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Read comments on Test # 116 - Science 4-8

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Strategy #1

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: What materials did I not use! I studied pretty much non-stop for about 2.5 months. I work from home and have 3 kids, so if I wasn't doing something related to them, I was studying. I read the XAMonline book and took the test in the back. The book is good, but there are some grammatical errors. I also read the TExES Secrets Study Guide. Do not use this book as your only source. It is ok for an overview of material, but not for in-depth studying. There is a test in the back and another one online. I took a released STAAR 8th grade Science test. I read an 8th grade science textbook. I also took the TEA prep manual material test. I used Quizlet (it's ok), certifyteacher.com (thought it was way too easy), 240tutoring.com (again, way too easy), and texesprep.com. Texesprep.com is very hard, the questions are way harder than the actual test, but they do help you prepare and show you your weak areas. If you can pass one of their tests, you should have no problem with the real thing. I watched many YouYube videos. I highly recommend Crash Course (they have playlists on Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, Ecology), Bozeman Science, and Earth Science X (he has a whole Geology course online that was very helpful) I have a Marine Giology degree, but graduated 13 years ago, so I needed a major refresher. I made flashcards on EVERYTHING, from all the books, tests, and videos and I would drill them every few days or so. Any formulas or how to solve chemistry problems, I researched online and found problems and walk-throughs to help me understand.

Test: Honestly, it wasn't that hard. I am a pretty fast test taker, but I made myself slow down and read the question, read the answers, and then read the question again. Most every problem you can immediately throw 2 out. It took me about an hour and 20 mins to answer all 100 questions. I took a short break and then went back through all the questions to make sure I didn't misread anything. I ended up changing a couple of my answers. I was surprised at the number of calculation questions I had on my test. Several in Physics and a few in Chemistry. No formulas were given and no calculator provided. I made a 267, missed 14 out of 100. I have no idea how many questions were being field-tested, I just assumed 20 from other peoples info. The questions are straight forward, but you really have to think about what they are asking you. For ex: there was a question about red and white flowers being co-dominate. If you cross 2 white flowers, what is your phenotype? The way the question read and looking at the answers, I could see how some people would immediately jump to the answer with the pink flowers, but that's not what they were asking. Crossing 2 white flowers would never give you a pink flower. Any questions regarding the learning, instruction, and assessment, the answer is always going to be the one that is the most hands-on for the student or the one that requires the student to think more critically. This test is totally passable. Stay calm, and read carefully! Hope this helps and good luck!!!

Strategy #2

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: In the past few months I've studied for and passed three TExES Exams on the first attempt. I preface with that because I am truly confident that your best plan of action is to use the ETS Preparation Manual as a primary outline and review for this exam. Start with the practice exam located at the bottom of the prep manual. Understand not only the correct answer to the questions, but also the other answer choices as well. I have found that the answer choices will help fill in many of the competencies on the review guide portion of the prep manual. Some of the competency statements can, on the surface, appear kind of vague, so I would recommend really trying to interpret what they are asking you to know. If you find yourself clueless in terms of what one of the competencies is asking for, I would advise using Study.com or the XAM Online book if you cannot find information on a particular competency. The XAM Online book consistently wanders off-topic from what the competency is asking for and I found that to be somewhat frustrating and overwhelming. Please note that there is a post on the Online Study Community that lists nearly twenty different topics that they encountered on the exam. I would recommend looking as far as possible into every single one of those topics. Also, Texasexamprep.com (i.e. Texas Tutoring Services) is a waste of your time and a lot of money.

Test: If you stick to the prep manual, you will find that you will be somewhat over-prepared. Go as far down the rabbit hole as you can for each of the competencies on the prep manual and you will walk out of the test feeling confident you did very well.

Strategy #3

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: To study for the test I used the Mometrix study guide. I read through it twice and worked on the test at the end. The test at the end was much more in-depth than what the real test is like. I also purchased Certify Teacher, which I think was the best tool I used. It was the most similar to the test. I also went back and studied old STAAR tests that have been released online for free.

Test: I was nervous going into the test, but the test was so much easier than I thought it was going to be. The "Earth" and "Space" gave me the most trouble, but I still passed with a 259. If you study, you can pass this test.

Strategy #4

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I used the Xam online book, 240tutoring.com, Quizlet, and a few STAAR tests. I made flashcards of all of the content in the Xam Online book. I studied for exactly 29 days. I studied for 4-6 hours each day on the weekend, and then the weekend before the test for 12 hours each day. For the last few days before the test, I purchased the 240tutoring.com online study. The format was great, but I flew threw and was quickly getting all the practice questions right. I felt like it was too easy; they claim that if you can pass their domains with 95%, they guarantee you will pass the TExES 4-8 Science. That being said, only a few of their questions helped me and I would NOT rely totally on this program. The XAM online, by far, gave me the best overall study of the domains. If I had it to do over, I would take about two more weeks and look over a Life Science, Physical Science and Earth Science textbook.

