CSET Physical Education: Practice Test and Prep

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CSET Physical Education Subtest 1 Practice Test CSET Physical Education Subtest 2 Practice Test CSET Physical Education Subtest 3 Practice Test

Welcome to our CSET Physical Education practice test and prep page. On this page, we outline the domains and key concepts for the CSET Physical Education exam. It is a free resource we provide so you can see how prepared you are to take the official exam.

While this free guide outlines the domains found on the exam, our paid CSET Physical Education study guide covers EVERY concept you need to know and is set up to ensure your success! Our online CSET Physical Education study guide provides test-aligned study material using interactive aids, videos, flash cards, quizzes and practice tests.

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Not ready to start studying yet? That’s OK. Keep reading, and when you’re ready take our free CSET PE practice tests.

In this article, we will cover:

CSET Physical Education: Test Information

The California Subject Examinations for Teachers for Physical Education (CSET PE) exam is required for California teachers who teach physical education in the public school system. It is designed to measure a candidate’s knowledge of the content covered in each subtest to ensure a teacher is qualified to instruct students in this subject area.

The CSET PE is a computer-based test that includes 3 different subtests with a passing rate of 220 per subtest.

Subtest 1

  • 40 multiple-choice questions
  • 2 constructed response questions
  • 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete

Subtest 2

  • 40 multiple-choice questions
  • 2 constructed response questions
  • 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete

SubTest 3

  • 40 multiple-choice questions
  • 1 constructed response questions
  • 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete

The total length of time for the entire test if all three subtests are taken is 5 hours with 15 additional minutes to complete a nondisclosure agreement and tutorial. Any breaks taken are included as part of your available testing time.


The cost for the entire test including all 3 subtests is $297. The price for each individual subtest is $99. Registration fees must be paid using credit, debit, or check card.


In order to pass the CSET PE exam, you need to score a 220 on each individual subtest. Results are reported as scaled scores. The scaled score is determined based on the number of raw points earned in each subtest (multiple choice and constructed response) and the weighting of each section. Raw scores are converted to a scale of 100 to 300, with 220 being the minimum passing score. Test results are available within 7 weeks of testing.

Study time:

Study time will vary from person to person but plan to spend many hours over several weeks to feel fully prepared. Continue studying until you have covered each topic of the test and feel confident with the practice questions.

What test takers wish they would’ve known:

There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so it is better to guess than to leave a question unanswered.
Pace yourself, and make sure you are not spending too much time on difficult questions. You can always come back to a question later.
Plan to arrive early. Check the test administration site for the time you should arrive.

Information obtained from the National Evaluation Series website:



CSET PE: Subtest I


Subtest I has 40 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response questions. You will have 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete this subtest.

There are two domains, both with specific competencies:

Growth, Motor Development, and Motor Learning

The Science of Human Movement

So, let’s start with Growth, Motor Development, and Motor Learning.

Growth, Motor Development, and Motor Learning

This section tests your knowledge of growth, motor development, and motor learning and their applications to the physical education environment.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Kinesthetic Discrimination

Kinesthetic discrimination is one’s ability to recognize changes that involve muscle feelings and body motions. This involves a body’s ability to maintain balance on a bike or to determine which way to run to catch the ball.

Skill acquisition is how athletes learn and retain new skills. There are three stages of skill acquisition: cognitive, associative, and autonomous. The cognitive stage is when the athlete has to think about the skill and how to retain it. This stage requires a lot of frequent feedback. The associative stage is the longest stage where the athlete practices the skill with errors becoming less frequent. The last stage, autonomous, is when the athlete can think about other aspects of the competition rather than just the skill alone.

Kinesthetic discrimination relates to skill acquisition because in order for athletes to move through the stages of skill acquisition they must understand their body’s muscle feelings and motions. An example of kinesthetic discrimination involved with skill acquisition is juggling. In the cognitive stage, the body focuses on throwing the object while determining what muscles need to be used. In the associative stage, the body begins to practice juggling to master this concept. Lastly, an individual in the autonomous stage would be able to juggle and walk around or spin around at the same time.

