California Basic Educational Skills Test : Are You Ready to Pass the CBST?

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-10-06
  • Publisher: Research & Education Assn
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Study with REA and Get the BEST Score on the CBEST!!

Updated 7th Edition with Practice Exams on CD!

Nationwide, more than 5 million teachers will be needed over the next decade, and all must take appropriate tests to be licensed. REA gets you ready for your teaching career with our outstanding library of Teacher Certification test preps!

Written by professional educators, REA’s updated CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) test prep helps prospective teachers in California and Oregon prepare for this important exam and get licensed.

Completely up-to-date and fully aligned with the latest test specifications, our comprehensive review chapters cover the Reading, Writing, and Mathematics material tested on the CBEST.

Targeted drills, lessons, and key tutorials in each chapter enhance the specific skills you need to succeed on the test, while reinforcing what you’ve learned as you study. The test prep comes complete with a customized study schedule and REA’s expert test-taking strategies and tips.

A diagnostic test plus two full-length multiple-choice practice exams help you refresh your knowledge and focus on areas in need of improvement. Both of the book’s exams are featured on our TestWare® CD with the most powerful scoring and diagnostic tools available today. Automatic scoring and instant reports help you zero in on the topics and types of questions that give you trouble now, so you’ll succeed when it counts!

Our on-screen detailed explanations of answers help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. We don’t just say which answers are right – we also explain why the other answer choices are incorrect – so you’ll be prepared on test day!

This book is a must for anyone looking to teach in Oregon or California!

REA books and software have proven to be the extra support teacher candidates need to pass their challenging test for state licensure. Our comprehensive test preps are teacher-recommended and written by experts in the field.


How to Prepare for and Do Your Best on the CBEST

By reviewing and studying this book, you can achieve a top score on the California
Basic Educational Skills Test, or CBEST. The CBEST assesses knowledge that you have
gained throughout your academic career. Most of the knowledge tested by the CBEST
is covered in your college or university teacher preparation programs or through other
classes. While the test does not ascertain aspects of teaching such as dedication, rapport
with students, and motivation, it does assess basic skills relevant to the teaching

We at REA believe the best way to prep for the CBEST is to replicate the complete
CBEST test-taking experience. Toward that end, we provide three full-length exams that
accurately reflect the CBEST in terms of format, content, and degree of difficulty. Our
practice exams mirror the latest CBEST test forms and include every type of question
that you can expect to encounter when you sit for the exam. Following each of our practice
exams is an answer key complete with detailed explanations and solutions. Designed
specifically to clarify the material for the student, the explanations not only provide the
correct answers, but also explain why the answer to a particular question is indeed the
best choice. By completing all three practice exams and studying the explanations that
follow, you will flesh out your strengths and weaknesses. This in turn will allow you to
concentrate progressively on attacking the sections of the exam you find to be toughest.

About REA’s Test Experts
To aid us in meeting our objective of providing you with the best possible study
guide for the CBEST, REA’s test experts have carefully prepared our topical reviews and
practice exams. Our authors come armed with specific knowledge of the CBEST. They
have thoroughly examined and researched the mechanics of the CBEST to ensure that
our model tests accurately depict the exam and appropriately challenge the student. Our
experts are highly regarded in the educational community, with most having studied at the
doctoral level. They have taught in their respective fields at competitive universities and
colleges throughout the United States and California. They have an in-depth knowledge
of the subjects presented in the book, and provide accurate questions that will help you
best prepare for the exam. Each question is clearly explained in order to help you achieve
a top score on the CBEST.

About the California Basic Educational Skills Test
The CBEST is required by the states of California and Oregon for applicants seeking
their first teaching or services credential. In California, unless an applicant already holds
a California teaching credential, this test must be taken to obtain an issuance or renewal
of an Emergency Credential. This rule does not apply in Oregon.

