CBEST Certification Details

10 Important Points about CBEST

After taking the CBEST, you will get an official document awarding you the license to work as a teacher in the schools of California. Potential teachers can get this document by taking this examination and scoring high in the same.

CBEST Format, Sections, Question Types and Duration

Sections - To obtain this kind of certification, one has to take three tests and these are Mathematics, Reading Skills and Writing Skills; as these constitute the three major content areas of this test. These sections can be attempted individually or in the consolidated form.

Question types - The sections in this test, other than the Writing skills section, has 50 objective-pattern questions with multiple-choice answers each, from which one has to select the most appropriate option from the choices given. The Writing Skills section has two questions that requires you to respond in the form of essays.

Scoring - All the sections carry equal marks, which range from the scaled scores of 20-80. One has to attain an overall passing score of 123 it, and an individual score of 41 in each of its sections. At times, a minimum of 37 in one or two sections of the examination is enough to pass this test, but a score lower than this in any subject is prevent one from obtaining this certification.

Duration - The total duration of the examination is 4 hours. The Writing Skills section contains 2 questions, which are allotted half an hour each for answering. The rest of time is to be spent on the Reading skills and Mathematics skills.

10 Important Points about CBEST

  1. The CBEST is a criterion-referenced examination - The examinees are marked against a set of criteria fixed by the CBEST evaluators. The performance of a test-taker is not measured against the performance of fellow examinees.

  2. The registration fees for the paper-based and computer-based CBEST examinations are different - The registration fee for the computer-based examination is higher than that for the paper-based test.

  3. This test does not allow the usage of calculators - The exam does not allow the usage of calculators. Hence, one should practice for this examination without the aid of calculators.

  4. Do not forget to read the CBEST test specification webpage (http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/CA_testspecs.asp) before you start preparing for CBEST - This webpage leads to an important resource on the type of questions of the different sections and the strategies to solve them.

  5. Know the requirements of the test center well in advance - It is important for you to take a note of test center requirements well in advance of the day of your taking the test and fulfilling them completely, as they are important enough to influence your permission to appear for the test. Please refer to
    http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/CA18_whattobring.asp ,
    http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/CA18_siterules.asp?pagetype=PBT , and
    to find out more information pertaining to this.

  6. Make it a point to thoroughly read the official website for detailed information - You should read the official web page, the link to which is as follows: http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/CA18_duringandafter.asp in detail before registering for the test to understand the purpose, scope, syllabus, and other details  regarding CBEST.

  7. Take special note of the mandatory and exemption criteria for this examination - Before registering for the this test, make yourself aware of the exemption criteria so that you do not waste time or effort in registering for this examination, if you can be exempted from taking it. Similarly, it is mandatory for some people to take the  exam in order to pursue a career in teaching.

  8. Make yourself aware of the advantages of taking CBEST, before registering for it - There are other teaching skills tests for obtaining a certification in teaching. However, CBEST offers advantages that other certifications often do not, especially for candidates seeking a teaching position in schools of California. 

  9. Make yourself aware of the difference between the paper-based and computerized versions before opting for one of them - You can take the test in either paper-based or computerized format. Before you opt for one of these modes of taking the test, you should be fully aware of all aspects of each of these modes, so that you make the correct choice regarding the mode of test taking that is most suitable for you.

  10. Make yourself aware of the scoring system - Information about the scoring system can be obtained from its official web page (http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/CA18_scorereport_opener.asp). This link has hyperlinks to resources which provide detailed information about the test, scoring system and how to obtain your score report.


CBEST is one of the most important and prestigious teaching certification examinations of California. Hence, it works on a set of standards, the most important of which are discussed in the article above.