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The TSI Assessment is part of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) program designed to help colleges and universities determine if you are ready for college-level courses in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.  

Who takes the TSI Assessment?

If you are an incoming college student in Texas, you are required to take the TSI Assessment unless you are exempt. Exemptions apply if you:

  • Have met the minimum college readiness standard on the SAT, ACT, or the English III/Algebra II STAAR End-of-Course high school tests
  • Have successfully completed college-level course(s)
  • Have enrolled in a Level-One certificate program (fewer than 43 semester credit hours)
  • Are not seeking a degree, or
  • Have been, or currently are, in the military 

What’s on the TSI Assessment?

You can expect the following topics to be included on the TSIA:

Four content areas in Mathematics: 

  1. Elementary Algebra and functions: linear equations, inequalities, and systems; algebraic expressions and equations; and word problems and applications
  2. Intermediate Algebra and functions: quadratic and other polynomial expressions, equations, and functions; expressions, equations, and functions involving powers, roots, and radicals; and rational and exponential expressions, equations, and function
  3. Geometry and measurement: plane geometry; transformations and symmetry; and linear, area, and three- dimensional measurements
  4. Data analysis, statistics, and probability: interpreting categorical and quantitative data, statistical measures, and probabilistic reasoning

Four content areas in Reading: 

  1. Literary analysis: identifying and analyzing ideas in and elements of literary texts 
  2. Main idea and supporting details: identifying the main idea of a passage and in comprehending explicit textual information in a passage
  3. Inferences in a text or texts: making a connection or comparison between two passages and in making an appropriate inference about single passages
  4. Author’s use of language: identifying an author’s purpose, tone, organization or rhetorical strategies, and use of evidence in determining the meaning of words in context  

Four content areas in Writing: 

  1. Essay revision: providing coherence, organization, and good word choice and achieving rhetorical effectiveness and use evidence
  2. Agreement: performing subject-verb agreement and pronoun agreement and determining verb tenses
  3. Sentence structure: comma splices and run-on sentences, improper punctuation, fragments and parallelism, and subordination and coordination
  4. Sentence logic: correctly placing modifying phrases and clauses and using logical transitions

A five-paragraph persuasive essay may be required (approximately 300-600 words) on a controversial issue or one of current interest.

Before taking the exam

Prior to taking the TSI Assessment, you are required to participate in a Pre-Assessment Activity, which is provided by the college or university where you will take your TSI Assessment. The activity varies by institution and must include the following:

  • An explanation of the importance of the TSI Assessment and how the assessment works
  • Practice test questions and feedback
  • An explanation of all your developmental education options if you don’t meet the minimum passing standard
  • Information on campus and community resources that will help you succeed as a college student

Contact the college or university where you plan to take the test for details on dates and times to complete this mandatory Pre-Assessment Activity.

Preparing for the exam

Practice exams are an effective way to prepare for the TSI Assessment. Peterson’s offers three full-length practice tests that are all fully aligned with the TSI Assessment, including detailed answer explanations for every question. Start studying today!