I have just decided to take the CBEST so that I can sub in my area. But now I see all this mention of the CSET. Which one should I take? And how should I prepare? Its been years since college and I'm afraid my math skills have faltered, especially if I don't have my calculator handy. My husband is a teacher but he took the test so long ago that he's no help at all in what I should expect.

Most districts require a substitute to have at least CBEST and a bachelor's degree; some districts additionally require a substitute to have a full credential or to be enrolled in a credential program. You need to find out just what is required by the district(s) in your area. CBEST is a test of basic educational skills: reading comprehension, math, essay writing. The test has changed twice since 1999; the math has gotten simpler, if anything, except perhaps for the question(s) on test score identification. The description of the test on the official Web site (http://www.cbest.nesinc.com) is the gold standard for what is and isn't on it. There's more discussion of CBEST in the Basic Skills Tests subforum, at http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=69. CSET examinations, one of which is CSET-Multiple Subjects, test subject area knowledge in the domains covered by a given credential. If a substitute isn't required to have a credential, a substitute almost certainly isn't required to have passed a CSET exam.

My district requires a Bachelor's Degree (got that) and a passing score on the CBEST (which I haven't taken). It sounds like the CBEST is what I need to take, but it was a little confusing on the site that talked about both being an option. I guess I'll look through the forum here to find the best study guide options. Thanks for your reply!

The forum will give you some indication, but it's not the case that there's one book out there that's right for everyone - each book has its supporters and its detractors. If you're anywhere near a decent-sized chain bookstore, plan to spend some time examining the possibilities. You may even find that a CBEST book as such is less useful to you than a skills-review book; LearningExpress has some fine titles in the various areas that CBEST tests.

Hello, I would start with the CBEST. You mentioned that you've been away from math for a while, this will boost your confidence level and prepare your brain to start thinking about math. The CBEST in comparison to the CSET is night and day. However, they are both very much doable. Like I said, start with the CBEST since that's what your district requires, then knock out the CSET. Be sure and use this website as one of the study resources. There are some very smart people on this site that can help you and calm your nerves

Thanks for the reply. I just found a great resource for math this morning - right under my nose so to speak. I have four kids between 7 and 17, all bright (mostly), but my sixth grade son is the one who has been the challenge because he is so smart. He was getting in trouble in his math class because he was reading during the lessons. He told his teacher that he reads when he's finished with the work (sometimes 10 minutes in to class) so she upped the ante and started him in algebra. He never asks for help with his homework and brings home straight A's, so honestly I've never even looked at what he's doing in Math. I get much more involved in the other subjects. I confessed to him this morning that my math skills were lacking and he spent the next 20 minutes drilling me and turning me on to some tricks to help remember the basics. By the time we reached school he was trying to figure out how to make me his newest 'Science Fair Project'.....

I highly recommend offspring as study buddy, as long as family dynamics allow. Be sure you're not overpreparing, though: most of the prep books for CBEST push more advanced math than actually appears on the test. (The quadratic formula will not rear its ugly head.) I know of a sixth grader who had explicit permission to read during math because she was so bored. Ironically, it was a GATE class...