TSI Writing Practice Test

What is the TSI?

For all their diversity, most college students in Texas share the experience of taking the TSI (Texas Success Initiative), a test of essential reading, writing, and math skills. Only students with recent military experience or ACT or SAT scores are exempt. All state colleges and universities administer the TSI to ensure that new enrollees take classes suited to their skill level. Those with low scores on the TSI must enroll in remedial English and mathematics courses to improve their chance of success in college courses.



Get free TSI Writing Practice Test Questions. Be prepared for your upcoming TSI test with our free TSI prep help.


TSI Test
TSI Study Guide
TSI Flashcards

Why is the TSI required?

The varied backgrounds and educational experiences of students give Texas schools their vibrant diversity, but these same factors can create uneven academic achievement. Texas colleges and universities use TSI scores to determine whether their enrollees should take regular or remedial English and math classes in their first year of college. Lows scores on the TSI will not derail the dream of attending college, but they could mean an extra semester or two of remedial classes that will not count toward a student’s college degree.


Where can I take the TSI?

Every college campus in Texas offers prospective students a chance to take a free TSI practice test, which indicates how well a student is likely to score on the complete exam. No college or university offers the complete TSI without a practice test. The results of the computer-generated pre-test are available immediately. Testing staff explain the pretest scores and indicate what the scores mean. Low-scoring students are encouraged to study test-related materials and improve their skills before attempting the complete TSI.


How is the TSI administered?

After completing a pretest, enrollees pay a fee to take the TSI at any state college or university. The TSI is untimed, although most students need three to four hours to move steadily through all three sections. The TSI is computer-generated, so no two students answer the same questions. The testing program adjusts the difficulty of questions to each test taker’s skill level and grades the exam almost immediately upon completion. Students quickly learn their scores for each of the three parts of the test—reading, writing, and mathematics—and which college courses they can take, based on their skills.


TSI Writing Practice Questions

TSI Writing Practice Test

How is the TSI organized?

The TSI is a three-part test with 20 to 24 items per section. The Reading and Mathematics portions of the test consist entirely of multiple choice questions. The Writing part begins with objective questions on grammar and punctuation followed by an essay assignment. Like the practice exam, the TSI has no time limit and adapts questions to the test taker’s skill level.


What is on the TSI Writing test?

The Writing section of the TSI consists of 20 multiple choice questions and an essay writing exercise. The objective questions are of two types:


  • Correct grammar and punctuation questions encompass the agreement of subjects and verbs, nouns and pronouns, and the use of commas and periods. Agreement means consistency. If the subject of a sentence is singular, the verb form must match the subject. For example, in the sentence “Betty and Roscoe is/are cousins,” Betty and Roscoe are two people. Two or more subjects match plural verb forms, so are is the right answer. Agreement questions are easy when sentences are short, but when modifying phrases and dependent clauses are added, subject-verb agreement can get tricky.

  • Agreement issues also arise when pronouns replace nouns. If a noun is singular – the desk clerk, a new car—its pronoun replacement should be he, she or it. Study for these questions should focus on identifying subjects and verbs of sentences and recognizing singular and plural nouns and pronouns.

  • Punctuation questions mostly concern where sentences begin and end. Periods, question marks, exclamation points, and occasionally semi-colons signal the end of a sentence. Commas signal interruptions in the conventional subject-verb-object sequence of words in an English sentence.

  • Revision questions require test takers to apply their knowledge of sentence structure to consider how a sentence could be rewritten. The initial sentence might be something like, “After slumbering all day in a cabin in his pajamas, Carlos awakened suddenly.” Is the sequence of words in this sentence perfectly logical? If so, the answer is “no change.” If not, select a better version of the sentence.

  • Essay assignments on the TSI may begin with a prompt for an opinion, such as whether towns should be allowed to ban pit bulls or exotic pets like snakes from their city limits. The writer must offer to organize a five-paragraph paper with an introduction and thesis statement that states a position on the topic, followed by three body paragraphs that offer reasons to support the thesis, and a concluding paragraph.

How can Mometrix help me study for the TSI?

The best study method for an academic skills test is to practice the skills on the actual exam. Mometrix Test Preparation materials couple questions similar to those on the TSI with detailed explanations of how to choose the correct answers.


Subject matter experts guide the development of all Mometrix TSI study materials. The TSI Assessment Secrets Study Guide is an entire book of practice exams as well as advice on reducing test anxiety, intelligent guessing, and eliminating wrong answers. TSI Flashcards put a test practice in your pocket, allowing you to memorize key concepts during lunch breaks or after workout sessions.


Is TSI preparation worth my time and effort?

Yes. A strong performance on the TSI bestows lifelong rewards. Students who practice for the TSI move more quickly through their college classes. They avoid remedial classes in English and math, develop confidence in their testing skills, and improve their chances of graduating from college. College graduates are healthier, enjoy more exciting work, and earn $1 million more in a lifetime than workers with a high school diploma


What's on the TSI?
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Provided by: Mometrix Test Preparation

Last updated: 07/09/2018
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