# CSET Math Test This Past Saturday

Discussion in 'Single Subject Tests' started by john_seed, May 23, 2005.

1. ### john_seedRookie

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May 23, 2005

I took the CSET Single-Subject Math Subtest #1 for the first time this past Saturday. It was a difficult test, but I did a bit better than I thought I would. I don't think I passed it, but who knows.

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The multiple-choice ones weren't too bad, but there were some I had no clue on and some I had to make an educated guess with. I think I definitely got 20 out of 30 right, while I had to either make an educated guess on, or had to just make a random guess on the rest.

Study up on rings and fields...that's all I'll say on that end.

Know vectors, matrices, complex numbers (in the form of a + bi), etc.

I hit my dead end at 4 hours into the test. I spent the last half hour memorizing the problems I had trouble with. After the test I went outside and wrote down all I could remember.

Also, all the math I have ever had outside high school (graduated in 1987) was 1 semester of Trig and two semesters of calculus...the last algebra class I had was in 1986 during my junior year in HS. This test was hard for me, but not out of reach. Keep your heads up if you have failed, and try again.

Also, I took a prep class at National University...it was well worth it...and I get to take it again for free if I failed the test.

3. ### picatassoNew Member

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Jun 1, 2005

Single Subject Math (Algebra)

I totally agree with you.

I took the test May21st, as well. I studied by brains out getting ready for Inductive proofs (and other comprehensive "4 point" problems). To my surprise, there was none in the version that I took. It turned out to be a 30 question multiple choice test. (There was one "what's the next step" in the proof" question)

I agree with you, there were all kinds of questions dealing with roots (and complex numbers). I know I didn't do as well as I should of because I forgot to use the Quadratic formula agressively enough.

The other areas that I remember were questions using the Ecucledian theorom and Pascal's Triangle, a money question (involving logs). To my surprise there also a couple of geometry questions (what are the lengths of sides); also an either interest or future value of money question requiring knowledge of logs.

I shot through the first 10 because they were similar to the CSET sample questions, stalled on the next 10, and guessed on the last 10.

Anyway, I hope this helps somebody out there. I don't think that discussions like this compromizes the tests in any way, because no specific questions have been shared.

It would be nice to see more posts from people that have taken the test like this. However I did, I'm proud of myself, as a non math major. A friend of mine told me that he read somewhere that the first time passing rate is about 15 percent. (I don't really know how true that is).

Anyway, good luck to all, next time.

4. ### pammyloveRookie

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Jun 12, 2005

CSET Single Subject Math Test

((need some advice)) I am about to register for the CSET Single Subject Math test for 7/16/05. However, I am wondering if it is wise to take 2 or even 3 subsets altogether at once. Does that mean I would only have 5 hours to finish all three? Or maybe it is a better idea to take them all separately at different test dates?

5. ### TeacherGroupieModerator

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Jun 13, 2005

Depends on your test-taking process. Some people like to take all three subtests to start with - they'll focus on passing one or two and check out the third for next time. If you generally find you don't run out of time on standardized math tests, then taking all three subtests may work for you. Other people are happier focusing on one or two subtests and having all five hours available. If that's the case for you, then dividing the exam up into different days may make more sense.

Are you applying to a credential program, or in one, or trying to move a credential from another state, or what? I ask because for many people, the determining factor in how many subtests they take when is the deadline for the credential program they're considering or the deadline before student teaching. If you're not under deadline pressure, however, distributing the test across more than one testing day can make a great deal of sense.

6. ### pammyloveRookie

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Jun 13, 2005

CSET Single Subject Math

Thanks for the tips! Well, I want to get in the teaching credential program. However, I could only make the Winter/06 quarter application because I haven't taken the CBEST yet (will be taking it this coming Sat 6/18) and tehrefore won't make the deadline for Fall/05 quarter.

Winter quarter's deadline is 10/1/05 which means I might be able to shoot for another test date in Sept (besides the one I will be taking on 7/16).

I don't really mind to register for all 3 subsets at the same test date. But if I am only there to "check out the 3rd exam" for \$72, it is a bit too costly for me. Anyway.......I think this is what I will do........take all of them..........and hope to pass all of them!

