CBEST study guides?

Discussion in 'Basic Skills Tests' started by robotman, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. robotman

    robotman Rookie

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    Jan 27, 2006

    I graduated with a BS in Biology in 1990. After 16 years of biotech laboratory automation experience, I've decided to become a teacher. At this point, I'm totally overwhelmed at everything I need to do just to get into a teaching program!

    Although the test seems relatively basic, I'm sure there are lots of specifics that I'm not familar with. I'm sure this has been asked many times before, but what are some good resources to get ready for the CBEST?

    Does the online sample test sufficiently prepare you for the test content?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. bobniborg

    bobniborg Rookie

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    If you can ace the online sample, the test should be easy for you. Brush up on some old school math (circumference, etc) and maybe some writing (depends on you, my friend that is a "science guy" doesn't write so well. Remember, the five paragraph essay is your friend.)
     
  4. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Don't have a source of study guides for CBEST. Didn't use one.

    I don't think the online sample test will prepare you for the real thing. But I do think it gives you a good idea of how you will do.

    Not much to say about the reading section. It was pretty similar to the online sample test.

    The math is really basic. IMHO the only thing you might need to check into is ways standardized test scores are presented: percentile, stanine, grade level, etc. There were three questions about this kind of stuff in the math section when I took CBEST.

    By all means, bone up on how to write a five paragraph essay, and the differences in writing for different purposes, e.g. persuasive v. emotive. That is what they are looking for. I passed with no preparation, but my score did not reflect the skill level I consider myself to have to business and technical writing.
     
  5. robotman

    robotman Rookie

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    Jan 27, 2006

    Thanks for the advice. I was thinking of cold turkeying the test, but didn't want to get overconfident.

    Are your actual CBEST scores reported or do you just pass or fail the test? In other words, does it matter if I just barely pass or if I ace the test as far as admissions to a teaching program?
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 27, 2006

    Actual scores are reported, but unless your credential program has people beating the door down for admission, it shouldn't matter whether you ace or whether you squeak by.

    Each version of CBEST has two essay prompts. Typically, one prompts for a persuasive essay (you're given an issue and you take a position and defend it) and the other is a personal narrative (a story of your choosing that makes the point the prompt asks you to make). It's a very good idea to practice both, especially the personal narrative.
     
  7. error_404

    error_404 Companion

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    Feb 1, 2006

    I checked out http://www.sizes.com/society/test_scores.htm for info on test score interpretation and it seems pretty straightforward. Is there anything else I should be looking at? There's only one question dedicated to score interpretation on the practice test, so it's hard to determine if I fully understand it or not. But I think I'll probably be OK regardless.... Thanks!
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    That information on test scores is pretty good, though a small clarification is in order in the discussion of grade-equivalent scores: the grade-equivalent score of 5.3 means "fifth grade, third month".

    People who are comfortable with math on the level of CSET-MS usually breeze right through CBEST math.
     
  9. error_404

    error_404 Companion

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    Feb 2, 2006

    Ah, thanks for that clarification. Was still a bit confused about that part.

    Yeah, I'm not too worried about CBEST given my performance on the online practice test. It sure made me aware of my overreliance on the calculator though. Good thing there's enough time for me to plod through all that long division!
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Long division is why there are (a) pencils and (b) estimation.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I should have said, instead, that long division is why pencils have erasers: it's all a matter of guess and check, which is an ancient and honorable way of solving problems. The role of estimation is in limiting the number of possibilities to guess and check with, from a hideously big pile to a relatively manageable subset.
     
  12. ryman

    ryman Rookie

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    Feb 12, 2006

    Get "Cracking the CBEST" from The Princeton Review. I got near perfect scores in both reading comp. and math. The essays I didn't practice for; I just made quick outlines and wrote basic five paragraph essays. I too have a B.S. in Bio and work in Biotech running an automated process. Believe me, the math will be easy for you.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 14, 2006

    Some people like CRACKING THE CBEST; some prefer the book from LearningExpress; some like Cliff's (though the math is out of date, unless Cliff's has sneaked a new edition out); some even like Barron's or REA or ARCO. Best bet is to comparison shop: visit a bookstore that has a good selection of the prep books you're interested in and leaf through them to find the one that works for you (or, as the case may be, to eliminate the ones that really don't). And if none of them works for you, it's perfectly possible to prepare adequately without using any of the standard books.
     
