TSI (Texas Success Initiative)

The Texas Success Initiative test is used as an assessment for incoming college students in the state of Texas. It is meant to measure the appropriate level of college coursework these students can handle in the areas of Mathematics, Reading, and Writing.

Online TSI Prep Course

If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers an online TSI Prep Course. The course is designed to provide you with any and every resource you might want while studying. The TSI Course includes:

  • Review Lessons Covering Every Topic
  • 1,250+ TSI Practice Questions
  • More than 500 Digital Flashcards
  • Over 220 Instructional Videos
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Free Mobile Access
  • and More!

The TSI Prep Course is designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their TSI exam. Click below to check it out!

Who is Eligible?

Not all Texas college students are required to take the TSI. Only those are at risk of not being prepared to fully handle college curriculum need the help that it provides. This is based on scores of your STAAR EOC assessment, SAT, TAKS, or ACT assessments.

If you received low scores on the above-mentioned exams or your chosen college has reason to believe that you may need some help in these areas, they will contact you with an invitation for a pre-assessment activity. This short testing process typically only last about 30 minutes and is a requirement for those who need to take the TSI. You will receive a certificate upon your completion of this that you will need to keep to take the TSI.

Each college or institution may have their own set of standards that must be met aside from the pre-assessment and payment fee. Therefore, it is important to check with the admissions office/department of your school to complete all requirements.

When and Where is it?

The TSI is offered year-round at various locations throughout the state of Texas. You can register online, over the phone, or in person. A complete list of available dates, times, and locations will be provided to you during registration.

What Can/Should I Bring?

It is critical that you arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled TSI test, as there is a check-in process you will need to complete. Those who show up late will not be allowed test and will have to reschedule.

You will need to bring a current and valid form of personal identification with you for the check-in process. Acceptable examples of this are driver’s license, passport, or a state/institutional ID. Also, bring a receipt of your payment for the test as well as your certificate proving that you passed all pre-assessment activities.

The TSI and its subsections are taken on a computer. This means that all testing materials will be provided for you. You will not need to bring any personal items, including pencils, scratch paper, calculators, or other electronic devices such as cell phones. These items are prohibited and may result in your dismissal from the testing site if you are found with them.

What Does it Cover?

The TSI is made up of four main sections: Mathematics and Statistics, Writing, Reading, and College and Career Readiness Writing. Each section has both a placement test and a diagnostic test, which are scored separately. All questions, with the exception of an essay, are multiple choice.

The TSI is not given a certain time requirement, as this test is meant to determine what skills you are capable of and how long they take you. You will be given an initial five hours to finish the TSI. If you do not finish in that amount of time, you will have an additional two weeks to complete the test and turn it in.

This form of computer test is adaptive. This means that questions will get harder or easier based on your previous responses. For instance, if you answer a question incorrectly, the next one will be slightly easier as the system adapts to your skill level.

Below is a brief outline of what each section entails.

Mathematics and Statistics Test

Elementary algebra and functions (6 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

  • Linear equations, inequalities, and systems
  • Algebraic expression and equations other than linear
  • Word problems and applications

Intermediate algebra and functions (9 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

  • Expressions, equations, and functions involving powers, roots, and radicals
  • Rational and exponential expressions, equations, and functions
  • Quadratic and other polynomial expressions, equations, and functions

Geometry and measurement (2 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

  • Transformations and symmetry
  • Modeling and applications
  • Measurement (linear, area, three-dimensional)
  • Plane geometry

Data analysis, statistics, and probability (3 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

  • Interpreting Categorical and quantitative data
  • Probabilistic reasoning
  • Statistical measures

Writing Test

Essay Revision (8 questions on the placement test ad 12 on the diagnostic)

Passages to be read and revised are about 250 words in length. You will be asked to improve:

  • Organization
  • Word choice
  • Coherence
  • Use of evidence
  • Rhetorical effectiveness

Agreement (3 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

  • Pronoun agreement
  • Verb Tense
  • Subject-verb agreement

Sentence Structure (5 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

  • Comma splices
  • Run-on sentences
  • Fragments
  • Subordination and coordination
  • Parallelism
  • Improper punctuation

Sentence Logic (4 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

  • Arranging parts of speech
  • Logical transitions
  • Placement of Modifying phrases

Reading Test

Literary Analysis (4 questions on the placement test and 12 on the diagnostic)

You will be given passages of about 400 words in length. Questions will ask you to:

  • Identify and analyze elements of the passages
  • Identify and analyze ideas in the passages

Main Idea and Supporting Details (5 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

Passages are 75-125 words long. You will be asked to:

  • Identify the main ideas in the passage
  • Understand textual information included in the passage

Inferences in a Text or Texts (8 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

Passages are 100-150 words long. You will be asked to:

  • Make logical inferences about single passages
  • Connect and/or compare two passages by creating ideas

Author’s Use of Language (7 questions on the placement test and 10 on the diagnostic)

Passages included are 75-125 words. You will be asked to identify the author’s:

  • Purpose
  • Tone
  • Rhetorical strategies
  • Use of evidence
  • Organization
  • Meaning of certain words in context

Texas College and Career Readiness Writing

This section will ask that you write an essay based on one of several prompts. It will need to be at least five paragraphs long and contain 300-600 words. This essay will be evaluated on how well it demonstrates and includes:

  • Organization and structure
  • Mechanical conventions
  • Purpose and focus
  • Development and support
  • Critical thinking
  • Sentence variety and style

How is it Scored?

Your score will be calculated the same day of your test. This will be sent to you via email. These scores can then be sent to colleges of your choosing. You may also choose to send these to schools should you transfer at any point in your academic career.

Failing the TSI doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to retake it. Instead, you can choose to work with your college of choice to enroll in classes that fit your academic level at that time. For example, if you did not do well in the mathematics section of the TSI, you will enroll in classes that do not require advanced math skills. The same can be said of any subject the TSI covers.

You can choose to retake it, however. This is typically offered year-round. Be sure to check with your specific college about their re-take policy, as well as when and where it may be taken.

How Can I Prepare for the TSI Assessment Test?

We believe that different learning styles require different tools for success. We have compiled a list of the best study guides, online courses, flashcards, and practice tests that we’ve found on the market. Some of these guides have review videos, for you visual learners out there. Others have practice tests, which have been proven to increase student scores by a whole letter grade (in some cases more than that)!

Top Study Guides:

Best Online Course:

High-Quality Flashcards:

Other Helpful Resources:


Last Updated: March 7, 2024