A Complete Guide to the TSI Assessment: What Is It and How Should You Prepare?

Each year, around 3.7 million seniors will graduate from high school. For many college-bound students, that means a lot of studying and a mandatory trip to an SAT or ACT testing center. Without an SAT or ACT score, many colleges won’t consider applications.

In Texas, however, things run a little differently. While Texas seniors must also get their SAT or ACT scores locked in, they must also contend with the TSI assessment.

Not familiar with the Texas Success Initiative assessment? Keep reading for a quick overview of what it is and how to prepare for the assessment.

What is the TSI Assessment?

The TSI assessment is a test taken by all high school seniors to help determine whether these students can compete in intro-level college courses. The assessment focuses on a few key areas, such as:

  • Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Writing

Assuming a student reaches the minimum scores of 350 for reading, 351 for math, and a 5 on their essay, Texas colleges consider them prepared for entry-level courses. These courses might include an intro literature class, history, or algebra.

If a student doesn’t reach the minimum score in one or more areas, it won’t necessarily bar them from college. They will, however, need a developmental class in any area they fail on the test.


Students can get exemptions from the requirement for the TSI exam. For example, a high enough overall score on the ACT along with a minimum of 19 on the math and English portions can exempt you. Similarly, high enough scores on the SAT also exempt you.

Active duty military, veterans, and some reservists can also get exempted from the TSI test. You will need to check your qualifications against the current state regulations to determine your eligibility for exemption.

Texas Success Initiative Prep

Assuming you will take the assessment, there are several steps you can take that will help you prepare. You can enroll in a TSI prep course that will expose you to the kinds of questions you’ll see and offer strategies for study and test-taking. You can also get study guides that provide similar information.

One of the best options for prep is for you to take TSI practice exams. You get a chance to experience how the actual test will operate and see your results. You can find some practice exams at this link.

These practice tests also help you pinpoint weak spots that you should brush up on.

Knocking It Out of the Park on the TSI Assessment

Knocking it out of the park on the TSI assessment isn’t much different than doing well on any other exam. You must take the time to understand what material the test covers.

If you know where you are weak in an area, start brushing up. If you don’t know or don’t test well, take practice exams. These can show you where you need work and help you get comfortable with the test.

Looking for more tips on testing or college? Check out our Education section for more advice and tips.