7. ### jfsRookie

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Jun 14, 2005

I took subsets 1 and 2, algebra and geometry, for the first time in May. I have been out of school for about 25 years, but I was always good at taking tests such as the CSET and time was not usually an issue. Nevertheless, I barely finished subsets 1 and 2 within the 5 hours. I think it would be very difficult for most people to finish all 3 subsets within 5 hours. In addition, if these subjects are not fresh in your mind and you need to study for them, it is an awful lot of material to cover.
If you need to pass the CSET asap so that you can get into a credential program, you should know that for foundation level math you only need to pass subsets 1 and 2. So, you could probably get into a program after passing the first 2 subsets. Then, you could probably take the subset 3 later if you want to teach Calculus. I do not know if this is universally true, so you should check with the school you are thinking of attending. You should also find out, if you do not already know, whether you need to pass the CSET before the application deadline or the start of the quarter you plan on attending..

8. ### pammyloveRookie

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Jun 14, 2005

Single Subject Math Subsets

Jfs, thanks for your input. Really appreciate it.

So you took tests I & II in May huh? Well, I have been out of school for about 11 years. However, the thing is that I took all these math classes while I was in high school though, up to Calculus II. Then in college, I did go into depth with some other math courses. Anyway, I did take a look at the sample test questions from CSET's website 2 weeks ago and they were a little bit "foreign" to me at the time. But I have been studying Algebra/Geometry/Calculus ever since then (I checked out quite a few books from the library) and finally they begin making sense to me now.

True, I could satisfy the "Fundamental Math" by passing subsets I & II only.

As a matter of fact, I called CSET this morning to gather some more information. This is my tentative plan.......still register for all 3 subsets.....since they will administer subset II first (because you could use calculator for the Geometry test), I will allocate the remaining time between subsets I & III (they allow you to take those two simultaneously).......if it's really that bad, I will consider dropping III and focus on I then....

My concern is whether it is even "durable" to take all 3 subsets at once. If it turns out to be "mission impossible", why should anyone even bother to give it a try? However, the official answer from CSET is this......."For 5 hours of testing time, it is enough to cover all 3 levels of exam."

I am just curious to know if anybody has done it before successfully? The bottom line is...answering 90 (30x3) multiple-choice questions plus 12 (4x3) comprehensive-response questions in 5 hours is kind of tough.

9. ### TeacherGroupieModerator

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Jun 15, 2005

CSETs are designed to be passable in 5 hours. Let this guide you as to the size and shape of answers required. (If it's any consolation, CSET-Multiple Subjects has 143 multiple choice plus 11 constructed response, and CSET-Single Subject English is 100 multiple choice plus 4 constructed response plus 2 full-on bells-and-whistles essays - analyzing literature, yet.)

By the way - and connecting with a post you made elsewhere - if you're even contemplating CSET Math, there is no way you're going to have trouble on CBEST math, unless you stop reading the questions out of sheer boredom.

10. ### pammyloveRookie

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Jun 16, 2005

I am sure whoever created CSET single subject math test did intend to make it passable in 5 hours. My only curiosity is whether anybody has achieved this goal or not. It would be intersting to see the past statistics regarding the passing rate.

Yeah, I know I will ace the CBEST math just like that. I have reviewed the sample test questions on its official website and can tell that the test is going to be at some very basic level. It is no where close to what I am studying right now for CSET. Anyway, as far as studying for CSET single subject math is concerned, the only "grey area" that I have is about the "Number Theory". I checked out a few books relating to Number Theory from the library. However, they don't seem to fit the category of Algebra I or II level?!

Do you or does anyone have any suggestion as to how to prepare for the "Number Theory" part of the test? I can not confidently say that I have a clear understanding of what it is, other than the concept of "mod" (remainder).

By the way, a side question here: If I happen to pass both CBEST (6/18) and CSET single subject math's 3 subsets (7/16), will any school district even be interested in hiring me first? knowing that I haven't gone into my teaching credential program as of yet (winter/06 quarter). I know that most of the school districts probably would only consider NCLB compliant applicants. In other words, they have already obtained their credentials.

11. ### innovationguyCohort

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Jun 18, 2005

How many Subtests must one take?

