Discussion in 'Single Subject Tests' started by ilikerice, Feb 11, 2005.
May 10, 2007
There might be some help for you in the links here: http://www.answers.com/topic/western-canon
Where roughly in the state are you located, wonder?
May 14, 2007
Hi All -- I won't be sleeping much this week because I just decided to take all 4 English CSET subtests this Saturday. I know... dumb, dumb, DUMB! I bought the Spark Charts for English Comp and English Grammar, and the book CSET English 105, 106, 107 from XAM. I also have flagged to print out Elmer's wonderful outlines.
I was not an English major, but am a lawyer and took a lot of Lit and Writing type courses in Undergrad. Grammar, spelling, etc. are really no problem for me. I've been subbing virtually every day for the last 1 1/2 yrs -- everything from K-12, so I've polished up on a lot of my rusty areas. (I will still review the stuff for them, of course!) I am an excellent writer and test taker.
I know ZIPPO about theater and drama, so obviously I need to study that section heavily.
My question is... given the limited time to study, any suggestions for a plan of attack? What would be the best things to spend the most time on, etc.?
Thanks for any help you can provide! (I'm in the Sacramento area)
No, not necessarily "dumb", roberts3206: if you're a lawyer, you've taken and survived the LSAT, and raw test-taking prowess is fairly useful in a case like yours.
A strategy point: The written responses in Subtest IV are short answers, NOT essays - allow 10 to 12 minutes per, or about 50 minutes all told. For the multiple choice questions, average 1 minute each. Use the rest of the time for the two Subtest III answers, which ARE essays, for proofing and checking, and for breaks.
Yes, breaks. However rushed you feel, plan on taking at least one break during testing time - there are no SCHEDULED breaks, since everyone's handed the whole pile of subtests at the outset, but you can and should get excused "to the restroom".
3. If you haven't already downloaded the Subject Matter Requirements doc for CSET English from the CSET Web site, do so. In your case you might also want to download the relevant Content Standards document in Visual and Performing Arts from the Web site of the California Department of Education, http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/pn/fd/ - use it and your SparkCharts as sources of key terminology to look up on the Internet. These are the terms with which you'll lard your constructed responses. You might also want to check some of the goodies here: http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=21014.
Got questions? Post them in this Single Subject Tests subforum and get a good discussion going.
It sounds like you should be brushing up on theater and drama terms, techniques, and a little history (like Greek theater versus present day). My notes (Elmer's Notes) have info on theater and whatnot, since I, too, was rusty in that area. The practice questions and information provided by the CSET website are also very helpful in preparing you for what to expect in that particular section of the CSET. In fact, I found all of the study tests provided on the CSET website to be helpful.
There's an updated link to a drama glossary in post #21 of the sticky thread "Useful Web Resources for single subject English/history".
Thanks very much! You've both given great advice, and I'll let you know how it goes! Happy studying... well, hopefully SUCCESSFUL studying, at least.
May 18, 2007
I passed the English CSET last year. EVERYTHING that these wonderful people have to say was extraordinarily helpful, but I have 2 pieces of advice that I would like to share.
1. READ, READ, READ THE SAMPLE CONSTRUCTED RESPONSES ON THE CSET TEST GUIDES. STUDY THEM. LOOK AT THE ESSAY ORGANIZATION AND THE STYLE OF THE SHORT RESPONSES. NOTICE THE USE OF "BUZZ" WORDS.
IN SECTION IV, DON'T STRESS. USE COMMON SENSE AND THINKING SKILLS. INITIALLY YOU MAY NOT FEEL LIKE YOU KNOW THE ANSWER, BUT JUST THINK REALISTICALLY ABOUT HOW YOU WOULD HANDLE EACH SITUATION. DON'T MAKE IT HARDER THAN IT IS.
2. I would highly recommend bringing mechanical pencils. There is a LOT of writing and you can't sharpen pencils during the test.
Grace13: I completely agree with you on recognizing "buzz words" and on using common sense! (The idea about the mechanical pencils is smart, too!) Congrats on passing!
OK, thanks so much for the reminder to trust my common sense. I have never been one of those people who panics over tests, and this is no time to start! If I can pass the Bar Exam, I can pass this. OK, so I didn't exactly take a 6-week prep course this time, and didn't cut everything else out of my life BUT prepping for this, but still... ;-)
Seriously, tho ... thanks for the reminder to take a deep breath and have faith in myself. That's advice that works in an awful lot of settings, isn't it? I aced the CBEST without even looking at sample questions before the test, so I'm not totally incompetent. And if I have to retake a subtest (or two or three), that's not going to kill me.
