Question regarding cbest prep books

Discussion in 'Basic Skills Tests' started by fidoprincess, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2007

    I am scheduled to take the cbest this Sat and have been using a variety of cbest books to brush up on my math skills. Using the practice tests in the Kaplan book or the Cliff's, I always get a decent passing grade of around 80% and some of those are just silly/stupid mistakes.

    However, when I use this REA (Research and Education Association) practice test book, I never pass! This one is so much more difficult than the others. The problems seem to be a big "step up" from the basic math in the others with at least 3 or 4 calculations for every problem.

    I am wondering what is closer to the actual test. Any opinions? I saw that Kaplan was recommended here but no mention of the other one. I guess I need another piece of chocolate but am getting nervous!
     
  2.  
  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 5, 2007

    Chocolate's a great idea.

    Check the copyright date on the REA book. If it's copyrighted before 2003, it reflects an earlier version of CBEST on which, yes, the math was more difficult.

    For any test, the gold standard as to what's on the test is not the prep book: it's whatever passes for content specifications. The CBEST Web site, http://www.cbest.nesinc.com, lays out in some detail what a test taker is supposed to be able to do, and the practice test on that Web site is pretty representative of the range of skills involved.
     
  4. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2007

    Hmmm, TeacherGroupie, the copyright on this REA is exactly 2003 but the Kaplan is 2005 so hopefully it will be closer to the Kaplan. Interesting that the test is easier now than in the past. I did do the practice test on the cbest website and did fine so I am having a piece of chocolate and hoping for the best on Sat!

    Actually my biggest concerns at this point are with the actual test taking itself. Can you help me with some silly questions? Is it true I can only bring in two #2 pencils, pencil sharpener, a watch and a water bottle with no label? No Diet pepsi? No coffee? No giant pack of pencils?

    What do I do with my car keys, license and such? It says no purse or backpacks? I have such trouble with my eyes (can't see) and need to bring 2 pair of glasses and contacts case and solution etc. Will this not be allowed?

    Worse yet, what if I need a smoke? Can I leave and go outside and smoke and come back in? I know this is all silly stuff but for 4 hours, I NEED to be comfy and will not be able to go that long without a smoke. (Please no critics regarding smoking-I know it is horrible!)
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 5, 2007

    Test taking questions are not silly questions, dear.

    The CBEST Web site, http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/CA12_whattobring.asp, specifies that one must bring "several" pencils, but doesn't provide a maximum number. I'd recommend mechanical pencils for the essays.

    The Test Site Rules, http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/CA12_siterules.asp, ban backpacks and totes and the like but don't ban purses or wallets that I can tell. You could bundle your contact lens supplies into a Ziploc bag, airport-style.

    Smoking is prohibited not just in the test room but at the test site. That's partly about state law, which now prohibits smoking in most indoor spaces (and the proctors are understandably nervous about letting anyone go outside - you'd be amazed at what people try by way of cheating). If you really, really are going to need your nicotine fix, I suppose you could tuck nicotine gum in your pocket to chew during your potty break.
     
  6. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2007

    Thanks so much TeacherGroupie! I will be picking up some of that gum! I did go back and review all the test day info and between that and your help, I feel much better. 4 days to go and I guess I am as prepared as I can be and have all my pencils, etc. together. Good tip too about the mechanical pencil! I like a sharp point so that will save sharpener time-lol. I know these are just little things but they could make the difference between passing and failing. I just never though about the rules in terms of cheating but I guess that is the main reason why they are so strict!

    Again thanks for your time and your thoughtful reply! Next thing you know, I will be back asking questions about scores I guess! Wish me good luck! Hmmmm, wonder if I can sneak in chocolate. I was reading a study that showed test takers who had snicker bars did measurably better than those who didn't have the candy...
     
  7. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2007

    One more quick question for you TeacherGroupie if you don't mind? Just for "fun", I printed out the official practice test. I wanted to see the directions and just become familiar with the whole thing.

    Is the actual test booklet 8 1/2 by 11? I was a bit worried that I would not have enough space to do my calculations on the test book but it sure was more than "roomy" enough with only 2 or so questions per page on the sample test. My suspicion is that the test booklet is smaller but is there still ample room? (I have to write big to see-grrr.)

