TSI Reading Study Guide

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TSI Reading Review

The Texas Success Initiative Assessment—most commonly abbreviated and known as the TSI—serves as a means of evaluating the readiness of incoming Texas college students for the average college’s often more rigorous academic environment. Colleges are, by law, obligated to administer this test to nearly every college student in the state of Texas. However, a few noteworthy exceptions exist, the most prominent being for those who already took the SAT or ACT—two exams which also serve to evaluate how ready incoming college students are for the college environment—and received a passing score. If you don’t meet any of the requirements for exemption, you will have to take the TSI prior to signing up for your first course load at your college of choice.

Due to its focus on college readiness, the TSI divides into three sections: Writing, Reading, and Mathematics. These subjects will form the core of your general studies requirements as you work toward your degree. This overview will focus particularly on the Reading portion of the TSI.

You may be wondering why Reading is included on a college readiness exam. Simply put, much of your coursework will involve reading to some degree. Even if you are planning on pursuing a less text-heavy degree, such as one within the STEM field, there will still be an ample amount of reading expected of you on a regular basis. The texts you will be expected to read will typically be more complicated than what you have encountered in high school or out in the world. As such, it is in your college’s best interest to know that you are a capable reader who will be able to adequately handle the material given to you and thrive in the environment.

If you have been deemed as part of the large group of students required to take this exam, you need not worry. At Mometrix Test Preparation, we dedicate ourselves fully to providing you with every possible tool necessary to succeed on this exam and others like it. This mission is why we have put together this TSI Reading study guide—to inform you of how the exam works, how it is formatted, what you can expect to see on the exam, and how you can prepare for it as best you can. For further help, we also have a TSI Reading practice test and TSI Reading flashcards for you to use at your discretion. Keep reading to learn more about the exam and what you will have to know.

What Content Is Featured on the TSI Reading Section?

Much like the other two portions of the TSI, the Reading section is composed of multiple choice questions. You will find 24 questions on the exam. On the diagnostic test, you will find anywhere between 10 and 12 questions per section. The Reading section of the TSI covers four specific subjects in all, which we will go over in detail in this overview.

First, however, it is important that we provide you with more information about the Pre-Assessment Activity, which is meant to serve as a diagnostic tool prior to taking the official TSI exam. This Activity is 100 percent required, just as the TSI itself is. You will be barred from the TSI exam if you have not finished the Pre-Assessment Activity beforehand. By completing it, you will gain access to a wealth of information, including the various ways in which your chosen school can help you on your path to academic success, why the TSI is such a significant part of your college education, what your options are if you do not perform well on any portion of the official exam, and a mock exam meant to give you an example of what to expect on the test as well as guidance toward how to study for it based upon your own strengths and weaknesses. After finishing the exam, you will receive official certification, which can be used as a “passport” of sorts on the day of your official TSI assessment.

Both the Pre-Assessment Activity and the official exam will be administered to you digitally. The Reading portion of the TSI is written so that you will be provided with several written works, which will typically be short. You will then have to answer questions about each text based upon what you have read. The text presented to you will cover a wide variety of subjects, of which you not have to have any particular outside knowledge. The only information you will be expected to go off of when answering questions on the TSI Reading section is the information provided to you by the written passage.

To further help you prepare, we will now go over what you can expect to find on the TSI Reading section. Along with each description, we will also give you tips on how to approach each question variety.

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Author’s Use of Language

Questions under the Author’s Use of Language category seek to assess how well you can identify an author’s intent through several literary elements. More specifically, you will have to examine how the author utilizes evidence to support their claims, how they use rhetoric to affect their arguments, how they have structured their writing in general, what sort of tone they are trying to convey, and what message they are trying to communicate. You will also have to peruse the text on a contextual basis, and figure out certain words’ definitions based upon how they are used within the text.

This question category requires close reading on your part to properly interpret the work. Be sure to read over the text as carefully as possible. Think about how the author is utilizing language as you read, and make note of any wording meant to be indicative of the work’s mood or stance.

Literary Analysis

Questions of this variety serve a more blatant purpose—to test how well you can analyze literature. This will involve perusing the text provided to you for the sake of deciphering its meaning. Literary Analysis questions may ask you to identify what the passage is trying to say, or about its various components. You will ultimately have to express some critical thought toward the passage’s ideas by answering questions about the passage’s meaning.

Just as with the above knowledge category, you will have to read the passages provided to you as carefully as possible. As you read, consider how the passage is being communicated. Look for the passage’s ideas and themes, as well as how these ideas are organized and explained within the text. Think about what the work means as a whole. When you come across Literary Analysis questions on the exam, you can then pick an answer that best matches your interpretation of the passage.

Inferences in a Text or Texts

Questions under the Inferences in a Text or Texts category analyze your understanding of how to draw conclusions based on information pulled from a given passage. With these types of questions, you will be given a passage and expected to answer questions about what sorts of conclusions you can pull from the work using the information provided to you.

This knowledge category will involve you going back through the text and “reading between the lines” for information that may not be explicitly stated. This contextual information will be from where you draw your conclusions. Look for these subtle hints and statements as you read to better help you approach questions under the Inference in a Text or Texts category more easily.

Main Idea and Supporting Details

The Main Idea and Supporting Details category covers the central theme of the passage. You will be expected to know how to identify not only a written piece’s main idea, but any information communicated by the work through concise means. This can mean any details within the work, as well as any other ideas related closely to the central idea.

You will blatantly be asked what a work’s main idea is and be given a list of answers to choose from. As you read, think about what the work’s message could potentially be and pick an answer based upon your own observations.

This overview of the TSI Reading section is not meant to be comprehensive. Rather, we hope you will be able to use it as a springboard to start planning how you will study for this important exam. At Mometrix Test Preparation, we are 100 percent dedicated to helping foster your academic success. For this reason, we have constructed the TSI Reading study guide you will find on this page, as well as a TSI Reading practice test and TSI flashcards to further help you as you study. You can use our tools to study to the fullest extent you need. Good luck, and work hard!

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: June 3, 2021