TExES Core Exam: Subjects EC-6 (291) Practice Test & Study Guide

What Is the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Exam?

The TExES Core Subject EC-6 Exam is a computer-administered exam designed to measure whether teaching candidates possess the requisite knowledge and skills to teach grade levels from early childhood up to sixth grade within the Texas school system.

Applicants are given approximately four hours and 45 minutes to complete this TExES test, which contains five subject tests within:

  • English Language Arts and Reading & Science of Teaching Reading (801)
  • Mathematics (802)
  • Social Studies (803)
  • Science (804)
  • Fine Arts, Health and Physical Education (805)

Candidates must score 240 points out of a possible 300 on all five subject tests to pass. Scores are available at 10:00 p.m. Central time on the TExES score report dates. If an applicant fails a specific subject test within the Core test suite on her first attempt, they can retake that exam 30 days after the most recent test date.

TExES exam dates are available year-round and by appointment. Computer-administered testing (CAT) sites are available within Texas and nationwide. When scheduling an appointment, be sure to account for proximity and traffic patterns to minimize possible delays on testing day.

The TExES exam cost for taking the TExES Core Subject EC-6 all at once is $116. If an applicant chooses to take a subject exam separately, she will be charged a $58 flat fee per exam.

The Five Subjects of the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Exam

The TExES Core Subjects EC-6 exam contains five subject tests, which are listed below, along with their respective time allotment:

  • CAT tutorial and compliance agreement: 15 minutes
  • English Language Arts and Reading & Science of Teaching Reading (801): 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Mathematics (802): 1 hour
  • Social Studies (803): 35 minutes
  • Science (804): 40 minutes
  • Fine Arts, Health and Physical Education (805): 40 minutes

After reviewing this information, a common question candidates may have is, 'How many questions are on the TExES EC 6?' Well, there are a total of 267 selected-response questions over the four-hour and 45-minute testing session, which means applicants have a little over a minute, on average, to answer each question.

English Language Arts and Reading and Science of Teaching Reading (28%)

Candidates are given one hour and 45 minutes to complete the 75 selected-response questions within the English Language Arts and Reading and Science of Teaching Reading section of the TExES EC-6 exam. These questions are designed to measure a candidate's comprehension of reading and language arts and her ability to instruct students in those respective practices.

Here are some sample concepts that candidates should be able to demonstrate on this portion of the exam:

  • Knowledge of basic linguistic concepts and the developmental stages of acquiring oral language, such as phonology, semantics, and syntax.
  • Ability to recognize when speech or language delays warrant a comprehensive evaluation or additional help.
  • Ability to analyze students' reading and writing performance and utilize that information in future instruction.

Mathematics (18%)

Candidates are given 60 minutes to answer the 47 selected-response questions within the Mathematics subject test of the TExES Core EC-6 exam. These questions are designed to measure a candidate's comprehension of basic mathematics and her ability to instruct lower-grade students in that field.

One question candidates may be asking is, 'Can you use a calculator on the TExES Math EC 6?' Neither calculators nor formula sheets are provided for the Mathematics section within the TExES Core EC-6 exam. Here are some abilities that candidates may be asked to demonstrate on the Mathematics portion of the exam:

  • Can create a learning environment that motivates and actively engages all students through various mathematical tasks.
  • Understands the purpose and uses of various assessments in mathematics.
  • Uses a variety of concrete, visual representations to illustrate connections between operations and algorithms.
  • Supports arguments using statistics and graphs.

Social Studies (16%)

Candidates are given 35 minutes to answer the 41 selected-response questions within the Social Studies portion of the TExES Core EC-6 exam. These questions are designed to measure a candidate's comprehension of social studies and the social sciences and her ability to instruct lower-grade students in those fields. The EC 6 Social Studies TExES competencies include Social Science Instruction, History, Geography and Culture, Economics, and Government and Citizenship.

Here are some abilities that candidates may be asked to demonstrate on the Social Studies portion of the exam:

  • Understands and uses social studies terminology.
  • Knows how to promote students' use of social science skills.
  • Communicates the value of social studies education to students and the broader community.
  • Applies the knowledge of chronology and its use in understanding history.
  • Understands westward expansion and its impacts on development in the U.S. and Texas.

