CBEST Reading Exam Overview
Looking to become a teacher in California? The CBEST is a very important credential. For instance, it’s one way you can meet the Basic Skills Requirement, which you must fulfill to gain certification. And while the CBEST is not always mandatory, many school districts will only hire teachers who have passed the CBEST. A passing CBEST score may also be required to enter teaching programs or be hired as a substitute.
The CBEST Reading exam is one of three tests that constitute the CBEST, which also assesses Math and Writing. This may feel overwhelming, but don’t stress—you’re in the right place. The following article will detail the structure of the CBEST Reading exam and offer valuable tips and resources to help you ace it.
The CBEST Reading section gauges your reading comprehension and analysis skills. It’s natural to feel some anxiety about this exam, but there are ways to take charge of your testing experience. For instance, getting familiar with the exam structure can boost your confidence. A suite of effective study tools will also set you up for success on the CBEST Reading test.
With that in mind, let’s delve into the details of the CBEST Reading exam and explore some strategies for preparation. Whether you’re taking the CBEST for the first time or gearing up for a retake, this article will empower you to tackle the CBEST Reading test with confidence. Let’s get to work!
Overview of the CBEST Reading Exam
Knowing what to expect can help ease your nerves on test day. Let’s take a broad look at the CBEST Reading exam to understand what it covers.
The Reading exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, which you will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to answer. This test assesses the following skill areas:
- Critical Analysis and Evaluation
- Comprehension and Research Skills
- Comprehension and Context
- Research and Reference Skills
The Critical Analysis and Evaluation skill area requires you to read and analyze selected texts. The Comprehension and Research Skills domain tests your ability to perform tasks such as using a table of contents, locating information in a text, and reading visual graphs.
Familiarizing yourself with these content expectations should help you allocate study time. As you begin preparing for the CBEST Reading exam, prioritize concepts you know will be challenging.
Overall, a balanced approach to studying the two skill areas listed above will set you up for success on the CBEST Reading exam.
You will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the CBEST Reading exam.
You must score 41 or higher on the CBEST Reading exam to pass.
Number of Questions
The CBEST Reading test has 50 multiple-choice questions that cover two different skill areas.
You will need to register and pay separately for all three parts of the CBEST exam. Each section, including the CBEST Reading test, costs $30.
Visit the CTC website for more information on fees and payment. Be sure to check whether you are eligible for a fee waiver for the CBEST Reading exam.
You can register for the CBEST Reading test year round. Start the registration process by creating an account, and then choose a convenient time and place to test. You can take the CBEST Reading test as a standalone exam, or you can register for additional sections to take them at the same time. Remember that the CBEST has three sections (Reading, Mathematics, and Writing), and you must register for each one separately.
If you’re willing to abide by online proctoring rules, it’s now possible to take the CBEST Reading test at home. Learn more about the remote testing option for CBEST exams.
If you take the CBEST Reading exam in person, you will receive your preliminary scores at the end of the test. Your official score report will become available within two weeks. Visit the CTC website to find the day your CBEST Reading scores will be released. (Scroll down to “Test Results.”)
If you take the CBEST Reading test remotely, you will not receive preliminary scores. You must wait until official scores are released to learn if you passed.
Want to learn more about CBEST Reading scores? Explore the details with our CBEST Reading scoring guide!
Test Preparation Tips
Given its importance, the CBEST Reading exam may feel intimidating. However, the right strategies and mindset will give you the boost you need to succeed. Here are some preparation tips to make the most of your study time:
Take a Proactive Approach
- Get familiar with the skill areas and specific content of the CBEST Reading test as soon as you can. The longer you put off studying, the more anxiety you’ll feel. (Reading this article is a great start!)
- Avoid procrastination by using a calendar app to schedule study time. When you’ve made a formal appointment to study, it’s harder to skip.
- Split your study blocks among all both skill areas, and consider setting a timer to stay on track. It’s important that you be ready for every topic that appears on this exam.
Review Key Facts and Skills
- Before you get started, understand what you are not responsible for knowing. The CBEST Reading test is not fact based and will not require outside knowledge. Each question will relate to specific passages, selections, tables, or graphs that can be interpreted in isolation.
