Free Practice Tests for the TABE™ Test

A TABE Test Study Guide for Adult Learners

What is the TABE test?

The Test of Adult Basic Education also called as TABE is a diagnostic exam that tests an individual’s skill levels and knowledge of Math, Reading, and Language. It is used as an assessment to determine adult learners capabilities and proficiency. Most companies use it to select employees for their training programs. It is also used as a guide for adult education programs such as obtaining a high school equivalency (HSE), General Education Degree (GED), etc. It can be taken either in paper-pencil or online formats.

The Four Types of the TABE Test

  • TABE 11/12 – examination that is in line with College and Career Readiness (CCR) standards, and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) regulations. 
  • TABE Advanced Level – examination that is aimed at adult learners entering higher education.
  • TABE-PC – examination that has been computerized.
  • TABE CLAS E – examination that is aimed at adult learners whose first language is not English.

Take note that since 2003, the standard adult education assessment was the TABE 9/10, but the TABE 11/12 has replaced it. It contains slight changes so that it could keep up with the changes that adult education has gone through the years.  

Difference between TABE 9/10 and TABE 11/12

TABE 9/10  TABE 11/12
Versions It has 2 versions: Version 9 and Version 10. It has 2 versions: Version 11 and Version 12. It contains field -test questions so that more versions can be added in the future.
Levels It has four levels: Literacy, Easy, Medium, Difficult,  and Advanced. (L,E,M,D,A) It didn’t change.
Locator For Language and Reading, there are 12 questions. For Math, there are 16 questions. For all of the subjects, there are 16 questions.  For reading, in particular, there are two-part questions.
Subject Tests It has 7 subjects: Mathematics Computation, Applied Mathematics, Reading, Language, Vocabulary, Language Mechanics, and Spelling. It has 3 subjects: Mathematics, Reading, and Language.
Test Length  It has two forms. The Complete Battery for the long-form while for the short form it is the Survey. It has one form with approximately 40 questions in each subject.
Question Types It is a multiple-choice type. It is a multiple-choice type.
Test Time It takes 10 to 50 minutes, but it depends on the test. It means that it has at least 1 minute per question. For Math, at least 75 minutes, for Reading at least 20 minutes, and for Language at least 85 minutes. It means that it has at least 2 to 3 minutes per question.

Format and Content Outline

What is the test type for the TABE exam?

The test is in multiple-choice type. As mentioned in the previous table, each subject area has at least 40 questions. It would take you almost 3 hours to complete the exam. You must know which level of testing you should take. 

What are the 5 levels of testing? 

  1. L – Literacy

It is measured in 3 key types: Foundation Skills, Literary Texts, and Informational Texts.

Foundation Skills –  it is when you have a thorough comprehension of using phonemes, words, and word-sound relationships.

Literary Texts – it is when you understand information from passages. It includes constructing meaning from context. You also analyze the text to make a connection.

Informational Texts – it is when you use and understand ideas from informational passages. You also use the information that you have understood to delineate implied claims and ideas.

  1. E – Easy

It is the testing level that contains content from the 2nd and 3rd grades.

  1. M – Medium

It is the testing level that contains content from the 4th and 5th grades.

  1. D – Difficult

It is the testing level that contains content from the 6th and 9th grades.

  1. A – Advanced

It is the testing level that contains content from the 9th and 12th grades.

For more of a comprehensive understanding of the TABE objective structure for each of the subject areas, here are three tables showing the percentage of the domains for each subtest:

Domains L E M D A
Phonological Awareness 23%
Phonics and Word Recognition 23% 16%
Key Ideas and Details 28% 37% 47% 47% 47%
Craft and Structure 16% 32% 42% 38% 42%
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas 10% 15% 11% 15% 11%


Domains L E M D A
Conventions of Standard English 66% 48% 44% 44% 52%
Knowledge of Language 10%
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use 34% 22% 26% 23% 23%
Text Types and Purposes 30% 25% 23% 25%


Domains L E M D A
Measurement and Data 11% 28% 15%
Number and Operations—Fractions 12% 20%
Number and Operations in Base Ten 40% 28% 15%
Operations and Algebraic Thinking 38% 22% 12%
Geometry 11% 10% 10% 18% 15%
Expressions and Equations 15% 18%
Ratios and Proportional Relationships 3% 10%
Statistics and Probability 5% 22% 16%
The Number System 5% 21%
Functions 11% 28%
Algebra 28%
Number in Quantity 13%

What is the passing score for the TABE test

There is no passing or failing score on the TABE test. You need to answer as many questions as you can correctly. The number of correct answers will be measured against the standard performance of a sample group of test-takers based on your testing level. As also mentioned, there are 5 difficulty levels: L, E, M, D, and A.  

TABE Test Scores

The examination has various types of scores for each part of the exam. These are the usual scores used by many college instructors and administrators. 

Raw Score – this score shows the number of right answers you gained on the exam. NC or the number correct is then used so you can get the scale score.

Scale Score – this is the score that is used as a comparison to the norm. Your score will show how well you have done compared to the average test taker in the same testing level and content area. 

