Is the TSI hard?

There are many students who don’t think the TSI is hard. Some say they only studied for a couple of hours for a few days and had great scores.

But then again, if you don’t get properly prepared, the TSI (Texas Success Initiative) can be challenging and pretty hard to deal with.

The section that causes the most trouble for quite a few TSI test-takers is math, but the TSI math section assesses math knowledge only at the basic and intermediate levels.

If you understand how to deal with fractions, exponent, and percentages, you’ll probably do fine on the TSI math subtest, the most challenging section of the TSI Assessment!

What is the TSI?

The TSI (Texas Success Initiative) assesses knowledge and skills for college readiness. It is a placement exam, not a pass-fail test.

The TSI Assessment is a set of three subtests that cover Math, Reading, and Writing. The Reading and Math sections include only multiple-choice questions.

The TSI Writing section is divided into two parts: Grammar and writing an essay. The Grammar part is multiple-choice, and it depends on your score, how well you’ll need to do on your essay.

You can take the TSI subtests at one time or you can take the sections separately. Keep in mind though that generally, you’ll have to complete everything within a specific period of time.

Can I bring a calculator?

No. On the TSI exam, bringing a calculator is not allowed. And during the test, you also cannot use any other study or reference materials.

All communication devices, included cellphones, are also strictly prohibited from the time you enter the TSI testing room.

The TSI is untimed

Keep in mind that the TSI Assessment is an untimed test. You have plenty of time to deal with all of the questions, actually until closing time.

So be sure to read all of the questions thoroughly. Even if you would need to read a problem ten times or more to understand it well, that’s okay.

You can use scratch paper to write down any thoughts you have, jot down notes, or work through the presented problems.

TSI results

The TSI is not a fail-pass exam. Your scores will help colleges determine whether you are college-ready or that you require additional instruction before you’ll be admitted to college-level coursework. Read also this post: What Does TSI Stand For?

The following minimally required scores apply to satisfy course prerequisite and TSI requirements. You are considered college-ready when you meet or exceed the following TSI passing scores:

  • Mathematics: 350
  • Reading: 351
  • Writing: TSI score of 340 and at least a score of 4 on your essay OR a TSI score of less than 340, an ABE score of at least 4, and at least a score of 5 on your essay – Read more about TSI scores here

Can I retake the TSI?

Yes, you are allowed to retake the TSI test at any time when there is availability. You’ll have to submit a new test referral form that’s available at testing centers or your school. You may, however, need to pay a retest fee so get informed. Check here to learn more about what’s on the TSI exam.

If I don’t pass the TSI, what happens?

Bear in mind that there is no passing or failing the TSI Assessment. The results are used by colleges and universities to assess your academic performance. If you do not attain the above-mentioned scores, you may be required to enroll in:

  • College-readiness coursework or interventions to enhance your skills that will enable you to follow credit-bearing courses successfully. OR
  • College-level coursework that matches your skill level.

Tips for taking computer-based tests

  • Read the questions at least twice. Do it slowly to understand the question.
  • Get an idea of the things given and what you need to solve the problem.
  • Try to predetermine the required steps to solve the problem.
  • Make sure you went through all the required steps.
  • Be sure to answer exactly what the question asks.
  • When answering multiple-choice questions, use the answers for a strategy.
  • Eliminate answer options that you know are definitely wrong.
  • Determine if you came up with a reasonable answer.

On the TSI test, all questions need to be answered before you can continue to the next questions.

TSI reading test

The TSI reading subtest includes some 20 questions that assess, through four distinct areas, your reading skills. See also this TSI Study Guide.

These areas measure how well you can interpret texts, how well you can analyze literary texts, your ability to make inferences based on the passage provided, and how well you are able to clues from the context to determine the author’s main idea.

Before you start reading a passage, ask yourself the following questions:

When you’re reading it on the surface:

  • What’s the passage telling me, what is it about?
  • What is the passage’s main idea or what position does it take?
  • In what way is the author using details for support?
  • How does the author use keywords?

When you’re reading it below the surface: 

  • What’s the author’s purpose for writing the text?
  • What are the author’s presuppositions or background beliefs?
  • What is the author implying (below the surface details)?
  • What’s the author’s tone or emotion?

TSI writing test

The TSI writing subtest includes two sections. There’s a multiple-choice part and you’ll have to produce an essay.

The multiple-choice part of the TSI writing subtest includes 20 questions that measure your writing skills through in four specific fields. The test measures the following:

  • To what extent are you able to build sentences logically and how well are you able to utilize sentence enhancers such as transitions.
  • How well is your essay revision? How well did you present your essay’s central argument and did you refute it well enough with evidence-based arguments?
  • Is your sentence structure strong? How easily are you able to identify grammatical errors?
  • To what extent do you understand agreement problems. Do you understand and master the subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, and related subjects?

The TSI Essay Writing test. Here, you’ll be receiving a prompt that’s based on current issues or events. You’ll have to write an essay about that topic that’s at least five paragraphs long and ranges between 300 and 600 words.

You’ll be provided with scratch paper that you can use through your writing process for drafting your essay and making notes.

Dictionaries and research papers are not allowed. Your basic writing skills are assessed as well as your ability to use evidence and clues to support your thesis statement and how well you build up your thesis statement and how strong it is.

TSI math test

The TSI math subtest includes 20 questions that address four fields of mathematical knowledge.

The first field is data analysis. This section measures how well you can decipher or work with data sets, probability, and statistics.

The next field covers geometry. This section measures your understanding of the geometrical area, symmetry, and 3-dimensional shapes.

Your knowledge of algebra is tested on both basic and intermediate levels.

The last element of the TSI math test assesses to what extent you are able to solve different types of algebraic equations. The use of a calculator on the TSI math portion is not allowed.

Last Updated on September 12, 2020