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Read comments on Test # 116 - Science 4-8

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Strategy #11

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), (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 #12

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 #13

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: To study for the test, I used many resources:,, 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

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 #14

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 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.

Strategy #15

This test was taken on Paper.

Study: I read the Chemistry and Biology for Dummies books, an 8th grade Science textbook, and most importantly the XAM 116 Science textbook that I bought from Amazon. I read all of these books from front cover to back cover. Afterwards I still didn't feel like I did enough to study.

Test: I took the test March 2015, it was not hard. The test was asking very basic science questions. I thought I was going to go in there and have a bunch of questions on ADP and the Krebs Cycle but there wasn't a single one. Now this doesn't mean that when you take the exam there won't be one, I was just lucky. I thought I failed when I left but I got a 246 out of 300. I passed by 6 points! So I'll take it. If you want to pass I would focus more on biology than anything else.

Strategy #16

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I used an 8th grade textbook along with the XAM prep manual. I started studying a few weeks before the test, but not as diligently as I should have. I hit the books hard the week of the test. When I took the practice test at the end of the manual, I missed about 25 questions so i was worried. I decided to take other practice tests and found a released STAAR exam. I knew physics would be the area I needed to focus.

Test: When I took my exam there were 100 instead of 90 questions, so I had a mini panic attack. The test was not easy but it wasn't too hard either. Some questions were very basic while others were detailed and challenging. I left feeling like either I passed by a point or failed by a point. I got my test scores back two days later and I passed with a 264. I'm assuming the challenging questions were probably pilot questions because I was expecting to miss more. I will say study each section and use released TAKS or STAAR exams. They helped me nail the physical science section. There were questions on molecules, bonding, half from basics to the 10th grade level. The section I missed the most was the inquiry and teaching questions... Just think about the scenarios thoroughly. Overall this test isnt that bad. I think nerves just cause us to think the worse...

Strategy #17

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: Used the XAM book. Was a good guide to obtain outline of what subjects are covered on the test. Information provided in the book was very shallow so I spent alot of time with Khan Academy for chemistry instruction on molarity and stoichiomety and periodic table),earth and space science instruction.

Test: I was a business major in college so I had taken only 2 basic science classes. Studied diligently for 2 weeks. The earth science section was harder than expected - there were alot of questions on rocks and minerals. You have to know the names of many rocks of each type (not just the type rock and how formed) and what characteristic would be best to identify (luster, interaction with acid, color...) Also, periodic table had to know what type bonding on a particular compound (plus another on type bonding of DNA molecules, a question on which atomic radius of the r listed atoms is largest. Gave a chemical formula that you had to ID as an oxidation reaction. I did't know what difficulty to expect going in but it was probably easier than expected. So use the XAM book as a guide and fill in the technical knowledge with Khan and other internet sources untill you really understand the subject material. Good Luck!

Strategy #18

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I used the prep manual from the website and software from I feel like the practice manual from Texes ETS was a good gauge of what would be covered, just not enough of it. I "aced" the practice exams by Certify Teacher and they did absolutely nothing for me. I would venture to say that they covered about 20% of the topics that were actually on the test. I was so unprepared, and should've used many more resources. After failing the test, I have read more from the online study community posts and realize that I'm not alone. I plan to use Khan Academy and the TAKS study guides for the retake. Hopefully, this will prepare me.

Test: I kept reading that we were going to be issued a calculator, but when I checked in they said that we weren't allowed to have one. I don't think that was detrimental to my passing or failing, but it definitely would've made me feel more confident. I had no idea there would be so much chemistry on the test. I was prepared to balance equations, but that wasn't even a question...and like I said I was very ill prepared. Also study your Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science anywhere you can. Hope this is helpful. Best of luck.

Strategy #19

This test was taken on Paper.

Study: I had used the free ETS competency review, some school books and this website that HELPED me so much. The website is They also have physics, chemistry, astronomy, and biology. Though they don't go in depth of the subject, it is a great basic review.

Test: The first time I just took the test just to see what was on it. I mainly used the biology 4 kids website to help me get some basic concepts down, the XAM study guide didn't help me much since it mainly went through the competencies in depth (New version). Chemistry was one of the major things on this test, the second was the professional pedagogy. The pedagogy part was the most difficult since it was very hypothetical, lots of scenarios and always gives you 2 words that are closely related to the question, oh and those are going to be your main trick questions there. Good luck everyone.

Strategy #20

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I was spending time studying for the high school science test so I didn't study lower level science per se, but I did study 4-8 teaching methods. I read the Texes Xam online book.

Test: The test was easy. You do need to know your science and the teaching methods. It took me an hour and a half to do the test. Just got scored: 280....yay! Good Luck!

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