Getting High Scores in THEA

How to Score High in THEA

The THEA is a course-placement exam for the first-year students who are joining undergraduate courses in several colleges in Texas. It is designed to evaluate the academic aptitude of the students in the areas of Reading, Writing and Math and determine if their skills in these areas match the course-level expectations or not. This article explains the importance of the scores, along with details of calculation and tips on how to score high in the test.

The Importance of THEA Scores:

THEA is a pass or fail test. A minimum passing score for the Reading and Math test sections is 230; whereas, a score of 220 is required to pass the Writing section of the test. To pass the exam completely, the students must clear all the 3 test sections; namely, Math, Reading and Writing. Hence, if a student fails in one or more sections of this test, he/she will be advised by the college administration to take the appropriate improvement courses (under the supervision of the college faculty). After the completion of these developmental courses, the students may retest in the sections that they had failed in earlier. The THEA administration allows its candidates to take the IBT test 15 days after the earlier attempt, while the Quick test can be taken 30 days after the previous test date.

Every test section is scored individually in the range of 100-300. In both (IBT & Quick) test formats, the multiple-choice questions are scanned electronically and the count of the correct answers in each test section is attributed as a "raw score". This raw score is then converted to a "scaled score" based on THEA's proprietary weighting methodology.

The main difference in the score calculation process between the 2 THEA test formats is the way in which the essays are scored (which is elaborated as follows):

  • In the Quick test format, the essays are scored manually and a "scaled score" between 1 and 8 is assigned to each essay.

    • An essay score of 6 or above means that you will automatically pass the entire Writing section, irrespective of what score you might achieve in the multiple-choice Writing sub-section.

    • An essay score below 5 means that you will fail the test and the Writing sub-section of this test will not be evaluated.

    • However, if you score 5 in the essay, then the "scaled score" in the multiple-choice sub-section is taken into account to determine if you are eligible to pass the Writing section as a whole or not.

    • To pass the multiple-choice Writing sub-section, the candidates must have answered at-least 70% of the total number of questions in that section correctly.

  • The essay in the IBT test format is scored by an online scoring software called "Intelligent Essay Assessor"

    • This system provides an immediate score for the essay on a 4-point range.

    • This score is then combined with the score from the multiple-choice Writing sub-section to arrive at a "total scaled THEA score" in the range of 100-300 for the Writing test.

How to Score High in the Test:

To achieve a high score, we recommend that you follow the below-mentioned tips:

  • You must review all the 3 sections of the test; namely, Math, Reading and Writing thoroughly. Learn all you need to know about the test format and the question types that will appear in the test.

  • Don't forget to select the best test-review material such as effective study guides, books or other prep sources based on feedback from the students who have taken the test recently.

  • You must take as many timed and simulated practice tests as possible. This will give you an idea of the real test, improve the way you manage your test timings and increase your chances of achieving a great score.

  • In the THEA Quick test, the score in the essay section greatly determines if you will pass the entire Writing test or not. Hence, if you are taking the Quick test, it is wise to spend more time on the Essay section and focus on improving your writing skills.

  • You could get your essays evaluated by at-least 2 scorers (your English teachers or experienced English tutors, writers etc.). Also, remember to use the actual score calculation methodology to determine your essay scores. Finally, you may get tips and feedback from your essay scorers on how to improve your writing skills.

Thus far, we have discussed the significance of the scores and how they are calculated. We have also recommended certain key tips to follow to improve your score. Hence, we hope this article helps in your preparation efforts. For more details on test prep resources, strategies and tips, you may visit the official THEA website -