Gross Motor Development

Gross motor development is the progression of skills learned that require the whole body to perform everyday functions. Examples include standing, walking, and sitting upright. It also includes hand-eye coordination like throwing, hitting, and kicking. A child is expected to hit milestones during certain age ranges. Each stage of development assumes that the preceding stages have already been achieved.

CSET PE Developmental Milestones

Check out more age groups for gross motor development as well as possible implications if milestones are not achieved. https://childdevelopment.com.au/resources/child-development-charts/gross-motor-developmental-chart/

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a muscle impairment condition caused by damage to the brain before or at birth. There are different types of cerebral palsy. Spastic cerebral palsy causes stiffness and movement difficulties. Dyskinetic (athetoid) cerebral palsy causes uncontrolled movements. Ataxic cerebral palsy causes problems with balance and depth perception. Cerebral palsy can affect motor learning and development. It can delay certain milestones a child should hit, delaying their overall motor development, or it can stop motor development entirely. A child with cerebral palsy struggles with a variety of motor development difficulties, including but not limited to:

  • Not reaching for toys by 4 months
  • Not sitting up by 7 months
  • Unable to crawl, walk, or move arms and legs in the usual way
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Muscle tone that is too tight or too loose

The Science of Human Movement

This section tests your knowledge of the science of human movement, including body systems, biomechanical principles, effects of exercise, and components of wellness.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

The Skeletal System

The skeletal system is the framework of the body that consists of 206 bones and other connective tissues that protect and support the body tissues and various organs. The four main parts are the bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and joints.

  • Rigid form of connective tissue composed mostly of calcium
  • 5 types of bones: long, short, flat, irregular, and sesamoid
  • Small band of dense, white, fibrous elastic tissue
  • Connects bones to bones
  • Assists in holding organs in place
  • Tough, flexible, inelastic band of fibrous connective tissue
  • Connects muscles to bones
  • Strong, flexible tissue
  • Found in joints, ears, rib cage, nose, and joints between bones
  • Connection of bones together
  • Hold the skeleton and support movement
  • Types of joints by function: synarthrosis, amphiarthrosis, and diarthrosis
  • Types of joints by the structure: fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial

Trapezius Muscles

The trapezius muscle is one of the largest back muscles and active movement muscles that is used to tilt and turn the head and neck, shrug, and twist your arms. There are three areas of the trapezius muscle: upper fibers, middle fibers, and lower fibers. Each area does something different.

Upper Trapezius (Upper Fibers)
  • Goes across the tops of your shoulders
  • Can elevate shoulders
  • Helps extend, tilt, and rotate the neck
Middle Trapezius (Middle Fibers)
  • Helps bring shoulder blades back toward the spine
  • Helps stabilize the shoulder during certain arm movements
Lower Trapezius (Lower Fibers)
  • Upwardly rotates scapula
  • Works together with the upper fibers to assist with scapular retraction and adduction

Stress Management

Below are the five components of stress management.

Good Nutrition
  • Eat regular, balanced meals
  • Take vitamins regularly
  • Increase protein, calcium, and potassium intake- each helps to combat stress
  • Avoid “junk” food
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco- each can upset sleep
  • Strive for 7-9 hours of sleep
Physical Exercise
  • Regular, moderate exercise helps relieve tension and elevate one’s mood
  • Focus on activities that loosen the muscles
  • Take slow, deep breaths to increase oxygen flow to brain
  • Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth
  • To relieve tension in body: tense and release muscle groups, starting with your toes all the way to your head
Kindness to Self
  • Engage in “distracting” activities (i.e. reading, visiting a park, shopping)
  • Engage in contemplative activities (i.e. listening to music, taking a bath, getting some sun)
  • Engage in care-seeking activities (i.e. talking with a friend, writing in a journal, getting a massage)

And that is some basic information about CSET PE: Subset I.

CSET PE: Subtest II


Subtest II has 40 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response questions. You will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete this subtest.

There are three domains, both with specific competencies:

  • The Sociology and Psychology of Human Movement
  • Movement Concepts and Forms
  • Assessment and Evaluation Principles

So, let’s start with The Sociology and Psychology of Human Movement.