Do they charge you the full amount per section over again if you have to retake it?
<----- has to remind herself to take deep breaths and stop panicking.
When you retake a subtest, yes, you pay the full fee - though please hold off on signing up to retake till you find out you need to, because NES sensibly waives the late penalty for retakers who sign up promptly.
There's a test prep teacher whose standard advice begins, "Don't panic, and don't forget to breathe."
May 19, 2007
I apologize if this had been addressed before - but what scores are needed in each subtest to pass? I knew this for MS, but I took English today and the first two sections had 50 questions each. How many correct answers is a pass in that subtest?
Predicting the number is not an exact science: it's really hard to write test questions each of which is neither more nor less difficult than the others, and the algorithm that translates raw scores into scaled scores takes this into account. It's also worth noting that CSET English Subtests I and II each include 4 non-scoring questions that are being field-tested for future exams, but we don't know exactly which they are on any given version of the test. But there seems good reason to believe that 34 correct is guaranteed to pass.
Ah good. I feel better.
I'm so glad you figured that out for me, too. My brain is mush.
Glad you're feeling better. Don't forget to breathe, please.
Teacher tests as a class can be passed by percentages that would've gotten us flunked in college...
May 20, 2007
Well, it's done. Surprisingly, the test I was most worried about -- Part 4 dealing with drama, etc. -- was a breeze. I have no doubt I passed that one. Tests 1 and 2 ... not sure. There was so much that I had not prepared on, that it depends on how well I guessed. I did NOT pass Test 3, as I totally mismanaged my time, and finished the first essay, but had 10 minutes to try to throw in some buzz words for the second essay. As I was writing the first one, knowing there was no time left, I found myself asking why bother, since I couldn't pass with just one essay. I did it anyway.
OK, so... here are some of my observations to help anyone else contemplating this.
Try to plan the order you'll be taking the tests, particularly if you're taking all 4 like I did. Then, establish your time table. Teacher Groupie gives advice below on time which I did not follow. BAD choice. I totally blew it time-wise. If I'd had a schedule (ie: finish test x by 3:00), I'd have had enough time to finish the second essay question, which I had the knowledge to write but not the time.
Take the practice tests, particularly section 4. Since this was the subject area I was least confident in, I decided to do it first. TAurns out the questions were very answerable from common sense. But, one of my problems was -- contrary to the advice given by Teacher Groupie -- I wrote essays for the answers in this test. It was not required, so I wasted quite a bit of time that I could have used later. So, check out the format for those questions and PRACTICE doing it with bullets, etc. to save time.
I found a huge portion of Test 1 to be devoted to Literary Criticism. Much more than I was prepared for. And Test 2 had a large amount dealing with Language Acquisition, both for babies and for ESL students. So definitely bone up on that stuff if like me, your knowledge of this is minimal. Of course, the percentages of subject matter could be totally different the next time, but I'll be boning up on it if I have to retake it.
Definitely, listen to the advice posted here, and incorporate it into your plan. I found the test very do-able, with much of it able to be reasoned with common sense even if you don't specifically know it. So, taking a deep breath, looking at root words, etc. to trust your ability to reason out an answer will work in many situations.
If you're taking it in Sacramento and it is being given at Rosemont High (in Rancho Cordova), get there early and be prepared to walk. I had gotten tied up, left later than I wanted to, and had to fight cross town traffic. I got there with little time to spare, had to park at the far end of the far parking lot and had to walk all the way across this large parking lot and then clear across this large campus to the opposite end. EEEK! I was wearing flip flops for comfort, not walking shoes. So needless to say, I was winded and stressed when I finally got to my room and sat down. Fortunately, the report time is 1/2 an hour before the test starts, so I had time to cool down and relax before starting.
Bring as little as possible with you. If you drive, leave the cell in the car. If you're being dropped off, you can check your cell at a table. But the less you have to worry about, the better. I had my pencils (a BUNCH of mechanicals) in a ziploc with my ID and car keys, and my bottles of water (with labels removed), and left my purse in the trunk of my car.
If at ALL possible, don't try to do all 4 tests at the same time. It's a lot of ground to cover, and time is definitely pressured. There'd be no problem finishing 2 or even 3 in that time period.