Science (19%)

Candidates are given 35 minutes to answer the 41 selected-response questions within TExES EC 6 Science. These questions are designed to measure a candidate's comprehension of the hard sciences and her ability to instruct lower-grade students in those respective fields.

Here are some sample concepts that candidates should be able to demonstrate on this portion of the exam:

  • Understands and can communicate safety regulations.
  • Knows procedures for safe handling and treatments of organisms and various specimens.
  • Understands the metric systems and can perform unit conversions with nonstandard units.
  • Plans, designs, and implements instruction that allows all students to engage in experimental inquiry.

Fine Arts, Health and Physical Education (19%)

Candidates are given 40 minutes to answer the 52 selected-response questions within the Fine Arts, Health and Physical Education portion of the TExES Core EC-6 exam. These questions are designed to measure a candidate's comprehension within the Fine Arts and Health and Physical Education fields.

Here are some sample concepts that candidates should be able to demonstrate on this portion of the exam:

  • Visual Arts -- Understands how critical thinking and problem-solving are applied in the arts.
  • Music -- Able to arrange vocal and instrumental music for specific purposes.
  • Health -- Knows and understands strategies for coping with unhealthy behaviors in the family.
  • Physical Education -- Knows and helps students understand the benefits of an active lifestyle.
  • Theatre -- Can explain how theatre relates to society, history, and diverse cultures.

How to Register for the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Exam

TExES exam registration is completed by making an appointment online with the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program (TECEP). Test appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis. TExES exam results become available at 10:00 p.m. Central time on the selected score report dates.

Applicants can choose to take all five subject exams at once or take individual subject exams separately. The fee for taking the TExES Core Subject EC-6 exam all at once is $116. If an applicant chooses to take a subject exam separately, the TExES exam cost would be $58 per exam. This may be a better practice if an applicant knows she particularly struggles with a specific subject and wants to devote an entire testing session simply to that one subject.

TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Passing Score

The passing score for the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 exam is 240 points out of a possible 300. This means that candidates must score 240 points on each of the five subject exams within the core test suite to earn the TExES exam passing score for the entire TExES Core Subjects EC-6 exam.

If applicants are unable to pass one of the subject exams on their first attempt, they can retake that TExES test 30 days after their most recent exam date. If they fail two or more of the subject exams, they must retake the entire Core test suite. Candidates are allowed up to five attempts on the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 exam. This includes attempts at individual subject tests within the Core test suite.

For example, if candidates fail to pass TExES EC 6 Science and TExES Math EC 6 on the first attempt at the Core test suite but only fail on TExES Math EC 6 on the second Core attempt, they only need to retake the Math subject test. They would have three remaining attempts at that individual exam to have a shot at passing the entire TExES Core Subjects EC-6 exam.

While tackling five subject tests at once can seem daunting, the key is for applicants to remain positive, identify their weaker areas, and give special attention to those areas during their TExES test prep.

How Difficult Is the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 Test?

Before sitting down for test day, candidates may be asking themselves, 'How hard is the TExES EC-6 exam?' That question is best answered by looking at the most recent pass rates or the percentage of candidates who managed to reach the TExES exam passing score, which are made available by the Texas Education Agency. The pass rates that are most recently available are for the 2016-17 academic year and are listed below:

  • Core Subjects EC-6 English Language Arts and Science of Teaching Reading (801): 86%
  • Core Subjects Mathematics (802): 80%
  • Core Subjects EC-6 Social Studies (803): 73%
  • Core Subjects EC-6 Science (804): 77%
  • Core Subjects EC-6 Fine Arts, Health, and Physical Education (805): 92%

The exams with the lowest pass rates for this year were the TExES EC 6 Social Studies and TExES EC 6 Science. This could potentially serve as a general guide-post that candidates should focus more on Social Studies and Science subjects in their TExES preparation. Of course, candidates are individuals with unique strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, applicants should take note of their weakest performance areas on their practice tests and focus extra time on fortifying those areas in their study time for the TExES EC-6 exam.

