Scoring High in CBEST

How to Score High in CBEST

The 'California Basic Educational Skills Test' (CBEST) is a basic skills test for teachers who are looking for credentialing and employment in Californian schools. This test assesses the knowledge and skills of the candidates in the subject areas of Math, Reading and Writing. The key to doing well in this test lies in understanding how thescores are computed. This article presents to its readers an explanation of the methodologies behind the calculation of the scores, along with the most effective tips to achieve a high score in this test.

How are the Scores Calculated?

Below is a step-by-step guide to understand how the scores of the CBEST test are computed:

  • Test Sections: The 3 individual sections of the CBEST test; namely, Math, Reading and Writing are scored separately.

  • Scoring for Reading and Math sections: A scaled score of 20-80 is assigned to each test section. The Math and Reading sections have 50 multiple-choice questions each. Points are allocated to every correct scored question. (Keep in mind that some questions are not scored). This means that some correct answers are given more than 1 scoring point i.e. more weight-age because of the level of complexity in those questions or other factors.

  • Scoring for Writing Section: The Writing Section of the test includes 2 essays. Each essay is scored manually by a team of 2 experienced scorers. These 2 scores are combined to get a final score for each essay. Thereafter, thescores for the two essays are scaled and summed up to arrive at a total score in the range of 20-80.

How to Score High in the CBEST Test?

To achieve good scores in every section of the test, follow these simple steps:

While preparing for the CBEST Test:

  • Time each practice test and determine how much time you should spend on each question (on an average) to be able to attempt all the questions in the test. Time your real test in a similar way. To download practice tests, please visit the official website.

  • Determine your weak and strong areas in the syllabus. To view the complete breakdown of the syllabus, please view this link -

  • Create a clear-cut plan to improve your knowledge in those weak subject areas.

  • With every practice test and sample question-set, determine your scores topic-wise and find out if you are getting better at the weak topics and consistently maintaining your scores in the strong subjects. If not, re-adjust your study plan accordingly.

  • For the Math test-preparation, create flashcards for frequently-used formulas, metric conversion rules, equations, geometrical principles or theories etc.

While taking the test:

  • In the reading test, read the passages and review the graphs carefully and thoroughly.

  • Read all the questions carefully and do not assume things that are not mentioned in the questions. Some questions may ask "Which of these is wrong?", while some may ask "Which of these is right?" Make sure you read every question carefully and choose the answers appropriately.

  • Ignore additional facts in the answer-choices that are not stated in the passages/graphs or in the questions otherwise. These could have been inserted to trick you.

  • If you do not know the answer to a question or meaning to a phrase or word, try working backwards by eliminating the wrong answers first. While eliminating wrong answers, look for the choices with extreme statements, or statements that have absolute qualifiers such as "every", "all", "only one", etc. Moreover, generally similar statements with different wordings may have been included just to confuse you. So, review those choices carefully.

  • Attempt all or as many questions in the test as possible. Some questions are given more weight-age; hence, missing questions will greatly reduce your chances of attaining highscores.

  • Treat every question equally because you will not know which question is scored or not scored and which of the scored questions are given more weight-age.

  • Save questions that are taking too long for the end. This way you can complete as many questions as possible within the time limit. However, don't keep too many questions for the end because this will cause you to panic in the last few minutes of the test.

Additional Tips to Score High in the Writing Section

Candidates should follow these simple rules to achieve high scores in the Writing test:

  • Structure the essays properly.

  • There must be minimum or no errors in sentence structure, punctuation, grammatical conventions and syntax.

  • Stick to the central idea or theme. The chief idea or position in the essay must be elaborated in a logical and coherent manner. Any argument must be supported with logical reasoning.

  • Maintain a good flow to the essay and proper transitions between the main ideas or paragraphs in the essay.

  • Do not spend too much time in exhibiting your knowledge of the given topic or in coming up with original or creative ideas. The scorers will assign the bestscores for a well-written essay and not for the most creative or original essay.

We hope the above-mentioned tips and recommendations help you achieve the best scores. The secret to success is to understand the test questions and scoring patterns; and then, employ the right strategies to achieve the best possible score.

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