TExES Science 7-12 (236) Study Guide

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TExES Science 7-12 Study Guide

This TExES Science 7-12 study guide, or TExES 236 study guide, is designed for aspiring science teachers for grades 7 through 12 in the state of Texas. Texas requires educators to meet the TExES test scores needed to pass the TExES Science 7-12 as part of the teacher certification process. This TExES Science 7-12 study guide covers the same topics that will be tested in the TExES 236 exam's 140 selected-response questions. The actual test may also contain some questions that will not be included in the final score. Test takers will have 4 hours and 45 minutes of test time to answer all of the TExES exam questions.

Questions on this exam will cover scientific inquiry, physics, chemistry, cells, evolution, heredity, living beings, the environment, the solar system, and instructional strategies and assessments that can be used across various fields in science. Learn more about the content areas and prepare before the TExES exam schedule with this TExES Science 7-12 study tool.

TExES Science 7-12 Study Guide (236)
Scientific Inquiry and Processes10% (~14 questions)
Physics20% (~28 questions)
Chemistry20% (~28 questions)
Cell Structure and Processes8% (~11 questions)
Heredity and Evolution of Life8% (~11 questions)
Diversity of Life8% (~11 questions)
Interdependence of Life and Environmental Systems6% (~8 questions)
Earth's History and the Structure and Function of Earth Systems9% (~13 questions)
Components and Properties of the Solar System and the Universe6% (~8 questions)
Science Learning, Instruction, and Assessment5% (~7 questions)
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Scientific Inquiry and Processes

Candidates' understanding of the scientific inquiry process and the history of science will be examined in this first domain of TExES Science 7-12 236, including topics in the development of science and logical reasoning. Test takers will need to have an understanding of concepts that are common to all fields of science, the nature of science, and how science plays a role in our daily lives. Questions about how science affects decisions on an individual and societal level will also be included in this domain, such as how science can be used to address global issues like recycling and disease prevention.

This domain also evaluates test takers' skills in choosing and overseeing science-related learning activities using a wide range of science equipment, materials, and technologies. For example, candidates should be familiar with using maps, calculators, chemicals, and different specimens. Test takers should understand how to manage these different learning activities in a way that keeps all students safe for the duration of the activity.

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Motion is the first concept tested in the Physics domain. Candidates will need to understand how to describe motion in one and two dimensions, such as by using a graph and explaining the laws of motion. This includes being able to use vectors and Newton's laws.

Topics in electricity and magnetism will also be evaluated. Test takers must have knowledge of different electromagnetic and gravitational forces in nature and how electricity and magnetism are related. Questions will also test candidates' ability to apply electricity- and magnetism-related concepts to problems, such as, analyzing AC and DC circuits.

This domain also covers topics in the conservation of energy and momentum, the features of waves, the laws of thermodynamics, and basic concepts related to quantum physics. Specifically, questions may ask about topics such as:

  • The relationship between work, power, and energy
  • Linear and angular momentum
  • Heat transfer and heat capacity
  • Transverse vs. longitudinal waves
  • Velocity, frequency, wavelength, and velocity
  • Photoelectric effect
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Similar to the Physics domain, the Chemistry domain of the TExES Science 236 covers a wide range of topics. Test takers will be tested on their knowledge of atomic structure, matter, and properties of gases. This means candidates will also have to understand the differences between ionic and covalent bonds and how bonds and structures affect the physical characteristics of matter.

This domain will also evaluate candidates' understanding of chemical reactions, properties of solutions, and energy transformations that occur during various chemical or physical processes, such as phase transitions. Test takers will need to be able to write and balance chemical equations, solve problems involving equilibrium, and make calculations using molarity and percent composition.

Finally, this domain will examine test takers' knowledge of various types of reactions, including nuclear reactions. Test takers must be familiar with:

  • Oxidation reactions
  • Acid and base reactions
  • Reduction reactions
  • Nuclear fission
  • Nuclear fusion

Test takers should be able to solve various types of problems involving these different reactions.

Cell Structure and Processes

This domain focuses on life at the cellular level and the hierarchy that builds in living systems. For example, test takers will be tested on the components of biomolecules, including DNA, enzymes, and lipids. Candidates must understand the chemical reactions that are used to create and decompose these biomolecules.

This domain also evaluates candidates' understanding of cell structure and function. Test takers must understand that each type of cell has its own specialized parts for specific functions and parts that enable it to undergo life processes, such as maintaining homeostasis. Candidates will need to be able to explain some differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

Questions in this domain will include concepts of complex cell organization, such as tissues, organs, organ systems, and organisms. Candidates must be familiar with concepts including the cell cycle, cell differentiation, and the growth and development of organisms.