How to Prepare for the TExES EC-6 Exam

To prepare for the exam, applicants will be well served by taking a TExES practice test intended for each subject test to determine their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their comprehension of the tested concepts. After identifying areas of weaker understanding, applicants should likely add extra concentration and study time to those areas to maximize their odds of passing the TExES EC-6 Core exam.

The distributors of the TExES EC-6 Core, the Texas Education Certification Program (TECEP), recommend that test takers skip the questions they find extremely difficult. It is better to ensure that test takers have enough time on questions they feel more confident on. The TExES scores are based on the number of questions candidates answer correctly, with no penalty for an incorrect answer. Therefore, if the clock is running out, it is better to guess than leave an answer blank.

TExES EC-6 Practice Test

Candidates should identify books, courses, practice exams, and other resources that they can use to fill in the gaps in their knowledge and become even stronger in areas they are already proficient in. Practice exams such as TExES Math EC 6 practice test, TExES EC 6 Science practice test, and other practice tests specific to the subject test are particularly useful in gauging progress and knowing which topics to focus on. They can also be invaluable tools for getting used to the rhythm of the exam, which can make for a calmer, more focused test day.

According to the TExES exam retake policy, applicants can retake the exam up to five times to pass the TExES Core Subjects EC 6 exam. Each testing session does count as an attempt for the exam, whether the attempt concerns an individual Subject Exam or the entire EC-6 Core exam. They simply have to wait a minimum of 30 days after their most recent attempt before trying to retake a TExES test. The key is to remain positive and trust that study and preparation will pay off in the end.

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

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

  • What is a passing score on the TExES Generalist EC-6?

    To pass the TExES Generalist EC-6, candidates must score at least 240 points out of a possible 300 on all five subject tests contained within the core test suite. If an applicant fails on a single subject test, she is able to retake that individual test up to five times to attain a passing score. If she fails two or more of the subject tests, she must take the entire Core test suite again, up to a maximum of five attempts.

  • Do you get a calculator on the TExES EC-6?

    No, candidates are not given calculators or formula sheets for the TExES EC-6 Core exam. As most of the questions within the Mathematics subject test are designed to measure a teacher's ability to teach lower-grade math, the questions will not ask candidates to complete incredibly complex calculations. They primarily focus on a candidate's comprehension of foundational concepts within mathematics such as algebra, geometry, and quantitative reasoning.

  • What is the EC-6 test?

    The TExES Core Subject EC-6 Exam is a computer-administered exam designed to measure whether teaching candidates possess the requisite knowledge and skills to teach grade levels from early childhood up to sixth grade within the Texas school system.

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  1. 3,6,9,12,15,18,21...is a classic example of a(n) _____

    • Correct Answer
  2. A first grade teacher just completed a unit in geography on maps. Which activity would assess how well students understand how maps help people find locations?

    • Correct Answer
  3. What is the following symbol an example of?
    What is the following symbol an example of?
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  4. How might computer-aided instruction teach phonemic awareness?

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  5. Which of the following health care screenings are recommended for students in elementary school?

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  6. Which of the following best describes the math skills a teacher could assess with the problem shown in the image?
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  7. Which event started the Cold War?

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  8. How much faster would a sound wave travel at 33°C than at 22°C?
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  9. At the end of a lesson on greater than/less than/equal to, a teacher realizes that several students in the class do not understand why equation A is not true, but equation B is true. Which principle would help the students differentiate between the two statements?
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    • Correct Answer
  10. A science teacher wants students to compare plant and animal cells, which model would help students understand the location and function of different organelles in the two cell types?

    • Correct Answer
  11. Which method would teach children the art of acting in a theater class?

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  12. A bag contains 3 dimes, 7 pennies, and 4 quarters. Find the probability of picking a dime?

    • Correct Answer
  13. The property that allows us to define the expression: (a + b + c) * 0, without knowing the quantities of any of the variable, is called the _____

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  14. _____ is the ability to write or spell words based on how they sound.
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  15. Of the following choices, which best exemplifies the steps that should be taken after completing a lesson where students dissected frogs if a teacher is unsure of how to handle cleaning the lab area and equipment?

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