Test Prep: TAKS Science Exam

Texas high school students are required to pass a number of subject-specific exit-level exams, which they can begin taking during the eleventh grade, in order to receive their high school diplomas. Together these tests are called the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS.

The science exam consists of 55 questions, most of which will be four-part multiple-choice questions. The multiple-choice answer choices are alternately labeled A, B, C, D, and F, G, H, J. "Not Here" may be used as the fourth answer choice in some multiple-choice questions. A few questions will be open-ended gridable questions. For this question type, you will be given an eight-column grid to record and bubble in your answer.

You will have a few tools at your disposal to help you along with this test. First, you will be given a science chart that contains a chart of formulas on one side and the periodic table of elements on the other side. Make sure that you're familiar with the formulas and understand the constants/conversions table at the bottom of the page. The formulas page will also have a 20cm metric ruler along the edge.

In addition to the science chart, you are allowed to use a calculator. Some problems may involve multiple steps and calculations from data given. Even though no question will require the use of a calculator — that is, each question can be answered without a calculator — using a calculator on some problems may save you valuable time.

  • Before doing an operation, check the number that you keyed in to make sure that you keyed in the right number. You may wish to check each number as you key it in.

  • Make sure that you clear the calculator after each problem. You may need to clear your calculator as you work a problem to go on to the next part. If this is the case, be sure to write down your answer before you go on to the next step.

Take advantage of using a calculator on the test. You can use jusst about any calculator on the test, from a simple four-function calculator to a scientific or graphing calculator — as long as it doesn't have a typewriter-style (QWERTY) keyboard on it. Just make sure you know how to use the calculator efficiently before you begin the test.

As you approach a problem, first focus on how to solve that problem and then decide if the calculator will be helpful. Remember, a calculator can save you time on some problems, but also remember that each problem can be solved without a calculator. Also remember that a calculator will not solve a problem for you by itself. You must understand the problem first.

Although the Science Test has no time limit, the suggested time is 2 hours.