Heredity and Evolution of Life

The TExES Science 7-12 exam tests candidates' knowledge of genetics and evolution. Test takers must understand the inner workings of genetics, including how nucleic acids play a role in their different structures and functions. This section will examine differences between DNA and RNA, causes of mutations, and genetic manipulation.

Also concerning genetics, test takers will need knowledge of how traits are passed on generation after generation. This domain will examine topics in Mendelian inheritance. Candidates should also be able to analyze environmental factors that may affect the expression of different traits and genotypic and phenotypic frequencies.

The theories of evolution and the different evidence available for evolution will also be covered. Test takers should understand concepts such as natural selection and intraspecific and interspecific competition and how these processes affect evolution. Candidates will need to be familiar with common pieces of evidence used to study evolution, including fossils and physiological or anatomical similarities.

Diversity of Life

The Diversity of Life domain on the TExES 236 exam aims to test candidates' understanding of the similarities and differences between various living organisms. For example, test takers should be able to explain similarities and differences between plants and animals that live in different types of environments. Candidates will also need to understand the different components of taxonomic systems, such as domains and kingdoms used to organize life.

Test takers must also be able to explain how living systems are found within living systems and how each organism must be able to retain homeostasis. Questions will ask about the main systems within humans and animals, as well as the different systems in plants. Test takers

should be familiar with the physiological processes of these living organisms that enable them to maintain homeostasis and why that is important.

This domain also tests candidates' knowledge of how behavior and biology are related. Test takers need to know how behaviors can be advantageous and how they could affect natural selection.

Interdependence of Life and Environmental Systems

The relationships, interdependence, and interactions of living things and ecosystems will be explored in this domain on the TExES Science 7-12 exam. Candidates must understand how matter and energy flow within an ecosystem. Questions will examine the effects of abiotic and biotic factors within habitats and biomes.

Questions about the interdependence of living things in various types of ecosystems, such as terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems, will require test takers to be familiar with concepts such as:

  • Niche
  • Community
  • Competition
  • Mutualism
  • Predator-prey relationship
  • Food chain

Test takers need to be able to explain the importance of biodiversity in ecosystems and what happens when organisms within a food chain are added or removed.

Candidates also need knowledge of what carrying capacity is. Test takers should be able to explain how this affects populations within an ecosystem. Candidates should know the difference between density-dependent and density-independent factors on population dynamics and the different types of growth that can occur, including exponential growth and cycling.

Earth's History and the Structure and Function of Earth Systems

In this domain, test takers will be evaluated on their knowledge of Earth's structure, including the structure and function of the geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. This means being able to classify rocks, explain the water cycle, and identify different types of climates.

Test takers need knowledge of the various processes that affect the surface of the Earth. For example, candidates should be able to explain concepts including:

  • Plate tectonics/ plate movement
  • Chemical weathering
  • Mechanical weathering
  • Erosion
  • Deposition

Questions about Earth's formation and history will also be included in this domain. Candidates must have an understanding of geologic time and how physical changes on Earth have affected

biological evolution over time. Test takers should have knowledge of how human activity, such as reforestation and mining, and natural events, such as storms or fires, affect Earth and different ecosystems. Topics in conservation and land-use management will also be included in this section of the exam.

Components and Properties of the Solar System and the Universe

Although this domain focuses on the Earth-Moon-Sun system and the solar system, topics in astronomy and the history of the universe will also be covered. Candidates should be familiar with how Earth is oriented within the solar system and how the Sun and Moon affect different processes on Earth, such as tides.

Test takers must know the other planets and objects that cycle around the Sun. Questions will require test takers to compare and contrast different planets and explain the characteristics of objects like comets. Test takers should also be familiar with different kinds of stars and the life cycle of stars. Theories about the formation of the universe will be explored.

In this domain, test takers will be asked about the origins of and techniques used in the field of astronomy. Candidates will need to know about different measurements and technologies used in the field to collect data.

Science Learning, Instruction, and Assessment

The final domain examines more general science-related topics and the skills needed to teach science to students. Aspiring teachers should understand how students learn science and plan science-related learning activities accordingly. This includes being able to plan lessons around state standards and implementing lessons in a way that promotes science learning. Test takers should be able to teach using a wide range of science materials and technologies and in a variety of settings, such as a laboratory or in the field.

Questions in this domain will also evaluate test takers' understanding of how assessments are used to monitor student learning and progress in science. Test takers need knowledge of different types of assessments, including formal, informal, formative, summative, and self-assessments, and how to analyze and report assessment results with students. Test takers should also know how assessments should be used to adapt learning activities as needed.

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