  14. LauraR

    LauraR Rookie

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    Feb 16, 2006

    Very easy test

    I would have to say that the CBEST is probably the easiest test I have ever taken. People who have never taken it get overwhelmed by it, but really its VERY basic. I know some people might get offended at this - but I really thought that it was so basic that if someone cannot pass it on the first or second try - they really should not attempt to teach (the subsequent tests are much more difficult!!!) I would venture to say that many kids in HS could pass this, so anyone with a college degree should find it extremely easy.

    My best advice is to study with the study guide (in my opinion the actual test was easier than the study guide!), don't fret and just realize that its a very simple test and you should have no problem.





     
  15. Kgirl1357

    Kgirl1357 Rookie

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    Feb 17, 2006

    CBEST to Study or Not???

    I also thought the CBEST was really easy. I went in without any preparation and did fine. The CSET Multiple Subject however is a different story. I personally thought that one was harder than the GRE. Let us know how you do. :D
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I will concede that a person who can't muster CBEST-level skills in reading, writing, and math doesn't belong in the classroom. It should be pointed out, however, that not passing a given test on a given day doesn't necessarily mean a person lacks the reading, writing, and math skills: many people who struggle with CBEST (and, for that matter, with CSET) believe of themselves that they are No Good At Tests, Ever. And I hope that we can start doing better by them.
     
  17. error_404

    error_404 Companion

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    Feb 17, 2006

    Yeah, I kinda blew-off studying for this test and, now that I've taken it, I have to admit that I'm not 100% certain I passed the writing section. This is pretty ironic given that half of my friends and family members have been bugging me to go into journalism instead of education!

    I didn't practice for the writing section at all and, as a result, failed to realize just how much I rely upon word processing software to write/organize. Trying to write two essays without the benefit of Cut and Paste and Cntrl Z was actually a bit difficult for me. And I'm one of those people who painstakingly pours over every word and phrase which is not advantageous under time constraints. Content wise I'm pretty sure I did OK--backed-up my arguments with examples, used sound logic--but I don't think I adhered to the 5 paragraph essay format (neither of my essays even had 5 paragraphs) and I probably could have organized my thoughts a bit better. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't been so irritable and eager to get out of there. I'm gonna be even more irritable (and embarrassed!) if I have to take the writing section over again! But if I somehow managed to pass all three CSET subtests (fingers crossed), then revisiting the CBEST will be a small price to pay, i guess.
     
  18. LauraR

    LauraR Rookie

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    I ran into the same problem. Actually, I was a little annoyed at how ridiculous the testing rules were and how long the first section was. I had left the writing until last and I was anxious to just "get it over with" :) At that time, there was a chance I would be moving out of state anyway so I wasnt all that concerned with whether or not I passed it. Anyway - I found it really difficult to write an essay without having my ctrl C and Cntrl V keys. I didnt have the patience to organize it and really think it out by that point - so I just winged it and wrote down whatever came to my mind first. There were a few times when I thought "this sentence would be much better up here instead of there" but the thought of erasing it was too overwhelming so I just left it. I passed but didnt score that high. If I would have actually thought about it and put some effort into it, I probably would have scored much better. I think that shows how easy it is though.
     
  19. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

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    Mar 7, 2006

    I just registered for the CBEST, and will take it this summer. I bought Cracking the CBEST, and I'm finding their 'hints' helpful. The questions are very basic, but a little brushing up never hurts.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    That's a pretty good book, yes.
     
  21. foozer

    foozer Rookie

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    Mar 19, 2006

    A Good Book for the CBEST

    If you need a good book for the CBEST, I'd recommend Kaplan's CBEST test prep book. Just read through the Math and English reviews, do all 3 practice tests, and you're set. I was so prepared on the Math section from studying Kaplan since the questions in the book were at a higher level than the CBEST questions, which was great on test day since I whizzed through that part.

    The English part in Kaplan was ok. I didn't agree with some of their answers, but those questions were good to warm you up for the CBEST. The essay questions asked on the CBEST were really easy and straightforward. There's no need to do the practice essay questions in the book unless you want some practice with writing 5-paragraph essays on paper. Also, just ignore the appendix part of the book where there's a list of vocab words and affixes. You don't need to learn those words to pass the test.
     
  22. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    I find it interesting that other folks, like I, have trouble organizing a five paragraph essay for CBEST because they are used to writing on a computer. My best advice is to outline the response in the available space in the test book before writing the real thing. I am sure we were all taught that somewhere in school.

