What is the CBEST
The CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) exam is an assessment of basic skills in the areas of mathematics, reading, and writing. It is required for any admission into a teacher certification program in the state of California. Passing the CBEST qualifies you for admission into a teacher preparation/certification program.
How much is the CBEST
The CBEST exam cost $41 per registration (plus $61 CBT fee).
How long is the CBEST
The CBEST consist of 3 separate subtest:
- CBEST Reading section – 50 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 85 minutes
- CBEST Mathematics section – 50 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 85 minutes
- CBEST Writing section- 2 essay questions.
For a more in-depth test breakdown, see test breakdown section.
How is the CBEST scored/graded
Each CBEST section (math, reading, and writing) is graded on a scale from 20 to 80, with a scaled score of 41 to pass each section. To pass the entire test, you must score 123 or higher. It is possible to pass the CBEST with a scaled score on one or two sections as low as 37, provided that the total score is 123 or higher.
How hard is the CBEST (math, reading, writing)
The first-time passing rate for all three sections for the CBEST is about 70%, meaning 3 out of 10 test-takers fail at least one section of the CBEST on their first attempt. Historically, minorities have had lower scores on the exam than test-takers identifying as “White”.*
*Source: Annual Report on the Passing Rates of Commission-Approved Examinations from 2010-2015.
Pearson offers locations United States (and some places internationally). To find the testing location(s) nearest you, simply register for the CBEST and choose the most convenient testing center.
The CBEST offers Computer-Based Testing (CBT) and Paper-based Testing (PBT). If taking the CBEST via CBT, you can register at multiple locations throughout California during most weekdays. The PBT exams are provided 8-10 times a year and are scheduled months in advance.
CBEST ID Requirements
To take the CBEST, you must present an original, government-issued, valid (non-expired) identification that has your photograph, full name, and signature. Make sure to bring the ID with you on the day of the test to the testing center. For most test-takers, a valid driver’s license or United States Passport is a valid ID.
CBEST Tips (Top 7)
- Make sure to answer every question (even if you guess)
- Know how much time you have left
- Be familiar with the on-screen calculator (for the math section)
- Understand how to write a Constructed Response Question
- Eliminate incorrect answers first
- Work through practice questions so you know what to expect
- Study quality, trusted sources [like 240Tutoring]
How to Pass the CBEST
To pass the CBEST you must first understand what is on the exam and what you will be expected to know. The best way is to review the 240 Tutoring test breakdown materials and practice questions. Once you identify areas of weakness, you can begin targeting those areas with instructional content and practice questions.