correct option, and select it on the computer.
Option A states that the majority of the tourists are American and Canadian. The article says that tourists from Spain, Italy, the U.S., Canada and Mexico visit the Reserve "he visto españoles, italianos, estadounidenses, canadienses y mexicanos llegar a las colonias," it does not mention that the majority of them are from the U.S., Canada or any other country. Therefore, option A may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option B states that the tourists who visit the Reserve have federal protection. The article says that the Reserve has federal protection "La Reserva de la Biosfera, un área con protección federal" not the tourists. Therefore, option B may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option C states that the tourists who visit the Reserve are tired by the time they arrive in this part of Mexico. The article does not mention that the tourists are tired even though they come from countries far away. It only mentions the fact that they get emotional when they see the tens of millions of butterflies in this little area of Mexico "Es una experiencia emocional intensa advertir que uno está observando esas decenas de millones de mariposas monarca que han llegado a este rinconcito de México." Therefore, option C may be eliminated as the best response to this question.
Option D states that the tourists who visit the Reserve are interested in zoology. The tourists come to this Reserve to see the monarch butterflies "El ecoturismo está atrayendo interesados a los estados centrales de Michoacán y México, gracias a la espectacular migración anual de mariposas monarca." Butterflies are insects, so it is safe to infer that the tourists are interested in zoology. Therefore, option D may be identified as the best response to this question.
Of the four options offered, it can be inferred that the tourists who visit the Reserve are interested in zoology. Therefore, the correct response is option D.
Understanding Constructed-Response Questions
Oral Expression Constructed-Response Assignments
The BTLPT – Spanish includes five assignments that require a constructed response spoken in Spanish. For the oral expression section of the exam, you will be asked to speak in the target language (i.e., Spanish) on a subject outlined in the exam. There will be five assignments requiring four different types of responses in the oral expression section. For each assignment, you will be given specific directions. You will have time to consider and prepare for the speaking assignment. Following the preparation time, you will be prompted to speak.
Written Expression Constructed-Response Assignments
The BTLPT – Spanish will include three assignments that require a constructed response written in Spanish. For the written expression section of the exam, you will be asked to write in the target language (i.e., Spanish) on a subject outlined in the exam. There will be three assignments in the written expression section. The total testing time for the written expression section is 70 minutes; therefore, you should try to manage your time so that you have enough time to answer the three tasks within the allotted time. You will type your response to each assignment. Your response must be written in the target language (i.e., Spanish).
Understand How Constructed-Response Questions Will be Scored
Information about the scoring of constructed-response exam questions can be found on the Understanding Your Exam Results page on the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website. Familiarize yourself with the scoring information provided on this page, and be sure your responses take this information into account.
Gather Study Materials
For all content areas, think about where you might be able to obtain materials for review:
- Did you have a course in which the area was covered?
- Do you still have your book or your notes?
- Does your college library have a good introductory college-level text in this area?
- Does your local library have a high school-level text?
Do you know a teacher or professor who can help you organize your study? Would a study group suit you and help you maintain momentum? People have different study methods that work for them — use whatever you know that works for you.
Preparation manuals are available for all Texas educator certification program exams. Each prep manual provides a combination of exam preparation and practice, including sample questions and answers with explanations. You can also find informational tutorials and some interactive practice exams.
Plan and Organize Your Time
You can begin to plan and organize your time while you are still collecting materials. Allow yourself plenty of review time to avoid cramming new material at the end. Here are a few tips:
- Choose a testing date far enough in the future to leave you plenty of preparation time. For exam date information, refer to the exam's information page on the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website.
- Work backward from the exam date to figure out how much time you will need for review.
- Set a realistic schedule — and stick to it.
Develop Your Study Plan
A study plan provides a roadmap to prepare for the exams. It can help you understand what skills and knowledge are covered on the exam and where to focus your attention. A study plan worksheet is available on the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website. You can use this worksheet to:
- Define Content Areas: List the most important content areas for your exam as defined in the preparation manual.
- Determine Strengths and Weaknesses: Identify where you have thorough understanding and where you need additional study in each content area.