This is in response to "pammylove"'s Qs regarding # of Subtests one is prudent to take per instance. Some of the factors that determine the number of Subtests you want to take at one sitting are:

a) Purpose of your appearance: Since most candidates have only the vaguest notions of what the CSET is about, many take one or more (usually 2) of the Subtests to simply 'get a feel' for the test. I strongly recommend it!

Still, even if you're appearing for 'experimental' purposes, go as best prepared as you can possibly be!

This way, you'd get a surer understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and you wouldn't be wasting money and time simply sitting for a couple of hours, skimming the questions languidly, then throwing your hands up and retreating in some consternation!

b) How prepared you are: Each of us has a 'gut-feel' for our state of preparedness. Sure, there are many imponderables that relate to the test - for instance, have you studied enough about a certain topic? Could the emphasis on certain skills/concepts have changed from the previous time? - but ultimately, one either feels confident or not!

So, the number of Subtests you should take depends on your comfort with the subject matter.

In general, if you're reasonably well-prepared, you should plan to allocate about 2-3 minutes for each of the 30 MCQs. Similarly, for the Free Response section, you should budget for about 15-20 minutes per Q.

Of course, there shall be a few Q (like, on Abstract Algebra / Number Theory: most guess on these Qs!) in the MCQ format that you'd be clueless about and shan't be able to possibly attempt. But to compensate for these, there shall be other Qs that simply consume more time because they're just more extensive, or because you made errors and the choices don't tally!

A similar case holds for the Free Response section. A good assumption is that you attempt just 2 of the 4 Qs.

All this implies that unless you have a robust grasp of Math and are confident - prior to the Test! - that you can do pretty much whatever they throw at you, you should plan to devote about 3+ hours on each Subtest. (I knew my stuff: it took me about one and a half hours / Subtest...)

This means that for most of you it's extremely prudent (financially and otherwise) to take only 1 Subtest per appearance. This way you shan't have to hurry up mid-way on the first, do a poor job of it, and then end up mucking the second one too for want of sufficient time!

Alternately, prepare extremely well for any one Subtest: spend an hour and a half or so browsing through the test where you're weak to get a good idea, and then concentrate the meat of your time on the Subtest you've mastered. This maximizes your chances of success!

PS. I appeared for ALL 3 Subtests on the very 1st occasion the CSET was offered in Jan '03 and passed the test comfortably! (Actually, I took it again in Mar '03 since the results weren't declared in a timely fashion - they were setting the passing grades since it was the 1st time! - and I couldn't afford to miss a district deadline for my credential! And I passed it again! So, I lost about \$250...!!!)

PPS. Yes, I'm a Math major, though I graduated from college in '94...!

Jay.
http://csetmathguru.weebly.com/

12. ### pammyloveRookie

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Jun 20, 2005

Jay,

Wow, thanks for your valuable information here. Certainly beneficial to me!

At this point, I have decided to go for all 3 of the subtests. And I do feel pretty comfortable about the subject matter except for Number Theory (although I did try to follow the annotated list of resources for CSET Math, but still feel kind of lost). However, since this only accounts for a small portion of Subset I test, maybe I will just make some "educated guesses" on this and concentrate on the rest of the subject matter requirements. I don't have much time left as the test date is next month on 7/16.

Anyway, it is quite encouraging to see that someone has done it before with success. Now I feel much better, knowing that it can be achieved.

As far as getting prepared for the exam, I am trying my best. But working full time in the morning really doesn't leave me much time to study at night, other than the weekends. After all, the materials covered in all 3 subsets do encompass a wide range of subjects. Not that overwhelming, but definitely time-consuming. I will see how it goes.........

Once gain, thanks a million for your advice.

Pam

ps. I am a Math major, too, graduated in '95.

pps. By any chance, do you know how CSET score our tests? How many MCQs & free-response Qs can I miss on one subtest and still be considered passing?

13. ### innovationguyCohort

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Jun 20, 2005

Minimum Requirements To Pass: My Hypothesis!

Dear "Pammylove":

Greetings! Notwithstanding my CSET-taking experience (!), I also taught the entire curriculum for a year at Cal State San Bernardino (last year!). In my interaction with numerous candidates, methinks that one can pass EACH subtest by ABSOLUTELY nailing down 22-24 out of 30 MCQs and 2 out of the 4 FR Qs. This is a VERY VERY GOOD estimate according to me!