There are two other cases when the CBEST may be required: (1) for those people who
have not taught for 39 months or more and are reentering the teaching profession, and (2)
for diagnostic purposes for students entering teacher education programs in their state. To
determine if you should take the CBEST, contact the school district where you are considering
employment. For questions pertaining to CBEST policies, contact your respective
state’s teacher credentialing commission:

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Attention: CBEST Project Officer
P.O. Box 944270
Sacramento, CA 94244-2700
Phone: (916) 445-7254
Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission
465 Commercial Street NE
Salem, OR 97310
Phone: (503) 378-3586
Website: tspc.state.or.us

The CBEST is given six times a year: in October, December, February, April, June,
and August. The test is administered by Pearson Education, Inc., under the direction of
the CBEST Program. Questions regarding registration procedures for the CBEST can be
referred to: 

CBEST Program 
Evaluation Systems
Pearson Education, Inc.
P.O. Box 340880
Sacramento, CA 95834-0880
Phone: (916) 928-4001 or (800) 262-5080
TTY: (916) 928-4191

You can also contact your school’s education department for information on how to
register for the test.

The exam tests reading skills (critical analysis and evaluation and comprehension and
research skills), mathematics skills (estimation, measurement, and statistical principles, computation
and problem solving, and numerical and graphic relationships), and writing skills
(insight into a subject, writing for a specific audience, clarity, consistency of point of view,
strength and logic of supporting information, and overall mechanics, spelling, and usage).
The CBEST consists of multiple-choice questions and two essay questions. Each multiplechoice
question presents five choices (A through E). Examinees are given four hours to take
the test. You can divide this time in any way you wish among the three sections.

The test’s three sections look like this:

1. Reading Section: This section contains 50 multiple-choice questions based
on original passages of between 100 and 200 words. In some cases, however,
these passages may be short statements of not more than one or two

2. Mathematics Section: This section contains 50 multiple-choice questions.
These questions come from three broad categories: arithmetic, algebra, and
measurement and geometry. Within these categories, the following types of
problems will be tested:

• Processes Used in Problem Solving—For example, identifying an operation
needed to solve a problem or changing a verbal problem into one
using math symbols.

• Solution of Applied Problems—For example, answering word problems
including arithmetic, percent, ratio and proportion, algebra, elementary
geometry, and elementary statistics.

• Mathematical Concepts and Relationships—For example, recognizing
the definitions of certain terms (such as percent) and relationships shown
by graphs.

All of these categories require knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, and measurement
and geometry.

3. Writing Section: This section contains two essay questions. You must write
on both topics. One topic requires you to analyze a given situation, the other
asks you to write about a personal experience.

Following this introduction are test strategies, examples, and suggested study techniques,
all of which will help you properly prepare for the CBEST.

About Our TestWare®
TestWare® is REA’s Windows-based practice exam software included with the purchase
of this guide. The software features the Diagnostic Exam, Practice Test 1 and
Practice Test 2, all of which are full-length and timed, giving you the closest thing to
experiencing a live exam at a testing center. The exams will be instantly and automatically
scored for immediate feedback. Additionally you will find detailed, on-screen explanations
for all exam questions and essays. For maximum benefit before you begin your
studying, take the Diagnostic Test on our interactive TestWare® so that you get the advantage
of timed conditions and automatic scoring.

About the Diagnostic Test 
Our diagnostic test is a full-length model test designed to help you determine your
strengths and weaknesses on the material the CBEST will cover. For maximum benefit,
simulate actual testing conditions by timing yourself and taking the test where you will
not be interrupted.

Take each section separately. After each section, score yourself and review the
detailed explanations of answers to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Each
section offers a discussion of scoring so that you can understand what grade you must
receive to pass the exam.

After you complete each section of the diagnostic test, study the reviews in Reading
Skills, Mathematics, and Writing. By reading our Study Schedule, you should be able to
refine your own studying plan.

About the Review Sections
This book offers three topical reviews, which correspond to the subject areas you will
find on the exam. These include Reading Skills, Mathematics, and Writing. Supplementing
your studies with our review will provide focus and structure and will allow you to
choose a particular subject or subtopic to study. The reviews are set up to give you exactly
what you need to do well on the exam.

Reading Skills Review
In this review you will be taught to recognize literal, inferential, and critical comprehension
questions. We give general strategies for answering reading comprehension
questions and then you give you ample opportunity to practice these strategies on sample

Mathematics Review 
The Mathematics Review offers three mini-reviews on the following topics:

• Basic Mathematical Concepts, including integers, prime and composite
numbers, odd and even numbers, place value, powers and
roots of whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and
division of integers, common fractions, decimal fractions, percents,
and elementary statistics.