- Identify Resources: Identify the books, courses, and other resources you plan to use to study for each content area.
- Study: Create and commit to a schedule that provides for regular study periods.
Exams with constructed-response questions assess your ability to explain material effectively. As a teacher, you'll need to be able to explain concepts and processes to students in a clear, understandable way. What are the major concepts you will be required to teach? Can you explain them in your own words accurately, completely, and clearly? Practice explaining these concepts to test your ability to effectively explain what you know.
Using Study Materials as Part of a Study Group
People who have a lot of studying to do sometimes find it helpful to form a study group with others who are working toward the same goal. Study groups give members opportunities to ask questions and get detailed answers. In a group, some members usually have a better understanding of certain topics, while others in the group may be better at other topics. As members take turns explaining concepts to each other, everyone builds self-confidence.
If the group encounters a question that none of the members can answer well, the group can go to a teacher or other expert and get answers efficiently. Because study groups schedule regular meetings, members study in a more disciplined fashion. They also gain emotional support. The group should be large enough so that various people can contribute various kinds of knowledge, but small enough so that it stays focused. Often, three to six members is a good size.
Here are some ways to use the preparation manual as part of a study group:
- Plan the group's study program. Parts of the study plan template can help to structure your group's study program. By filling out the first five columns and sharing the worksheets, everyone will learn more about your group's mix of abilities and about the resources, such as textbooks, that members can share with the group. In the sixth column ("Dates planned for study of content"), you can create an overall schedule for your group's study program.
- Plan individual group sessions. At the end of each session, the group should decide what specific topics will be covered at the next meeting and who will present each topic. Use the content domains and competencies in the preparation manual to select topics, and then select practice questions.
- Prepare your presentation for the group. When it's your turn to present, prepare something that is more than a lecture. Write two or three original questions to pose to the group. Practicing writing actual questions can help you better understand the topics covered on the exam as well as the types of questions you will encounter on the exam. It will also give other members of the group extra practice at answering questions.
- Take a practice exam together. The idea of a practice exam is to simulate an actual administration of the exam, so scheduling an exam session with the group will add to the realism and may also help boost everyone's confidence. Remember, if you take a practice exam, allow only the time that will be allotted for that exam on your administration day. You can use the questions in the preparation manual for your practice exam. Interactive practice exams are available for some fields.
- Learn from the results of the practice exam. Check each other's answers. Answers for the selected-response questions with explanations for the answers are included
in the prep manual. If your exam includes constructed-response questions, look at
the constructed-response sample questions, which contain sample responses to those
types of questions and shows how they were scored. Then try to follow the same guidelines
that the test raters use.
- Be as critical as you can. You're not doing your study partner a favor by letting him or her get away with an answer that does not cover all parts of the question adequately.
- Be specific. Write comments that are as detailed as the comments about the sample responses. Indicate where and how your study partner is doing an inadequate job of answering the question. Writing notes for your study partner may also help.
- Be supportive. Include comments that point out what your study partner got right and that therefore earned points.
Then plan one or more study sessions based on aspects of the questions on which group members did not perform well. For example, each group member might be responsible for rewriting one paragraph of a response in which someone else did an inadequate job.
Whether you decide to study alone or with a group, remember that the best way to prepare is to have an organized plan. The plan you follow should set goals based on specific topics and skills that you need to learn, and it should commit you to a realistic set of deadlines for meeting these goals. Then you need to discipline yourself to stick with your plan and accomplish your goals on schedule.
Smart Tips for Success
Learn from the experts. Take advantage of these answers to questions you may have and practical tips to help you navigate the exam and make the best use of your time.
Should I guess?
Yes. Your score is based on the number of questions you answer correctly, with no penalty or subtraction for an incorrect answer. When you don't know the answer to a question, try to eliminate any obviously wrong answers and then guess at the correct one. Try to pace yourself so that you have enough time to carefully consider every question.
Are there trick questions on the exam?
No. There are no hidden meanings or trick wording. All of the questions on the exam ask about subject matter knowledge in a straightforward manner.
Are there answer patterns on the exam?
