CSET Test Preparation

You will have to prepare for the CSET very seriously as your teaching career in California is at stake if you do not prepare well for the same!  When you study for this test properly, it will certainly have a positive impact on your career because educational institutions consider those candidates for recruitment who have performed very well in this test. Do not forget that passing this examination is an integral part of the process for teacher certification in California. Therefore, you need to have careful planning and systematic preparation or else you will end up taking one test after the other.

Tips for Preparation

Working out a detailed prep plan does not mean that you should be unduly stressed about the impending test. It is very important to keep your stress levels low or else you will not be able to concentrate on your studies. The main reason for exam-related stress is uncertainty regarding your performance. This uncertainty stems from lack of confidence in yourself with respect to your capabilities and knowledge. The only way to boost your self-confidence and to do away with exam-related stress is by working out a detailed and effective plan that is put into action well before the test date. The following tips will be useful for chalking out a preparation strategy that will help you achieve success in the CSET:

  1. Start your exam preparation well on time. You need not wait until you register for the test to start preparing for it. Go to the official website, www.ctcexams.nesinc.com and identify the tests that you will have to take for earning the certification that you are seeking and start preparing for the same as soon as possible.

  2. Do not start studying for a subject blindly without going through the test content and understanding the skills that will be evaluated for that subject. It is common knowledge that the Single Subjects exam will assess your knowledge and skills in a specific subject area, but that does not mean that simply reviewing the entire subject area of the level that is taught in schools will suffice for performing well. The official website contains study guides for each CSET test. Download these guides and understand the test content and the specific skills that will be assessed.

  3. Understand the scoring system. You cannot expect to pass the test without setting an aim for yourself and this will only be possible if you are aware of the scores that you need to achieve for passing the test. Familiarize yourself with the scoring system and the passing scores and then set an aim for yourself that is much higher than the passing scores.

  4. Understand the types of questions that will be asked. You need to be aware of the types of questions that will be presented to you. In addition to multiple-choice questions, certain tests will also present you with constructed-response questions. You should be well aware of the types of answers expected for such questions. Once you are aware of the method in which your skills are being assessed by the CSET, you will be in a better position to prepare for the test.

  5. Concentrate on the subject matter. Once you are clear about the overall test content, the types of questions that will be asked and the skills that are being assessed, the next obvious step is to identify the specific subject matter that has to be studied and concentrate on that. Analyze your knowledge of the content area and mark those which you need considerable improvement in terms of acquiring knowledge and developing the necessary skills. Concentrate on these subject areas. Work out a study time plan with emphasize on your weak areas. Do not completely ignore your strong areas, though. These are your strengths and you should work on improving them further.

  6. Collect good quality prep materials. You will need prep resources to assist you in your preparation. These can be your college textbooks, study guides, sets of practice tests, sample questions etc. Studying from your college textbooks will be a good idea as they contain an extensive review of the subject matter that you are testing for. Make sure to include the textbooks used in California schools among your prep materials. The CSET website will be able to provide you with a list of useful prep resources for each test. Go through all such resources and put them to good use. Another good method to identify good prep options available by getting in touch with others who have successfully passed the CSET. Discuss the methods and prep materials that they have utilized for their preparation so that you can refer to these too. Their experiences and advice will be able to help you in planning your prep strategy and in acquiring the best possible study materials.

  7. Work out a personalized study plan. You need to chalk out a schedule that will suit your personal requirements. For instance, if you are comfortable studying in a group and you feel that you will learn more from discussions and interaction with others, then you can form a study group with others preparing for the same set of CSET tests and study together. If you are studying on your own, then work out small details like the time when you will study. This will depend on your comfort level, that is whether you are comfortable studying late in the night or early in the morning. If you have a short memory span, then keep aside the last few days before the test to carry out a complete review of all the important facts, figures and concepts that need to be recalled on the test day.

  8. Practice problem solving. Solve as many sample questions as you can for the test you have to take. Compare your responses with the correct answers and learn from your mistakes. This will familiarize you with the test format and you will be relaxed on the day of the exam as you will know what to expect. The CSET website contains a computer-administered practice test program for the Multiple Subjects. This is an interactive computer program that contains practice tests for Multiple Subjects and it is available free of cost. A tutorial is included in the program that will guide you as to how to use and navigate through the program.

Most Important Tip for CSET Prep

Here is the most important tip for preparing for the exam:

  • No Cramming! Cramming does not help at all.

Burning midnight oil and cramming will lead you nowhere. You will end up without a teacher's certification and will be left with the dilemma of taking retests after retests. If you wish to avoid taking retests and you want to pass the CSET at the earliest available opportunity, then you must make an endeavor to understand the test content, sharpen the necessary skills and prepare well for the exam.