TExES Core Subjects 4-8 Study Guide & Free Practice Test

What is the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 Exam?

The TExES Core Subjects 4-8 (211) test is a teacher certification exam for those who want to teach core subjects in upper elementary or middle school classrooms in Texas. Core subjects include English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Unlike content-specific exams (e.g., the TExES Science 4-8, TExES Mathematics 4-8, etc.), this exam is general. Upon passing it, test-takers will be eligible for certification in all core subjects for grade levels 4 through 8.

Because this is a core subjects exam, it contains a lot of material across several different content areas. We will go step-by-step through what the exam covers over the next few sections. We'll also give some pointers on how to build your TExES 211 study guide, as well as how to ultimately pass the TExES Core Subjects 4-8.

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

Which Core Subjects are Tested?

The TExES 211 tests the following core subjects: English Language Arts and Reading, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. These core subjects - otherwise known as domains - make up the entirety of the test.

Each domain is described below.

English Language Arts and Reading

The first portion of the TExES 211 deals with a centerpiece of elementary and middle school education: English and reading. The material covered here is diverse. From basic English language mechanics to higher-order reading comprehension skills, test-takers will need to be well-versed in grammar, literacy development, and English composition. Choosing appropriate assignments and knowing how to measure student progress also factors heavily into this portion of the test.

Mathematics

Math is the second component of the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 exam. Here, test-takers will be tested on their knowledge of both pure math and applied math. There will also be an emphasis on math education and the strategies used to teach math to children and adolescents.

Because the material in the exam focuses on grade levels 4 through 8, the pure math knowledge required is not as advanced as what you would find in a high school certification test. However, those who take this exam will still need to be familiar with arithmetic, geometry, algebra, probability, and the coordinate system.

Social Studies

The third domain in the TExES 211 is that of Social Studies. Focuses of this portion include basic principles of history, economics, culture, and other aspects of human society. Because the TExES exams are catered towards the state of Texas, some of the material in this section is Texas-specific. You'll want to be well-studied on the history of Texas, as well as the political and cultural forces that shape both Texas and the United States as a whole.

Science

The fourth and final domain contained in the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 is Science. Like the other ones, the Science section of the test is multi-disciplinary. It covers everything from Earth science to basic biology to physical science. It also includes classroom safety and the basics of science education.

What Content Will be Covered Within Each Core Subject?

The four core subjects are further broken down into competencies. Competencies, quite simply, are skills and knowledge that test-takers need to know to do well on the exam. We'll spend the next few minutes of our time walking through them.

English Language Arts and Reading

The following competencies are covered under this domain:

  • Oral language, including its developmental processes and how to teach spoken language skills
  • Early literacy development
  • Word identification skills and reading fluency
  • Reading comprehension and assessment
  • Reading applications (e.g., strategies of literary interpretation, understanding importance of reading)
  • Written language and writing conventions, including grammar and sentence structure
  • Written language - composition
  • Viewing and representing (interpretation of images and other visual communications)
  • Study and inquiry skills

Mathematics

The following competencies are covered under this domain:

  • Number systems
  • Number operations and computational algorithms
  • Number theory, as well as using numbers to model and solve problems
  • Mathematical reasoning (e.g., patterns, variables, expressions, inequalities, functions, etc.)
  • Linear functions
  • Nonlinear functions
  • Conceptual foundations of calculus, such as the ideas of limits, slope, and rate of change
  • Measurement as a process
  • Geometric relationships, as well as the axiomatic structure of Euclidean geometry
  • Properties of 2 and 3-dimensional figures
  • Algebra and geometry in the context of the Cartesian coordinate system; knowledge of transformational geometry
  • Graphical and numerical techniques of exploring data
  • Theory of probability
  • Relationships in probability theory, including how statistical inferences can be used in predictions
  • Mathematical reasoning and problem solving
  • Mathematical connections both inside and outside of pure mathematics, as well as communicating mathematical ideas
  • How children learn and develop mathematical concepts, skills, and ideas
  • How to plan, organize, and implement mathematical instruction in the classroom setting
  • How to assess, monitor, and evaluate student progress

Social Studies

The following competencies are covered under this domain:

  • History, including the process of historical events and different interpretations of these events and proceedings
  • Geography, including how it affects human civilization and how it relates to other branches of social science
  • Economics and the application of economic systems and ideas to society
  • Government and citizenship (including knowledge of different government systems)
  • Culture, science, technology, and society (how these things interact with one another)
  • Social studies foundations and skills
  • Social studies instruction and assessment

Science

The following competencies are covered under this domain:

  • Managing learning activities and ensuring student safety
  • Correct use of tools, technologies, materials, and equipment
  • Process of scientific inquiry and the history/nature of science
  • How science impacts daily life, as well as how it influences personal and societal decisions
  • Unifying concepts common to all branches of science
  • Forces and motion, as well as their relationships
  • Physical properties of and changes in matter
  • Chemical properties of and changes in matter
  • Energy, as well as matter-energy interactions
  • Energy transformations, as well as the conservation of mass and energy
  • Structure and function of living organisms
  • Reproduction and mechanisms of heredity
  • Organism adaptations and the theory of evolution
  • Regulatory mechanisms and behavior
  • Relationships between organisms and their environments
  • Structure and function of Earth systems (e.g., plate tectonics, the water cycle, the atmosphere)
  • Cycles in Earth systems
  • Role of energy in weather and climate
  • Characteristics of the solar system and the universe
  • History of the Earth system
  • Theoretical/practical knowledge of teaching science
  • Process of scientific inquiry, as well as its role in science education
  • Understanding proper assessments and monitoring student learning in the classroom and in the field