The Sociology and Psychology of Human Movement

This section tests your knowledge of sociology and psychology of human movement, including personal and social development, motivation, and the role of physical activities in society.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness is a condition in which individuals believe they have no control over what happens in their lives. They begin to think, feel, and act as if they are helpless. Learned helplessness is often associated with depression and anxiety, both of which threaten a person’s physical and mental well-being. This can lead to poor health as they falsely believe they have no power to change. Learned helplessness can lead to depression and stress, which can weaken the immune system and cause less effective recovery from health problems. Learned helplessness can impact a person’s desire to try any new physical activities or change the current amount of physical activity due to the beliefs that there is no self-control over life events.

Promoting Cooperation

Below are five key elements that represent the benefits of participation in cooperative learning:

  • Positive Interdependence– structure tasks so students are dependent on each other to achieve their goals (i.e. establish common goals, divide work equally, and conduct an evaluation on group performance)
  • Individual Accountability– hold students accountable for their actions and decisions (i.e. activities should require the effort and knowledge of all group members so group members will participate and contribute to their full ability)
  • Face-to-Face Interaction– provide opportunities for students to support, encourage, and praise one another in their learning (meaningful face-to-face interaction cannot occur with large groups, groups with 2-4 members are ideal)
  • Collaborative Skills– These need to be modeled, verbalized, and reinforced by teachers and delivered in a systematic manner. These skills include listening, conflict resolution, supporting others, taking turns, and sharing.
  • Group Processing– the time allotted for discussing the experiences being presented to the students (i.e. verbal reflection occurs at the end of an activity to demonstrate understanding and facilitates the development of social skills)

Movement Concepts and Forms

This section tests your knowledge of movement concepts and forms, including creative movement, dance, gymnastics, aquatics, and team and individual sports and activities.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.


Pickleball is a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It can be played indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized-court with a slightly modified tennis net. Pickleball is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. It can be played as doubles or singles. Check out the website below for all official rules and regulations of the game. https://www.pickleball.com/rules-how-to-play-pickleball-s/106.htm


Stretching is a form of physical exercise where a specific muscle or tendon is flexed in order to improve a muscle’s elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. Stretching can improve athletic performance or relieve pain and tension. There are three main types of stretching: static, dynamic, and ballistic.

Static Stretching
  • Holding a position between 30-60 seconds to lengthen muscles
  • Complete after exercise
  • Benefits: relief from cramping, improved range of motion, and decrease in injury potential
Dynamic Stretching
  • Engaging in the joint’s range of motion for 2-3 seconds
  • Complete as a warm-up before exercise
  • Benefits: prevent strain, increase blood flow, and enhance flexibility
Ballistic Stretching
  • Utilizes muscle activation through quick, jerky movements
  • Bouncing when stretching can result in muscle contraction, torn ligaments, or severed tendons
  • Complete as a warm-up before exercise once the body is warm
  • Benefits: improves dynamic flexibility, muscles become ready for high impact activity, and enhances the motor performance of the muscles when performed correctly

This section tests your knowledge of selecting and implementing appropriate assessments to evaluate the principles of the physical education setting effectively.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Test Characteristics

Validity is how well a test measures what it is intended to measure. Examples of valid assessments:

  • Aerobic Endurance: students run the pacer
  • Anaerobic Endurance: students run a 400m race
  • Strength: students complete as many pull-ups as they possibly can
  • Agility: students complete ladder patterns
  • Flexibility: students complete sit-and-reach

Reliability is how consistent assessments are, meaning if you were to complete the same assessment twice you would get similar results. Examples of reliable assessments:

  • Any test can be unreliable if the student changes something they have done to improve or hinder results
  • Pacer Test: If students run the same speed, they will most likely achieve the same results.
  • Pull-Ups: If students use the same muscle groups, they will most likely achieve the same results.
  • Ladders: If students use the same arm movements, leg movements, and speed, they will most likely achieve the same results.

