TExES Social Studies 4-8 (118): Study Guide & Practice Test

What Is the TExES Social Studies 4-8 (118)?

The TExES Social Studies 4-8 (118) exam is designed to assess whether teaching candidates possess the required skills and knowledge to teach social studies courses to middle-grade students (4th-8th grade) within the Texas school system. Listed below is a table breaking down some basic information related to the exam:

Exam Name TExES Social Studies 4-8
Exam Code 118
Allotted Time 4 hours, 45 minutes
Number of Questions 100
Format Computer-administered test (CAT)

The TExES exam cost is $116 per attempt, and candidates must score at least 240 points out a possible 300 in order to pass. The TExES test is exclusively offered in English, as proficiency within the language is considered a requisite skill in instructing social studies within Texas.

Take note, candidates teaching any grade level within Texas from 4th-8th grade will be required to score at least a 240 on the TExES Core Subjects 4-8 Social Studies (808) exam. However, this article is exclusively going to address the TExES Social Studies 4-8 individual subject exam (118).

Now let's break down the content, format, and preparation materials for the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam (118).

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

Where Are the Testing Centers and What Are the Policies?

TExES testing centers are available within Texas and nationwide. To locate a testing center at a convenient date and location, create an online account with the Tests Education Certification Examination Program (TECEP) and register with one of their listed locations and testing dates.

On test day, candidates are required to bring a print-out of their testing admission ticket and at least two forms of valid identification, such as a passport or driver's license, with photo and signature. Once the exam has begun, test-takers are not allowed to communicate with other candidates, nor are they allowed to use notes, or electronic or recording devices (besides the provided testing computer).

If a candidate arrives more than fifteen minutes late to the testing center, they may be disqualified and forfeit their exam fee, having to reschedule at a later date.

At the testing site, the following items are prohibited:

  • Smoking or vaping devices
  • Visitors of any kind
  • Weapons, with the exception of those provided by local laws

Domain 1: Social Studies Content

The TExES Social Studies 4-8 is broken up into two domains: social studies content and and social studies foundations, skills and introduction. Domain I, Social Studies Content, accounts for about 71% of the exam. The content is divided between five key subject competencies, which are listed below:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Government and Citizenship
  • Culture, Science, Technology, and Society


The History competency within Domain I is designed to assess a candidate's knowledge of historical events, interpretations, and ideas. Here are some concepts that may be tested on this portion of the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam:

  • Historical points of reference in World history, United States history, and Texas history, including Native American settlements and tribes.
  • The influence of the development of science and technology on different societies across history.
  • Chronology's utility in understanding historical events.
  • Causes and effects of European exploration on Texas, the United States, and the broader Western Hemisphere.
  • Impacts of individuals, events, and issues on the exploration of Texas.
  • Foundations of representative government in the United States.
  • Major reform movements and important individuals within Texas and the U.S.


Here are some concepts that may be tested on the Sociology and Geography portion of the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam:

  • How humans adapt to, utilize, and change the physical environment.
  • How absolute and relative location affects humans and the environment.
  • Physical processes such as weather, deposition and erosion, and their effects on environmental patterns.
  • How regional physical characteristics and human modifications affect activity and settlement patterns.
  • How geographic factors influence development of societies within Texas and the broader Western world.
  • Distribution and migration of populations and the reasons and impacts involved.
  • Geographic concept of region and analysis of visual representations of such.


Listed below are some concepts that may be tested on the Sociology and Geography portion of the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam:

  • Basic economics concepts such as goods and services, factors of production, and scarcity, among others.
  • Value of work in spending and saving money.
  • Similarities and differences between world economic systems.
  • Roles of producers and consumers in the market economy.
  • Effects of government regulation and taxation on economies.
  • Morality and ethics in maintaining a free enterprise economic system.
  • Interdependence of Texas, United States, and world economies.
  • Significant economic events and issues across history.


Here are some concepts that may be tested on the Civics portion of the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam:

  • Historical origins of democratic republics.
  • Individuals' role in enforcing laws and ensuring welfare of society.
  • Governments of colonial Americans and American Indians.
  • Sources of revenue for state and local governments.
  • Formal and informal processes for amending the U.S. and Texas Constitutions.
  • Impact of landmark Supreme Court cases.
  • Components of the democratic process.
  • Important accomplishments of key historical figures in U.S. and Texas history.
  • Contributions of American figures who modeled individual participation in the democratic process, such as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

Culture; Science, Technology and Society

Here are some concepts that may feature on the Culture; Science, Technology and Society portion of the exam:

  • Processes of cultural adaptation.
  • Role of families in meeting basic human needs.
  • How cultures develop and use beliefs, traditions, and customs to define themselves.
  • Significant instances of literature, art, and music from key periods in U.S. and Texas History such as 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' and Walden.
  • Cultural contributions of various racial, ethnic, and religious groups throughout history.
  • Effects of race, gender, economic class and status on ways of life in the United States and the broader world.
  • Key developments and notable figures in science and technology and how these changes shape moral and ethical issues.

Domain 2: Social Studies Foundations, Skills and Introduction

Domain II, Social Studies Foundations, Skills and Introduction, accounts for 29%, or about 29 questions, of the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam. The content within this domain is divided between two key subject competencies. Let's go over them in detail.