I also believe that one gets PARTIAL CREDIT for one's work: I've known blokes who felt that they did only 1Q perfect and 2+ partially right, and PASSED!

In general, as I wrote to a correspondent who emailed me this Fri about pass rates (on a voluntary basis I respond to CSET-related Qs at innovationguy@yahoo.com - I get 4/5 Qs per week!!):

a) The pass rate is quite good - I would go so
far as to SPECULATE 70%+ for first time takers! - for
candidates that've taken advanced Math (Calculus +) classes in the past 3-5 years. Unfortunately, MOST candidates have a) not taken advanced Math classes AT ALL or b) taken them when Teddy Roosevelt was president!!

b) Chaps in their late 30s and beyond - not surprisingly - tend to do worse: I've known poor fellows that have appeared for the tests 7-8 times! These are usually individuals that are switching careers or are middle school Math teachers.

c) The key factor in success is mathematical skill or
knowledge, in the absence of which, the motivation, ability and opportunity to acquire it: it doesn't help a
lot to have a family or full-time job (or good heavens,
both!) that make inordinate demands on one's attentions.

d) As far as scores are concerned, interestingly, ALL one knows is whether one passed (exceeded a mark of
220) or not! The candidate is NOT privy to his/her exact
score! However, at the back of the transcript is a
breakdown of one's performance on factors like KNOWLEDGE, COMMUNICATION, etc.

Anyway, you're a Math major - like me! there aren't too many of us as teachers: you shall find MANY Math teachers with non-Math degrees, not that there's anything wrong with that! - so I imagine you'll do JUST MARVELLOUS!

I wish you SUCCESS in your July attempt, "Pammylove" (!).
Cordially,
Jay
http://csetmathguru.weebly.com/

14. ### john_seedRookie

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Jun 20, 2005

Woohoo!!

I passed the CSET subtest number 1 !!!!

Now I need to study for the second one.

Now that I am in this process, the CHP called me up and want me to come and work for them LOL. Now I am torn between the two!

15. ### trojanroNew Member

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Jun 21, 2005

I recommend taking 2 tests. I registered for all 3 thinking I would be able to complete them. Unfortunately, I only really only had time for 2 of the tests. I looked around the room when I left (I left 45 min early to catch a flight) and most people did not even open the 3rd test. I just recieved my scores and I failed both tests unfortunately, so I guess I will be registering for the test in August. I was 4 points short of passing the second one. I wonder if it can get any closer than that...

*on a side note, this forum is great =)

16. ### john_seedRookie

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Jun 21, 2005

trojanro, if I can pass the first one after not taking algebra since high school, and with some prep, you can do it! Now, I must take the second one...and I haven't had geometry since 10th grade. I took statistics last semester at a JC.

17. ### sxwRookie

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Jun 21, 2005

I took May test and just found out I passed all three subtests. Yay!!!!!!! I am so happy. I have to pass them in order to enroll in a credentialling program this fall. now i am relieved. thanks to this forum, i had worked harder than i planned and it paid. Thank you guys for your wonderful advices and insights.

For my preparations, I sticked with the textbooks i checked out from local library. one of them is Holt's Algebra, for geometry I use Holt's geometry and for calculus i use Calculus Review-all you need to know. i think Holt's books are execellent. they cover the same contents you will find on the tests and at the same level. i read every page and did all the questions after each chapter. i especially paid attention to the chapter reviews. you need to do those in order to gain speed and depth.

by the way, if you don't know yet, only bring graphical calculator to geomtry test. i brought my scientific calculator i bought ten years ago and they took it away. i was really upset. it took me several mins to calm down. it doesnt make sense but it's the rule.

18. ### TeacherGroupieModerator

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Jun 21, 2005

Here's the rule, in the Mathematics General Examination Information document (CS_mathematics_geninfo.pdf, at http://www.cset.nesinc.com/CS_testguide_Mathopener.htm):

Calculators for CSET: Mathematics

A calculator will be needed and will be allowed only for Mathematics Subtest II: Geometry; Probability and Statistics. You must bring your own graphing calculator to the test administration, and it must be one of the approved models from the list below. Since the approved calculator brands and models are subject to change, the list below will be updated as necessary. Test administration staff will clear the memory of your calculator before and after the test. Be sure you back up the memory on your calculator, including applications, before arriving at the test administration site.