Objectivity is when assessment data is collected through measuring and observing facts. Objective assessments have one correct answer. Examples of objective assessments:

  • True/False
  • Multiple Choice
  • Extended Matching

Types of Evaluations

Norm-Referenced Assessments (standardized tests)
  • The purpose is to compare and rank test takers in relation to one another
  • Determine if a test taker performed better or worse than a typical or average test taker
  • Usually, consist of multiple-choice questions, but sometimes includes open-ended responses
  • Usually based on some form of national standard
Criterion-Referenced Assessments (also known as content-referenced assessments)
  • Designed to measure a student’s performance with regard to the learning standards
  • Evaluate whether a student has learned a specific skill or concept
  • Individual teachers can create these assessments to test certain concepts
  • Includes a variety of question types: multiple-choice, open-ended response, true/false
  • Desirable to have every student pass, with the potential of earning a perfect score
Authentic Assessments
  • Requires application of what student has learned to a new situation
  • Often include real-world situations or applications
  • Integrated challenges with a range of skills
  • Maybe no “right” answer and may not be easily scored
  • Requires higher-level thinking

Basic Statistical Applications

Central Tendency: describes the way data clusters around a central value
  • Average number of jumping jacks students can do in a minute
  • The average pace at which a student in fifth grade can run a mile
Variability: the spread of the data
  • Have students count the number of jumping jacks they can do in a minute and determine the least and greatest number students can jump from each class or grade level
  • Have students run a mile and determine the slowest and fastest pace in each class or grade level
Standard Scores: taking a raw score and transforming it into a common scale
  • Have students complete the physical fitness assessment
Norms: the average
  • Typical catching ability for a child at a certain age
  • Typical balance ability for a child at a certain age
  • Typical agility ability for a child at a certain age
Correlations: shows whether variables are related
  • Height and weight

And that is some basic information about subset II of the CSET PE exam.

CSET PE: Subtest III


Subtest III has 40 multiple-choice questions and 1 constructed-response question. You will have 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete this subtest of the CSET PE exam.

There are two domains, both with specific competencies:

  • Professional Foundations
  • Integration of Concepts

So, let’s start with Professional Foundations.

Professional Foundations

This section tests your knowledge of professional foundations in the field of physical education, including philosophy, history, research, and legal issues.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.


Inclusion is a scheduling structure in which special education students spend as much time as possible with general education students. This affects a physical education setting as there are certain accommodations that must be followed by law. Differentiated instruction must be present in order to meet the needs and abilities of all students. Inclusion enables all students to develop skills, successfully participate, and feel a sense of belonging.


Liability in physical education is a constant concern due to equipment, safety, and supervision. Product liability is one of the major legal issues present in physical education. Product liability is when a piece of equipment is involved in an injury. Due to this liability, it is imperative that quality equipment is purchased, checked regularly, and kept in good condition, following all manufacturer’s instructions. Physical education teachers must teach safety to prevent injury to any child. This includes facility safety, equipment safety, and safety in instruction. Supervision must be present throughout the physical education classroom at varying levels at all times. Appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn by all participants. Check out the link to learn more about safety in the physical education classroom. https://www.auburn.edu/~brocksj/4360hastietext/brock02_final.pdf

SHAPE America (Formally AAHPERD)

Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) is the largest organization of health and physical education professionals. SHAPE America’s national standards for grades K-12 serve as the foundation for well-designed physical education programs throughout the country. They provide programs and resources to support educators at all levels. SHAPE America’s mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education to develop a nation with physically active and healthy youth.

Integration of Concepts

This section tests your knowledge on integrating other subject areas effectively with physical education.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Modifying Activities

It is necessary to sometimes modify activities in order for all students to be able to participate. Below is a list of modified activities:

Modify to Balance Competition
  • Kick or hit a stationary ball versus a pitched ball
  • Allow for certain length of time to get to the base
  • Allow the ball to be caught in volleyball before hitting back over the net
Modify Equipment
  • Larger bat or racquet
  • Larger/lighter/softer ball
  • Lower/raise a target or goal

Physical Education and Mathematics

Physical education and mathematics are very closely related. In order to master certain physical education concepts, math skills must be understood. Running involves data and time, sports equipment involves geometry, scoring involves numeracy. Below are examples to promote the connection between both subjects for a variety of age groups. Examples of physical education and mathematics:

  • Estimate how long it will take to run 100m then determine the difference between actual time and estimation
  • Sort sporting equipment based on the shape
  • Determine who won the game and how much they won by
  • Determine types of lines and shapes found on a soccer field

In addition to math, other subjects like reading, science, and social studies can be integrated into physical education.

And that’s some basic info about the CSET PE exam.