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  #1  
Old 02-11-2013, 01:06 PM
NoraSweet NoraSweet is offline
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Terrified of English CSET

Hey everyone,

I am brand new to the forum.
I found this place on my endless internet search about the CSET. I am currently in an MA + Credential program in California and we have to pass the CBEST and CSET before our guided practice term (Sept. 1 of this year). I JUST started the program Jan 7th, so I don't feel I have been procrastinating that long...

The thing is... I am terrified now. All I am seeing online is that everyone has had to take and retake parts of it multiple times and now I am thinking that if I do fail, I wont have time to take it multiple times (maybe once). I don't want to just take it tomorrow to give myself more opportunities to retake the test(s) - plus that just seems like an awful frame of mind to put myself in. I was thinking about taking it/them the first week of April.

I guess I am just looking for a little positive energy, tips/advice, or recommended resources beyond the CSET website. What helped you pass? Did you take all four subtests on the same day?

Now that I have vented my fear to cyber-strangers, I look forward to talking more with all of you!
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  #2  
Old 02-11-2013, 01:26 PM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
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Welcome to A to Z, NoraSweet. Breathe, please.

Experience indicates that one is likeliest to hear the most about a test from the people who struggled. The people who passed on the first go generally just go on to whatever they need to do next.

At the moment, CSET English is still being given as a paper-based exam. The bad news is that it involves a lot of handwriting, and it's offered only every two months (you've got the March 9, May 4, and July 13 before your September deadline; those are also CBEST paper-based dates, though you could take CBEST on computer on any date you can book it). The good news is that one can take the test subtest by subtest and still get all five hours of testing time for whatever chunk of test one takes.

What's your background in English?
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:58 PM
NoraSweet NoraSweet is offline
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I received a BA in English/creative writing (but haven't taken any coursework since about 2009). I also completed a BA in Anthropology and went on to study forensic anthropology for a few years - so I haven't been flexing any Shakespeare muscles lately, if that's what you are asking

I am so glad you replied. Being so very observant, I didn't even notice that I couldn't take the CSET as a computer-based test; I just assumed I could. I am now wondering if I should do late registration for March 9th, or just risk it (but have more study time and sanity) and do May.

Are you saying that with the CSET, if I book two subtests in March and two in May, for example, I will have five hours each time, but if I book all four in May, I will have five hours for all four? Or were you referring to the CBEST at that point?

Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:17 PM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is offline
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That sounds like a very promising background: rusty but extant subject-matter knowledge plus a background in analysis. Did you ever take a linguistics course?

As for CBEST, do the initials "ELM", "EPT", or "EAP" mean anything to you? If not, your best bet, if you're a pretty good test taker, might be to take CBEST in March - even with the late fee, it'll still be cheaper than the computer-based version, and unless you have serious gaps in basic math that you haven't copped to, you're giving reason to believe you could get through CBEST on the first go.

It's five hours each time for paper-based CSET, irrespective of the number of subtests one books. I don't know whether one can combine CBEST and CSET on the same paper-based testing day.
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2013, 07:49 PM
NoraSweet NoraSweet is offline
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Those acronyms do not mean anything to me. Except that I am pretty sure EPT is a pregnancy test But I doubt that is what you are talking about. I am not originally from California, so I do not know if that makes a difference.

I am not AS concerned with the CBEST. Perhaps that is ignorant, but I assumed it wouldn't be too bad since it is more of the basic skills and less in-depth. I planned on taking that as a computer-based test, and probably feel comfortable enough about early March.

I was asking about the five-hour time limit in regards to the subtests of the CSET. Would it be better to, for example, register for two on one date and two on another so that I have more time (meaning, do I get 5 hours no matter how many I am taking)? Or are they meant to all be taken in a five hour period, regardless of when they are scheduled. Does that question make sense?

I took a required linguistics course for Anthropology. It was just one class, and I am sure it was pretty basic as far as linguistics goes (as both physical and social anthro majors had to take it). It has a reputation for being a pretty brutal course, and it was a little insanity-inducing, but I got an A.
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2013, 08:35 PM
TeacherGroupie TeacherGroupie is offline
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Hugs, Nora.

ELM and EPT are college placement exams; EAP is a skills exam for early admission to Cal States (and, I think but don't quote me, to UCs); at present these are the sole permitted alternatives to taking CBEST, so it makes some sense to ask.

The answer to your question about whether all the subtests are intended to be taken at the same time is "Yes, but." Each paper-based CSET test session lasts five hours, period, irrespective of which subtests one takes or how many. The expectation is that a well-prepared candidate in a subject area who tests well should be able to pass all of that subject area's subtests in one go, but candidates who don't test that fast are perfectly welcome to get more time by distributing the subtests across two or more test dates. (Takers of CSET Math commonly allot one subtest per test date - and may still run out of time.)

Most CSETs consist of three subtests; English is the only one I recall that has four subtests. You may take any number of them in any combination you please, and you still get the five hours.

I'm of the opinion that Subtests I and III combine well - they cover fairly similar ground, though from somewhat different perspectives, and pairing them means not lumping the two constructed-response subtests together - but I'm willing to be argued with.

The linguistics class should put you in fairly good shape for Subtest II, especially if your school grammar is also strong. You probably won't have seen the material on literacy there, but that's par for the course.
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2013, 08:24 AM
CaliMaestra CaliMaestra is offline
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Definitely use the resources available here:

*Elmer's resources, which are pinned at the beginning of the single subject thread list.

*Jean Aitchison's book Linguistics really cannot be beat and I enjoyed reading it as well.

*A very good read to refresh grammar for me was Sin and Syntax, not a dry read at all, good for future reference as a teacher also.

*For essay practice and survey of literary works, I borrowed AP English SAT study guides from the library.

*If you look through my posts, I have given some more specific advice on Subtest IV, which is easy, short constructed answers, but can be tricky if you don't prepare the right way.

Good Luck!
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  #8  
Old 02-24-2013, 09:47 PM
Scott71 Scott71 is offline
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The best advice I received for test like this. Is to answer the question they ask. Don't over answer it. If it says give two examples do not give three examples.
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