TABE Test Overview

TABE TestThe TABE Test is a standardized placement test developed by McGraw Hill/CTB.  TABE stands for “Test of Adult Basic Education”.  The TABE test is used primarily technical schools, trade schools and some colleges to help them assess a student’s academic readiness.

The standard TABE test covers reading, math and language.  Schools will use your scores on the TABE test to determine whether you are ready for their programs.  In addition, schools will use your scores to determine what level of course to place you into.  Your scores on the TABE test may also prompt the school to place you into remedial courses before you are allowed to take their standard courses.

The TABE test can also be used for other purposes.  For example, some GED and Adult Education programs may require their students to take the TABE in order to assess their academic skills.

TABE Test Format – What’s On The TABE?

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The standard TABE test covers four different areas: Reading, Mathematics Computation, Applied Mathematics, and Language.  The TABE test also offers optional tests in: Language Mechanics, Vocabulary, and Spelling.  Details of the TABE test sections are shown below:

Section: Reading
Number of Questions: 50
Time Limit: 50 minutes
Summary: The TABE Reading test measures a student’s ability to understand and interpret various reading passages. The test uses personal and business communications, instructive content, and informational materials.

Section: Mathematics Computation
Number of Questions: 40
Time Limit: 24 minutes
Summary: The TABE Mathematics Computation test measures a student’s core math skills. The material includes addition, multiplication, division, fractions, percents, and exponents.

Section: Applied Mathematics
Number of Questions: 50
Time Limit: 50 minutes
Summary: The TABE Applied Mathematics test asks students to answer math questions based on everyday activities, such as household budgets, recipes, repair tasks, and comparison shopping.

Section: Language
Number of Questions: 55
Time Limit: 55 minutes
Summary: The TABE Language test asks the student to correct written passages using standard language conventions and usage. Students will be assessed on capitalization, punctuation, and sentence formation.

Section: Language Mechanics (Optional)
Number of Questions: 20
Time Limit: 15 minutes
Summary: The optional TABE Language Mechanics test will assess students on the mechanics of written English. Topics include: quotations, contractions, pronouns, titles, and dialogue.

Section: Vocabulary (Optional)
Number of Questions: 20
Time Limit: 15 minutes
Summary: The optional TABE Vocabulary test measures basic vocabulary skills. Topics include understanding word meanings and relationships.

Section: Spelling (Optional)
Number of Questions: 20
Time Limit: 10 minutes
Summary: The optional TABE spelling test measures direct spelling skills.

Taking the TABE Test

Instructions on taking the TABE test depend on who is administering the test.  Typically, you will meet with one of the following individuals to discuss taking your TABE:

  • High School Guidance Counselor
  • Trade School, Technical College, or Community College advisor
  • Workforce center case manager
  • Human Resources  or Personnel Manager at employer

The TABE test is offered both on computer or traditional paper and pencil – depending on how the administrator chooses to give it.