Grade Equivalent Score – The GE has a format that is usually seen in K-12 education. It has the numbers 0 to 12.9 that shows a certain month and school year. Your scores in these will depict the level of your performance in a subject area. But, you cannot use these scores to compare your performance against different testing levels. So, if you scored a 7.3 on the M testing level for Math, then you might get a lower GE score on the D testing level because the exam is geared toward those in the GE range of 6.0 to 8.9, whereas the M testing level is for those in the GE range of 4.0 to 5.9.  

By getting your scale scores (SS) and grade equivalent scores (GE), you’ll be able to know which adult basic education classes you are suited for and if you’re prepared to enter career training programs. You must also remember that each school has its own minimum score requirements. 

Testing Level Content Grade Level Range Grade Equivalent Range
L 0-1.9 0-4.9
E 2.0-3.9 0-6.9
M 4.0-5.9 0-9.9
D 6.0-8.9 0.7-12.9
A 9.0-12.9 1.1-12.9

Why You Should Use
TABE Practice Tests

It will be beneficial to you if you use practice tests to get ready for the TABE 11/12 because:

  1. You’ll know what to expect from the examination. You should know the appropriate testing level for you and what type of questions will be asked. Keep in mind that there are different levels of difficulty which will affect your score. 
  2. You’ll know how to pace yourself. Time is a crucial element. You should have many correct answers in the time given to you. You have to answer the questions as quickly and accurately as you can. You also have 2 to 3 minutes to answer each question. That’s why you have to make the most out of the time given to you. 
  3. You’ll know what subject areas to focus on. You should improve on the portions that you think you lack understanding of. You should thoroughly prepare for all of the important content areas.
  4. You’ll make your problem-solving skills improve. The use of analysis is often used in TABE 11/12. So, by taking free TABE practice tests such as TABE Math practice test and TABE Reading practice test, you’ll surely be able to pass the exam.     

To know what is on a TABE test, here are some practice questions from McGraw Hill’s TABE Level A Mathematics Workbook:  

  1. Simplify the expression 8x + 3y – 5x.
  2. 3x + 3y 
  3. 13x + 3y
  4. 6xy
  5. 11xy – 5x

2. A bag of hard candy contains 12 yellow candies, 8 red ones, and 9 green ones. If you reach into the bag without looking and take a piece of candy, what is the probability that it’s not red?

  1. 8/21
  2. 8/12
  3. 21/29
  4. 8/29

3. Jim walks 5 feet north and 12 feet west. How far is he from his starting point?

  1. 17 feet
  2. 14.5 feet
  3. 13 feet
  4. 12 feet

4. -13 + 6 =

  1. -19
  2. -7
  3. 19
  4. 7
  5. None of these

5. 0.22 – 0.107 =

  1. 0.85
  2. 0.113
  3. 0.129
  4. 0.127
  5. None of these

Frequently Asked Questions

What is adult education?

Adult education, also known as continuing education, focuses on persons who are regarded as adults. These adult learners want to improve their professional qualifications and abilities. They want to obtain knowledge to complete a formal educational level. They would also want to learn something new or update their capabilities.

Is it possible to get a GED with a learning disability?

Yes, it is possible. Most test centers provide accommodations for people with learning disabilities such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Physical disabilities, and more. No matter the disability, these centers will help you in any way that they can. You just have to provide a diagnosis from your doctor and your medical history. 

Also, there are so many types of classes where you can enroll. You can try online study programs such as the GED Academy, HISET Academy, etc. TABE tests are mostly similar to the GED. You can take it first so that you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the format and content of GED and even HSE tests.  

Is there financial assistance for the GED?

There is currently no federal aid for students who want to take the GED. The average test cost for it is less than $100. But, if you cannot afford it, you can ask for financial assistance from your local vocational agency or the department of social services. 

Does standardized testing stunt creativity and growth?

It depends, but most often, standardized testing is seen in a favored light. Some may say that  it may stop creativity, but there are benefits to it as well. Standardized testing help students have the edge and knowledge. They help determine whether a student is ready for higher education.  

What is the current literacy rate in the US?

The current literacy rate in the United States is 99.00%.  It has not fluctuated or changed since 1990. 

Can I go to college without a high school diploma?

Yes, you still can. There are a lot of options to choose from. You can take the GED exam or the HSE test as other alternatives. Some colleges do not require it as one of their requirements so you can search for those.  

How much does the TABE test cost?

Many institutions administer the TABE exam free of charge. It is usually part of their adult education or career placement programs. But there are those that ask for fees that range between $15 to $25. 

When can you take the TABE 11/12?

There are guidelines you have to follow so you can take the test. They will indicate where and by whom the test can be administered. You can find more information from the local officials. 

What should you bring at the TABE testing sessions? 

Most facilities or institutions will instruct you what items you should bring. Testing centers will also require proof of identification, such as an I.D. with your photograph and signature. The type of test format you choose will also affect the materials you would bring. For the computer version of the test, you won’t bring a pencil, for example. You are also prohibited from bringing your personal belongings such as cellphones. 

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