TSI and college credit

After being admitted to their preferred college, but before registration, college-bound students are required to present their TSI (Texas Success Initiative) scores or submit proof of being exempt from this requirement.

The Texas Success Initiative has three testing components designed to identify a student’s math, reading, and writing capabilities. All incoming students must be assessed unless they are exempt from taking the TSI test.

In this article, we take a look at which students may be exempt from TSI requirements, what it takes to have this requirement waived. GED graduates with scores in the college-ready and college-ready + credit may also be exempt.

The TSI Assessment Program is required by Texas state law to make sure that college-bound students command the academic skills and knowledge required to perform successfully in college-level coursework at public colleges and universities in the state of Texas.

Before students are allowed to sit for the TSI assessment, attending a Pre-Assessment Activity (PAA) is required. Students meeting any of the following criteria are exempt from taking the TSI assessment. Keep in mind that scores referred to cannot be older than five years except where indicated differently.

TSI exempt status


Students with a composite score of 23 and at least a 19 score on the ACT English portion are exempt from having to take the writing and reading sections of the TSI. A minimum score of 19 on the ACT math section waives the requirement to sit for the TSI math portion as well.

SAT before March 5, 2016

For students that took the SAT college entrance test before March 5, 2016, the following applies: they have the TSI requirement waived if they attained a combined score on critical reading and math of at least 1070.

To be exempt from taking the reading and writing sections, a minimum of 500 must be attained in the reading section, and a soo score on math is required to be exempt from having to take the TSI math portion.

SAT after March 4, 2016

For students that took the SAT after March 4, 2016, the following applies: they must have attained a score of at least 480 on the SAT Evidenced-Based Reading & Writing (EBRW) portion to be exempt from having to sit for the reading and writing portions of the TSI Assessment.

To have the TSI math portion waived, they must attain at least a 530 score on the SAT math section. A combined score does not apply and combining old and new SAT scores is not possible. For more SAT score details, check here.


Students who were tested on the 11th-grade exit-level TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) and attained at least a 2200 score on the math portion and/or at least 2200 on the TAKS English Language portion and no less than a 3 score on writing, will be exempt from having to sit for the TSI Assessment.


Students tested at the 11th-exit-level of the STAAR exam end-of-course  (EOC) with at least a 4000 on the combined STAAR writing and reading of Level 2 on English III are exempt from having to take the TSI assessment for the reading and writing portions.

Students who attained at least a score of 4000 on Level 2 on the STAAR section Algebra II (EOC) are exempt from having to take the TSI assessment required for the mathematics section.

College Degrees

Students who graduated from an accredited institution of higher education with an associate degree or higher and submit official transcripts and further required documentation are exempt. For information about the Texas College Acceptance Rate, check out this article.

Out-of-State Colleges

Students who transfer to an educational institution in the public Texas College System an accredited out-of-state higher education institution and who satisfactorily completed at least 3 hours of college-level coursework with at least a C grade are exempt from taking the TSI Assessment. Official transcripts must be submitted.

College Students

Students who previously attended an accredited publicly funded Texas institution of higher education and who have been determined by that educational institution to meet TSI standards in a specific TSI subject are exempt. met in that specified TSI component area.

It is up to the schools to determine if additional prerequisite coursework to meet the math college readiness standard is required for those students so please get well-informed. Official transcripts must be submitted. For the Best Texas College, click here.

GED College-Ready Scores

An increasing number of institutions of higher education accept the GED “College-Ready” and “College-Ready PLUS Credit” scores (165-174 and 175-200 respectively). This is not a requirement by law, but more and more colleges and universities grant college-bound students with good GED scores TSI exempt status.

Level-1 Certificates

Students enrolled in a level-1 certificate program (one year or less) are waived of TSI requirements. students signed up for courses not included in Level-1 certificates are, however, not exempt.

Active Duty Members

Students that have served for at least three years as active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces, Texas National Guard, or as members of U.S. armed forces reserves are exempt.

Former Active Duty Members

Students who (from August 1, 1990) were honorably released, discharged, or retired from active duty as members of the U.S. armed forces, the Texas National Guard, or U.S. armed forces reserves, are also exempt from having to sit for the TSI Assessment.

Non-Degree and Non-Certificate Students

Students not looking to earn a college certificate or degree are exempt from taking the TSI test.

ESOL Students

A student in an ESOL program may be eligible to get an ESOL waiver from having to take the TSI test. When the student attempts 15 credit hours of ESOL interventions/coursework or wants to sign up for entry-level college classes, the ESOL waiver will be removed.

College Preparatory Courses

Students that successfully completed college preparatory courses (as defined by the Texas Education Agency) are exempt from TSI testing in that section for two years from the date of their high school graduation.

These students must enroll in the exempted content fields. Please be aware that this exemption only counts for partnering institutions of higher education within the students’ school districts. Institutions of higher education may also have Memorandums of Understanding with partnering institutions to accept exempt status for college preparatory courses.

Texas College Savings Plan

To pay for a college education, families may set up a Texas College Savings Plan for their children. These plans are not only open to Texas residents but to individuals, families, and organizations from across the country.

Check out also this article about high school students participating in a Dual Credit Program. Qualifying high school students who earn college and high school credit simultaneously and also be exempt from taking the TSI Assessment in that subject field.

Students who have been determined by the above-listed criteria to hold TSI exempt status in math, reading, and/or writing, are not required to sign up for developmental or remedial coursework and/or interventions in the corresponding areas of TSI exemption. This does not apply, however, to the mentioned GED scores.

Last Updated on September 12, 2020