The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) measures a candidate’s fundamental skills in reading, writing, and math. It’s designed to assess these skills within the context of teaching so you need to know the subjects themselves as well as how to teach them. The math section covers a range of mathematical skills that are important for a successful career in education.
When Do I Need to Register for the CBEST?
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If you are taking the computer based version, you can schedule your appointment for any date that is convenient to you. It is available all year round. With that in mind, you do want to register as early as possible to make sure that your preferred date is still available. Seats are given on a first come, first serve basis so it’s better to book early.
You will have the option to take all three sections of the test in a single four hour session or in separate four hour sessions. However, whichever option you choose, you need to specify at the time of registration. Once you reach the testing center, you won’t be able to add additional tests.
You may want to take a full length practice test of all three sections before you register so that you can decide whether you feel confident that, with preparation, you’ll be able to pass all of them in one session or not.
What Kind of Math Is Included on the Math Section of the CBEST?
The math section of the CBEST includes 50 multiple choice questions covering a range of math skills, formulas, and problems. Here is an overview of what you will be expected to know:
- Standard units of measurement in the US system for length, weight, temperature, and capacity.
- Estimating time to plan and achieve your work objectives
- Problem solving using basic arithmetic such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and division.
- Other arithmetic operations
- Basic statistical data including averages, ratios, proportions, and percentile scores
- Basic probability and predictions of outcomes using data
- Interpret standardized test scores to determine how individuals performed relative to their peers
- Positive and negative numbers
- Fractions, decimals, and percentages
- Solving practical math problems such as invoicing, ordering supplies, multiplying quantities, and summing items
- Recognizing relationships in numerical data
- Recognizing the position of numbers in relation to each other
- Identify mathematic equivalencies
- Use rounding rules
- Identify the missing information on a table of data
- Use numerical information in spreadsheets, tables, and graphs to solve problems
What Is the Minimum Passing Score?
CBEST scoring is a little unusual. You need a cumulative score of at least 123 but you also need a minimum of 41 on each individual section—123 being the sum of three minimum scores of 41. However, where it gets unusual is that you can pass the CBEST while scoring less than 41 on some sections.
Basically, you are allowed to score as low as 37 on a section as long as you make up for those lost points in another section to bring your cumulative score up to 123.
For example, if math is not your strong-suit, you can afford to score as low as 37 as long as you are able to score 45 or better on either reading or writing (or 43 each on both reading and writing).
However, anything below 37 will not be accepted, even if your cumulative score is 123. So think of 37 as your absolute bottom but still aim for at least a 41 on each section.
How Much Time Should I Spend Studying for the CBEST Math Section?
You definitely should spend at least two to three weeks studying for the math section of the CBEST. While it may seem familiar, you could still benefit from some time spent strengthening each of the skills as well as working on your speed and accuracy in solving the various kinds of math problems.
The Mometrix Study Guide and Mometrix Flashcards are some of the best tools you can use to get the practice and review that you need to do well on this section. The guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of all the math that will be included on the exam. Each chapter provides clear and easy to follow explanations along with examples and strategies that will help you solve even the trickiest problems.
The flashcards offer a great way to review the most essential mathematical concepts as well as get some additional practice with the bonus sample questions that come with them. Plus, the flashcards are portable so you’ll be able to sneak in a review here and there throughout your day whenever you have time.