The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is a specialized exam that is taken as part of the path toward gaining teaching credentials in California.
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CBEST Study Guide
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CBEST Practice Tests by Subject
If you need some extra practice in a specific subject, click one of the subjects below to get started on a subject-specific CBEST practice test.
CBEST Reading Practice Test CBEST Mathematics Practice Test
CBEST Writing Practice Test
Exam Outline Review
The CBEST is a computer-based test that contains 102 questions in total and is split into three sections: Reading, Mathematics, and Writing.
The Reading section contains 50 multiple-choice questions and is timed at 1.5 hours. These questions are meant to gauge your ability to comprehend written material, tables, and graphs.
There are two skill factors being assessed in this section:
- Critical Analysis and Evaluation (40%)
- Comprehension and Research (60%)
The Mathematics section contains 50 multiple-choice questions and is timed at 2 hours. These questions are meant to gauge your ability to solve mathematical problems, most of which are word problems.
This section is broken down into three skill factors:
- Estimation, Measurement, and Statistical Principles (30%)
- Computation and Problem-solving (35%)
- Numerical and Graphic Relationships (35%)
Using a calculator for these questions is not allowed.
The Writing section contains two essay questions and is timed at 1.5 hours. These questions are meant to gauge your ability to write effectively.
For the first writing prompt, you will need to analyze a given situation or statement. For the second prompt, you will need to write about a specific personal experience.
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To register for the exam, you first need to create a Pearson VUE account online. Through your account, you can select which test and subtest(s) you wish to take and which testing method you prefer (in-person or remote). Note that each section of the CBEST is administered in a separate testing session, so you must register for each section separately.
After filling out your information and agreeing to the testing rules, you will need to submit the $30 exam feeFor eligible California residents, registration fees for educator exams are being waived, effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. for each section of the CBEST you plan on taking.
Remote Testing Requirements
Before you indicate that you would like to take the exam remotely, you should first ensure that you have all of the necessary technical requirements. A system check is available on the Pearson VUE website.
You must have a desktop or laptop computer (tablets and touchscreen devices are not allowed), and you can only use one monitor. You must also have a working webcam and microphone, and you will need to download the OnVUE application.
You should arrive at the testing center 15-30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time. If you arrive late, you will not be permitted to take the exam.
Once you arrive, you will be asked to present two forms of valid ID, one of which must contain your photo. You will also be asked to provide a digital signature, and your face and/or palm may be digitally scanned for security and identification purposes.
Before the exam begins, you will be asked to leave all personal items (pencils, bags, cell phone, food, etc.) in a locker outside the testing room.
Once you enter the testing room, you will be given a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) to read and sign. Once you sign the NDA, the exam will begin.
You are allowed to take restroom breaks at any time, but the timer will not be stopped during these breaks.
You should log in to your account 15-30 minutes before the scheduled exam time. Once you are logged in, you will be asked to provide two forms of valid ID, one of which must contain your photo. You will also be asked to scan the room with your webcam and remove all personal items from your table or desk.
Before the exam begins, you will be given a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) to read and sign. Once you have signed the NDA, the exam will begin.
You must ensure that no one enters your room during the test. If someone does enter your room, you must ask them to leave immediately.
How the Exam is Scored
Each section of the CBEST is scored on a scale ranging from 20 to 80. A passing score for each section is 41, which means a combined score of 123 is necessary to pass the CBEST as a whole. If you score anything below a 37 on any section of the exam, it is not possible for you to pass the exam, regardless of how high your other section scores are.
You can expect to receive the results of your exam no earlier than four weeks nor any later than six weeks after you completed the CBEST. You will also be able to find the unofficial version of your score on the official exam website.
Your score is divided up by the sections you took, and will include a guide to your strengths and weaknesses alongside each exam segment.
Retaking the Exam
If you did not pass the exam, you have the option to retake the CBEST as many times as you need. However, you cannot sign up for a retest right away. You must wait for at least 45 days after you receive your scores to register to test again. Preferably, you can use this window of time to brush up on the subjects you gave the weakest performance in so that you can gain a higher grade on your retest, pass the exam, and continue with your teaching certification process.
CBEST Prep Course
If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers an online CBEST Prep Course. The course is designed to provide you with any and every resource you might want while studying. The CBEST Course includes:
- 66 Review Lessons Covering Every Topic
- 700+ CBEST Practice Questions
- 190+ Video Tutorials
- More than 550 Electronic Flashcards
- Money-back Guarantee
- Free Mobile Access
- and More!