• Algebra, including algebraic expressions, simplifying algebraic
expressions, factoring, solving linear equations, solving inequalities,
evaluating formulas, elementary probability, and algebra word

• Geometry and measurement, including perimeter and area of
rectangles, squares and triangles, circumference and area of circles,
volume of cubes and rectangular solids, angle measure, properties of
triangles, the Pythagorean Theorem, properties of parallel and perpendicular
lines, coordinate geometry, graphs, and the metric system.

You can read a full review on each topic and then be able to practice your skills in a
short exercise at the end.

Writing Review 
The Writing Review focuses specifically on essay writing for the CBEST. You will
learn about the types of topics you can expect to see on the CBEST and sample topics
will be given. In addition, you will learn how the essay grade is determined so that you
will be able to sharpen your writing ability and achieve a high grade. 

Participate in Study Groups 
As a final word on how to study for this exam, you may want to study with others.
This will allow you to share knowledge and obtain feedback from other members of your
study group. Study groups may make preparing for the exam more enjoyable. 

Scoring the Exam 
The Reading and Mathematics sections in the CBEST are scored the same way: raw
scores are determined by adding together all the correct answers without deducting points
for incorrect answers.

The Writing section is scored a different way. Each of your essays will be scored
by two readers. The criteria by which the readers must grade your work are determined
before the reading process begins, and the readers are thoroughly trained to grade using
only these criteria. The readers are college professors from public and private institutions
in California and Oregon, as well as elementary and secondary school English teachers
from these two states.

The two readers will assess each of your essays independently. Each will assign a
score from 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest:
4 = Pass
3 = Marginal Pass
2 = Marginal Fail
1 = Fail
The four scores are added, yielding a raw section score that can range from a high of
16 to a low of four.

Every CBEST test form is designed to measure the same cluster of basic skills. Nonetheless,
the fact that each CBEST test form may have different questions—with varying
degrees of difficulty—makes it necessary to convert the raw scores to a scale that adjusts
for those variations. The scaled scores run from a low of 20 to a high of 80 for each of the
test’s three sections. 

Attaining a passing score on the CBEST is not just a matter of achieving a minimal
overall score, but of doing so on each section separately. The scaled passing score on each
section is 41, which means that a total score of 123 is required for passing status. While
it is possible to pass the CBEST with a scaled score as low as 37 on one or two sections,
examinees cannot pass the CBEST if they score below 37 on any one section, no matter
how high their total score may be. 

Scoring Rule of Thumb: If you correctly answer roughly 70 percent of the items on
each section of the test (i.e., Reading, Mathematics, Writing), you will receive a passing
grade for the whole test. It should be noted that the actual raw passing score could
vary a point or two each time the test is given because different forms of the test may be

CBEST Test-Taking Strategies 
How to Beat the Clock 

Every second counts and you will want to use the available test time for each section
in the most efficient manner. Here’s how: 

1. Memorize the test directions for each section of the test. You do not want
to waste valuable time reading directions on the day of the exam. Your time
should be spent on answering the questions. 

2. Bring a watch to the exam and pace yourself. Work steadily and quickly. Do
not spend too much time on any one question. If, after a few minutes, you
cannot answer a particular question, make a note of it and continue. You can
go back to it after you have completed easier questions first. 

3. As you work on the test, be sure that your answers correspond with the proper
numbers and letters on the answer sheet. 

Guessing Strategy 
1. If you are uncertain about a question, guess at the answer rather than skipping
it. You will not be penalized for answering incorrectly, since wrong answers
are not counted toward your final score. This means that you should never
leave a blank space on your answer sheet. Even if you do not have time to narrow
down the choices, be sure to fill in every space on the answer sheet. You
can only gain by this, since you will receive credit for any questions answered
correctly—even if purely by luck. 

2. You can improve on your guessing strategy by eliminating any choices recognized
as incorrect. As you eliminate incorrect choices, cross them out.
Remember that writing in test booklets is allowed. By crossing out incorrect
choices, you will be better able to focus on the remaining choices. 

Rewards Program

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wonderful and evry important book! April 8, 2011
REA gets you ready for your teaching career with our outstanding library of Teacher Certification test preps!" Written by professional educators, REA's updated CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) test prep helps prospective teachers in California and Oregon prepare for this important exam and get licensed. I recommend this textbook and ecampus as the best bookstore I ever dealt with.
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