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If you are preparing to take the TExES Music EC-12 exam, there is no need to feel stressed or overwhelmed. This lesson will provide you with the information you need to make sure you are ready to pass.

Taking the TExES Music EC-12 Exam

Are you hoping to teach music in Texas? If so, you have almost definitely heard of the new TExES Music EC-12 Exam. The purpose of this test is to make sure you know what you need to know about the content and processes involved in teaching music.

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It can feel strange to take a computer-based test on a field such as music, and you might be nervous about your ability to use the test to express what you know. This lesson will make sure you feel prepared for the test by:

  • Explaining exactly how the test is structured and how questions are allocated
  • Offering some advice on how to prepare, and
  • Reminding you of some basic test-taking strategies that are sure to help.

Structure of the Test

When you know how the test is structured and organized, you will feel calmer and more confident in terms of what to expect. The TExES Music EC-12 exam has a broad scope, in that it is relevant to music instruction from preschool all the way through twelfth grade! There are 100 questions on the test, and they are all multiple-choice.

You will have five hours to complete the exam, which means that as long as you are answering 20 questions an hour completely, your timing will work out all right.The questions on the test are dedicated as follows:

  • 25% Listening
  • 17% Music, theory and composition
  • 17% Music history and culture
  • 25% Music classroom performance
  • 17% Music education

As you prepare, think about which of those domains are most and least comfortable to you, and dedicate your preparation time accordingly.

Advice for Preparation

Here are some of the things you can do to prepare for the exam successfully:

  • Review the TEKS music standards. Remember, this test is assessing your capacity specifically to teach music in Texas. Therefore, the content and processes you need to bone up on are not necessarily music theory and history in general, but specifically those aspects of music history, theory and performance that the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills emphasize. Focusing on these standards will help you make better use of preparation time.
  • Review the Music Educator standards.

    The TExES Music EC-12 exam is aligned with these standards. Although the standards can seem non-specific, they will give you a good understanding of what is expected of you both on the exam and as a teacher in general. When you find a standard that does not make sense to you, that is a good sign that it is an area where you would do well to review your textbooks an lecture notes.

  • Listen to different kinds of music! A full quarter of the test is devoted to listening, so you will be better prepared if you do some listening in advance.

    As you listen, think about how you would use technical terminology to describe what you hear and also how you would teach students of different ages about the music you are listening to.

  • Review your vocabulary. Knowing musical vocabulary and words commonly associated with music pedagogy will help you in every domain of this exam. Remember what modal, tonal, and atonal are; remember what polyphonic, homophonic and monophonic chord structures are, and so on. The more familiar and fluent you are with musical vocabulary, the less time you will have to waste decoding it on the exam.

Test-Taking Strategies

Finally, remember that this is ultimately a standardized test like any other.

That means that whatever strategies have been helpful for you on tests in the past will also be helpful here! In general, the following strategies can make a big difference:

  • Remember to read the questions carefully. Do not rush; make sure you are answering exactly what is asked of you.
  • Read all of the answer choices before you choose just one. There might be one even better suited than another.
  • Use process of elimination and make an educated guess if you are not sure exactly which answer is correct.
  • Try to trust your instincts; once you have chosen an answer, stick with it and do not second guess yourself.

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