Books for Studying for CBEST

The Best Method to Study from A Prep Book

To prepare effectively for the CBEST (California Basic Educations Skills) test, self-study is a good option for many candidates. For self-study, the candidates must select the bestprep book available today. This article presents well-researched reviews of 3 prep books, along with recommendations on how to best use them for effective test preparation.

The 3 Effective Prep Books:

  1. Official Test Specifications Guide

    Though this book does not provide prep material for the individual test sections, it provides a complete list of test objectives, skills and knowledge areas that are assessed in all the 3 sections of the CBEST exam. This guide includes a simple listing of all subject areas assessed in this test. You may download this guide from - After reviewing the test specifications, you may also try the free practice test at These are the only official practice tests available from the administrators and are generally regarded as the closest to the actual test.

  2. Kaplan CBEST: California Basic Education Skills Test

    This book has been co-authored by Allan Mundsack and Charlotte Doctor, who are highly experienced teachers. This prep book contains in-depth material for the complete syllabus, including Math, Reading and Writing. It contains the latest information on the test structure and objectives, along with 3 full-length practice tests, a diagnostic test that could be used to create an individual study plan, a detailed answer guide, loads of practice problems and sample questions coupled with relevant subject-matter discussions and a list of well-proven test-taking strategies and study recommendations. This book has also received a few good reviews from actual users. You may purchase this from the Barnes and Noble online book store -

  3. Cracking the CBEST, 2nd Edition (College Test Preparation)

    This book, authored by the Princeton Review Inc. covers most of the syllabus in a smart way and provides an in-depth coverage of test-taking strategies such as well-proven elimination techniques to find the right answer etc. It includes 2 full-length practice tests and corresponding answer keys. It also provides crucial tips to improve your scores in the Reading and Math sections of the CBEST test. It includes an analysis of the questions types in the Reading test, along with a special insight on how to tackle each type of question. Finally, this book includes a good list of effective essay-writing tips, a standard template that could be used for every essay and many sample writing prompts. This book has received a large number of positive reviews by actual users so far. However, the only drawback of this book is that it is a slightly old edition that has been published in 2002. Hence, while most of the book is still relevant for the current format of the CBEST test, a few parts of it may be outdated. Therefore, we recommend that you go through the test objectives and the user reviews to identify any outdated items in this book and ignore those during your preparation.

The Most Effective Method to Study from a Prep Book:

Most test-takers who have already aced the test would probably agree with the method we are about to share with you. To start with, you must review all the information about the test structure and objectives from the prep book (that you have selected) and from the official website ( After you are familiar with the test format, go through the sample questions and practice problems in your prep book. This way you can determine how easy or difficult the syllabus is for you. Then based on your difficulty level in the different sections of the test, prioritize your review of the material in the prep book. After you have reviewed all the study material in the book, you must try more practice problems to gauge your improvement. Thereafter, you should review all the test strategies and tips provided in the prep book in detail. Finally, you must take the full-length practice tests available in the book, along with the official practice tests from the website. For writing practice, you could ask a teacher or a professional writer to evaluate your essay response and subsequently, you could work on your weak areas. If you follow this study method diligently, you can be assured to receive the best scores in this test.

We hope the above-mentioned reviews and study tips help you to choose the right prep book(s) and to make the most out of it. Apart from preparing well for the test, all candidates must remember to take a deep breath and stay calm on the actual day of testing. Anyone who follows this mantra will find the CBEST test to be a cakewalk.

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