Seeking Counsel on CSET Feasibility by 1/15/16

Discussion in 'Single Subject Tests' started by DJF, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. DJF

    DJF Rookie

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    Sep 28, 2015

    Dear Forum-goers,

    First, I would like to thank sbl94 for his extremely helpful post on his experience with the CSET math exams. I would really like to pursue a credentialing program for 2016 but am intimidated by the timeline I would face. I would need to take 2 math subsets (#3 later), the CBEST, and complete the constitution requirement prior to applying. The program(s) state that preference is given to those applicants who can provide passing scores at the time of application, but it is not required.

    Math background:
    College Algebra, AP Statistics, Honors Pre-Calc, Social Statistics 1+2. Graduated May 2012 with a sociology degree and community development/education minor; 3.67 GPA. Needless to say, I have not utilized my math mind in some time. However, it was always my strongest subject and the only subject I can see myself teaching. If there is other relevant information I can provide then please let me know. Now, the questions I am hoping to receive some guidance on:

    1. If I resigned from my current job on 10/16, would you think it reasonable to prepare for and pass CSETs 1 and 2 by ~12/15? I would be able to dedicate nearly full days to the endeavor - and would plan to follow "Jay" and sbl94's advice on resources. I say 12/15 because that would allow a month for my scores to be returned, and submitted with my program application for 1/15. Is there an expected turnaround time for scores? I would not plan to take subset 3 until after the deadline, admitting to myself that is not feasible. I technically have until 6/1 to submit passing scores, but really want to have subset 1 and 2 in time for application submission.

    2. I had a few more points that I am not recalling, so I'll just chalk this one up as asking for any other advice you might have for somebody in my position. I am leaving a large offer from my current employer in order to pursue this, and would be quite distraught if I left and failed to pass my exams and/or be admitted into the credentialing program.

    Any information or insight will be much appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Derek
     
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  3. Sbl94

    Sbl94 Rookie

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    Sep 28, 2015

    You're welcome! I'm glad my feedback was helpful.

    You can lookup the CSET release dates on the CTC website. I can't post links yet, but just google "cset math ctc", select the first result, and scroll down to "Review test results release dates".

    Testing Period Test Results Release Date
    6/15/2015–7/12/2015 7/31/2015
    7/13/2015–8/9/2015 8/28/2015
    8/10/2015–9/6/2015 9/25/2015
    9/7/2015–10/4/2015 10/23/2015
    10/5/2015–11/1/2015 11/20/2015
    11/2/2015–11/29/2015 12/18/2015
    11/30/2015–12/27/2015 1/15/2016
    12/28/2015–1/24/2016 2/12/2016
    1/25/2016–2/21/2016 3/11/2016
    2/22/2016–3/20/2016 4/8/2016

    If you take a CSET on 12/15, you wouldn't get the results until 1/15. Is 1/15 your hard application deadline? You don't get the scores until 5pm on the delivery date.

    This is what I would do first if you haven't already. I would call an admissions adviser at the university you applying to and see if you would have a good chance at being accepted even if you submit your scores after the admissions deadline. Since math teachers are in great need right now, I would imagine there's a push to get more math teaching credential candidates (just assuming here), and universities would be foolish to decline a great candidate just because the scores are a few months late (again, just assuming here, but worth checking out).
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 28, 2015

    Do you KNOW that you need to take CBEST and clear the US Constitution requirement? If you did undergrad at a CSU, you might very well need neither. If you really do have to clear them, get them over with sooner rather than later. Only the second of those requires much by way of preparation.

    I'd recommend taking one of the two Foundational-level Math subtests in time to get your results in mid-December or even earlier. You might well find as you prepare that you can tackle it a bit earlier than your timeline now suggests. (My impression is that people who know math generally find Subtest I a bit more challenging than Subtest II. Your mileage may vary, of course.)
     
  5. DJF

    DJF Rookie

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    Sep 28, 2015

    Sbl94: Thank you for your continued assistance! That information is so helpful. 1/15 is a hard deadline for application. I would probably just aim to attempt subset 1 and 2 in the 1/15 window. I imagine I could have everything prepped and just toss my results (pass pending!) in on the evening on 1/15 and send the application in, unless you'd advise otherwise. Speaking to the admissions adviser is definitely my top priority. If I can get their positive nod of feasibility then I would submit my 2 weeks this Friday (that's so nice to say to corporate America).

