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Strategy #1

Study: The first resource I consulted was the REA study manual for the 291 Core Subjects EC-6 test. As others have noted, the book comes with online access to diagnostic and practice tests. The first thing I did was take the diagnostic test, and I used those scores to direct my studying by carefully reviewing the competencies I scored as "Weak" or "Review." After doing so for a few hours a week for about two months, I took the practice tests. I didn't do particularly well on these and began to get pretty anxious. In an effort to conform my studying more to the types of questions that would be on the test, I bought Certify Teacher's online practice tests. Every review I consulted said their questions were more aligned to the test. After taking those practice tests several times, I used the ETS manual to guide my studying and re-took every test until I could answer with 100% accuracy and understand the rationale behind each answer. I bought Certify Teacher two weeks before my test, and studied about three to four hours a day each day.

Test: Like everyone else has said, the test is brutal. Simply sitting in one spot staring at a computer screen for five hours takes a toll on your mind and your body, and the scope of the Core Subjects test is enormous. I arrived early to the testing center. A word of caution - they're very serious about no cell phones allowed. You're best off leaving it in the car and not bringing it into the building. My test began with ELAR/STR, and it was very thorough. The questions included a lot of reading, but my preparation allowed me to narrow down to the best answer on nearly every question. I marked each question I was slightly unsure about and came back to it. Even after doing so, I still had about five minutes of time left. I felt confident after this one. The next section, Math, was tough but doable. I used every second of my time. I did quick estimating calculations at first, then marked the question went back and checked my math. I recommend this method to ensure you're able to answer all of the questions. After Math, I took a quick break, ate a banana, and went to the bathroom. When I came back, it was Social Studies. This has traditionally been my strongest area, but the test was very broad in what it covered. You need to have extensive factual knowledge and understand the modern Pedagogy behind Social Studies instruction. I did my best, but felt very uneasy. Next was Science, which was the most difficult section by far. Again, the scope of knowledge required was extensive, and by that point I was exhausted. I finished with only a minute left and felt uncertain. Finally, the Fine Arts/Health/PE section ended the test. This one was easiest for me, but I have a background in all of the areas. Rely on common sense and trust your gut instinct. I left the test with only fifteen minutes to spare, defeated and demoralized. I was almost certain I'd have to retake at least one section. My scores came very quickly (I took the test on a Friday and received my scores Tuesday morning) and I passed! All of my scores fell between 270 and 285. Overall, it's an extremely difficult test, but with some diligent studying, it is totally possible to pass. Good luck!

Strategy #2

Study: I bought the TExES blue and white study guide, written by Rosado, and then also bought a 6th grade Math prep worksheet book from Barnes and Nobles to help refresh some Math skills. I went to, from a group I found on Facebook called Passing the 291 EC-6, and bought practice exams for $3.99 each for History and Science. I started studying on 12/20 and my test was 1/12. The first week, I read all through the ELAR chapter and the Math chapter, that weekend I took the Math and ELAR practice test. Then the next week, I read all the Social Studies and Science chapters and then again that weekend took the practice tests for those sections. The last week I made a study guide for every section except Math. I then read the Fine Arts chapter and made a study guide for that. The Sunday through Wednesday night before my Thursday morning test I studied my study guides religiously. I didn't really think there was a good way to study Math besides going over PEMDAS and other important formulas that were in the book. I refreshed my brain on WWI and WWII by watching "America the Story of the US" on the History Channel, a more fun and relaxing way to learn information sometimes.

Test: The test was exhausting and challenging, but not impossible. I have always had test anxiety, especially when I am being timed. I was able to finish every section with time to spare for checking most of my answers except Math, that ran me right down to about 10 seconds remaining. I was so surprised that the majority of the Social Studies information I crammed into my head wasn't on there. But of course there is a lot in that chapter to choose to test over. I left the test feeling exhausted, defeated, and like I may have passed Science and Fine Arts, but felt awful about the rest. I got a 263! You got this, just breathe and know you won't know all the information on there, and that's OK.

Strategy #3

Study: REA EC-6 Core Subjects (291) - This was a thick book with A LOT of content. Some of the material was repetitive throughout the subjects. It helped to annotate the book by adding post-its with visuals, since the text is really text-heavy. There aren't many pictures, but there are a few graphs/tables to help sort the material better. The book came with 3 tests - a diagnostic test and 2 more. The tests were word for word from the content in the book and I thought was tougher than the actual test. I also used the TEA Study Guide PDF for practice questions which seemed more aligned with the actual test.

