TABE 11&12 Level E

Preparing to take the TABE 11&12?


You’ve found the right page. We will answer every question you have and tell you exactly what you need to study to score well on the TABE 11&12.

Quick Facts

Get the “need to know” information at a quick glance.


The TABE 11&12 tests math, reading, and language skills needed for adult basic education and career readiness. Educators and program administrators use this assessment for placement and progress monitoring in adult education and career path programs. Companies use the assessment to guide decision making for hiring and training for specific positions.


The TABE 11&12 Level E has about 40 questions per subject area, so around 120 questions total. The test can be taken online or pencil and paper format.

Timed Sections:

Math: 75 minutes

Reading: 120 minutes

The reading portion of the test has 7 reading passages and is broken into two parts (which can be administered separately).

Language: 85 minutes

The questions are multiple-choice, with some technology-enhanced questions on the computer version of the test, such as drag-and-drop and multiple select. 


Many institutions offer the TABE at no cost to you as part of adult education classes or a career placement program. If a fee is required, it typically ranges from $15-$25.


Scale scores are provided after taking the TABE test, and those scores have grade level equivalencies:

Study Time

The institution you are taking the TABE 11&12 through will most likely tell you when you are taking the test, so this will determine the amount of study time you have. With the time you have, become familiar with the content the test will cover. Spend most of your study time on the concepts with which you feel least comfortable.

What test takers wish they would’ve known:

  • Have a positive attitude and do not worry about the test.
  • Make sure you understand the directions. Ask for clarification if needed.
  • Read the questions carefully so you do not miss any important information.
  • There are no “trick questions” on the test.
  • Use the process of elimination to help you choose the best answer if you are unsure.
  • Bubble in your answers on the answer document carefully (if you take the pencil/paper version). If you’ve gotten off track and cannot easily fix it, let the proctor know right away.

Information and screenshots obtained from the Data Recognition Corporation website:


The Mathematics section has about 40 questions.

There are five broad categories:

  • Number and Operations in Base Ten (28%)
  • Number and Operations- Fractions (12%)
  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking (22%)
  • Geometry (10%)
  • Measurement and Data (28%)

So, let’s talk about Number and Operations in Base Ten first.

Number and Operations in Base Ten

This category tests your ability to:

  • round whole numbers using place value
  • skip count
  • add and subtract
  • read and write numbers to 1000
  • multiply
  • compare two- and three-digit numbers
  • add two-digit numbers (up to four)
  • add and subtract within 1000

Let’s take a look at a concept that will more than likely appear on the test.

Rounding Whole Numbers

Rounding a number means you make the number simpler but keep it close to the original number. You can use place value to figure out how to best round a number but not change the value of the number too much. A number rounded to the tens place is going to be closer to the actual value of the number than a number rounded to the hundreds place.

For example:

84 rounded to the nearest 10 is 80

84 falls between 80 and 90 (tens) but is closer to 80 than 90

37 rounded to the nearest 10 is 40

37 falls between 30 and 40 (tens) but is closer to 40 than 30

442 rounded to the nearest 100 is 400

442 falls between 400 and 500 (hundreds) but is closer to 400 than 500

678 rounded to the nearest 100 is 700

678 falls between 600 and 700 (hundreds) but is closer to 700 than 600

Number and Operations- Fractions

This category tests your ability to:

  • explain equivalent fractions
  • compare fractions
  • understand and represent fractions on a number line
  • understand the part/part/whole relationship of fractions

Here is a concept you should know.

Comparing Fractions

To compare fractions, you must think about the value of the fraction compared to a whole. For example, 2/2 is two out of two, 4/4 is four out of four, etc.

Many times it helps to think of a fraction as part of a pizza sliced into equal pieces. The denominator (bottom number of the fraction) is the total number of slices the pizza has; the numerator (top number of the fraction) is the part of the pizza that is being identified.

If you think of two pizzas (of the same size), the pizza cut into four slices has smaller pieces than the pizza cut into only two slices. So, 1/4 is smaller than 1/2, or  (14 < 12).

Here’s another example. Think of two pizzas that are the exact same size (a whole), but one is cut into three pieces (3/3) and one is cut into 4 pieces (4/4). One slice (1/3) of the pizza cut into three pieces is going to be larger than one slice (1/4) of the pizza cut into four pieces: (1/3 > 1/4).

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

This category tests your ability to properly use operations and think algebraically.

Take a look at this concept.

Properties of Operations

Algebraic properties (almost like rules) can be applied anytime operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) are being used. Three of the most commonly used are:

  • Commutative Property of Multiplication: Changing the order in which you multiply the numbers does not change the product (answer):  

(a x b) = (b x a) or (9 x 8 = 8 x 9)

  • Associative Property of Multiplication: Similar to the commutative property, but states that you can multiply numbers the same way no matter how they are grouped with parenthesis. The order of operations requires that you perform operations within parentheses before operations outside parentheses, but because of the associative property, your answer (product) will be the same no matter how numbers are grouped.