No. You might have heard this myth: The answers on selected-response exams follow patterns. Another myth is that there will never be more than two questions with the same lettered answer following each other. Neither myth is true. Select the answer you think is correct based on your knowledge of the subject.
Can I write on the erasable sheet(s) I am given?
Yes. You can work out problems or make notes to yourself on the erasable sheet(s) provided to you by the test administrator. You may use your notes in any way that is useful to you, but be sure to enter your final answers on the computer. No credit is given for anything written on the erasable sheet(s).
Tips for Taking the Exam
- Skip the questions you find extremely difficult. Rather than trying to answer these on your first pass through the exam, leave them blank and mark them. Pay attention to the time as you answer the rest of the questions on the exam, and try to finish with 10 or 15 minutes remaining so that you can go back over the questions you left blank. Even if you don't know the answer the second time you read the questions, see if you can narrow down the possible answers and then guess.
- Keep track of the time. Keep an eye on the timer, and be aware of how much time you have left to complete your exam. You will probably have plenty of time to answer all of the questions, but if you find yourself becoming stuck on one question, you might decide to move on and return to that question later.
- Read all of the possible answers before selecting one. Then, reread the question to be sure the answer you have selected really answers the question. Remember, a question that contains a phrase such as "Which of the following does NOT ..." is asking for the one answer that is NOT a correct statement or conclusion.
- Check your answers. If you have extra time left over at the end of the exam, look over each question and make sure that you have answered it as you intended. Many test takers make careless mistakes that they could have corrected if they had checked their answers.
- Don't worry about your score when you are taking the exam. No one is expected to answer all of the questions correctly. Your score on this exam is not analogous to your score on other similar-looking (but in fact very different!) exams. It doesn't matter on the exams whether you score very high or barely pass. If you meet the minimum passing scores along with any other requirements for obtaining teaching certification, you will receive a license. In other words, what matters is meeting the minimum passing score.
- Use your energy to take the exam, not to get angry at it. Getting angry at the exam only increases stress and decreases the likelihood that you will do your best. Highly qualified educators and exam development professionals, all with backgrounds in teaching and educational leadership, worked diligently to make the exam a fair and valid measure of your knowledge and skills. The best thing to do is concentrate on answering the questions.
Do Your Best on Exam Day
You followed your study plan. You are ready for the exam. Now it's time to prepare for exam day.
Plan to end your review a day or two before the actual exam date so you avoid cramming. Take a dry run to the test center so you're sure of the route, traffic conditions, and parking. Most of all, you want to eliminate any unexpected factors that could distract you from your ultimate goal — passing the exam!
On the day of the exam, you should:
- Be well-rested.
- Bring two pieces of original (no photocopies or digital ID) and valid (unexpired) identification, printed in English in the name in which you registered. Your identification must contain your name, a recent recognizable photograph, and your signature. For more information, refer to the ID Policy page on the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website.
- Arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled reporting time.
- Eat before you take the exam to keep your energy level up.
- Wear comfortable clothes and dress in layers.
You cannot control the testing situation, but you can control yourself. Stay calm. The supervisors are well trained and make every effort to provide uniform testing conditions. You can think of preparing for this exam as training for an athletic event. Once you have trained, prepared, and rested, give it your best effort...and good luck!
Are You Ready?
Review this list to determine if you're ready to take your exam.
- Do you know the Texas testing requirements for your teaching field?
- Have you followed all of the exam registration procedures?
- Do you know the topics that will be covered in each exam you plan to take?
- Have you reviewed any textbooks, class notes, and course readings that relate to the topics covered?
- Do you know how long the exam will take and the number of questions it contains?
- Have you considered how you will pace your work?
- Are you familiar with the types of questions that you may encounter during your exam?
- Are you familiar with the recommended test-taking strategies?
- Have you practiced by working through the practice questions in the preparation manual?
- If constructed-response questions are part of your exam, do you understand the scoring criteria for these items?
- If you are repeating an exam, have you analyzed your previous score report to determine areas where additional study and exam preparation could be useful?
If you answered "yes" to the questions above, your preparation has paid off. Now take the exam, do your best, pass it — and begin your teaching career!
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