When I first took the CBEST test, I went in without preparation. I past the writing section the first time; the other sections I scored just below 41. Since most test takers write extensively, they will pass the write portion of the test. However, there are test takers that struggle with writing and placing their ideas in written form.
Back to Basics
The CBEST test, you are given two essay prompts: The Writing test consists of two essay questions. One of the essay questions asks examinees to write about a remembered experience. The other question is designed to elicit expository prose that will permit writers to demonstrate their analytic skills (CBEST, 2013).
You are only given two pages for each essay, so your writing must be concise and articulate. Recall the five paragraph essay: the introduction, one paragraph; the body, three paragraphs; the conclusion, one paragraph. Remember, you are not writing a thesis or dissertation, keep it simple.
Most CBEST study guides have examples of an essay. Read several times the ones that are scored as “4” and “3”. Then read the ones that are less than “3” once to compare.
Use a regular school note pad or paper to practice handwriting your essay to simulate the test.
Below, I have provided you with past writing prompts from the Learning Resource Center at CSU Northridge. Here is the link, http://www.csun.edu/~hflrc006/ep16et.html
1. Technology is very much a part of modern life. Many people see technology as a force that has escaped from human control. Others feel that technology has improved the quality of life. Do you think that the contribution technology has made to modern life has been positive or negative? State your position on this issue and support it with appropriate examples.
2. Imagine that you could have made one change in your college experience. Explain what change you would have made and what difference it would have made.
3. Many childhood experiences leave lifelong impressions on people. Write an essay in which you describe a memorable childhood experience and explain its effect on your life.
4. "The U.S. is becoming a nation of spectators--people who prefer to sit back and observe rather than a nation of doers. " Explain why you agree or disagree with the quotation above. Support your position with examples from your readings, observations, or experiences.
5. Think of one course taken in either high school or college that has had particular significance for you and explain why this course has had such an impact.
6. Wanting something and not getting it can be very disappointing, but wanting something and then getting it can be disappointing too. Have you ever wanted something, gotten it, and then were disappointed? Describe these disappointments.
7. In American sports, there have recently developed two philosophies. One philosophy is win at any cost. The other philosophy is fair play or sportsmanship. Choose the philosophy you feel is prevalent in America today and give reasons why you feel that philosophy is prevalent.
8. Throughout your school life you may have taken a particular course about which you had certain expectations which may not have been met. Describe your expectations and how that course did not satisfy those expectations.
9. Some students can look back on their years in school and pinpoint one particular course or one particular teacher most instrumental in shaping their lives. Reflect on your own school years and focus on one such instructor or course. Describe the conditions or qualities that made that particular experience or teacher special.
10. A recent movement in education has been called "Back to Basics." Its proponents argue that the curriculum should concentrate only on reading, writing and mathematics skills and completely ignore such courses as sociology, art appreciation, and drama. Imagine that you are a school principal faced with the task of making policy for your school. Present your argument(s) either for or against "Back to Basics."
CBEST. (2013, June 4). CBEST. Retrieved from CBEST: http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/PDFs/CBESTUpdatedTestSpecs.pdf
6/4/2013 | Joe S. | 4 comments
Passing the CBEST
Before you can become a teacher in California you first need to pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). Preparation is very important if you wish to pass this test the first time.
Most people who already have a bachelor's degree will have little trouble passing on the first try. Since the test is made of three parts - reading, writing, mathematics - if one part does not earn a passing grade, you can always retake that one section of the test.
Each section of the test can achieve a score between 20 and 80 points. You must achieve a passing score of 41 in each section, or have a total score of 123 across all three sections, as long as you don't score lower than 37 in any section. Visit the official CBEST website for an official score report explanation (PDF format).
Passing the Reading Section
- Read all the directions very carefully
- Read through all of the 50 questions in each section
- Read through the passage and highlight important words, phrases, or passages
- Try to consider the tone of the passage (Critical? Humorous Pessimistic?)
- Return to the questions and eliminate all answers that appear obviously wrong
Remember that your answer should be based purely on the material itself, not how you think it should be interpreted based on your experience
Passing the Essay Section
This section of the test consists of several essay topics. You're instructed to choose two topics to write on. Generally one topic will be an analysis of a situation or statement, while the other will be a narrative of a personal experience. The basic goal of the essay section is to measure your ability to compose essays within a given time, which effectively communicates certain ideas to your audience.
You will not have much time in this section to consider, plan, or rewrite. You need to map out each essay quickly and clearly. Before you take the test, take some time to look at past questions or high scoring answers.
Passing the Mathematics Section
This section consists of 50 math problems with multiple choice answers. The questions will be on a range of mathematical disciplines, from elementary level through early college, including:
Try not to spend too much time on an individual question. If you budget your time accordingly, you should have time to come back and take a crack at the more difficult questions.
General Test-Taking Tips
- Study by taking CBEST practice tests before exam day
- In order to save time, pre-read the test instructions before exam day. This will keep you from having to go back and forth reading the instructions.
- Bring a watch with you so you can accurately budget your time.
- If you get stuck on a question, make a note and come back to it if you have time.
- Make sure that you mark the answer on the correct sheet.
- Only correct answers are counted, so if you're reaching your time limit or don't know an answer, you're better off guessing the answer than leaving it blank.
- As you're working through the test, cross off answers that are incorrect in your test booklet. That way you can see clearly which options remain.
- Keep in mind that not everyone will pass this test the first time. You can always come back and try again!
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