Prepare for S.T.A.A.R. Exams with Online Practice Tests & Other Homework-Help Resources

March/April 2024

Fort Bend County Libraries offers a variety of homework-assistance tools and educational resources that are available online and can be accessed 24/7 from home.

Several of these resources help with studying for the S.T.A.A.R. test. Brainfuse SkillSurfer, LearningExpress Library, and the STAAR - TEA Student Assessment Division online resource are resources that offer lessons on tested concepts, as well as online practice tests. The practice tests provide instant scoring and feedback, and they may be repeated as many times as needed. These resources can help students overcome test anxiety, gain confidence, and improve scores while working at their own pace.

FBCL librarians have created how-to videos that demonstrate how to use some of these resources. These videos, as well as many other helpful online tutorials such as “How to Use a Citation to Find a Source” and “How to Use Wikipedia… the Right Way,” are available on FBCL’s YouTube channel. A library card is not required to view these video tutorials. To see more in FBCL's "Educational Resources" video series, click here.

These video tutorials showcase just a few of FBCL’s many online resources that are available for students, however. Click on the Research tab to find help with science and math; social studies, history, and geography; encyclopedias, dictionaries, and almanacs; practice tests, languages, and much more.

A library card is not required to access the databases while inside the library, but students will need an FBCL card or eCard to access the databases when not in the library. FBCL cards are free to all Texas residents, and there is no minimum age. For information on how to obtain a library card, click here.

Librarian assistance is also available by phone, email, or online chat.

  • STAAR Test Databases -- This video provides an overview of resources that FBCL offers to assist with studying for the STAAR test: Brainfuse SkillSurfer, LearningExpress Library, and the STAAR - TEA Student Assessment Division online resource. These resources not only offer lessons on tested concepts, they also offer practice tests. The practice tests provide instant scoring and feedback, and they may be repeated as many times as needed. This resource can help students overcome test anxiety, gain confidence, and improve scores while working at their own pace.
  • STAAR-TEA Student-Assessment Division -- The Texas Education Agency website includes previously released STAAR tests and information booklets that can be reviewed for future test-taking. This video demonstrates how to access the TEA website from the FBCL website, how to download tests, and more.
  • LearningExpress LibraryLearningExpress Library is an easy-to-use e-learning platform featuring online tutorials, practice tests, and e-books to help you achieve your educational and professional goals. In addition to helping you improve your skills in reading, writing, math, and basic science, LearningExpress Library offers tools and resources to help you search for jobs, build workplace skills, and prepare for career certification exams. You'll also find college and grad school admissions test prep, GED® test prep, and much more. View a short video about this resource here.
  • Brainfuse SkillSurfer -- This service helps students address academic needs that run deeper than homework help. With SkillSurfer, Brainfuse tutors help students master core academic skills through state-aligned lessons, covering various grade levels and academic topics. In addition to live help, the SkillSurfer learning library contains thousands of video lessons, quizzes, and tests to help students master academic concepts. Click here for a tutorial on Brainfuse's SkillSurfer section.

Additional Homework-Help Resources Include…

  • Brainfuse Homework Help – Live homework help, available from 2-11 pm, allows students to receive one-on-one assistance from tutors in English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Skills-building sessions are available 24/7 for students who have academic needs that extend beyond homework help. Tutoring is available in English and Spanish. Click here for more details about all the services Brainfuse offers. View a short video about this resource here -- English or Spanish. This tutorial will demonstrate how to access the FBCL’s Brainfuse HelpNow Homework-Tutoring resource from home, and how to take advantage of the services it offers. This resource enables the library system to provide online homework assistance in a broad range of subjects in both English and Spanish for students in grades K through 12, free of charge.
  • Biography in Context (Gale) -- In this video tutorial, learn how to access the online resource, Biography in Context. A comprehensive database of biographical information, this resource includes authoritative information on thousands of people throughout history, around the world, and across all disciplines and subject areas.
  • Science in Context (Gale) -- In this video tutorial, learn how to access the online resource, Science in Context. This database helps students understand the context for hundreds of science topics through overviews, journals, news, interactive experiments, and more. 
  • Gale in Context: Elementary -- Designed for kids, Gale's Elementary In Context delivers trusted, age-appropriate digital content. Through newspaper and magazine articles, videos, images, graphics, and eBooks, elementary students can learn about everything from animals and outer space to famous artists and favorite athletes. The database is visual and intuitive, and rewards students’ efforts by developing comprehension and research skills to prepare them for middle school – and a lifetime of learning.
  • Gale in Context: High School – Explore thousands of topics across subjects including literature, science, history, and social issues using different sources.
  • Gale eBooks Virtual Reference Library -- Gale eBooks Virtual Reference Library is a database of authoritative nonfiction eBooks. It offers encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research that are all full-text and always available. You can access Gale eBooks anytime from the library's eLibrary page – look under "Books, eLibrary & More."
  • Literature Resource Center – In addition to critical analysis, primary sources, and detailed work overviews, this database brings together in-depth biographical, bibliographical, and contextual information. There are more than 165,000 complete entries from popular literature series, including two award-winning series, Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors and Gale Literature: Dictionary of Literary Biography.
  • Opposing Viewpoints – This resource provides viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, links to websites, and full-text magazine and newspaper articles for information on social issues and current events.
  • Transparent Language -- Are you planning to visit a foreign country? Would you like to make yourself more marketable to an employer by being bilingual? Do you want to have an advantage on an international business trip by speaking the language of the country? Learning another language can have many benefits, and FBCL’s Transparent Language® Online resource makes learning a new language easier than ever – and it’s free! In this video, FBCL’s Adult Services staff member presents “Transparent Language® Online: Learning a Language Beyond Chapter 1." Learning a new language can be challenging, but retaining and using it in a conversational setting can be even more so. Learn about the “placement test” feature that enables the user to jump past initial lessons to reach the section that is appropriate for their stage of learning. About Transparent Language® Online: The Transparent Language resource offers online courses for people who would like to learn a new language. The database includes more than 110 languages – from Afrikaans to Zulu – as well as ESL (English as a Second Language) classes for non-English speaking people who would like to learn English. The English-language-assistance courses are available for people who speak Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Farsi, Hindi, Czech, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Romanian, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, Russian, German, French, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Greek, Arabic, or Italian.
  • How to Use a Citation to Find a Source -- Writing great research papers begins with the daunting task of finding the right sources, but with a few “tricks of the trade” from academic librarians, students may find that it’s not as hard as they think! In this video, FBCL staff explain how to look at a citation in the bibliography of a book or article, determine what kind of source is being cited, and then find the source that is described by the citation. Examples of different types of citations are demonstrated.