CSET Science Practice Test (215, 217, 218, 219, & 220)

Space science, earth science, and life science all share a common theme — Science. It’s also a theme important in education. That’s why the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) Science test is such a tough one. Educators must take and pass the test to show they have the knowledge to teach science in California’s schools. It’s a long test that challenges knowledge in general science and in the teacher’s area of science concentration. Here’s what you can expect when taking the test, and here’s a recommendation for excellent study materials. 

How many categories, or subtests, are on the CSET Science Test?

The test contains two subtests. Subtest I test entails general science knowledge. Subtest II tests a candidate’s in one of four areas — life science, chemistry, Earth and space science, and physics.

How many questions are on the exam?

Both subtests have a combination of multiple-choice and constructed-response questions. Subtest I has 100 multiple-choice and four constructed-response questions. Subtest II has 50 multiple-choice and three constructed-response questions.

Do I have to take the entire test in one session?

No. Candidates can take the exam over two sessions.

Great. What’s the test time for each subtest?

Candidates have four hours to complete Subtest I and two hours to complete Subtest II. Candidates who elect to take the exam in a single sitting have six hours to complete the test.

Do I have to pay a fee to take the CSET Science Test?

Yes. Subtest It costs $133 and Subtest II costs $134. The test fee is $267 if you take both subtests at the same time.

What about location? Where can I take the test?

There are test center locations across California and the United States. You can perform an online search for the test center location nearest you. The test is delivered to candidates by a private testing company.

What’s on the CSET Science Test?

The test has two sections. Subtest I has four content areas. Subtest II covers one of four specific science areas that match the teacher’s science concentration.

  1. Scientific Practices, Engineering Design and Applications, and Crosscutting Concepts examines knowledge of scientific data, scientific explanations, and optimizing design solutions.
  2. The Physical Sciences tests teacher’s knowledge of the basic substructure of atoms, various energy forms, and the physical and chemical properties of water.
  3. Life Sciences examines cells and organisms, the life process of plants, and DNA
  4. Earth and Space Science examines, among other topics, damage caused by earthquakes, stars and nuclear fusion, and the Big Bang

Then, candidates will select one of four categories from Subtest II.  

  • Life Sciences tests knowledge in areas such as cellular structure and function, organisms’ growth and development, ecosystems, and natural selection.
  • Chemistry topics include the structure and properties of matter; chemical reactions and bonding; matter and stoichiometry conservation; and energy, conservation of energy, and energy transfer definitions.
  • Earth and Space Science includes the universe, the solar system, Earth history, natural resource, weather and climate, and natural hazards.
  • Physics includes energy and momentum conservation, kinetic molecular theory, and wave properties.

Can I bring and use my own calculator during the test?

No.  There’s an onscreen calculator that candidates can use.

Are there any other books or tools available during the test?

Yes. Candidates can access to a copy of the periodic table.

What’s the test passing score?

Candidates must score a minimum of 220 on each subtest to attain a passing grade.

What do I do with my personal items, like my digital watch?

All personal items must be placed in a locker at the test center and are not allowed in the test room. You can see a complete list of banned items by reviewing the test center rules. Prohibited items include all electronic devices, hats, and purses.

When I arrive at the test center, will I need to show identification?

Yes, and you’ll need to show two forms. Bring your driver’s license or passport, and another piece of identification that has a signature on it. The test center rules go into more detail.

I love science and I want to pass this test. What are the best study materials I can buy?

You’ll want to buy the study materials from Mometrix, a company that uses professionals in the education field to build study materials.   Our study guide contains practice test questions, study skill secrets, and lots of other exam tips. Our flashcards are special because they unlock the secrets to quickly solving difficult questions. These are the materials you need to help prepare for the CSET Science Test.