(a x b) x c = a x (b x c) or (5 x 2) x 4 = 5 x (2 x 4)

     10 x 4     5 x 8

        40         40

  • Distributive Property: When a number is multiplied by the sum of two numbers, the first number can be distributed to both numbers and multiplied by each of them individually. Then, the two products are added together for the same answer as multiplying the first number by the sum.

a x (b+c) = (a x b) + (a x c) or 5 x (2+3) = (5 x 2) + (5 x 3)


This category tests your ability to:

  • recognize and draw shapes with specific attributes
  • understand shapes in different categories
  • section shapes into equal areas
  • section circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares

Let’s look at a concept together.


A quadrilateral is any four-sided, closed, plane figure. That means that the shape must have four sides that connect at points (vertices):

Measurement and Data

This category tests your ability to measure the length, volume, mass, and area of objects, as well as interpret and represent data on picture and bar graphs.

Here is a concept you need to know.


The area of a flat or two-dimensional figure is the number of unit squares that can fit inside it. Usually, the unit is a square meter, inch, or foot.

To find the area of a square or rectangle, you multiply the length of the figure times the width of the figure.

So, to find the area of the rectangle above, multiply its length by its width:

10 × 4 = 40

The rectangle’s area is 40 square units.

And that’s some basic info about the Mathematics section.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Mathematics Practice Questions

Question 1

What is the area of the figure?

  1. 32 square units
  2. 48 square units
  3. 64 square units
  4. 96 square units

Correct answer: C. Picture this figure as two shapes: a square and a rectangle. The square is sitting on top of the rectangle. Find the area of both the square and rectangle, then add the numbers together. Remember, area = length x width. Area of square: 4 x 4 = 16 square units. Area of rectangle: 12 x 4 = 48 square units. Total area of the figure: 16 + 48 = 64 square units.

Question 2

Which rectangle is shaded to show 4/6?

Correct answer: C. This rectangle is shaded to show 4/6. Out of six parts, there are four shaded.

Question 3

A contractor can buy a new ladder for $300.

He can buy the same ladder used for $129 less.

Which of these is the price of the used ladder?

  1. $171
  2. $181
  3. $429
  4. $229

Correct answer: A. $300 – $129 = $171.

Question 4

At a party, 4 people share 16 cookies equally.

How many cookies does each person get?

  1. 12
  2. 4
  3. 64
  4. 20

Correct answer: B. If there are 16 cookies and 4 people, then each person gets 4 cookies. You can draw a picture to help you figure out this problem.

Question 5

Which number is equal to 10/5?

  1. 1/5
  2. 1/2
  3. 2
  4. 5

Correct answer: C. 10 ÷ 5 = 2.


The Reading section has about 40 questions

There are four broad categories:

  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (15%)
  • Phonics and Word Recognition (16%)
  • Key Ideas and Details (37%)
  • Craft and Structure (32%)

So, let’s talk about Integration of Knowledge and Ideas first.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

This category tests your ability to read closely. More specifically, it tests your ability to use information from pictures to show an understanding of the text and describe how reasons support points an author makes.

Here is a strategy you should know.

Close Reading

Close reading is the thoughtful analysis of a text that focuses on important details or patterns to develop a deeper understanding of the text. Close reading is important, because readers who read closely connect on a deeper level with the text and are able to then form their own ideas based on their perspective.

To read closely, a reader should:

  1. read through the text to find key ideas and details (who, what, when, where, why).
  2. read the text again to determine the structure of the text and evaluate any photographs, maps, charts, graphs, etc.
  3. read the text a third time to make connections to other texts, draw conclusions, and determine the author’s purpose.

Phonics and Word Recognition

This category tests your ability to know and apply phonics and word analysis skills while decoding words.

Let’s look at a concept together.

Short Vowel Sounds

A letter is either a consonant or vowel. The vowels are a, e, i, o, and u.

Vowels can make short and long sounds.  

Let’s look at the short vowel sounds.

/a/ as in cat, rat, sat

/e/ as in set, bet, pet

/i/ as in fin, bit, his

/o/ as in dog, hot, rock

/u/ as in tub, hug, mud

Key Ideas and Details

This category tests your ability to recognize key ideas and details in a text.

Let’s look at a concept that is likely to appear on the test.

Main Idea

The main idea is the point of the text. It is the most important thought or concept in the text. Typically, the first sentence or two will give you a clue about what the main idea is, and the following sentences will contain supporting ideas. Usually, a sentence at the end of a text will re-state the main idea, as well.Let’s read this piece of text together:

There are quite a few deer in this part of Texas. The whole area is great for fisherman and hunters. There are ducks, geese, and wild hogs. To the west, there are lakes full of bass and catfish, and there are also geese and ducks.”

