While tests in various subjects are required for promotion and graduation in Texas public schools, preparing for them doesn’t have to be a painful or uncertain process. In fact, the Texas Education Agency provides a wide variety of free resources to help students prepare for and pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests.

Confirm your subjects and dates. Students do not have to take TAKS tests in all subjects every year, so check the TEA’s TAKS Resources website to see which tests are required (see Resources). The site also includes a calendar of test dates, which you can use to plan your study schedule.

Check the blueprints. The TAKS Resources site includes a link to “blueprints” of each test, which define the content to be covered, how many and which kinds of questions will be included and how answers will be graded.

Download information booklets. TAKS information booklets provide detailed information on the tests, including objectives in each subject area, how specific skills and knowledge will be evaluated and example questions you can use to practice and guide your studying.

Use study guides. TAKS Study Guides, published by the TEA for each grade level and subject, feature tips on studying and test-taking, sample questions and other tools to help students prepare for the tests. Free PDF versions of the guides are available on the TAKS Resources site, and Pearson Access hosts interactive editions of the guides.

Review released tests. TEA releases previously used TAKS tests every three years, as well as answer keys and scoring guides. While there is no guarantee that current TAKS tests will closely resemble older versions, getting familiar with previous tests and their correct answers can provide valuable insights and help you feel more comfortable with the TAKS format.

Rest and relax. After all your hard work, you should feel well-prepared and confident when test day arrives. Whatever you do, don’t panic and try to study right up till the last minute. Instead, relax, get plenty of sleep the night before the test, eat a healthy breakfast and wear comfortable clothes. Just do your best, and odds are, all your preparation will pay off.

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