How Difficult Is The ESL Supplemental Test?

How Difficult Is The ESL Supplemental Test?
How Difficult Is The ESL Supplemental Test? –

Preparing for the ESL Supplemental test takes time. The ESL Supplemental test is part of the Texas educators’ requirements to teach English as a second language. About 5 million students (2017) are English language learners in public schools.

Having the right certification as a teacher ensures you understand and can work to meet your student’s needs. So, how difficult is the ESL supplemental test?

The ESL Supplemental test is difficult. It is designed to challenge teachers in the following ways: 

  • Language concepts and acquisition 
  • ESL instruction and assessment
  • The Foundations of ESL Education 

However, a more experienced teacher may have less difficulty and not need as much time studying. 

In this post, you will find information about the ESL Supplemental test and how to make the test less difficult. We will also discuss tips for preparing and studying for the exam. And some resources will be provided if you are looking to get your ESL certification!

See also: Best Tips For Teaching How To Ask Follow-Up Questions in ESL

Passing the ESL Supplemental Test Is Hard

The best way to get a passing score is to study! You may be wondering how to study for the ESL Supplemental test and some of the best ways to study. In this section, you will learn about specific resources and tips for studying. 

There are first some key questions about the test you should know the answers to before you start studying:

  • How much time is allotted for the exam? 5 hours
  • How many questions are on the test? 80 multiple-choice questions
  • How is the test administered? Using a computer
  • How much does the test cost? Cost may vary. Past prices have ranged from $116 to $131
  • How is the test scored? From 100 to 300 is the range of possible scores
  • What is considered a passing score? A score of 240 is required to pass.

Cultivating a good study habits is important to your success and reducing the test’s difficulty. This is especially true if you are a new teacher looking to be certified without any prior ESL teaching experience. 

How Should You Study For the Supplemental Test?

There are a few steps you can take to begin studying for the ESL Supplemental test:

  1. Create a study plan. Know how frequently you need to study to achieve the score you desire.
  2. Schedule your study time. Build time into your calendar only for studying, so you can focus on the material. 

Take a practice exam. Throughout your studying process, you want to take at least one practice exam to become familiar with the question format and testing interface.

This chart shows you various tools you can use to study for your ESL Supplemental Test:

Type of ToolResource Options
Important JournalsThe Modern Language Journal
National Association for Bilingual Education Journal 
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Journal
Practice Exams240 Tutoring’s TExES ESL Ultimate Guide
Mometrix Test Preparation ESL Supplemental Practice Test
Online ResourcesCenter for Applied Linguistics
National Association for Bilingual Education
International Reading Association
Table Displays Various Tools For ESL Supplemental Test –

The ESL Supplemental Test: What Is It?

The ESL Supplemental Test is part of the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards program, also known as TExES. These standards were developed to establish specific criteria for Texas teachers and educators to meet to become certified. 

What Is Covered On The ESL Supplemental Test?

There are quite a few topics covered on the ESL Supplemental test, but they all fall into three domains:

  • Language concepts and acquisition
  • ESL instruction and assessment
  • Foundations of ESL education

The test covers ESL standards or competencies within those three areas, or as they are sometimes referred to, competencies one through ten. For the TExES ESL Supplemental test, these competencies can be found abridged in the chart below:

CompetencyKey Points to Understand
Domain ICompetency I: Language Concepts– Understand language systems
– Facilitate learning around language
– Develop, modify and deliver content and material that improves proficiency
– See the connections between listening, speaking, reading, and writing
– Model correct language use in written and spoken conventions
Domain ICompetency II: First-Language and Second-Language Acquisition– Understand relevant theories and concepts about language acquisition
– Incorporate cognitive processes into second-language content and materials
– Determine strategies to help students when difficulties arise due to common English expressions, syntax, phonology, and morphology
Domain IICompetency III: Effect Use of ESL Teaching Methods for Instruction– Show proficiency in relevant Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills
– Be able to adapt the teaching material and content for an ESL classroom
– Engage students in communication and critical thinking
– Integrate technology as needed
– Knows how to manage a classroom in different environments
Domain IICompetency IV: Communicative Language Development– Provides relevant feedback to students as they develop their skills
– Understands each child is unique in their learning process
– Foster opportunities to practice speaking English
Domain IICompetency V: Literacy Development– Aims to improve reading comprehension and can develop strategies for improvement as needed
– Imparts English as an alphabetic language
– Address possible personal factors that may impact English language learning
Domain IICompetency VI: Overall Curriculum Achievement– Delivers effective content-area classes
– Easily applies familiar concepts based on a student’s cultural background
– Aims to improve proficiency in the cognitive-academic language
Domain IICompetency VII: Formal and Informal Assessment– Understands test design
– Develops tests to assess different aspects of learning
– Knows limitations of formal and informal assessment
– Familiarity with Texas standardized tests and LEP policies
– Can effectively relate state standards to the ESL classroom
Domain IIICompetency VIII: Foundations of ESL education– Understands the foundations of ESL education
– Familiarity with different types of ESL programs
– Incorporates these programs as needed for proper instruction and classroom management
– Stays updated with the latest research in ESL education
Domain IIICompetency IX: Cultural Awareness– Understands cultural bias
– Shows respect toward students and fosters respect for cultural diversity among students
– Anticipates the impact of cultural and linguistic diversity in the classroom and adapts materials accordingly
Domain IIICompetency X: Family and Community Involvement– Advocates for educational and social equity
– Understands family involvement is important
– Facilitates family and community involvement in ESL education and learning practices
– Strong communication and collaboration skills
– Navigates community resources to enhance the ESL learning experience
Table Contains Competencies And Key Points to Understand –

These 10 competencies are the basis of all the questions for the ESL Supplemental test. Becoming familiar with these points is important to your overall success when taking the exam. If you take the time to learn about these competencies, your ESL Supplemental test will be much less difficult. 

Is Taking the ESL Supplemental Test Required?

The ESL Supplemental test is an important part of creating qualified teachers and personnel for a robust English Learner Program. Each state has its own requirements for ESL educators, administrators, and professionals that are influenced by federal law and guidelines. 

In some states, certification may require an exam, like Texas’s ESL Supplemental test or more targeted professional development training. 

Not all states require every teacher to be trained in ESL knowledge. But those educators who are strictly working as ESL teachers may need to look to their state’s laws on the matter. You should determine if you need to get certified or endorsed. 

You also want to look directly at your state’s laws if you have any questions. If you think your state requires endorsement or certification for ESL learning, read over the laws on ESL education that are specific to your state. 

See also: Why is Scaffolding Very Important in ESL?

In Short, Study Before Your ESL Supplemental Test

You definitely want to take the time to study for the ESL Supplemental test because it is difficult. Studying will increase your score and decrease your anxiety come test day. 

Developing a study plan is key to reducing the difficulty of the exam. If you study and come prepared, you will not find the exam too challenging.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Project English Mastery. I am from Toronto, Canada. I graduated with a Master in International Economics and Finance from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. After working a few years in the banking industry and completing my 120 TEFL from the University Of Toronto, I decided to teach English in China. Project English Mastery is a blog that provides helpful resources for English Teachers and Learners: vocabulary and grammar, exercises, and class activities ideas and tips.

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