The TExES Core Subjects 4-8 Exam Format

The exam is broken up into four separate subject exams. Each subject exam pertains to one of the core subjects. These exams are given one at a time, with the total time limit ranging from 50 minutes to 1 hour and 55 minutes per exam. The test format is displayed in the table below.

Subject Exam Percent of Total Score Number of Questions Time Limit
English Language Arts and Reading 37% 74 1 Hour, 55 Minutes
Mathematics 21% 42 1 Hour, 5 Minutes
Social Studies 21% 42 50 Minutes
Science 21% 42 50 Minutes

In all, the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 contains 200 questions across the 4 subject exams. As is the case with other TExES exams, some of these questions will not be graded. They will not count towards your final score. However, test-takers won't know which tests are ungraded, so the best bet is to do your best on every question!

The exam is also a computer-administered test (CAT), which means that it is taken entirely on a computer.

What Type of Questions Will Appear on the Test?

The TExES 211 is made up entirely of selected-response questions. Test-takers will be given a question and then asked to select the correct answer from a list of provided answer choices. Sometimes, more than one answer choice may be correct, in which case, multiple answers should be selected. There are no "constructed response" or "written response" questions on the exam. Although you will be provided with a formula sheet and an on-screen calculator for the Mathematics portion of the test, you will not be required to show your work.

As was mentioned earlier, the test is also administered entirely by computer. No component of the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 is taken on paper.

Fees and Registration

For the entire TExES 211 exam, the fee is $116. There are also small additional fees involved with the registration process, but these fees are used only to support the operation of the TExES official website. If you need to take a separate subject exam at a later date (we'll discuss when you might need to do this later), the fee for a single subject exam is $58.

For TExES exam registration, candidates will need to visit the TExES website and navigate to the "Core Subjects 4-8 (211)" page. Basic information about the test is displayed here, along with a registration button at the bottom of the page. Those who wish to register will need to create an account with Pearson (the test-making company) and then proceed through the registration process as instructed.

How is the Test Scored? When Will I Receive My Score?

The TExES scores are computed for each individual subject exam. To pass the TExES Core Subjects 4-8, a score of 240 or better is needed on every subject exam. A score of less than 240 on even one part of the test will result in a "Not Passed" status.

You should receive your score no later than 7 days after taking the exam.

Can I Retake the Test if I Fail?

As per the TExES exam retake policy, retakes of the TExES 211 are permitted. Generally speaking, there are two ways to retake the exam. For those who passed 3 out of the 4 subject exams, it is possible to come back at a later date to retake the one subject exam they didn't pass. If the retake for the single exam results in a passing score, the test-taker will pass the entire exam and be eligible for certification.

For those who failed to pass two or more individual subject exams, it is necessary to retake the entire test. However, the TExES Education Agency will take the highest score on each subject exam across all attempts. If you have already passed one or two subject exams, you will not need to respond to the questions on those subjects when re-taking the test.

TExES 211 retakes are limited to 5 attempts, including individual attempts of subject exams. Those who wish to retake part or all of the exam also must wait at least 30 days between attempts.

When and Where Can I Take the Test?

Exams are available by appointment only. However, those who want to take the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 have great flexibility in determining where and when they will take their test. The exams are conducted at various testing centers both in Texas and nationwide. Virtually all large and medium-sized cities are within striking distance of a testing center.

Once you have determined where you want to test, you can schedule a time for an appointment. Appointments are generally available year-round, Monday through Saturday. Not every testing center offers the TExES 211 during all time slots, but once again, there should be a great deal of different exam times available. You'll be able to see all your available options when registering.

What Should I Bring With Me on Test Day?

On test day, you need to bring two forms of ID that can verify your identity. One of these documents - your "primary" document - must be an original form of government identification. Examples of primary documents include:

  • Driver's licenses
  • State identification
  • Military identification (with a visible or embedded signature)
  • Passports
  • Authorization documents, such as permanent resident or temporary resident cards

Additionally, you will need to bring a second form of ID to further verify your identity. Requirements for this are not as strict. Secondary documents can include any original form of ID that bears your name and either your signature or a clear photo of yourself.

When you report to the testing center, you will be required to place any personal possessions you have in a locker outside the testing room itself. You cannot have phones, calculators, watches, notecards, or any other items with you when you take the exam. Additionally, you cannot have any form of headwear in the testing room, except for that which is used for religious purposes. Food and drink (including chewing gum) are also prohibited.

When Should I Arrive at the Test Center?

You should arrive at the test center 15 minutes before the start of your scheduled exam time. This will ensure that you have enough time to check in and confirm your appointment.

