Important Details About the CBEST

Things to Know Before Taking the CBEST

The CBEST refers to the California Basic Educational Skills Test that was developed by the California Legislation (CL) and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). This test has to be taken by those who want to take up Teaching, as a profession, in California and it tests a person's basic mathematics, reading comprehension and writing skills, though it does not assess the person's teaching competencies. It is basically used for credentialing a person's competencies for employment purposes in the field of education, as per the legal norms of California. For firsthand information on CBEST, you can visit its official website (

CBEST Test Format, Sections, Question Types and Duration

The CBEST exam format - The exam can be taken in both the computer-based and paper-based formats. The process of registration, for taking the CBEST, differs in the case of each format.

CBEST Sections - The CBEST examinees are tested, essentially, in basic mathematics, reading and writing skills. Let us take a closer look at each of these sections below:

  • Reading section - This section presents questions from a variety of topics, and the information presented in these questions is enough to answer them. The questions may be presented in the form of passages, tables, or as graphical representations. They are aimed at testing the following competencies of the examinee:

    • The ability to comprehend the questions and apply good research skills to answer them.
    • The ability to critically analyze and evaluate the questions.
  • Writing Section - This section of the CBEST presents 2 questions that require the examinees to respond with essay-type answers. In one question, the examinee is given a situation or a statement as a lead, on which the examinee has to build up the response, in an essay format. In the second question, the examinee has to write upon a personal experience, in the context of the topic on hand. These questions are not aimed at testing the knowledge levels of the examinees. They are aimed at testing the examinees' Writing skills.

  • Mathematics Section - This section of the test measures an examinee's expertise in the following content areas of the test:

    • Numeric and Graphic Relationships
    • Measurement, Statistical Principles and Estimation
    • Problem Solving and Computation

CBEST Question Types and Duration of This Test

All the sections, except the Writing Skills section, present objective-type questions with multiple-choice answers. Each of these sections has 50 questions. Both the computer-based and paper-based CBEST tests are of 4 hours duration.

CBEST Scores

Scaled scores, ranging from 20-80 points, are awarded in each of the sections of the exam. A total score of 123 in this examination and an individual score of 37 in each section are considered as passing scores. One has to obtain the total and individual passing scores in order to get the CBEST certification. There is no negative marking for wrong answers. For more information on CBEST scoring system, please visit the following webpages: and

For information update on new features of the 2012-2013 versions of the test, please visit this webpage:

Things to Know Before Taking the CBEST

  • Though the CBEST is purposed at credentialing your basic educational skills, this certification cannot be used to substitute other certification examinations, which you may have to take, to become an educator in California.

  • Only people interested in obtaining a first-teaching or first-service credential can appear for this test.

  • Not all districts require this certification to allow you to practice teaching. You can make enquiries in individual districts to know if the scores are required for getting employment as educators in their districts.


The official webpage is a well-designed and it is an authentic and detailed information resource on CBEST. Hence, it is suggested that you read each and every section of this official site to gain details about this test.

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