    Are the answer sheets seperate from the booklet? Also, do you actually write in the letter choices as on the sample, or is the answer sheet a bubble type sheet where you must color the bubbles in?

    Thanks so much for letting me grill you again!
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 6, 2007

    The last question first: This is a standardized exam given to hundreds of people on a given test day, and the resulting output is then trundled to Sacramento for processing. There's not a chance that you won't be filling in bubbles.

    Which reminds me: proofread your bubble-filling-in as you go.

    Back when I took CBEST - never mind when - the test booklet pages were indeed standard letter size with lots and lots of white space. I see no reason whatsoever to believe that that has changed.

    During testing time, chocolate's not a good idea. You really don't want to be the only person in a room full of anxious women who has chocolate breath.
     
  9. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2007

    You are so helpful but more than that, I always get a good chuckle reading your answers! Thanks again for the good news that I will have plenty of space to write.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 6, 2007

    Very good, fidoprincess. Taking tests too seriously is just as much a recipe for disaster as is going in underprepared.

    I trust you're planning a nice relaxing evening of no cramming Friday night... (hint, hint).
     
  11. dangerm0use

    dangerm0use Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2007

    this test is a 6th grade test. you can pass it without studying!
     
  12. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2007

    Thanks dangermouse, The sample test on the official website is just so easy but the practice tests in the guides are not the same at all. The official practice test does not even seem like 6th grade math, seems easier than that!

    Someone pointed out some interesting tidbits for me to consider. He said most of the guide/practice books come with a money back guarantee so they are much more difficult than the actual test because the publishers assume if you learn everything in their book, you are sure to pass. Then he said that the actual cbest website sample test is easier than the real test because they are in the business of making money doing the actual testing and they would like you to take the test several times to collect those additional funds. Interesting points to think about but I am hopeful it is more like the sample on the cbest site than the more difficult practice books. I will let you know what I think when it is over!

    Oh, TeacherGroupie, if only I could devote more time but my Friday night is bound to be filled with taking care of my kids, not tests! They keep me more than busy so it is a miracle that I have even had this much time to brush up and study. Typically, I am constantly juggling the calendar 24/7 trying to fit it all in. I do know that Sat. Night will bring a welcome relief! Then it is on to science projects and Valentine's Day class parties....
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 8, 2007

    Practice guides come with money-back guarantees simply because the publisher figures that will help sell the book - and only a small fraction of buyers insist on refunds. Think of all the people who don't get around to cashing in rebates...

    As for the allegation about the test company encouraging failure in order to get repeat business, that doesn't square well with the facts, which indicate that the section with the lowest passing rate - the Writing section - is nevertheless passed by over 73% of takers on the first go and more than 80% eventually.
     
  14. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 9, 2007

    I guess I will know tomorrow! Actually, I am feeling really relaxed and confident and again, it is due to your thoughtful posts. I went back and looked again at the cbest math test specifications that you pointed out to me in an earlier post. For some unknown silly reason, I did not really take the time to see exactly what was on the list, I just plunged into the practice books.

    Once I looked at each item on the official list, I realized that I was really trying to memorize things that are NOT going to be on the test. There is nothing on that sheet that involves finding the slope of a line, for example and it even says "simple algebraic problems with one unknown"! The list is well below what I have been studying. It even says "US measurement system" and I have been spending some time trying to memorize the metric system conversions and now am told that is not even on there!! It even lists "measure length and perimeter" and I have been trying to memorize formulas relating to sums of angles and cubic volume of spheres-lol. I am kicking myself that I did not pay more attention to what was really an important point in your post and you said it so clearly!!

    I did look at the pass rate data too and was surprised to see that 80% pass on the first time (esp. if English is the first language) so that was a surprise too since I had heard of so many people failing. All of the people that told me they failed the first time learned English as their second language so they had great difficulty with both the reading and the writing sections. I was always a great test taker so I think my odds are pretty darn good in light of those statistics.