Social Studies Foundations and Skills

Here are some concepts that may be tested on the Foundations and Skills portion of the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam:

  • Philosophical foundations of social science disciplines.
  • Real world uses of social studies concepts.
  • How social scientists find, organize, and analyze data using various research methods.
  • Problem-solving methods and their use in evaluating solutions to social science issues.
  • Key social studies vocabulary.
  • Validity of social science sources, whether primary or secondary.
  • Making charts and other visual representations of data and relationships.
  • Conflict resolution skills.

Social Studies Instruction and Assessments

Here are some concepts that may be tested on the Instruction and Assessments part of the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam:

  • Possible consequences of child developmental stages in using effective learning social studies learning environments.
  • Instruction that draws connections between knowledge and methods in the social sciences.
  • Lesson plans that address the strength, needs and interests of all students.
  • Effective instructional practices, assessments and technologies.

What Is the Passing Score of the TExES Social Studies 4-8 (118)?

In order to pass the TExES Social Studies 4 8 exam, candidates must score at least 240 points out of a possible 300.

Remember, there may be pilot questions featured on the exam that will not factor into the final score. However, these questions are not explicitly identified on the exam, so candidates should attempt each question with their maximum effort.

Is the TExES Social Studies 4-8 (118) Difficult to Pass?

At this point, you may be wondering whether you have a good chance of passing the TExES exam. The answer to this question heavily depends on the individual test-taker. However, candidates can get an idea of the difficulty by looking at previous pass rates. In 2016-17, the last year for which scoring data is available, 64% of candidates were able to pass the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam.

While this number can seem like a low percentage, one of the most effective ways to improve your odds of passing is to make a study plan and diligently review the material in the months and weeks leading up to the exam.

How Does One Prepare for the TExES Social Studies 4-8 (118) Exam?

A great way to prepare for the TExES Social Studies 4-8 (118) exam is to review study materials such as a TExES 118 Social Studies 4-8 exam study guide and practice exam.

Study guides allow prospective test-takers to review all of the materials that might be featured on the exam, and are available in libraries, bookstores, and online. In total, candidates should aim to spend about fifteen to twenty hours, at a minimum, in studying and preparing to take the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam.

After extensively reviewing study guides, candidates may want to turn to practice tests to see how they might score on the real exam. Practice tests enable candidates to simulate what taking the test will feel like in a pressurized, timed environment, using TExES Social Studies 4-8 practice questions. After completing a TExES practice test and reviewing their scores in each section, candidates should pay attention to which of their knowledge areas are the weakest and work diligently in further study to fortify those gaps.

Can the TExES Social Studies 4-8 (118) Be Retaken?

If a candidate fails the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam, they have another chance of receiving a passing score. In fact, this exam can be retaken up to five times in order to receive a TExES exam passing score. However, candidates must wait thirty days after their most recent attempt before having another crack at it, paying the exam fee of $116 each time.

Again, the TExES Social Studies 4-8 exam is one of the most important qualifying steps in becoming a middle-grade social studies teacher within the Texas school system. This significance can create a great deal of pressure upon testing candidates, who may not receive an optimal score on their first go-around. The most important thing is to not get discouraged, and to view success on the exam as not simply a challenge, but an achievable challenge.

After all, the most effective way to remedy a failing score is through increased study, preparation, hard work, and belief in oneself.

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 many questions is the TExES Social Studies 4 8?

    There are a total of 100 multiple choice questions on the TExES Social Studies 4-8 (118). The total test time is four hours and forty five minutes, which gives an average of approximately three minutes per question.

  • What should I study for HiSET social studies?

    The exam is 10 percent Geography, 35 percent History, 20 percent Economics, and 35 percent Civics and Government. There are 50 multiple choice questions.

  • What is 4/8 in a test?

    This means that if a candidate passes, and meets other teaching requirements, they will be qualified to instruct social studies within the Texas public school system to students in the 4th-8th grades.


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  1. Texas was annexed by the United States in which of the following years?

    • Correct Answer
  2. Which of the following is NOT one of the four geographic regions of Texas?

    • Correct Answer
  3. Which of the following components of the preamble to the Constitution ensures that the freedoms of Americans are protected?

    • Correct Answer
  4. Which of the following jobs did Lyndon Johnson hold before becoming president?

    • Correct Answer
  5. Which year was the cotton gin invented?

    • Correct Answer
  6. Smokey the Bear is a fictitious character whose purpose is to do what?

    • Correct Answer
  7. Which of the following shows a teacher using resources with biographical context in a lesson about the Texas Revolution?

    • Correct Answer
  8. Which of the following events led to the enactment of the Intolerable, or Coercive, Acts by the British Parliament in 1774?

    • Correct Answer
  9. Which of the following diseases was first introduced to Native Americans via European explorers during the 15th and 16th centuries?

    • Correct Answer
  10. Which of the following women disguised herself as a man and served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War?

    • Correct Answer
  11. During which decade was the Second New Deal implemented?

    • Correct Answer
  12. Which of the following wars is thought to have inspired the American Market Revolution?

    • Correct Answer
  13. Which of the following bodies of water was used to invade France on "D-Day?"

    • Correct Answer
  14. Which of the following is a Native American tribe that lived in the southeastern section of the United States?

    • Correct Answer
  15. Which of the following was one of the original 13 Colonies?

    • Correct Answer