The main idea is found in the second sentence: “The whole area is great for fisherman and hunters.” The first, third, and fourth sentences contain specific examples and supporting details that explain why a specific area of Texas is good for fishing and hunting.

Craft and Structure

This category tests your ability to know and use text features, distinguish your point of view from the author of a text, and identify the author’s purpose.  

Here is a concept to know.

Author’s Purpose

Author’s purpose is the reason the author is writing about a topic. An easy way to remember the three main types of author’s purpose is with the acronym PIE. A reader can use keywords and the main idea to determine the author’s purpose.

The author can be writing to:

P– Persuade, I– Inform, or E- Entertain

Persuade– The author tries to convince the reader of a certain point of view or decision. Texts which are written to persuade often include opinions. Unlike facts, opinions can neither be true or false. Opinions reflect an author’s personal feelings.

Fact: Many plants have green leaves.
Opinion: Roses are the most beautiful flowers.

An author tries to convince a reader that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the most delicious and nutritious sandwiches there are.

Inform– The author is sharing facts with the reader to inform him/her on a certain topic.

An author explains in detail the history of the peanut butter sandwich and also how to make a peanut butter sandwich.

Entertain– The author is writing to entertain the reader with a story, humor, suspense, etc.

An author writes a funny story about everything that can go wrong when making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and includes characters like the bread, peanut butter, and jelly that all talk to one another.

And that’s some basic info about the Reading section.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Reading Practice Questions

Question 1

Which word has a short a vowel sound?

  1. cab
  2. lane
  3. train
  4. day

Correct answer: A. This is the only word with a short a vowel sound. The other answer choices have a long a vowel sound.

Read the article. Then answer questions 2 through 5.

We can learn more about the world by looking at maps than we can by traveling to every spot on the globe. They explain to us something about why the world is the way it is. For example, by looking at names of places, we can see which groups settled where and when. Looking at America East to West shows that the English colonized the east coast, naming cities New York and New London, while the Spanish colonized the southwest, naming cities Los Angeles and San Diego. In Africa, Liberia must have had an American influence, because the capital of Monrovia was named for James Monroe. In Egypt, a place called Alexandria proves that Alexander the Great was there. All of this is found simply by perusing a map and studying the details. To open up an atlas, then, is to open up a world of history.

Question 2

The author’s main purpose in this selection is:

  1. to show that maps are outdated and useless.
  2. to show that maps can be used to learn about history and the world.
  3. to show how names were chosen for cities and to provide examples.
  4. to show that maps should be used when traveling.

Correct answer: B. ”Maps can teach history” is correct. The passage contains several statements that support this choice. For example, we learn “why the world is the way it is” and “which groups settled where and when.” In addition, the final sentence sums up the main purpose “to open up an atlas, then, is to open up a world of history.”

Question 3

According to the article, which group of people named the American cities called New York and New London?

  1. the Spanish
  2. the English
  3. the Egyptians
  4. the Africans

Correct answer: B. This sentence from the article gives the answer: “Looking at America East to West shows that the English colonized the east coast, naming cities New York and New London…”.

Question 4

What is the main idea of the article?

  1. Maps can teach us a lot about the world.
  2. Maps can tell us where cities’ names come from.
  3. Maps are not as informative as the Internet.
  4. Maps can tell us why groups of people settled in a certain area.

Correct answer: A. This is the correct answer, because this is what the passage is all about.

Question 5

Which of the following statements from the passage would be classified as an opinion?

  1. “Liberia must have had an American influence, because the capital of Monrovia was named for James Monroe.”
  2. “The English colonized the East Coast, naming cities New York and New London.”
  3. “We can learn more about the world by looking at maps than we can by traveling to every spot on the globe.”
  4. “The Spanish colonized the southwest, naming cities Los Angeles and San Diego.”

Correct answer: C. ”We can learn more about the world…” is correct. An opinion is defined as a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter. In this passage, the author uses facts to back up the opinion that, when learning about the world, maps are more beneficial than traveling. Others might hold a different opinion, believing that firsthand knowledge and experience are more beneficial.


The Language section has about 40 questions.

There are three broad categories:

  • Conventions of Standard English (48%)
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (22%)
  • Text Type and Purposes (30%)

So, let’s talk about Conventions of Standard English first.

Conventions of Standard English

This category tests your ability to effectively use standard English, including grammar in writing and speaking, and the correct use of capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Here is a concept you should know.

Basic Punctuation

Punctuation marks the structure of sentences.

Let’s look at some common punctuation and their most common uses:

Commas– Most often used to separate three or more words in a sentence.