    Now my only problems will be to pay close attention to what they are asking and like you said, pay close attention to my bubble filling. On one practice test, I skipped a question and had the answers all screwed up. On another one, I made a silly mistake simply by not reading all the info, just jumping ahead and doing the calculations of what I thought they were asking-lol. I spent several minutes doing this really long division and they did not even want that! If I can avoid those stupid mistakes, I imagine I will do well! Now if I could only find my watch...I know it is here somewhere-lol.

    Honestly, you have no idea how much you have helped this old mom! My kids will be thrilled if I pass and can sub in their school and I will be pleased to set a good example for them; setting a goal and working hard to achieve it. Here is a big {{{HUG}}} for you! Thanks for taking your time to help all of us here.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 9, 2007

    You're welcome!
     
  16. anut

    anut Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 9, 2007

    Fidoprincess, I was just reading your old posts.....I am also a mom who thought it might be a good idea to get paid for all the volunteer work in school and signed up for 2/10 at the last minute. My kids are already excited about mom subbing in their classes. Little do they know that mom might not make it in one go. Writing is not my forte but teacher groupie assures me that it is not the end of the world. Good Luck to you for tomorrow and wish me luck too.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 10, 2007

    Breathe, please, people - and best of luck.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Feb 10, 2007

    Good luck!!!
     
  19. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2007

    Well, I am done! It was just as easy as dangerm0use said! It was pouring rain on the way there and then the proctors made a mistake and set the wrong room up. Instead of just using the room already set up, they had to move all the stickers on the desks to the new room and then I started getting anxious with the delay. Then they had problems with the heat and could not turn it off so they propped open the door. Another proctor came and closed the door saying it could not stay open and we were all suffocating in the heat but finally two guys taking the test got some windows open. We were all stripped down to the bare minimum of clothing by then so take heed and wear layers when you go no matter what the weather!

    By the time they finished setting up and had gone through the instructions, I was chomping at the bit to just see the test! The reading is first in the booklet, so what the heck, I did the reading section first. All but 2 of the questions were so easy, I kept thinking I was missing something or they were trick questions. Those two questions were the type that had more than one right answer so you had to choose the "best" which could be subjective in my humble opinion-lol.

    Then the dreaded math section was next in the book so I did that next. During the reading, I could not help but peek at the math just to see how it was and after that, I was relaxed. Most of the math problems were the type you could do in your head but I made myself write each and every one out and then again to double check knowing my tendency to make stupid mistakes. Again, there was only one that was "iffy" regarding what piece of information was missing to solve the problem but in my case, I am sure I was "overthinking" it. I did end up changing the answer in the end even though the guides advised against changing answers. It was exactly what the cbest website said would be on it, nothing more and nothing less!

    Then, I looked at the clock and it was only 10:30! I still had more than 2 hours to do the 2 essays and by luck of the draw, had great, easy topics. I had enough time to write the entire essay out in the test booklet and then rewrite it much neater and edited on the answer sheet! The worst part of the whole thing was my arm hurt since I never write without the computer anymore! Still I had more time so decided to just double check my answer sheet and make sure the bubbles were all filled in properly. Most of the people taking the test in my room were still working so I felt weird leaving early but did not want to wait until the rush of everyone else leaving so I left about 12:40.

    As I was leaving, I felt so bad for some of the people. One lady was in tears and some of the men were obviously frantic. I did notice that most of those struggling were not white and I imagine the reading and writing sections could be difficult if English was not your first language. More than one person I passed on the way out was just beginning the essays with just 20 minutes left!

    For those of you that shared my worries, yes, there is more than enough room in the test book. It IS 81/2 X 11 with only 2 or 3 problems per page so I could write BIG-lol. Yes, it was bubbles. No, they did not search you so I could have easily had a snickers to take out on break. People had backpacks and all kinds of stuff, sodas, food and there I was with the bare minimum of pencils, license, and water bottle with no label. I felt silly! I watched one woman eat a lovely sandwich at the window of the classroom-yum, I really wanted that! The only thing they were strict about was the cell phones and geez, every 3rd person had one and had to store it at the main information desk!

    So I hope you can benefit some from my experience and not worry so much! It was easy and dare I say, almost pleasant and fun!
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 10, 2007

    I thought it might work that way for you, fidoprincess...