    TeacherGroupie: Thanks for weighing in. The program I am primarily targeting now actually doesn't seem to require the Constitution exam, thanks for leading me to check. Most of the others did, but not this one. I tried looking into the alternative satisfactions for the CBEST and I am afraid that I will need to take it - I did undergrad at the University of Arizona and don't believe the other methods apply for me either, although I would inquire with the admissions adviser. On the timing, is there a 45 day requirement between re-taking the exams? I believe I read that somewhere. I am thinking I could register for examination ~12/20 and aim to tackle subsets 1-2 on that exam, have my scores on 1/15 for the hard deadline, and aim for subset 3 by the 6/1 passing deadline. Sound? Advice against?

    Great thanks!
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 29, 2015

    The US constitution requirement is a state requirement, not a program requirement: if you need it, you'll need to get it sorted out at some point in order to get your credential, and sooner is better than later. Best bet is probably one of the tests that are accepted (there are four possibilities, or were four the last time I checked, and your local county office of education should have a list of institutions that offer them; some are, um, simpler than others). Of course, if you ever took a college-level course in US history, government, or civics, you will have satisfied the requirement.

    There is indeed a 45-day wait before retaking a CSET subtest, or for that matter a computer-based CBEST. I'd truly recommend against planning to wait till the end of December to attempt either subtest, unless your first two weeks of preparation convince you that you can't possibly pass either without another seven weeks of prep.
     
  7. Sbl94

    Sbl94 Rookie

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    Sep 29, 2015

    I agree with TeacherGroupie. I wouldn't wait until December to take a subtest. I recommend focusing on a single subtest at a time - there's just too much material to cover. If you can't submit both passing subtest scores with your application, at least submit one. That would at least make you a better candidate than those would haven't passed any subtests. I think if you start studying for subtest 2 now, taking and passing subtest 2 in early November would be very doable. On that note, don't think that you can't start studying and preparing now while you have a job. I had a full time job while preparing for the CSETs. I woke up at 5am every day to get my studying in. It wasn't easy, but it's possible.

    It sounds like we have similar stories - Oct. 16 will be my last day at my job, too. I'm quitting my well-paid sales job to begin substitute teaching, with the plans of beginning a credential program in the summer. I put in my notice yesterday. I wish you the best with your transition!
     
  8. DJF

    DJF Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2015

    One of the teachers I am in contact with said she took the online Notre Dame course and that fulfilled the requirement. I like this because it is self-paced and allows me to begin on a dime. Although, the website seems to leave some uncertainty as to whether the course is always accepted as valid. Any idea on this? Again, thanks for your valuable insight!

    Rather similar! I put in a 2 week notice of sorts as well, although, I will be going part-time instead of resigning. I am trying to design my strategy and order the materials necessary over the next week or two, and begin full-force studying once that is accomplished.

    After some conversation with the program I am striving towards, I would like to have subtest 1 and 2 scores, and CBEST scores, by the January 15th deadline. I think that I could push subtest 3 and the constitution requirement for after this deadline. What would you think of a plan along the lines of:

    1. Take CBEST 11/2 - scores back 11/13. This would allow me 45 days to retake the exam and receive scores before 1/15 deadline (if necessary).

    2. Take math subtest 2 (as you advised to take prior to subtest 1) on 11/5 and receive score on 12/8. This would allow me 45 days to retest subtest 2 (if needed), in addition to taking my attempt at subtest 1 on 12/22 - receive scores on 1/15 (application deadline).

    Would you think these timelines are feasible? Would you advise me to change anything here? Obviously a lot lies in my dedication to studying. I will only be working 3 days a week, so I was thinking like 6 hours of prep during off days and an hour on work days. Thank you!

    -Derek
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 3, 2015

    You're a fairly careful writer, judging from your posts here. If you couldn't pull off CBEST with less prep time than you're allowing, I'd be surprised. (The single biggest problem for good writers is getting too fancy. Basic-skills writing is properly ADEQUATE writing: adequate command of announcing and sticking to the point, organizing the discussion, supporting with evidence, managing the conventions of English, and deploying apt vocabulary.)
     
  10. DJF

    DJF Rookie

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    Thanks, TeacherGroupie. So, say I order a recommended prep book for the CBEST tomorrow, would you think it a good idea to give the CBEST a try on 2 weeks of meager studying (~1-2 hours/day)? Taking it at the end of October? I admit, it would be so great to have just one of the exams out of the way. Also, I registered for math subtest 1 and 2 today! However, I haven't selected the dates yet.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 3, 2015

    Have you tried the practice test on the ctcexams.nesinc.com page for CBEST preparation? It's pretty representative, and free.

    How did you do on SAT?
     
  12. DJF

    DJF Rookie

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    Oct 4, 2015

    I took the math and English practice exams today and scored a 44 in English and a 49 in math. I am thinking about registering for the CBEST even earlier, if you would stand by the statement that those questions were considerably representative of the actual exam. Each section did take me an hour though; the testing period is 4 hours, right? Would you think 1 hour per essay is sufficient?