Test: The test was about what I expected - VERY draining and covering more content than I knew I was prepared for going into it. English (270/300). It is the longest section, but covered a good mix of content based and situational (what would you do first) questions. There was time for me to go back and check my work. It covered a little bit of everything. Math (285/300) had a lot of content and computation problems. I did not have much time at all to go and check my work. Plenty probability, angles, geometry, area, and conversion. Social Studies (272/300) covered a lot from so many topics - Government, Economics, US, and Texas History. Know your amendments, big cases/rulings, Texas government, and major Texas figures. Science (263/300) was the hardest. My main suggestion is to go with your gut. I changed so many answers because I overthought it, but they are looking for the obvious answer. Science has so many competencies and I was for sure I was going to fail, but this test is scaled and there are around 35 questions in the whole test that are tester questions that they do not grade. I think that helped a lot in this section. Fine arts/PE/Health was last (290/300). I have a somewhat of a music background, which I think helped, but the health and PE questions were kind of difficult. Some of it is very common sense (eat better foods, lose weight, always exercise, etc), but there were a few I wasn't sure of. Study a little of everything, and know that you won't know everything that is thrown at you on test day, but that it is okay. Don't overthink the questions or the answer choices. You can do it!

Strategy #4

Study: I used the REA Kindle book, with practice tests at the back of the book, and Certify Teacher. I also briefly reviewed the ETS prep online material. I didn't like the practice tests in the REA book because they were formatted differently than the test (computer). Also, there were no guidelines to score/see if you passed. The book was great to learn the content. I reviewed flash cards and took notes on a Word file, combining notes from the book and CertifyTeacher. I used lots of external sources when I felt I needed more help on a certain topic: YouTube about science principles, Mometrix videos, Khan Academy for reviewing Geometry and probability, and Texas Museum of History's website. I studied off and on for 2 months, 2 hours a day for 2 weeks before my exam, and the week of my exam pushed it up to about 4-5 hours a day. I studied the night before my exam and the morning of. I took lots of practice exams and read the answers carefully.

Test: I was tired after Domain One, but I finished Math and Social Studies before taking my break (which I really needed by then). I drank a coffee and ate a banana. After my break, I finished the last two sections, but it was challenging to maintain focus. I marked every answer I felt the slightest twinge of doubt on for review and used all my time on every subject except domain one (which I had 30 minutes remaining even after my reviewed questions). If I found a question really hard, I wrote down key words from the question on my paper and thought about all the things I learned about that concept and applied it to the question. If you have extra time after Math, double check all your arithmetic. That section seems to give you more time than you need, but Math and Science felt more rushed to me. I was nervous after, but I felt pretty good. I passed with a 288. My best was ELAR (292) and my worst was Social Studies (286). Good luck and be confident!

Strategy #5

Study: I had been putting off studying because the test intimidated me, and I didn't know where to even start. I purchased the REA Core Subjects EC-6 291 book that came with a test in the back of the book, as well as online diagnostic and practice tests. This book made all the difference! I took the practice tests over and over until I made a grade I felt comfortable with. I studied every day 3 weeks before the test, for 1-2 hours on weekdays after work and 3-5 hours each day on weekends. I had flashcards, highlighted what I knew I needed to work on, and took a spiral full of notes from reading the book. The tests give you the correct answer and the rational behind each answer choice, so I'd go back over my test after I took it and review each question, even if I got it right. That helped a ton. But if a term or concept was still fuzzy for me after that, I would go online to outside resources that could explain it in a different way: YouTube channels or old STARR test questions.

Test: Because of the excessive studying I'd done, I walked into the test cool, calm and collected. However, I left feeling the complete opposite. The test is long and grueling, and you will feel overwhelmed. You can do it! The first section was ELAR, which I studied for the least since that has always been my strong point. You have the most time on this section, so utilize it. If you aren't 100% sure on a question, mark it and come back to it. This goes for the entire test. Know phonemic awareness and alphabetic principle. The second section is Math, which has always been my weakest so I knew I would struggle. I ran out of time, but wound up doing so much better than I thought. Drill different math questions for this to get comfortable working them in a time crunch. Know probability! For Social Studies, study the Texas Constitution, economies, and governments! Science was a lot of adaptation and concepts. For Art, know your music! This test deals a lot more with teaching strategies than concrete information. I walked out after 4.5 hours (I used all my time and was down to the wire on each subject) feeling defeated and just knew I'd be retaking at least 2 subjects. I took my test on a Monday and got my scores on that Friday. I passed! This test is not impossible, but is designed to test your application skills and endurance. If you get overwhelmed, take a water break and breathe. YOU CAN DO IT!