Test: It was tough; I wouldn't say it was harder than I expected, but the questions were different than any of the practice questions I used. I would liken it to a college level final exam on general knowledge of Life, Physical and Earth Science. Don't forget to study your Scientific Inquiry/Process and Science Learning. I had 100 questions. About 10 of them I for sure was not sure on and I assume they might have been the 'pilot' questions. Of the other 90, I nailed about half of those without even thinking too much, and the other half I narrowed to 50/50 and chose what I thought was the best. Every domain was well represented. I didn't have to balance a chemical equation or determine mole ratio. I did have a few problems on calculating force and half life. The way the questions are worded and the answer choices demand that you know the material. I passed with a 244! Good Luck!

Strategy #5

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: A lot of the information that was provided on this online study community was very helpful; I made some flashcards with information that was provided. I also used 240tutor.com; they guarantee that you will pass your TExES exam, if you can score a 95% on their test or your money back. Another thing I liked about them is that they test your knowledge to see where you need improving. You study the materials they provide, and a few weeks later you test again and see where you have improved and where you still need work. I also reviewed a lot of free study guides that I found online. Finally, I viewed a few videos on YouTube: planets, Punnett squares, rock cycle, Newton’s laws, calculating a chemical equation, calculating moles, and the periodic table. The only thing I would have done differently is given myself more time to study. I studied several hours everyday for 6 weeks.

Test: The test had very little information that I had reviewed. There were some trick questions regarding systolic and diastolic blood pressure and a few others that I did not see in the study guides. I scored a 200 and hope that I can pass the second time around. I plan on reviewing the information that I had previously studied. I also plan on reviewing information that was on the test that I had not studied before. I wish everyone the best of luck.

Strategy #6

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I used the Study.com program TExES Science 4-8: Practice & Study Guide; it went over every single thing on the test. It's long, but I think it was well worth the money as it broke everything down to a simple level. I also used the Mometrix book, but more for the test at the end. It gives detailed reasons behind every answer choice: ex. A is the right answer, it will tell you why, then it will tell you what B,C,D are and why they are not correct.

Test: The test, overall, wasn’t hard. Some of the Chemistry was hard, but I’m extremely weak in Chemistry. Some of my question were: what is a lunar eclipse, the Jovian planets differ from the interior how, what is an element that losses and electron called, and if 2 people who are heterogeneous had a child, what are the odds the child will also be heterogeneous?. I started the test at 8 and was done by 10:30. It was tough to have to wait over a weekend for my results, but I passed with no problem.

Strategy #7

This test was taken on Paper.

Study: I used the materials found on the TEA website (sample TAKS, TExES Study Guide, and Sample TExES Test) to determine what areas to study. I used Khan Academy (which was sometimes more in depth than necessary), physicsclassroom.com (probably the best resource I found), and the "crash course" YouTube channel (very helpful for Chemistry, Biology, and Ecology overviews) to get detailed informoation on specific topics. I took practice tests, wrote down topics that I didn't fully know, and searched online for explanations. YouTube and Google are excellent resources for tutorials. The most difficult aspect of studying was determining how in depth to go on each subject. I studied for about a month and went as in depth as I could. Some of the information was unnecessary, however allowed me to make a more informed decision on questions I was unsure about. So, if you encounter a word or concept that you don't know, at least glance at the Wikipedia page to get a general idea of its context.

Test: I passed and did slightly better than I expected. I wouldn't say the test was particularly easy or difficult. It expects understanding at a higher level than 8th grade, but I would not say it was college level material. The majority of the questions were reasonably easy, but only because I understood the question/answers and could rule things out. The more difficult questions involved very specific knowledge of the topic or had several answers that both seemed reasonable; there were not as many of these as I expected. I struggled with some of the calculation questions involving Physics and Moles in chemical reactions, so I would recommend really focusing on those. There were also a number of questions related to teaching practice, which were slightly difficult because I haven't had any training on types of assessments. But, most of these just required some common sense. Other reviewers have noted specific areas to study and those are accurate, so check other responses as well. Definitely understand types of rocks (including specific forms: ie basalt, granite, etc.), know the periodic table (groups and reactions between them, the components of the atom, and radioactive decay), know trophic levels and taxonomy, makeup of the atmosphere, biosphere, layers of earth, tectonic plate movement, the water cycle, photosynthesis, cellular structure/organelle functions (including ATP creation), understand the nervous system and the endocrine system, and astronomy (life cycle and types of stars, composition of the planets, and how galaxies are dispersed and clustered). In terms of Physics, make sure you can do basic work/force calculations, understand electricity/magnetism, and the properties of wave s (sound, light, electromagnetic). I know that's a lot, but I wanted to include as many specific topics as I could recall. Finally, mark any questions you are unsure about, move on, and come back at the end. I would also recommend going through each question at the end to make sure you didn't miss something. You have plenty of time, and I caught a few questions where I had overlooked some minor detail of the question. Best of luck.