    There is, by the way, no reason whatsoever to take CBEST sections and questions in the order given.

    If CSET-Multiple Subjects is in your future, congratulations: you've already done a good deal of the math-skills review you need for Subtest II.
     
  21. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 11, 2007

    Yes, TeacherGroupie, it was pretty cool to be taking a test after all these years. The more I think about it, the more fun I think it was-lol. I don't know what other tests are in the future but I sure would like to take another test using all that math I have been studying!

    All I wanted to do was sub in my kids classrooms and for my sister who is a teacher so taking the cset does not seem like a practical thing. Even if you take and pass that cset, my understanding is that you must still enroll in some type of credential program that is at least 2 years long to be a teacher here in California, do you know? It might be worth taking the cset just to get it out of the way for later since I am on a roll. I did look at the practice test briefly and it looked good and challenging although the math seemed no more than what I have already been doing.

    Hmmm, it might be something to think about down the road but most of all, I am so glad that I am caught up with my 6th grader in math. He is taking an advanced algebra class and I have memorized his book. Heck, I even found a typo-lol. He has never asked for help before but he promises to work with me ever day and show me his lessons so I can stay current. Both of my children were proud to see me take on a challenge and hopefully succeed so that was worth it all! TeacherGroupie, did I say thanks enough times!!?!! Really, I appreciate all of your help and time.

    Anut, I hope you passed too! Hop over to the substitute board and visit. They have some great ideas and good links to get us started. I like the idea of the introduction letter to let all the teachers know we can sub (well, providing we pass.) My kids are really excited to have me in their class and since I have been in both classes so much, I know all the children and the teachers really well. I am a little nervous about going to other schools but have been told not to be too selective starting out or you might not get called at all. My son will start at the jr. high next year, so I hope to get a few calls there ahead of time and check it all out! Yep, I am excited about it all and if I do say so myself, proud to have dragged my butt away from the laundry for a change.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 11, 2007

    Bravissima, fidoprincess!

    As to credentialing in California: the amount of time it takes depends on the program, and there are many, many people on A to Z who can answer questions about credential programs much better than I. I can tell you, however, that, though CBEST passing scores are good forever, CSET passing scores have a five-year shelf life from date passed to date of completion of program, so it may be prudent to hold off till your plans are a little clearer.

    It's also worth noting, of course, that some districts won't hire substitutes who aren't either fully credentialed or in the credentialing process. But, as they say, "your mileage may vary."
     
  23. fidoprincess

    fidoprincess Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 13, 2007

    Thanks TeacherGroupie, I did not know about the shelf life of the cset but did find out about the substitute requirements before I even took the cbest. Here, all I need is my transcript showing I earned my BS and the test scores! I know some areas are much more strict though so it is best for people to find out before they sign up to take whatever tests are required.

    It's just too easy here-lol-good for me but makes me wonder now when my kids have a sub. The only other things I need are references and since I taught weekly in my kids classes the past two years, the teachers are more than willing to provide that. You never know when things might change though. I see that there is something new posted on the cbest site about an alternative test.

    In any case, right now they are desperate for subs here in our district, pay is not very good and you can just drive 5 more minutes and be in another district that pays more. I am not looking to work full-time, just get my foot in the door and hopefully get called for my kids' school and help my sister. I talked to their principal today and he too is anxiously awaiting my test scores so he can put me to work-I really hope I pass!

    Still, I really did enjoy the testing and would like to maybe take some others just for fun and to see where it might lead. I am so used to the study routine now, once I finish the class Valentine's party, I won't know what to do with myself! I think I will continue with the math and pick another subject of interest like the chemistry or biology to keep my mind working. You know, all that laundry and housework is just so boring.....
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,171

    Feb 13, 2007

    It's often said that districts have long lists of substitutes but short lists of good substitutes...

    The alternative test won't affect you - and that option is one that people probably should hold off on for a couple of months, till the logistics are settled, because there's nearly always a bit of a break-in period when a new test or chunk of test comes on line.

    There's an amazing amount of science in housework, actually, not to mention PE - if you start looking for it, you'll find it, and if it's not obvious, post a question or two here.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 129 (members: 1, guests: 108, robots: 20)
test