TSI Reading Practice Test

In Texas, earning a college degree begins with taking tests. Aspiring scholars without recent military service or average scores on the ACT or SAT exams must take the TSI (Texas Success Initiative). A computer-assisted test administered by all state colleges and universities, the TSI assesses the reading, writing, and mathematical skills of prospective students. TSI scores help state institutions of higher learning to determine whether new students should enroll in freshman-level or remedial classes during their first year in college.

TSI Reading Practice Test


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Why is the TSI required?

College students in Texas come from varied backgrounds. Some graduate from traditional high schools. Others or are home-schooled or take the GED. Diversity enriches college life, but it complicates academic advising. State colleges and universities use TSI scores to place new enrollees in regular or remedial English and math courses. A low score on the TSI is not a permanent barrier to college attendance, but it could mean an extra semester or two of remedial classes that do not count toward the college degree.

Where can I take the TSI?

Texas institutions of higher learning in Texas offer a free practice version of the TSI to see how new enrollees might perform on the full examination. No school will administer the actual TSI until a student completes the pretest. Testing sites schedule the TSI, advise prospective students of their pretest scores, and explain how the scores determine a student’s enrollment in college-level or remedial math and English classes. Those with low marks on the pretest are counseled to study before they attempt the full TSI.

How is the TSI administered?

All state colleges and universities make the TSI available for a fee after a pretest is completed. There are no time limits for the TSI, but enrollees typically need three to four hours to complete the reading, writing, and mathematics sections. The TSI is delivered and scored by computer, so test takers receive a unique set of questions, adjusted to the performance level at which each student is most successful. Testing staff communicate the results of the TSI soon after the test is complete and advise future students of the classes that are best suited to their skill level.

How is the TSI organized?

The TSI has three components: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. The Reading section has 24 multiple choice questions. The Math and Writing components have 20 multiple choice questions each, plus an Essay question for the Writing exam. Like the pre-test, the full TSI is untimed and computer adaptive, with the difficulty of questions based on the test taker’s performance.

What is on the TSI Reading test?

The TSI Reading test adheres to the same learning standards as the high school curriculum guidelines in Texas. Some questions are fairly straightforward; others are more challenging. The Reading test consists of 24 selections, each followed by a question with four multiple choice answers. Test takers identify the relationships between ideas in literary, historical, and scientific passages. The Reading test includes four types of questions:

  • Literary Analysis questions focus on understanding figures of speech and analyzing ideas in literary texts, such as Greek myths, plots of classic Hollywood movies, or American folktales. Test takers may be asked to choose the best way to explain the significance of familiar symbols such as magic wands, talking frogs, or heroes with super-human strength.
  • Main Idea and Supporting Details tests measure comprehension of informative passages on a variety of topics, such as historical events, technological innovations, and biographies of noteworthy people. The content of these paragraphs ranges from the impact of smart phones on American culture to a scientific explanation of how natural forces carved the Grand Canyon.
  • Inferences are educated guesses about the relationships of ideas implied but not explicitly stated. For example, a selection might begin by reporting high rates of obesity in American children but then shift to the percentage of evening meals U.S. families consume in fast food restaurants. The test taker could be asked to mark the response that best describes how information about overweight children relates to families dining at fast food restaurants: before and after, cause and effect, comparing, or contrasting.
  • Author’s Use of Language on the TSI Reading test asks students to infer a writer’s purpose and tone from a selection’s structure and terminology. Does the author seem most concerned to persuade the reader to act a certain way or to reflect quietly on outdated assumptions? Why might an author use such words as “anachronistic” or “prescient” to describe American foreign policy? Test takers must surmise the tone of paragraph and the meaning of unfamiliar words from their context.

How can Mometrix help me study for the TSI?

Repeated practice testing is the ideal way to prepare for the TSI. Familiarity with the format of the questions builds the test takers’ confidence by helping them to anticipate the kinds of questions that appear on the test, when to guess the answer, and how to cope with test anxiety.

The Texas-based Mometrix company offers the best TSI review on the market. Mometrix materials do not waste time rehashing high school lessons. The Mometrix TSI Assessments Secrets Study Guide and TSI Flashcards for quick study focus solely on the TSI testing experience, replicating the vocabulary and levels of difficulty found in the actual TSI. The Mometrix TSI Online Course offers lessons, video reviews, practice tests, and more in a mobile-friendly format.

Is TSI preparation worth my time and effort?

A successful TSI performance is an on-ramp to a career filled with opportunities and rewards. Students who prepare for the TSI are more likely to avoid remedial classes and complete their college degree more quickly. A college degree is worth $1 million more in lifetime earnings than a high school diploma. College graduates live longer, healthier lives. Diligent study plus Mometrix products can guide you to a brighter future.

Upgrade your studying with our TSI online course, study guide, and flashcards:
TSI Prep Course
TSI Study Guide
TSI Flashcards

TSI Reading Practice Questions

TSI Reading Practice Test

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: January 14, 2021

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