How to Pass the TSI Test

How to Pass the TSI Test (Proven Tips)

The Texas Success Initiative Assessment, or TSI Assessment, is a standardized test used to determine college readiness among test takers. The assessment will test your knowledge and skill in generic areas such as reading, writing, and mathematics. The assessment also can help figure out which specific needs you require to become prepared for collegiate-level courses. It will also let you and colleges know if you are ready to start attending college.

TSI Prep Course

The TSI Assessment is required for new students who want to enter college. Depending on how well you do on the assessment, you will be placed in classes that match your skill level; alternatively, if you are not yet prepared for college-level classes you will be put in a course that will improve your skills and help you become ready for collegiate courses. This article will describe what the Texas Success Initiative Assessment is and give you tips and resources on how to pass the TSI.

What to Expect on the TSI

Though taking the TSI assessment is a requirement, there are many ways to become exempt from taking it. If you have taken the SAT, ACT, or a statewide test in high school and succeeded in achieving a passing score on any of these, your TSI assessment will be waived. If you have previously taken and completed English and Math classes in college, this can also dismiss the TSI requirement. If you are enrolled in a Level-One certificate program and have less than forty-three credit hours, you do not have to take the TSI assessment. If you are not seeking a degree, you do not have to take the TSI assessment.

Also, if you have served, or currently are serving in the military, the TSI assessment is not required. However, if you do not meet any of these requirements you will be required to take the assessment.

TSI Test Study Course

Prior to taking the TSI assessment, a mandatory Pre-Assessment Activity is required. This is an activity that the college or university must provide. This pre-assessment activity is an important step as it will include documenting your involvement in the assessment process. You will not be able to take the TSI assessment without first taking this pre-assessment activity. There are a few steps the pre-assessment activity must include. It must provide an adequate explanation of why the TSI assessment is important. The college must provide practice test questions and provide feedback to your responses and answers. They also have the responsibility to explain developmental course options in the event that your scores do not achieve passing status. They must also provide information on the campus and community education resources so that you know that you have access to educational opportunity. To find out when these pre-assessment activities will be held, it is suggested you contact the college or university directly.

TSI Prep Course

TSI Assessment Test

The Texas Success Initiative Assessment will be divided into three parts, mathematics, reading, and writing. Though these are the main topics additional categories may be added. Some colleges may require extra skill evaluations in a specific subject depending on the situation. All three categories will have multiple-choice sections in which you will have multiple answer choices. During this portion, you must select the best and most appropriate answer. The written portion will not only include a multiple-choice section but also it typically contains an essay section as well. It is important to remember that the test is computer adaptive, which means that the responses you give will affect the difficulty of the test. The questions on the test are not timed, so it is pivotal that you allow yourself enough time to answer each question as accurately to the best of your knowledge, as your results will be a determining factor in the courses you are allowed to take in college. Unlike other standardized tests, you will be given a score immediately upon completion of the assessment.

TSI Assessment in Mathematics

The TSI Assessment in Mathematics will be a completely multiple-choice assessment that will cover elementary algebra and functions, intermediate algebra and functions, geometry and measurements, data analysis, and statistics and probability. There will be around 20 questions on the TSI placement test and 10 questions on the DE Diagnostic Test. The elementary algebra and functions section will test your knowledge of linear equations, inequalities and systems, algebraic expressions and equations, and word problems. The intermediate algebra and functions portion will determine the breadth of knowledge you possess in regards to quadratic and polynomial expressions, equations, and functions as well as when these are also involving powers, roots, and radicals.

You will also need to know rational and exponential expressions, equations, and functions. Your knowledge in geometry and measurement skills, such as planar geometry, transformations and symmetry, and linear, area and three-dimensional measurements, will be tested as well. Lastly, your skill in data analysis, statistics, and probability will be assessed. This includes your knowledge in of interpreting categorical and quantitative data, statistical measures and probabilistic reasoning.

TSI Math Practice Test

TSI Assessment in Reading

The TSI Assessment in Reading is also a completely multiple-choice assessment which will cover literary analysis, main ideas and supporting details, inferences in a text or texts and author’s use of language. There are typically around 24 questions on the placement test and 10-12 questions on the DE Diagnostic Test. The literary analysis portion will assess your ability to recognize and dissect a literary text’s ideas and elements. The next portion, main idea and supporting details, will test your skills to figure out the main idea of a passage, as well as, understand clear textual information. The inferences in a text or texts portion will determine your skill level in regards to coming up with your own ideas based on a connection or comparison between two passages and manifesting accurate inferences about single texts.

Lastly, you will be tested on your ability to understand the author’s purpose, tone, organization, or rhetorical strategies. You must be able to make inferences to determine all of these by using the words the author uses, and the context in which he uses them.

TSI Reading Practice Test

TSI Assessment in Writing

The TSI Assessment in Writing contains both a multiple-choice section as well as an essay section. The multiple-choice section focuses on four specific testing areas: essay revision, agreement, sentence structure, and sentence logic. There are 20 questions on the placement test and the DE Diagnostic Test consists of 10-12 questions in each section. The essay revision portion refers to the assessment of your abilities to provide clarity, organization, and proper choice of words, as well as your ability to use evidence and rhetoric.

The agreement portion tests how well you understand the subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, and verb tenses. the sentence structure assesses your ability to recognize proper and improper sentence structures, such as comma splices, run-on sentences, improper punctuation, fragments and parallelism, and subordination and coordination.

Lastly, the sentence logic portion tests your skill in placing the correct phrases and clauses into sentences, as well as testing your written transition ability.

TSI Writing Practice Test

The essay section of the exam will typically be a five-paragraph persuasive essay which is usually between 300-600 words. The topics are varied; however, you are typically asked to write about a controversial issue or something of current interest. You need to be direct in establishing your main idea and be sure to support your point of view with various examples and details. Obviously your essay is expected to be grammatically correct; however, be warned, you will not be allowed a dictionary or other outside resources. The only thing the administrators are allowed to provide is scratch paper for you to plan your essay.

Hopefully, this article was able to provide you with a better understanding of the Texas Success Initiative Assessment, and allow you to become better prepared for your exam. For further instruction and access to materials such as a TSI study guide, flashcards, and TSI practice tests please visit


Published by

Jay Willis

Jay Willis joined Mometrix as Vice President of Sales in 2009, and has developed several key strategic relationships that have enhanced the distribution of Mometrix products. With nearly 20 years of sales experience in the publishing industry, his dedication to providing the highest quality experience for customers, coupled with his sales and marketing expertise, has resulted in significant growth of the Institutional Sales division. Learn more