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Pre-Admission Content Tests (PACT) & TExES

1.3 hours
1.3 hours

Pre-Admission Content Tests (PACT) & TExES

Learn about the exam(s) you need to take, and how to prepare and report your scores

Jump to:

  • Overview
    • About PACT
      • TExES vs. Praxis
    • Requirements
  • Choose Your Test
    • Program Requirements
    • Subject and Grade Requirements
  • Prepare for the Test
    • Create a Schedule
    • Test Prep Resources
      • Provided by TExES
        • Tests at a Glance
        • Preparation Manuals
        • Interactive Practice Tests
        • Practice Question eBooks
    • Provided by Praxis
      • Preparation Materials for Out-of-State Candidates to Teach in Texas
      • Preparation Materials for Similar Exams
    • Provided by Third Parties
      • Free
      • Paid
  • Take the Test
    • Registration
    • Test Day
    • Your Scores
      • Viewing Your Results
        • TExES Scores
        • Praxis Scores
      • Reporting Your Scores

If you have any questions about your PACT exam or this process, reach out to a TeachDFW application coach or teacher preparation program staff for support. We’re here for you.


Here's a bit of background on PACT and your requirements for taking the right exam(s).

About PACT

PACT refers to Pre-Admission Content Tests. They’re required in your application to teacher preparation programs (TPPs) in Texas, including:

  • University post baccalaureate programs
  • Alternative certification programs
  • University alternative certification programs

Out-of-state educators applying for certification in Texas must have their credentials reviewed by the TEA (Texas Education Agency).

TExES vs. Praxis

If you’re looking into PACT, you’ve probably seen the names TExES and Praxis come up. These are tests offered by the ETS (Educational Testing Service).

If you live in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Puerto Rico or Mexico, the PACT is offered through and referred to as the TExES (Texas Examinations of Educator Standards). For a full list of TExES exams, see Tests Offered.

If you live outside of the areas listed above, these Praxis exams may qualify you to teach in Texas:

  • Biology Content Knowledge (5235)
  • Chemistry: Content Knowledge (5245)
  • English Language Arts: Content and Analysis (5039)
  • General Science: Content Knowledge (5435)
  • Mathematics: Content Knowledge (5161)
  • Middle School English Language Arts (5047)
  • Middle School Mathematics (5169)
  • Middle School Science (5440)
  • Middle School Social Studies (5089)
  • Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications (5354)

Our advice? Don't overthink it—just follow the steps below.


You are eligible for PACT if you:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university OR are scheduled to receive one before being placed in a classroom.
  • Have never been admitted to a teacher preparation program. Note: If you’re transferring from one teacher preparation program to another, contact TEA Educator Certification and Testing at (512) 936-8400.

You have five attempts to pass a certification test.

Choose Your Test

The right PACT exam for you depends on your program and teaching interests.

Program Requirements

All programs require that you pass the content exam at some point. 

For graduate programs, each program will determine when you are required to pass the content exam. See below for a table that illustrates when you’re required to pass the content exam by program:

When do I need to take and pass the content exam?
Institution Program Before Applying After Applying, but Before the Program Begins After the Program Begins
Dallas ISD Alternative Certification Alternative Certification Program    
Dallas Teacher Residency Residency Program    
Region 10 ESC Alternative Certification Program    
Relay Graduate School of Education Residency Program    
Southern Methodist University All Graduate Programs    
Teach For America Alternative Certification Program    
Texas Woman's University Masters of Arts in Teaching    
Texas Woman's University Certification-Only Program    
University of North Texas at Dallas All Graduate Programs    
University of Texas at Dallas Certification-Only Program    
Urban Teachers Residency Program    

Prepare for the Test

There are things you can do to prepare for your test that apply to all subjects. There are also more specific study guides available based on the subject areas and grade levels you’re interested in. We cover them both:

Remember: You’re taking this test for a reason. You want to become a teacher in a specific subject, and this is your chance to prove it. Take the time necessary to truly understand the information. You’ll thank yourself for it (and your students will thank you, too).

We recommend a two-pronged approach to structuring your study time:

Create a Schedule

  1. Create a work-back schedule. Start by writing down the day of the test. Then, outline the steps you need to accomplish before that end date: Include time for researching test prep resources (our favorites are in the next section), studying your subject matter area and taking practice exams. Here's a template you might want to follow.
    1. Research test prep resources. Check out the next section for our recommendations.
    2. Study your subject matter area. This is where the bulk of your time will be spent. Don't rush it.
    3. Take practice exams. Even when you know the information, you'll be at an advantage getting used to the test-maker's phrasing and topical area distribution.
  2. Make smart right-before-the-test choices. These are the obvious ones: Get plenty of sleep the night before, eat a decent breakfast the day of, bring a water bottle, and show up early. Hanging outside the testing center 20 extra minutes is better than causing your brain undue stress minutes before having to think critically.

Not all subject area tests are offered on a continuous basis. Some, including the English Language Arts test, are offered only in specific administration windows.

Test Prep Resources

Once you gain a baseline understanding of a subject area, taking practice tests might be your best way to prepare for a PACT exam.

There are a number of options available from test-makers directly, and some third-party services have come up with options, too.

Check out Tarleton State University’s Test Prep Resources for additional recommendations.

Take the Test

Register for the right exam, know what to expect on test day, and report your scores on time.

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