I bought beans, bread, and cheese at the grocery store.

Quotation Marks– Show the beginning and end of the exact words of a person.

Sam said, I’m going to go swimming today.

Parentheses- Separate elements within a sentence, but are not essential.

We visited several states (Utah, Arizona, New Mexico) on our road trip last May.

Apostrophes- Show possession or indicate a letter has been left out of a contraction.

I walked Susies dog for her while she was out of town. (possessive use of the apostrophe)

Im going to move to California next year. (a contraction for “I am;” the “a” was left out of the contraction) 

Hyphens- Used to form compound words and to join prefixes and suffixes.

To re-press a shirt is to iron a shirt again.

To repress (no hyphen) a memory is to try and forget whatever happened.

Colons-  Follow independent clauses and draw attention to what comes after.

Lately, I have had one thing on my mind: summer vacation.

Lately, I have had several things on my mind: the beach, the sun, and swimming with my friends.

Semicolons– Separate clauses or phrases that are equally important.

We were planning on going to lunch together; however, she had to cancel.

Dashes- Connect groups of words to other groups of words to emphasize a point.

Our ideas for the holiday wrapping gifts, baking cookies, and watching movies in our pajamasseemed like the perfect way to relax.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

This category tests your ability to use and acquire vocabulary.

Let’s look at a concept together.

Subject-Verb Agreement 

When you’re writing, one of the most important things is to maintain subject-verb agreement at all times. The subject of a sentence, or the thing doing something, must agree with the verb, or the thing being done. If a subject is singular, then the verb must also be singular.

When the subject of a sentence contains two or more nouns connected with the word “and,” use a plural verb. For example: 

  • “Betty and Jimmy are in my class.” (Correct)
  • “Betty and Jimmy is in my class.” (Incorrect) 

Past, Present, and Future Tense Verbs

Past, present, and future tense verbs indicate when something happens. 

Past tense verbs are used when an event or action has already happened. These verbs typically end in -ed or have a verb before them to indicate that the action already happened. Examples include: “The man walked to the store,” or “The man was walking to the store.” 

Present tense verbs indicate that something is currently happening. These verbs typically end in -ing, such as, “We are driving.”

Future tense verbs are used when an action or event is going to happen in the future. These verbs are often accompanied by a word that indicates an action will happen, such as, “We will drive.”

There are many irregular verbs that do not follow the typical ending rules of -ed and -ing. For example, the past tense of swim is swam, not swimmed. The past tense of throw is threw, not throwed.

Spatial Relationships and Words

You can use words that describe where an object or person is compared to another object or person in writing and speaking.

Here are some examples:

  • above
  • across
  • behind
  • next to
  • to the left/right
  • outside
  • beyond
  • far
  • nearby

Text Type and Purposes

This category tests your ability to write opinions on topics, as well as write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic.

Let’s look at a concept that will more than likely appear on the test.

Types of Texts

There are four main types of texts:

  • Narrative text tells a story and will have characters, dialogue, a beginning, middle, and end and will usually have a conflict with a solution.
  • Persuasive (or opinion) text usually presents an argument, and the author asks the reader to take a stand and agree or disagree with his/her point of view.
  • Descriptive text describes people, places, and events using a lot of detail.  
  • Expository (or informational) text usually explains something using facts and is written in a logical order.

And that’s some basic info about the Language section.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.


Language Practice Questions

Question 1

Read the sentence.

Caroline ______ her bed this morning.

Which word best completes the sentence?

  1. make
  2. made
  3. making
  4. maker

Correct answer: B. This is the best answer. The sentence should read, “Caroline made her bed this morning.”

Question 2

Read the sentence.

Corbin and Samir ______ both track runners.

Which word best completes the sentence?

  1. am
  2. are
  3. as
  4. was

Correct answer: B. This is the best answer. The sentence should read, “Corbin and Samir are both track runners.”

Question 3

Read the sentence.

There was an error on ______ meeting agenda.

Which word correctly completes the sentence?

  1. yesterdays’
  2. yesterday’s
  3. yesterdayes’
  4. yesterdaye’s

Correct answer: B. This is the best answer. “Yesterday’s” is the correct possessive spelling.

Question 4

Which sentence is written correctly?

  1. He thought the movie was very entertained.
  2. It raining yesterday.
  3. She smiled at the doorman.
  4. He sang real louder in the gym.

Correct answer: C. This is the only sentence written correctly.

Question 5

Read the sentence.

My mother will take me to see a movie at the theater behind the mall if I finish my homework. 

Which word is used to show a spatial relationship?

  1. behind
  2. will
  3. see
  4. to

Correct answer: A. The word “behind” helps to explain where the theater is located. It is used to show the spatial relationship between the mall and the theater.