Strategy #6

Study: I have practiced the quizzes on the PACT website, and also purchased the REA study manual. I started studying for about four weeks before the test, for about two to five hours daily. The REA practice questions online really helped me.

Test: Most questions are scenario based; not too much is directly stated. As to not waste time, if I didn't know an answer, I guessed, marked the question and came back to them later. I did second guess myself, don't do that; go with your initial instinct. I used the entire time allowed, and I passed the first time. Good luck!

Strategy #7

Study: I used the REA TExES Core Subjects EC-6 (291) study book. I mainly read, highlighted, and took notes for an hour or so each day for about 6 weeks prior to the test. I think the book was entirely adequate and it came with online practice tests that were helpful in familiarizing myself with the test layout. Not everything on the test was from the book, but a majority of it was. I passed each section, the lowest being a 255. I think however long it takes for you to finish and review notes from the book is adequate study time.

Test: I thought it was just as tough as I expected. Math is my weakness and I didn't have time to finish all the questions, much less review the questions I marked. In other sections, I barely had enough time. Marking questions that I was unsure of was very useful. There were some questions that appeared twice in a different way, or some questions that contained the answer to a different question in its wording, so pay attention to those.

Strategy #8

Study: I studied for the test using REA's 291 Booklet. I found that I was overwhelmed with all the material in the study booklet, so I went to online community sites to find further information to help me narrow my studies. I studied for about three weeks, about 1 hour a day. The week of my test, I studied each subject for 45 minutes a day, about 4 hours a day. On test day, I went there confident and calm; I didn't even use my 15 minute break.

Test: The first portion is ELAR. This was my strongest subject, so it was about what I expected. You should know reading levels (Independent, Instructional and Frustration) and what occurs at each level. You should also know components of phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, strategies to teach fluency and comprehension, best methods/strategies for teaching reading, the alphabetic principle, print, graphemes, morphemes, context clues, syntax and Lexicon. (286/300) The next section is Math. This section was my worst section; I ran out of time and had to guess on the last 8 questions. My advice would be to bubble in any answers you don't know, mark it, and come back to it at the end. I spent too much time on questions I didn't know the answer to and had to guess on questions I knew how to work. (255/300) I believe Social Studies was after that. Social studies was pretty straight forward. Know the amendments (up to 19), what states were union states and what states seceded, causes of wars (Mexican-American, French-Indian , American Revolution, etc), Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Emmett Till, Abraham Lincoln, etc. Know the different types of economies, different types of Governments and how they operate. Also know the major court cases and what the outcome was (Marbury vs. Madison etc)(288/300) Science was okay. Know ecosystems, the rock cycle (mot just the different types of rocks, but how they can change over time /pressure/cementation/erosion), the phases of the moon, and the water cycle. Know structure and functions of plants, genes, punnett squares, learned behaviors and inherited traits. (260/300 ) Last was Fine Arts, which happens to be my least favorite subject. Know about the different types of Art (Expressionism, cubism, etc) and different ways cultures express it. Know balance, lines, and space. For music know timbre, dynamics, Notes, clefs (Treble/bass). Know the different types of music for each culture (Tejano/Blues). P.E was pretty simple. Know loco-motor skills, non-loco-motor skills, manipulative activities, fine and gross motor skills and activities. Know proper ways for teachers to use physical education across content areas. Health was also straight forward; just know your organs and the IR functions. (270/300) This test is not impossible, you just have to study. It is a lot of information, just go in there calm and stay focused. Time goes by so fast, therefore you need to make sure you are focused the entire time. Be okay with not knowing every answer, just mark it and come back to it.

Strategy #9

Study: I used the REA book for 291, as well as TExES book. The study tests helped, however, there wasn't much to use as resources since the test is so new.

Test: The test for all subjects was normal, except for social studies! For some reason, the questions they asked had nothing to do with what I studied. Compared to the 191 test, these questions are more in detail and aren't just general ideas. Study as much as you can. Good luck!

Strategy #10

Study: I used TExES REA book and online practice tests, Quizlet, and free materials from TExES. I studied a little bit each day for a week or two, and then crammed two days before. I would suggest reviewing math and doing a lot of online practice tests.

Test: I was a bit worried about the test, because I had not done well on the Math section. On the real test, I did much better on Math than expected. The test only took me about 2.5 hours, because I did not take any breaks.

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