That's all I can think of now. I'll be studying to retake it since there isn't that much time after the results come out before the next test.
One more important bit of advice:
Once the test is over, let it go.
"I found a huge portion of Test 1 to be devoted to Literary Criticism."
It wasn't huge, although I'm sure it felt like it! About 6 questions. I wasn't leaving much time for my English Lit test (taking Calc and Algebra in the same session), so I went through it ferociously fast, skipping any I didn't know right away. Then when I finished, I counted up the ones I skipped so I could go back and eliminate and guess. I skipped 6 questions, which were all the litcrit ones. I don't think I answered any of them the first time through, so that's a reasonably good count.
Still, the advice is good. If you aren't really comfortable with literary analysis and want every point, get a working definition of the theories. You don't have to delve in deeply, but know the names and basic premise.
I said the exact same thing when I took the test in March. I felt iffy about the first 3 sections, but had full confidence in subtest IV.
When the results arrived, I was quite astonished. I nailed subtest I, II and III, but failed IV! (and to add insult to injury, I graduated in Communications in January!)
So, I retook subtest IV this past weekend. The questions, although simple at first glance, do require some subject matter competence. Since all I had was this subtest, I was able to take my time and thoroughly support my responses. It took me about 2 and a half hours to complete it. The first time around I finished in about 50 minutes.
From what I can gather from my score report, seems like they are looking for specific vocabulary and support. Hopefully you nailed the areas they're looking for.
I attempted all 4 subtest at once, managed my time well, and came out with satisfying results. I was *this* close to nailing all 4 test at once. It can definitely be done!
But alas, that's just me chiming in, didn't want you jinxing yourself like I did! LOL
May 21, 2007
LOL! So true. I'm not stressing over it at all. Truthfully, I had been way too busy to prep for the test, so I knew I had little chance to pass all 4. But, I feel lots better because now I know what to expect, and what I need to do to prepare. So, I'll patiently wait on the results, and hope that I at least passed 1 or 2 so I have less to take next time!
Re: jinxing it, I should be so lucky to have the results you had! Even if I don't pass test 4, this made me feel less intimidated by it. I'd be thrilled if I passed 1 - 3 and just had to bone up on 4!
If you aced the CBEST without practice, then you will do absolutely fine on the CSET. The CSET is like a hopped-up CBEST.
Jun 15, 2007
trying to become legit member
They are coming out with a couple CSET books in September!
Not that that helps me since I'm taking it in July....
Elmer- Please send me your word docs. I joined just so I could send you a message, but its saying I need to be more active as a member before I can do so!!
Go to :
In the first two comments, you will see the Word documents that you can download. Good luck with the CSET and let me know if you have any questions.
Oh? Who's "they"?
And whereabouts in the state are you located?
Jun 16, 2007
There is a book published by Wiley with a publication date of September this year for CSET English.
All right, I'll keep an eye out. Though it's hard for me to imagine a book worth using that wouldn't be priced too high for the market.
Well, we'll see...
More precisely Cliff's TestPrep CSET: English...
It's a Cliffs?
Jun 17, 2007
Hey now, Cliff's helped me huge in preparing for the CSET. I am usually very much against Cliff's, but when studying for a lame standardized test, I am all for it. I think I passed the CSET more because Cliff's helped me prepare for taking a standardized test than for helping me with content.
Jun 18, 2007
I'm SO relieved. I passed all four subtests for English. I would've been happy if I'd passed two.
Congrats to the others who have also passed, and good luck to those taking it in July!
Thanks goes to you, too, Elmer, as your study notes were part of my preparation.
Big congrats to you! All 4!!!
I passed 1, 2, and 4, and failed 3, but I'm thrilled. I knew I didn't pass 3 as I mis-budgeted time and started the 2nd essay with only 10 minutes left. Didn't even write sentences, just wrote down some buzz phrases before time ran out. I had hoped to at least pass 2 tests, but having passed 3 is awesome. Now, I only have to retake the one test ... and essays are my strong point. WHEW!!!! Thanks to all of you for all your great advice and study aids. Now I'll bone up on the one subject area, but won't stress too much since I passed the same subject matter in multiple choice and am a very good essay writer.
I echo congrats to everyone who passed, and for the rest, we'll get 'em in July!
Sounds promising, roberts3206!
Jul 3, 2007
The English CSET
I am taking it soon and am really worried. Will hard core studying actually help or will it just influence you if you are close to passing anyway?