TExES Science 4-8 (116) Practice Test & Study Guide

TExES Examinations: General Information

As a part of the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program, every prospective teacher seeking certification in the state of Texas must pass a Texas Examinations of Educator Standards test, or TExES, in their desired content area. These exams are designed to test aspiring teachers' knowledge and skills in their given subject area for entry-level positions. Candidates may choose from a wide range of exams, based on their interests and desired grade levels. For example, prospective teachers may take exams in Marketing (grades) 6-12, Music EC-12, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Core Subjects 6-12, or Science 4-8. The scores for these exams are sent to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) so certification can be issued. Below, we will explore the Science 4-8 exam in greater detail.

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TExES Science 4-8 (116) Exam

The TExES Science 4-8 exam is designed to test the content knowledge of aspiring science teachers, especially those who want to teach upper elementary or middle school students. Those who pass the TExES Science 4-8 exam earn their certification to teach science grades 4 through 8.

This is a computer-based exam that consists of 100 selected-response questions. Test-takers have 4 hours and 45 minutes to complete the exam and also have a 15-minute computer-administered test tutorial and compliance agreement for a total of 5 hours. To properly measure prospective teachers' skills in the field, the exam is broken down into several different competencies and domains.

TExES Science Competencies

The TExES science competencies established by the TEA are tested through several different domains on the TExES Science 4-8 exam. Specifically, on the TExES Science 4-8 exam, candidates are tested in scientific inquiry and processes, physical science, life science, earth and space science, and science learning, instruction, and assessment. We will cover each domain in detail below.

Domain I: Scientific Inquiry and Processes

About 22%, or around 22 questions, of the TExES Science 4-8 exam evaluate aspiring teachers' skills in scientific inquiry and processes. In this section of the exam, test-takers may be asked about competencies such as managing learning activities and ensuring students' safety, how to correctly use tools and equipment, understanding the scientific inquiry process, and understanding how different processes are common to all types of sciences. Within each competency, students are tested on specific skills. For instance, to test teachers' understanding of the scientific inquiry process, there may be questions about designing scientific investigations and identifying potential sources of error in the investigation.

Domain II: Physical Science

The Physical Science portion of the Science 4-8 exam also makes up about 22%, or around 22 questions, of the total exam. As the name implies, this section focuses on competencies of the physical sciences, such as understanding forces and motion, physical properties and changes to matter, chemical properties, energy and energy/matter interactions, and energy transformations. In this section of the exam, prospective teachers should be prepared to answer questions that address topics such as:

  • Exothermic vs. endothermic chemical reactions
  • Work, power, potential energy, and kinetic energy
  • Structure of an atom
  • Physical vs. chemical changes in matter
  • Measure and graph changes in motion

Domain III: Life Science

The Science 4-8 exam also includes a Life Science section that makes up about 22% of the exam. In this section, candidates are asked questions that test their knowledge of competencies such as the structure and function of living things, reproduction and heredity, adaptations and evolution, regulatory mechanisms, and the organism/environment relationship. Within these competencies, aspiring teachers may be asked questions about the analysis or understanding of topics including:

  • Interrelationships between producers, consumers, and decomposers
  • Feedback mechanisms for maintaining internal conditions
  • Similarities and differences of various organisms
  • Sexual vs. asexual reproduction
  • Characteristics of organisms in various domains and kingdoms

Domain IV: Earth and Space Science

The Earth and Space Science portion of the Science 4-8 exam also has around 22 questions. Some of the competencies that candidates will be asked about include the function and structure of Earth systems, the cycles in Earth systems, how energy is involved in weather and climate, the solar system and universe, and the history of the Earth. Specifically, prospective teachers may be asked about topics including theories about the earth's origins, properties of celestial objects, how to measure elements of weather, weather vs. climate, the water cycle, the rock cycle, the structure of the atmosphere, and sources of energy.

Domain V: Science Learning, Instruction, and Assessment

The final domain, Science Learning, Instruction, and Assessment, only makes up around 13% of the total exam. This portion of the exam is designed to test prospective teachers' abilities to teach science. Competencies for this section include understanding how students learn science, how scientific inquiry is connected to scientific instruction, and assessment practices for science learning in various settings (lab, field, and classroom). Candidates may be asked a series of questions that test their knowledge of topics such as formative and summative assessments, how to teach students to analyze scientific results, training students to make observations and measurements, and planning inclusive activities.