Strategy #8

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: Since I have a Bachelor degree in Biology and I recently graduated, I reviewed content and only studied for 2 days for this test. I read a 7th grade science book I found online for free from California. I read 16 chapters in those 2 days and studied for hours. The night before the test I took the STAAR exams which are online for 5th and 8th grade. I reviewed the questions I got wrong and went over my understanding on the topic.

Test: Taking the test, I thought it was really easy. You have 5 hours to take the exam and there wasn't a calculator available in the CAT. Don't worry too much about the test. As long as you have a basic understanding for the material and have background knowledge you should be fine. There were also questions about teaching which are pretty much common sense. Make sure to review everything the test will cover and you'll do great! I did well and passed the test, so I feel like my study method worked for me. Good luck!

Strategy #9

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: To study for the test, I used many resources: certifyteacher.com, texasprep.com, the ETS study guide with a practice test, 6th-8th grade textbooks, released STAAR exams, Quizlet, and Khan Academy. I fully believe the combination of all of the above allowed me to be successful! I studied for a full 6 weeks prior to taking the exam and I was passing in the high 90's on the tests from certifyteacher.com.

Test: The test seemed a lot easier than I expected. Contrary to a lot of feedback provided to me, you do need to know how to balance a chemical equation. Chemistry was my hardest domain; know how to calculate moles. Life Science, Physics, Earth Science and Chemistry were all well represented on the test. I PASSED on the first time and I was hired on the day that I received my passing score. Good Luck everyone!

Strategy #10

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I only had 6 days to study for this exam, but was able to devote 6-12 hours (usually closer to 12) each day. Study the official manual for the exam, especially the answer explanations from the practice questions. They'll give you clues as to similar questions that you can expect on the real thing. I thought the real exam was much more difficult than the practice provided, but I may have just gotten a harder version. Next, I highly recommend the practice tests from TexesPrep.com. They're $15 each, but seriously worth it. I was amazed just how closely the format, topics, and types of questions aligned with the real exam when I took it. Several of the questions on these practice tests I passed up, thinking "this is way too advanced to be on a test for middle-school content". This was not the best decision. I was kicking myself for it half way through my exam. When you want to reset the practice tests, hit the live chat link and they'll do it for you quickly (apparently at any hour, and any day of the week- I'm sure it's outsourced, but I was impressed). Do a google search for free practice tests and quizzes for middle school science (you can even find those specifically covering a certain content area). Apparently a lot of teachers post these publicly for their students to practice and just leave them up. I also took a STAAR test. They release new ones each year for practice. These are much easier than what you'll be taking for certification, but they do help put things into perspective. KNOW YOUR CHEMISTRY. You will get a Periodic Table, but not a calculator (which sure would have helped me, if I had spent more time remembering formulas in the first place). Contrary to other comments posted here, I do recommend being able to balance a chemical equation. I imagine they change up the content from time to time... KNOW YOUR FORMULAS. These will NOT be provided for you on the exam. I really kicked myself for thinking they would be. STOP studying several hours before the time you normally go to bed on the night before the exam. I had some serious insomnia and felt so drained while I was taking the real thing.

Test: t was WAY harder than I expected. Seriously. I have a science degree, graduated towards the top of my class, and some of the questions on my exam covered topics I'd never even encountered, but I passed. Even blew the standard deviation. Just keep breathing, remember that the average score for this exam is only about a 245, so if you fail you most certainly aren't alone. It's not going to destroy your career; it's just a minor setback that you'll hardly ever think about a few years from now. I have a unique, slightly neurotic method to keep things in perspective and reduce stress while taking exams. On my scratch paper, I make 3 columns: one for questions that I'm almost certain I got right, one for those I'm about 75% sure I got right, and one for those I was able to narrow down to two answer choices (50% sure I got right). Sometimes I add a fourth column for questions I had to totally guess on, so I can revisit them later/look for clues within other questions. For each question, I write that question's number in one of those columns. Most times, even if I feel like I'm failing, looking at how many questions I felt pretty good about adjusts my thinking. For this test, I figured I got about 70 questions correct. Obviously, I did much better than I thought. Odds are, a lot of those serious curve balls were un-scored questions. REPORT YOUR SCORES. There's no benefit in choosing not to do so at the end of the test, even if you're sure you've failed. Employers don't seem to care about your score, just that you passed. Bring a snack, your typical belongings, a jacket, a drink, etc. Most centers will give you a locker and mine even let me eat my snack. Everyone brings their phone so you do not need to leave it in your car. Just make sure the administrators know you have it and that it is off while testing. You'll have plenty of time. I'm dyslexic and ADD and a VERY slow reader. Still had more than enough time to finish and thoroughly review my answers.

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