Accessibility and Accommodations

Accommodations are available for those who have disabilities, as well as for nursing mothers. If you fall into one of these categories, you should submit an Alternative Testing Arrangements Request Form as soon as possible. You will need to provide documentation along with this form, which will be used by Pearson and by the Texas Education Agency to determine what accommodation(s) you qualify for on a case-by-case basis.

There are also some accommodations available, which do not require pre-approval. For example, all testing facilities are wheelchair-accessible. All candidates will have access to visual aids like font enlargement and color enhancement. Other aids, such as earplugs or noise-reducing headphones, are also allowed without prior approval, though these will need to be examined by the exam proctor before you are allowed to use them.

How Can I Prepare for the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 Exam?

Preparation is essential in order to pass the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 (211). Here are a few tips to help get you started!

  1. Understand what the exam covers. Before you begin your preparation, you should know exactly what material the exam might contain. You can do this by looking back over the competencies covered in this article, or by visiting the TExES official website. This will allow you to get your bearings.
  2. Develop a study plan. This is the stage where you assess how well you know the content. Once you have determined your strengths and weaknesses, you should then begin to build your TExES 211 study guide. The TExES study guides will serve as your roadmap when preparing for the exam. You should also figure out what books and sources you'll use for information. This can include official textbooks, reputable websites, and other TExES resources which are available on the TExES website.
  3. Practice, practice, practice! Once you've fleshed out your TExES core subjects 4-8 study guide and started preparing, you should be sure to reinforce what you learn with plenty of practice tests. Practice tests are how you will "test your mettle" before ever stepping into the room on exam day. After taking your practice exams, you should go back over the questions to determine what you got right and what you got wrong. Make sure you understand why your answer is correct (or why it's incorrect). Through repetitive practice, you will build skills and knowledge that will help you greatly on test day.

Can I Try a TExES Core Subjects 4-8 Free Practice Test?

There are many practice tests that are available for free, including practice tests on the official test website. The TExES website contains sample practice questions for each of the four core subject exams. Additional practice tests can be found on test preparation sites and even in libraries. It's our hope that this practice material can jumpstart your preparation for the exam and send you on your way to pass the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 with flying colors!

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.

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  1. Who was president of the United States during the War of 1812?

    • Correct Answer
  2. The Archons in ancient Greece were associated with which of the following?

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  3. People of the Congo developed statues known as nkisi which were used to

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  4. Which of the following is equivalent to 6%?

    • Correct Answer
  5. Where can you locate the TEKS?

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  6. Solve {eq}x^2+3x=0 {/eq}

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  7. A car travels a circular track with a radius of {eq}1.3~mi {/eq}. It returns to its original position after {eq}6.5~minutes {/eq}. Calculate the car's velocity within the given period.

    • Correct Answer
  8. Use this material to answer question #8

    Culture has various components. Due to the variation of these elements, culture is not universal; rather, it is mostly specific to regions, groups, races, etc. Through the journey of culture, there are norms that are instilled in individuals, especially when young. This is known as a formal norm. If that norm is subsequently copied by another, then it would fall into the category of an informal norm. However, people and the societies they live in can absorb and adapt to different changes that may take place which is known as cultural adaptation. Cultural adaptation is not something that is instilled typically while individuals are young; rather, it is a progressive change that can occur in the society in which they live.

    As culture is studied and observed, one compelling aspect of culture that can be seen is religion. Religion can shape a culture's ideology, behavior, and even political beliefs. The differences in these beliefs and ideology, historically for some groups, has caused a great amount of strife and conflict.

    The United States, specifically, is considered a melting pot. This term is given when a country has a great diversity of individuals from various cultures, religions, ethnicities, and races. At times, the racial make-up of the United States has led to various laws that affect the way individuals live in American society. As an example, the landmark court case of Plessy V. Ferguson explored the aspects of inequality of laws based upon an individual's racial background. At that particular time in the United States, segregation by race was widespread.

    In this particular case, the Supreme Court determined that "separate but equal" was acceptable, which essentially stated that you may segregate groups of people as long as the facilities they were given were the same. One of the main arguments for Plessy was that "colored only" facilities were NOT equal, due to less funding and maintenance. Eventually, as society progressed and more cultural and racial acceptance took place, this ruling was changed. However, it serves as a prime example of how societies and cultures have an impact globally.

  9. What term is given to the adoption of cultural progression in society?

    • Correct Answer
  10. Determine the mean deviation for the following set of values:


    {eq}-13,-11,-5,-2,4,9 {/eq}

    • Correct Answer
  11. Nutrition and wellness are important features of science. Which of the following identifies the relationship between chronic and acute medial issues?

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  12. Which of the following was a great artist during the Renaissance era?

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  13. In reading, students often commit miscues. One of the students in the class is reading aloud. Every time the word ''cast'' is read, the student reads it as ''cats.'' Which kind of miscue is encountered in this scenario?

    • Correct Answer
  14. Which of the following parts of a cell is the site of protein synthesis?

    • Correct Answer
  15. Which of the following is the first step in adapting a lesson for ELL students?

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  16. Which of the following would be an example of kinesthetic learning?

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