TExES Exam Scoring

The TExES scores are computed differently based on the type of questions on the exam. The Science 4-8 exam is selected-response, which means it's scored by the computer right after the exam is completed. However, the official score reports are noted within 7 days of the test date, with most prospective teachers getting their scores within 2 to 5 days. Each question answered correctly on the Science 4-8 exam gets one raw score point; the total questions answered correctly makes up the total raw score, which is then scaled to account for multiple versions of the exam. The TExES Science 4-8 passing score is 240.

Taking the TExES Science 4-8 Exam

Once prospective teachers know that they need to take the TExES Science 4-8 exam, they will need to register for the exam and begin to prepare. The registration process, what to expect on test day, and how to study for TExES to prepare for the exam is discussed in greater detail below.

TExES Exam Registration

For TExES exam registration, candidates must be approved by meeting one of several criteria. For instance, prospective teachers can gain approval by being an educator preparation program (EPP) candidate, a career and technical education candidate, or an out-of-state candidate. Registration for the TExES exams is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To register, students need to create a Pearson testing account. Through the account, they will be able to register for the exam, select their test site and test date, and pay the necessary fee. For the Science 4-8 exam, test dates are offered year-round via appointment. These appointments are first-come, first-served. During registration, candidates can search and schedule their desired test date with their selected testing site. Testing sites are available throughout Texas, as well as other locations throughout the country. Prospective teachers must also pay the $116 fee associated with the Science 4-8 exam.

TExES Examination Day

On the day of their TExES exam, candidates should arrive at their testing site at least 15 minutes early. Test-takers need to bring two original and valid forms of identification and it is recommended to dress in layers. Candidates are not allowed to bring visitors, smoking products, weapons, and other personal items, such as phones, calculators, food, or drinks, into the exam room. Those taking the Science 4-8 exam should plan on being in their exam room for at least 5 hours.

TExES Science 4-8 Test Prep

To prepare for taking the exam, test-takers should take advantage of TExES study guides provided by the TEA and other sources. The 4-8 science TExES study guide carefully explains all of the domains and competencies that are covered on the exam, as well as provides various sample questions and study tips. Test-takers can also access resources for developing a study plan and other test-taker tips through the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website. While the TEA does not provide a TExES Science 4-8 practice test, aspiring teachers can find some practice tests available online.

Expert Contributor

Amy Lopez

Amy Lopez, M.A. is a high school teacher with over 8 years of experience teaching Family Consumer Science Education. She has passed the TExES PPR exam and the Praxis Family and Consumer Science Exam. Amy completed a B.S. in Family Consumer Sciences from Tarleton State University, an M.A. in Teaching from Grand Canyon University, and an Education Specialist degree from Northcentral University.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you pass the TExES Science 4-8 exam?

    Prospective teachers can pass the TExES Science 4-8 exam by scoring a 240 or higher. Studying and properly preparing for the exam ahead of time will likely increase students' chances of passing the exam as quickly as possible.

  • How do I pass the TExES exam?

    Texas requires a score of 240 or higher on the TExES Science 4-8 exam. Students can help ensure they meet this benchmark by taking advantage of available preparation materials.

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  1. Of the following, which state of matter has a definite shape and volume?

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  2. A natural renewal of forests after a wildfire is an example of what type of ecological succession?

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  3. All of the following are non renewable resources EXCEPT

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  4. Which of the following layers of the atmosphere is closest to the Earth?

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  5. A sound wave is recorded to have a wavelength of 300 meters and a period of 0.2 seconds. What is the velocity of this sound wave?

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  6. Of the following, what is the unit for power?

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  7. A box with a mass of {eq}15.0~kg {/eq} is pushed with a force of {eq}100.0~N {/eq}. What is its acceleration?

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  8. What is an example of a simulation?

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  9. A log burning in a campfire releases energy in the form of gas while leaving a pile of ashes and charcoal after the reaction. What scientific law is represented by this chemical reaction?

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  10. Which of the following does not have a cell wall?

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  11. What material classification includes rubber and plastics and are strong, durable, and light-weight?

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  12. What does the Theory of Plate Tectonics explain?
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  13. According to Piaget's stages of cognitive development, when in the concrete operational stage of development, students

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  14. Which of the following assessments are used to imitate the real world that a student will experience once they are out of school?

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  15. Seen below is a geothermal power plant in Iceland. It uses energy generated by volcanic activity to create electricity. What king of energy do geothermal power plants utilize?

    Icelandic Power Plant

    picture of power plant using energy from Eath

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