- In the months preceding the CBEST Reading test, try to read as much as you can. In particular, if you don’t regularly consume academic texts or nonfiction, this is a good time to get familiar with the structural patterns and vocabulary that these texts tend to use. You don’t want to miss easy exam questions because you struggled to parse a passage.
Study Sample Questions and Take Practice Tests
- Attempt sample questions in both skill areas. While you may already have a sense of your strengths and weaknesses in reading comprehension, you should test those assumptions against exam materials.
- Take full-length practice tests on a regular basis to ensure you’re comfortable with the exam’s format and timing. If you’re unable to finish tests within 90 minutes, avoid attempting a drastic time cut. Try gradually accelerating your pace instead.
- Use official CBEST Reading exam preparation materials. Studying content that aligns with the real CBEST will help prevent surprises on test day.
Develop Effective Study Strategies
- Whenever you miss a practice question, don’t just move on. Read the explanation behind each answer and ensure it makes sense.
- Break down your study routine into manageable chunks. It’s better to dedicate 20 minutes to studying every night than to burn out after 10 hours of nonstop prep.
- Engage in active learning techniques, such as explaining a passage to someone else or participating in study groups. These strategies will help ensure you’re truly mastering the material, as opposed to memorizing surface details.
Important Exam Day Instructions
On the day of your CBEST Reading exam, read all pre-test instructions carefully. Allow ample time for travel—and verify that you’re headed to the location named in your confirmation email. Be sure to arrive 15 minutes before the time of your exam.
If you’re taking your exam at home, read all instructions carefully to understand how and when you need to sign in.
Check Required Items
Before your exam, double-check that you have all you need. Essential items can include:
- Valid identification: You must present a current, government-issued ID that bears your photo and signature. Examples of acceptable ID include driver’s licenses and passports.
- Sensible clothing: If you’ll be at a test site, the CTC website recommends bringing clothes that you can layer. You should also be sure to wear soft-soled shoes to keep the testing space quiet.
- Equipment and workspace: If you’re testing at home, you must have access to a desktop or laptop computer. You also need a quiet, private, and well lit workspace that is free of prohibited items.
Read the official instructions to learn more about testing policies and what to bring to the exam site.
If you are taking the exam at home, make sure that you’re viewing the tab that reads “Online Proctoring” when you click on the link above. Test takers who plan to use online proctoring should pay special attention to these requirements. The rules for remote testing are very strict, and a violation will cancel your score.
Understand Exam Format and Instructions
To prevent confusion on test day, familiarize yourself with the format and basic instructions of the CBEST Reading exam well in advance. Key things to remember include:
- Time limits: Be aware of the time limit and set your pace accordingly. You will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to answer all 50 multiple-choice questions.
- Marking scheme: Make sure you know how to mark selections properly on your screen. Whether you are at a testing center or at home, CBEST exams take place exclusively via computer.
- Special instructions: Pay attention to any special instructions provided by the exam proctors, especially if you’re testing remotely. Rules for remote tests are very strict.
Manage Time Effectively
Time management is crucial to finishing the CBEST Reading exam within 90 minutes. The following tips can help you manage your time effectively.
- Read and understand the instructions: Take a moment at the beginning of the test to go over all instructions thoroughly. This will help prevent errors and wasted time.
- Pace yourself: On average, you will have 1.5 to 2 minutes for each question. However, try to work faster than that whenever possible, in order to save time for tough passages or questions.
- Know when to move on: There is no guessing penalty on the CBEST Reading exam, so if you’re stuck on a question, it’s in your best interest to guess. You can always return to the question if you have time.
On exam day, you can use these tips to streamline your test-taking process and maximize your chances of success. Working efficiently, staying calm, and maintaining your focus are all essential to doing well on the CBEST Reading test.
The CBEST Reading exam is a crucial part of the CBEST, which is in turn very important to your teaching career. To pass this test, you’ll need to show proficiency in areas such as reading comprehension, critical analysis, interpretation of basic tables and graphs, and skills in research and information finding.
While the scope of this test is broad, don’t let it intimidate you. If you familiarize yourself with the exam structure, review all content areas, and follow our test prep tips, you can approach the CBEST Reading exam with confidence, increasing your chances of success.
More CBEST Reading Resources