Questions Asked in CBEST

Types of CBEST Questions

This examination is taken by education careerists for getting their professional details credentialed for employment as teachers, in the educational institutions of California. The questions of this 4-hour examination are set from 3 different content areas: English Reading, English Writing and Mathematics.

Types of Questions

The questions for all sections, except the Writing Skills section, are of the objective-type, with each question having a set of 5 similar responses, out of which, one has to choose the most appropriate alternative as an answer to the question. The Writing Skills section has a couple of open-ended questions, which need to be answered with essay–type answers. The pattern of questions remains the same for both the online and the paper-based formats of the CBEST.

Questions of Different Categories with Samples from Each Category

Reading Skills Section

The Reading Skills section comprises 3 different forms of questions: passages, tables or graphical representations. These questions aim to assess the following skills of the examinee:

  • Comprehension and research skills
  • Critical Analysis and evaluation skills

The questions of this section are presented from a wide variety of topics, and usually, the information presented in the questions is enough to deduce the correct answers for them.

Sample question – Provided below is a sample question to guide you regarding the type of questions you can come across in the Reading Skills section:

Read the passage below and answer the following question:

“Job performance is affected by a number of factors. Motivation alone does not lead to increased performance. Ability and technology moderates the relationship between motivation and performance. The higher the levels of ability and motivation, the higher the level of performance will be. However, increasing motivation beyond an optimal level tends to produce a dysfunctional result because it is accompanied by an increasing level of anxiety. A high level of anxiety often disrupts performance. ”

Q) Job performance is increased by:

A) Choose the most appropriate answer from the following:

  1. Only Motivation
  2. Personal Ability and Motivation
  3. Technology and Motivation
  4. Personal Ability and Technology
  5. Motivation, Personal Ability and Technology

Correct Answer: 5. Motivation, Personal Ability and Technology

The official sample questions for the Reading Skills section; can be referred to at:

Writing Skills Section

This section, aimed at testing an examinee’s Writing Skills, presents a couple of open-ended questions. One question, typically, presents a scenario, based on which, the examinee has to express his or her opinion in the form of an essay. In the second question, the examinee has to write about a personal experience, in the form of an essay, in the context of the given question. It is observed that answering these questions does not require the examinee to be equipped with special knowledge about any subject, in particular, but to have a general knowledge of different subjects.

Sample questions

Given below is a sample of the type of the personal opinion questions that you will encounter in the Writing Skills section:

Sample Question 1:
Please read the following debate and present your view points, supporting it or contradicting it:
If employees experience work stress in their offices, it is their faulty working style that is the culprit.
Ans. It is not entirely the fault of the employee if he experiences work stress. It depends on the system as well…
Sample Question 2
Please read the following situation and write a passage on what you have done in a similar situation:
Ryan was poor in Mathematics and he failed in the final examination. His teacher criticised him in front of his friends and that depressed Ryan very much and he attempted to commit suicide. If you were in place of this teacher, how would you have reacted and helped Ryan perform better?
Ans. Had I been Ryan’s teacher, I would not have criticised him but would have spoken to him about his difficulties and tried to find a solution to the issue.

The official sample questions for the Writing section can be found here:

Mathematics Section

This section aims to test school-level Mathematics knowledge of the examinees. The content areas that are specifically tested in this section are:

  1. Problem Solving and Computation
  2. Measurement, Statistical Principals and Estimation
  3. Numeric and Graphic Relationships

Sample Question

Given below is a sample question from the Mathematics section of the CBEST:

Q) If you were to express the weight of a pen, which measure would you choose?

  1. Quart
  2. Ounces
  3. Ton
  4. Pint
  5. Pound

Correct Answer: B. Ounces.

The official sample for the Mathematics section can be found here:

How Many Questions Does One Have to Answer in CBEST & What is the Time Duration of This Test?

Each of the sections of CBEST, excluding the Writing Skills section, consist of 50 questions each, and the total time duration of the test, including the Writing Skills section, is 4 hours. Each section of CBEST is not individually timed. However, you will have to complete the test in a total duration of 4 hours. The Writing Skills section has only two questions, but they require you to provide lengthy answers, which can be time consuming.