The CBEST Course is designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their CBEST exam. Click below to check it out!
CBEST Online Course
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How to Study for the CBEST Exam
How to Study Effectively
Your success on CBEST test day depends not only on how many hours you put into preparing but also on whether you prepared the right way. It’s good to check along the way to see whether your studying is paying off. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking CBEST practice tests to evaluate your progress. Practice tests are useful because they show exactly where you need to improve. Every time you take a free CBEST exam practice test, pay special attention to these three groups of questions:
- The questions you got wrong
- The ones you had to guess on, even if you guessed right
- The ones you found difficult or slow to work through
This will show you exactly what your weak areas are and where you need to devote more study time. Ask yourself why each of these questions gave you trouble. Was it because you didn’t understand the material? Was it because you didn’t remember the vocabulary? Do you need more repetitions on this type of question to build speed and confidence? Dig into those questions and figure out how you can strengthen your weak areas as you go back to review the material.
Additionally, many CBEST practice tests have a section explaining the answer choices. It can be tempting to read the explanation and think that you now have a good understanding of the concept. However, an explanation likely only covers part of the question’s broader context. Even if the explanation makes sense, go back and investigate every concept related to the question until you’re positive you have a thorough understanding.
Comprehend Each Topic
As you go along, keep in mind that the CBEST practice test is just that: practice. Memorizing these questions and answers will not be very helpful on the actual test because it is unlikely to have any of the same exact questions. If you only know the right answers to the sample questions, you won’t be prepared for the real thing. Study the concepts until you understand them fully, and then you’ll be able to answer any question that shows up on the test.
Strategy for CBEST Practice
When you’re ready to start taking practice tests, follow this strategy:
- Remove Limitations. Take the first test with no time constraints and with your notes and CBEST study guide handy. Take your time and focus on applying the strategies you’ve learned.
- Time Yourself. Take the second practice test “open book” as well, but set a timer and practice pacing yourself to finish in time.
- Simulate Test Day. Take any other practice tests as if it were test day. Set a timer and put away your study materials. Sit at a table or desk in a quiet room, imagine yourself at the testing center, and answer questions as quickly and accurately as possible.
- Keep Practicing. Keep taking practice tests on a regular basis until you run out of practice tests or it’s time for the actual test. Your mind will be ready for the schedule and stress of test day, and you’ll be able to focus on recalling the material you’ve learned.
What is the CBEST?
The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is an exam designed to assess the reading, math, and writing knowledge of prospective teachers in the state of California.
How many questions are on the CBEST?
There are 102 questions on the exam.
How long is the CBEST?
Each section of the CBEST is taken separately. The Reading and Writing sections each take 1.5 hours, while the Mathematics section takes 2 hours.
Can you use a calculator on the CBEST?
No, you are not allowed to use a calculator on the Mathematics section of the CBEST.
Is the CBEST still required in California for substitute teachers?
As of 2021, the CBEST is no longer a strict requirement to become a teacher in the state of California. The TK-12 Education Trailer Bill (AB 130) allows teacher candidates to prove they are proficient by earning at least a B in reading, writing, and mathematics coursework in college..
What is the passing score for the CBEST?
To pass the exam, you must achieve a scaled score of 41 on each section, resulting in a minimum passing score of 123 on the whole exam.
How much does the CBEST exam cost?
The examination fee is $30 for each section of the exam, but eligible California residents will have their exam fees waived.
By Eric Richter
Eric is the Product Development Manager responsible for developing and updating the Mometrix Teacher Certification and K-12 products. Eric has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a master’s of education in Teaching ESOL.
CBEST Study Guide Customer Success Stories
Our customers love the tutorial videos from Mometrix Academy that we have incorporated into our CBEST study guide. The CBEST study guide reviews below are examples of customer experiences.
Well, my neighbor who is a teacher too she recommended me to buy a CBEST guide, so when I was looking for it in my Amazon prime account this product was the right choice. This study guide is really clear and organized. I feel better now to know I have this guide with me. I'm really bad in mathematics and I loved the way you explain the Mathematics Test. There's no doubt, this guide (product) is going to help me a lot. Great price, amazing content, this is a real CBEST guide!
CBEST Study Guide – Yesenia
Very detailed instructions and plenty of directions too. Looking forward to passing the CBEST.
CBEST Study Guide – Sheila
The layout seems easy enough to follow. I have to study up on the math and that portion has been very explanatory on the concepts that are needed.
CBEST Study Guide – Craig
The book was helpful. The explanations help me understand and master the concept esp of the difficult questions.
