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Strategy #1

Study: I had previously used Certify Teacher to pass my EC-12 (161) Special Education test, so I immediately went with them again. I love Certify Teacher and highly recommend them. I studied in total for 3 weeks. My hours in Certify Teacher totaled 83 when I went to take the test. I first drilled all the flash cards for every domain for the first week and then went through every domain and competency module in the study mode. Finally, I took practice exam after practice exam until I was able to score between 85 and 90 on each section. I took the test during the Summer and was able to dedicate my full energy to studying. I would study about 8 hours a day. If there was something I didn't understand I would YouTube videos to explain the concept. I also used the Facebook group "Core EC-6 291" and the ETS practice exam for additional practice questions.

Test: The English section made me feel really good and gave me the confidence I needed to continue. I had plenty of time to go back and check. For Math my mom, who is a third grade teacher, had told me to estimate on questions that required a lot of time and come back to them last. By using this strategy, I had time to check every answer and many were actually right. I scored the highest on Math, so i would suggest this strategy. For Social Studies and Science, make sure you take a practice STAAR so you have an idea of what will be on the test. You may not know some questions and that's okay. For Fine Arts make sure to brush up on music and theatre, as well as art skills. Many people don't study at all for this section and I highly advise AGAINST that method. It was by far the easiest section, but I still felt I needed to study. I took the test on a Friday afternoon and had my scores by Tuesday at 11. The test is long and hard, but study like your life depends on it and you will be fine! I didn't score lower than 260 on any section!

Strategy #2

Study: I purchased the REA book two months prior to taking the test. This book was very helpful just for the content. While I did take the online practice tests, I did not find them to be as useful as I hoped. I then started using Certify Teacher online. I found that these test questions were more in line with the ones on the actual test. I also went over the free study guide provided by ETS for this exam. I studied about 2 hours a day, taking the Certify Teacher practices tests and exams over and over again until I could score at least a 90% on each Domain on a regular basis. Be sure to study the "why" behind every answer so that you are prepared to answer the "same" question from a different perspective (especially the ELAR). The best learning I did was when I could teach someone else what I was studying. That content stuck in my mind the most. It really is true that the best way to learn something is by teaching it to someone else. Don't forget to psychologically prepare yourself for the exam as well. I gave myself plenty of time to establish a positive attitude towards the test.

Test: The test is challenging only because it's long. But, I felt it got easier the farther I went into it. The only section where I felt rushed was the Math section. You will not be given a calculator or a formula sheet (contrary to what the TExES video says). The calculations are min im al, but know how to calculate basic Math. You do need to know how to explain a Math concept using Math language; that's more than just knowing the answer to a problem. Be okay with the fact that there will be some answers you just don't know (especially in the Science/Social Studies). Don't let those questions throw off your groove, just keep moving forward. Give yourself time to go back and check ALL your answers. I found that I had more anxiety at the beginning of sections, so I was more likely to mark the wrong answer. I passed!

Strategy #3

Study: I bought the Ed Publishing "Pass The TExES Core Subjects" book to study. I went through and wrote down important notes about concepts and content. Once I did that for all 5 sections of the book, I made flashcards and studied those. During the week, I would spend about an hour studying the flash cards, then on the weekends I would spend about 5 hours going over them. I also utilized the practice test at the back of my book to see how prepared I was. I was most nervous about the ELAR section of the test, so I bought a full length ELAR practice test that was 75 questions long. I studied everyday up until the test. I gave myself about 3 and a half weeks to really study. I would recommend studying for a full month.

Test: Because I had taken the practice test at the back of my book and bought the practice test for the ELAR section, I was not shocked at what the test was like. Even though I knew what the test would be like, it was still nerve wracking. I went in thinking I was properly prepared, but afterwards I felt the complete opposite. The ELAR section was the longest and hardest section of the test. My advice is to just breathe, and really read the questions and answer choices and do not overthink it. To my surprise I passed the ELAR section with a (246/300). Up next was the Math section, and I was nervous about that one as well. It had 47 questions and they gave us an hour to answer them. I made the mistake of taking too long on a question and ended up almost running out of time. I was almost 100% sure I had failed that portion of the test, but thankfully I did not, I received (258/300). I wasn't too nervous about the Social Studies section because that was my strongest area. There were some questions that threw me off, but besides that the Social Studies portion was pretty easy. I made a 264 on that section. The Science section followed. The Science section was actually easier than I had anticipated, the test was still challenging though. I made a 262 on the Science section. The Fine Arts/Health section. This section was way more difficult than I thought it would be. There were 52 questions, but I felt like they focused mostly on music. I think i struggled with this section the most because the book that I used to study for the test did not prepare me for what they asked on the test. I made a 262 on this section as well. So, I say all of that to say that the test is hard, but it is not impossible. Just study and prepare properly and you will do just fine.

Strategy #4

Study: I used the REA TExES Core Subjects EC-6 (291) book by Rosado. What worked best for me was reading the book straight through then testing my knowledge with the practice tests. I took the diagnostic tests online that come with the book and then focused on the competencies where I needed the most help. I also used the prep manual that is available on the TExES website. One thing that I would do differently is to get started sooner. I'm finishing up my last semester at my University and I felt a little overwhelmed with all the studying I had to do for this test on top of my regular classes. Make a plan and stick to it.

Test: It was a long test. It was easier than I'd thought. I passed the first time even though after the test I felt I might need to retake a couple portions. I worked straight through and took almost all 5 hours. To prepare: Read, read, read and then test your knowledge over the material using a format that's similar to the test. That's why I liked taking the practice tests online that come with the book I bought, it helped teach me to pace myself. Be sure when taking the practice tests that you are not just memorizing the answer. You need to understand why that's the right answer. Remember that the actual tests will be over the competencies, so know them well for each subject. You won't know everything on the test and that's OK. You just need to study enough to where you feel confident. When test day comes, don't spend time on questions that don't make sense or are difficult. Get your easy points on the ones you know for sure and just keep on moving on the test, but don't leave any blank. You don't get a calculator on the EC-6 math portion, so be sure to brush up on your basic arithmetic skills. Luckily, most of the questions don't even require scratch paper but you do have to move fast on the math. Pay attention to how the question is worded so you can select the best answer.

Strategy #5

Study: I started studying officially two months prior to the exam, before this I read through TEA's test at a glance and Preparation Manual, but is was just to get to know the test and the standards. I bought REA's book as directed by some of these posts. I've been a teacher for quite long, but not in the US so this book gave me all of the background I needed. I started taking notes, but it was taking forever, so I just read the book. I studied on and off maybe three times a week for two or three hours. I started doing all of the online practice tests that came with the book. When I was done with the book, I bought Certify Teacher with two weeks left until the exam. I think both programs were of great help: REA to become familiar with basic US teaching and Certify Teacher to practice.

Test: The test was just like I expected. After answering all of the REA's practice tests and Certify Teacher's Study program, I felt like the test was another practice exam. Math was intense since I had like 5 seconds left after answering everything. For all of the others, I had an average of 10 minutes to double check. To my surprise I passed on the first try! Common sense plays an important role in answering the questions, but the factual concepts are also crucial; I would say 50/50. Thanks to everyone that has posted so far, this had a lot to do with my choices to study; that's why I felt compelled to come back and help someone else. GOOD LUCK!

Strategy #6

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 #7

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 #8

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 #9

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 #10

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!

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