    FWIW I got some validation of the view that your scores on the individual sections are not very important as long as you pass. I turned in my application materials in person for a local internship program. While the guy who runs the program was making sure everything required was there, we talked a bit and the conversation came around to CBEST. I mentioned that I took it without any preparation and felt I could do much better on the writing section with a little practice doing 5 paragraph essays. He said not to worry, they all go in the same pile.
     
  23. LauraR

    LauraR Rookie

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    I agree. Nobody cares what you got, as long as you pass. Same with the CSET.

    Malcolm, I am interested in knowing where you are located and what internship program you were checking out. What do you think your chances are of getting an internship. I want to go that route, but am not quite ready yet (my youngest child is only 1 1/2 years old so I would like to wait until next year). I really have no idea what my chances are of being able to do that. I have passed the multiple subjects CSET, and am on my way to passing the single subject science CSET. I want to be able to do both, so that my chances of getting an intership are higher.

    From everything I read though, it sounds like teaching jobs are slim to none, especially for an internship candidate.
     
  24. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    I am in the Sacramento area. Internship programs I have been looking at include Sacramento City Unified School District, Project Pipeline which hooks up with lots of schools and districts in Northern California, and the Elk Grove Unified School District's Teacher Education Institute. Opportunities for MS candidates appear to be slim here, except maybe Elk Grove. The big districts like City and San Juan are facing declining enrolment in the primary grades. Elk Grove is growing like crazy. City's internship program had opportunites for MS candidates last year, none this year. Project Pipeline has dropped MS, too. Elk Grove appears to be accepting MS candidates. But, thankfully, I am a SS candidate (math/science). I am backing this all up with at least one application to a traditional teacher education program. We'll see what happens. I am in the midst of interviews for all of these things.

    Don't know what things are like where you are for MS. In some areas, it is still viable. SS Science seems to be viable everywhere still. I think most of the opportunities are in teaching general science and earth science. Not too many kids seem to be taking biology, chemistry and physics.
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Boy, did THIS thread get hijacked... Not to worry, people, though.
     
  26. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    "I have a bomb! Take me to Beirut!" :p

    Nah, it just got detoured a bit. I don't think it hurts to answer a good question without forcing it into a separate thread. You may have your thread back now.
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Hijack or low ball, what the heck. Someone will probably launch an entirely new CBEST-book thread in the next week and a half: 'tis the season, after all, now that CSET's over for the nonce.
     
  28. suzimarie

    suzimarie New Member

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    Mar 24, 2006

    cbest

    I have an MA in clinical psychology and provide individual, family and group therapy to children, adolescents and adults...I too would have to study for the cbest--last time I looked at it (pre masters) it wasn't so easy...it is indeed a test one would want to prepare for--I'm wondering how one arranges to take the test...:cool:


     
  29. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    If you last looked at CBEST before 2003, you'll find that the math section has changed: less algebra, less geometry, and one or two new questions on test score interpretation. Reading comprehension and essay are essentially unchanged, but if you got through the GRE in one piece, you're fine for the reading comprehension, and the essays are (a) a standard high-school five-paragraph structured wonder and (b) A Story That Makes A Point and that also exhibits paragraphing and structure.

    One finds instructions for arranging to take the test by going to the official Web site, http://www.cbest.nesinc.com.

    One is well advised to post questions and concerns here on A to Z: someone is bound to come up with an answer.
     
  30. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Apr 1, 2006

    The CSET Multiple Subjects Test is HARD!

    I took the CBEST without any prior training or studying and passed it on the first try. This test is not that challenging, it's just a review of what we know and what we can retain. However, the CSET is another story. I took the second portion of the Multiple Subjects (Math/Science Subtest II) at least two times before I passed. This is a very HARD and DIFFICULT test. It's like you are actually teaching the material and they want you to write it down into a shortened form with specific answers. I'm grateful that I passed and it's over, but it's ridiculous that special education teachers have to take this test. I work with students that will never be able to even understand how to count money, but they want us to take all these tests in order to keep our jobs. Good luck on the CSET. I would recommend that you study, study, study. You will never know what kind of science/math question they will throw at you.

    Troy in Los Angeles, Ca
    AspieTeacher
     
  31. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    CBEST is a test of basic skills. CSET is a test of knowledge and application - which is why it makes sense, especially for science, to study hands-on as well as out of a book.
     

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