CBEST Study Guide – April
I was really impressed with the structure of secrets study guide. It was the first book on CBEST That did not intimidate me.
CBEST Study Guide – Barbara
Thanks to this guide, I passed the CBEST. The manual addressed my weaknesses in Reading and also significantly improved my confidence and in result my score on the Mathematics and Writing section. JUST EVERYTHING! I can't believe it. What would I have done without this, seriously?
CBEST Study Guide – Kim
My impressions of the book is that is very methodical and logical approach to studying for the CBEST. I like how it is split into sections and the reading is very easy to understand. This was a great brush up on many subjects.
CBEST Study Guide – Sabrina
I am studying for the CBEST test and this course is amazing. I would rate a 4.8 for sure. I like the test format and being able to check the explanations of answers for help.
CBEST Study Guide – David
Teacher Certification – Home
How much does the CBEST exam cost? The examination fee is $30 for each section of the exam, but eligible California residents will have their exam fees waived.What is the best way to prepare for the CBEST? ›
- Use the multiple choice format to your advantage. ...
- Translate. ...
- Don't be a hero: Use scratch paper. ...
- Read the fine print. ...
- Put the passage into your own words. ...
- Make sure your answer is specific and supported. ...
- If an answer choice is half-right, then it's all wrong.
How much does the CBEST exam cost? The examination fee is $30 for each section of the exam, but eligible California residents will have their exam fees waived.Is the CBEST practice test similar to the actual test? ›
Our free online CBEST Practice Tests are designed by leading educators based on the official content specifications and closely replicate all aspects of the actual exam, including test length, content areas, difficulty level and question types.Is there a practice CBEST test? ›
Our free CBEST practice tests are designed to help you prepare for the California Basic Education Skills Test. These online tests are fully interactive with instant scoring. They feature challenging questions along with detailed explanations, so that you can learn from your mistakes.How long should I study for CBEST? ›
Whether or not you recently completed your undergraduate education, you'll want to brush up on your content knowledge. If you're farther out of school, expect to spend 1-2 hours a day for a few weeks refreshing your content knowledge for your specific CBEST or CSET.What level of math is on the CBEST? ›
What type of math is on the Mathematics section of the CBEST? This section of the exam covers basic math, algebraic concepts, basic geometry concepts, and basic statistics and probability.Is California getting rid of CBEST? ›
California is not eliminating the CSET, but rather has created alternative options, other than the CSET, for prospective teachers to earn credentials.Is California waiving the CBEST? ›
CBEST Waiver Application Costs
In response to the shortage, most initial teacher credential fees are being waived between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. Unfortunately, California has not waived fees for variable term waivers, which include CBEST waivers.
Teacher candidates no longer have to take the California Basic Skills Test (CBEST) or California Subject Matter Exams (CSET) to earn a credential. However, this doesn't mean that just anyone can become a teacher. These tests can be bypassed only if candidates take approved coursework.
Less than 66% of students pass the CBEST on their first try. Only 81% of test-takers pass after multiple attempts.What is a passing CBEST score? ›
Individuals only need to pass The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) once; CBEST passing scores remain valid indefinitely for all credential and employment purposes. To pass the CBEST, one must obtain a minimum scaled score of 41 in each of the three sections—reading, writing, and mathematics.What happens if I can't pass the CBEST? ›
If you score lower than a 220 and fail a CSET subtest, you have the option to retake it, and there is no limit to the number of attempts you can make to pass the CSET. If you need to pass multiple subtests for your CSET, you only need to retake the subtest(s) that you failed.How many times can I retake the CBEST? ›
Policy for Retaking the CBEST
The CBEST is comprised of three subtests used to evaluate your reading, writing and mathematics skills. You may retake any or all of these subtests as many times as you need in order to earn a passing score.
Many of the questions found in this test are only related to the concepts you learned in high school. So we can conclude the math section of the CBEST test is not a difficult test, and you can succeed in this test with enough study and practice regularly.How to pass the CBEST writing test? ›
- Your ability to express a clear position or focus.
- Your ability to write about your topic by using relevant examples or information.
- Your ability to follow English language rules.
- How well you did at following a logical pattern of thought.