    Update: Registered to take the CBEST for 10/20/15! I feel confident with my practice exam scores, and with the next 2 weeks as additional prep I think I will be prepared. Sorry to sway this towards the CBEST, I realize this is not the appropriate section for that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 5, 2015

    One hour per essay should be fine.

    And now you can sway the thread back toward CSET... *grin*
     
  14. Sbl94

    Sbl94 Rookie

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    I think that's a good plan. You basically got three chances to pass two subtests. Those are decent odds. I know this isn't the CBEST section, but I'll share a few thoughts.

    Unlike the CSET, the CBEST seemed like a test for which one really couldn't "study". Just as the name says, it tests you on basic skills that you either have or you don't. That said, the best way to prepare for the CBEST is to do all of the practice tests from the CTC website. That way you understand the format and what type of questions to expect (particularly on the reading section). I honestly don't think you need two weeks to prepare. Just a day or two to review the practice tests is fine. I would start with studying for the CSET immediately.

    The writing section is typically the make-or-break part of the test for most people (70% pass rate). I would do a google search and research what the test graders look for on the writing section. I would go with the basic 5-paragraph essay: intro with thesis, three supporting paragraphs, closing. Staying on topic and being straight-forward is key -- don't be fancy. On the personal experience essay, don't worry if you can't think of a good personal story -- just make it up! You're being tested on your writing, not what you think or have done. Also, before you start writing, scratch out your thesis and an outline. This will help keep your writing focused. One hour per essay is a good goal. That's what I did, too.

    The order of the test is math, reading, writing, but I did the test backwards: writing, reading, math; and I would recommend the same for you. I expected the math to be very easy (it was, and it will be for you), so I would rather use my fresh brain for the writing section. By the time I got to the math section, my brain was already fried, but since the math was so easy, it didn't matter -- I was able to "zombie" through it. You don't want to be exhausted when you start writing.
     
  15. DJF

    DJF Rookie

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    Oct 6, 2015

    Great advice, as has come to be expected. I ordered the Subtest 2 materials on Amazon for $15 - exactly as you outlined, Sbl. I will spend this week prepping for the CBEST and move onto Subset 2 once the materials arrive. Here we go!
     
  16. BioChemTeacher

    BioChemTeacher Rookie

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    Oct 9, 2015

    "Update: Registered to take the CBEST for 10/20/15! I feel confident with my practice exam scores, and with the next 2 weeks as additional prep I think I will be prepared. Sorry to sway this towards the CBEST, I realize this is not the appropriate section for that."

    I just took the CBEST a few weeks ago and two full weeks of study is all you need. It would appear the math section won't be any problem for you and the reading section doesn't require study but you should cover the testing strategy for the exam - that helped me score well.

    The writing section, as was suggested by our resident expert, should be approached in the most utilitarian way possible as any creativity or novelty will likely be penalized. You will pass if you just stick to the basics and again reviewing strategies for writing this exam will be helpful. You'll do just fine.

    I personally did the exams in order... banged-out the math and reading sections with nearly two hours to spare. I believe that was a helpful strategy because I could then concentrate on writing knowing I had some extra time to devote to the writing. As it turns out I needed it and got a full pass on the writing but just by a small margin. I got very good scores on the first two sections even considering I spent much less time on them. I may have been really stressed-out had I spent two hours on the writing subtest knowing I had just one hour for each of the other two sections. Although, I passed with such a significant cushion I likely would have passed anyway.

    I think it depends on what strategy will help keep the stress manageable for four hours.

    I am currently preparing for the CSET Biology section and after an overview of the material I feel quite confident a solid month of study will be more than sufficient to pass. Although I have heard that math is the most difficult of the CSET exams so you may want to add a bit of study time beyond that.
     
  17. DJF

    DJF Rookie

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    Oct 10, 2015

    BioChemTeacher,

    Thanks for the reply! I may as well sandwich the writing section in the middle with the way this advice is going! I think I will probably do the writing first; I have generally believed that doing the most difficult/stressful section first is best for me. Additionally, I think it would be easier for me to speed through the Reading and Math sections at a quicker pace, should I be required to. Whereas, the writing would probably be more difficult for me to rush, although, I will think about this prior to testing.

    I received my first Geometry book in the mail yesterday. I swear I've seen it before :D. I will begin that prep after the CBEST on 10/20.
     
  18. Fgmd

    Fgmd Rookie

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    Oct 12, 2015

    Hi Sbl do you have used jays material for Cset math
     
  19. Sbl94

    Sbl94 Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2015

    I only used Jay's free materials from his website (csetmathguru dot weebly dot com), I didn't purchase his question bank. Jay's site has a lot of pages, but they're all good, so be sure to explore all of it.
     

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