List of Approved Models

Casio: FX7400G, FX7400GPLUS, FX-9750GPLUS, CFX-9850G, CFX-9850GPLUS, CFX-9850GA, CFX-9850GA-PLUS, CFX-9850GBPLUS, CFX9850GBPlus-W, CFX-9970G, FX1.0Plus, and ALGFX2.0
Sharp: EL-9300, EL-9600, and EL-9600c
Texas Instruments: TI-80, TI-81, TI-82, TI-83, TI-83 Plus, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus, TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, TI-85, TI-86, and TI-89
Hewlett-Packard: HP 40g and HP 49g

19. ### pammyloveRookie

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Jun 21, 2005

Hi Jay,

Yeah, working full-time doesn't do me any good as far as getting ready for the CSET is concerned. But, at least, I don't have a family I need to attend to. Just won't have any life for the next 3-4 weeks, I suppose!

Hummm, it doesn't seem that hard to pass the tests. I thought it'd be something like the AP Calculus exam back in high school, aiming for a 5. I guess it isn't the case here. Well, that's a relief.

After all, this is my last minute decision to take the CBEST & CSET. Can't whine about not having enough time to prepare for it since I chose to go through with the whole process.

Pam

20. ### pammyloveRookie

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Jun 21, 2005

Congratulations, SXW!!

By the way, the only scientific/graphical calculators I have are models of at least 10+ years old, too!!

Do I really have to have one for Subset II Geometry test?

21. ### innovationguyCohort

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Jun 21, 2005

Dear Pam,

No, it isn't beastly hard at all to pass the Math subtests, especially for those with a mathematical/problem-solving 'mindset' or background. One just ought to have assimilated certain key concepts in each topic area and be able to apply them - um...come to think of it, that doesn't sound terribly profound, and is so much inconsequential blather, sorry! (As terms of my parole, I have to perforce dash out a certain number of words - I'm kidding!!!)

But chaps that've taken the test more than once shall bear me out when I assert that there's a definite pattern in the CSET questions - for instance, the 1st 3 MCQs in Subtest 1 is all but assured to be from the dreaded - not to mention, utterly hrrid and dreadful! - topic of Groups, Rings and Fields, which as I've stated before one must studiously IGNORE - oh, make an educated guess by all means! - without an ounce of futile regret!!

I imagine some Math fellow sitting somewhere cold and inhospitable, rubbing his hands in sinister satisfaction, titillated that his Abstract Algebra questions offer the most insurmountable obstacle to the candidates!!

As I say on my site http://csetmathguru.weebly.com/ the FR questions in Subtest 1 are very likely to do with quadratics/parabolas, solving cubic/biquadratic eqns for their roots, graphing rational functions, linear programming, mathematical induction and such!

Mastering topics such as these would stand you in very good stead!

I've heard sob stories from poor blokes about how a certain edition of the test was replete with more 'obscure' - I employ the term loosely, naturally! - topics like vectors and matrices, but in my experience, just a working knowledge with those topics would amply suffice - finding an angle between 2 vectors, splitting a vector into its component elements, knowledge of solving systems of eqns. using Elementary Row Transformations (I trust I'm not scaring fellows away!!) and Cramer's Rule (determinants).

Ditto, for the other 2 subtests!

Re the AP analogy, I suppose it's fair to say that re the CSET it's OK to merely score a 3! Who'd know?!! (I have students that glibly declare that they passed an AP exam, and only on persistent questioning do they confess that it was with a 3, and were they surprised that they passed!!)

As I wrote to some chaps that I'm helping to pass, from now till the July date, this should be your study schedule: weekdays - 2/3 hours; weekends - 4-6 hours of UNINTERRUPTED study. All recreation must cease till afterwords: banish temptation to the netherworld! And of course, party like you were the wanton Bacchus himself, AFTER passing!!

Keep that stiff upper lip, er, stiff (!!), and believe that you'll triumph!
Cordially,
Jay.