The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) mathematics subtest does not permit any test-taker to use a calculator of any kind. This means that all individuals taking the CBEST mathematics subtest will need to perform calculations themselves.Does the CBEST allow calculators? ›
The use of calculators is prohibited. CBEST Reading is also comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions, and demands application of reading abilities from two major skill areas: Critical Analysis and Evaluation, and Comprehension and Research skills.Does CBEST expire? ›
Once the CBEST examination has been passed, it need not be taken again since it indefinitely satisfies the basic skills requirement necessary for certification and program enrollment.Is there really a teacher shortage in California? ›
The COVID-19 pandemic made California's statewide teacher shortage worse. California's teacher shortage is not new. Before the pandemic, it had reached crisis proportions, with over 80% of the state's districts experiencing dire scarcity. Since COVID began, however, the problem has only grown more acute.
The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) tests basic reading, mathematics, and writing skills of prospective educators. How much does it cost to take the CBEST exam? The paper-based exam costs $41, while the computer based test costs $102.What are the alternatives to the CBEST? ›
College Board Advanced Placement Exams. SAT. American College Testing.
Courses must have been taken at a regionally accredited college or university for credit, passed with a grade of B or better, be degree applicable, and be at least 3-semester units (or equivalent quarter units).Do you need to take a test to be a substitute teacher in California? ›
Legislators also passed Senate Bill 1397 that waives the need for substitutes to prove basic skills proficiency through July 1, 2024. Substitute teacher candidates usually prove basic skills proficiency by taking a test or completing specific coursework.Is a 39 on CBEST passing? ›
The passing score for each section of the CBEST is a scaled score of 41. A total CBEST score of 123 is required for passing status.Do you have to wait 45 days to retake the CBEST? ›
If you wish to retake a test or subtest, you must re-register for the entire test or subtest. You must wait 45 calendar days from the date you took the test to retake a test or subtest on computer.
You may take the CBEST only if you have earned, at minimum, a high school diploma, a GED, or the equivalent or if you are, or have been, a student taking courses for college credit pursuant to a career in education. If you are uncertain about your eligibility to test, please contact the CTC for approval to test.How much does it cost to retake CBEST? ›
If you do not pass a section, you can register, pay the $41 fee and retake the entire test or just that one section. Note that you may not take the CBEST more than once in any 45– calendar-day period.What do I need to study for CBEST? ›
- Reading Section Practice Test.
- Mathematics Section Practice Test.
- Writing Section Practice Test.
Less than 66% of students pass the CBEST on their first try. Only 81% of test-takers pass after multiple attempts. That's why in 2021, the state of California changed its requirements for teacher certification.
To pass the CBEST, one must obtain a minimum scaled score of 41 in each of the three sections—reading, writing, and mathematics. However, a score as low as 37 on an individual section is acceptable if the total scaled score is at least 123.What is a good CBEST score? ›
The passing score for each section of the CBEST is a scaled score of 41. A total CBEST score of 123 is required for passing status. However, it is possible to pass the CBEST with a scaled score of 37 on one or two sections, provided that the total score is 123 or higher.Do you need to pass the CBEST to be a substitute teacher? ›
If you want to be a substitute teacher in California, you need a 30-day Substitute Teaching Permit. To get this permit, you must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, have passed the CBEST, and be digitally fingerprinted using LiveScan.Do you need to pass the CBEST to be a teacher? ›
In order to work in a California public school, you must verify basic skills proficiency before getting a credential, certificate or permit. There are several ways to meet this requirement: Pass the CBEST.What happens if you fail CBEST? ›
If you do not pass a section, you can register, pay the $41 fee and retake the entire test or just that one section. Note that you may not take the CBEST more than once in any 45– calendar-day period. Retaking sections that you have already passed may help you reach the total score required to pass the CBEST.How many times can you fail the CBEST? ›
You can take the assessment as many times as necessary to achieve a passing score, but may need to enroll in another program to do so. A passing score on each cycle must be achieved through a single submission.How many math problems are there in CBEST? ›
The exam is comprised of three subtests. CBEST Mathematics includes 50 multiple-choice questions which require candidates to solve problems from three major areas: Estimation, Measurement, and Statistical Principles; Computation and Problem Solving; and Numerical and Graphic Relationships.Will California get rid of CBEST? ›
California is not eliminating the CSET, but rather has created alternative options, other than the CSET, for prospective teachers to earn credentials.How hard is the math section of the CBEST? ›
Many of the questions found in this test are only related to the concepts you learned in high school. So we can conclude the math section of the CBEST test is not a difficult test, and you can succeed in this test with enough study and practice regularly.How fast do you get CBEST results? ›
Test results are available within 2 weeks of testing. Review test results release dates . Score reports may be delayed for up to 2 weeks for candidates taking this test via online proctoring.