CBEST Test: Format, Registration, Dates, and Practice

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What is the CBEST Test?

The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is a standarized exam created by the California CTC to assess teachers' Math, Basic Reading, and Writing Skills. It takes 3.5 hours and includes 100 multiple choice questions - 50 for reading and 50 for mathematics, and 2 essays. You have to register and take each section separately.

It is one of the requirements for teacher certification in California. The CBEST is also accepted by some other states as a certification requirement for educators.


Get full access to our All-Inclusive PrepPack to study with 200+ sample questions and detailed explanations starting at $79. We offer prep materials based on the actual exam and developed by professionals to be fully tailored to the CBEST test sections, format and difficulty. 


Practice with more sample questions, explanations and tips with our Free CBEST Practice Test. 

CBEST Math Practice

The Mathematics section is two hours long and contains 50 multiple-choice questions. A lot of these questions are word problems meant to test your ability to solve mathematical problems.

There are three skill factors in this section:

  • Measurement, estimation, and statistical principles.
  • Mathematical computation and Problem-solving.
  • Numerical Tables and Graphs.

Numerical Reasoning - Sample Question

Which one of the following is not on the line equation ?

A. (-1,-1)

B. (0,4)

C. (1,9)

D. (2,12)

E. (4,24)

Answer & Explanation

The correct answer is (D).

In order for a point to be on the number line, it should maintain the line equation:
Therefore, substitute the answer in y=5x+4, and check whether the equation is maintained.

Answer (A): (-1,-1)




The equation is maintained; therefore, this point also maintains the equation line.

Answer (B): (0,4)




The equation is maintained; therefore, this point also maintains the equation line.

Answer (C): (1,9)




The equation is maintained; therefore, this point also maintains the equation line.

Answer (D): (2,12)



12 ≠ 14

The equation is not maintained; therefore, this point is not on the equation line. This is the correct answer.
Even though you have found the solution, keep checking the answers.

Answer (E): (4,24)




The equation is maintained; therefore, this point also maintains the equation line.

The only point that does not maintain the equation is (2,12), accordingly, the correct answer is (D).

If you chose any other answer, review the solution.

💡Tip: Don't spend too much time on one question. The CBEST is an accumulative test which means all questions have the same value. If you don't know how to answer you can either skip it or guess. 

CBEST Reading Practice

The Reading section includes 50 multiple-choice questions and is limited to an hour and a half. The purpose of these questions is to test your ability to understand written material, tables, and graphs.

In this section, two skills are assessed:

  • Critical Analysis and Evaluation.
  • Comprehension and research.

Reading - Sample Question

Read the following passage to answer the question below.

What is NOT a feature of a secure password?
A. Length
B. Complexity
C. Originality
D. Memorability
E. Impersonal
Answer & Explanation

The correct answer is (D) Memorability.

Secure passwords should be: A. at least 6 characters long (length) B. they should be made up of mixed characters (complexity) C. they should not be words or names from the dictionary (originality). E. Not use personal information (Impersonal). The passage does not mention memorability as an important aspect of a safe password.

💡Tip: You will have 5 answer choices. In most cases, you can eliminate at least 2 of the choices. Some choices might be contradictory to the passage or may present conclusions that cannot be inferred from the passage. 

CBEST Writing Practice

Two essay questions are included in the Writing section, which is timed at 1.5 hours. You will have to write two essays to evaluate your writing, grammar, and language skills.

  • You will be asked to analyze a situation or statement in the first writing prompt.
  • The second assignment requires you to discuss a personal experience.

Punctuation - Sample Question

Which of the following phrases is punctuated correctly?

A. My friend's car.

B. My friends car.

C. My friend''s car.

D. My friend's car'.

Answer & Explanation

The correct answer is (A).

There are two nouns in the phrase: "my friend" and "car." The noun "my friend" is the owner of the noun "car." In order to express possession, an apostrophe and "s" need to be added to the possessive noun. In this case, since "my friend" possesses "car," the correct phrase is "my friend’s car."

Answer (B) is incorrect because while it adds an "s," it does not add the apostrophe.

Answer (C) is incorrect because while it adds an "s," it incorrectly uses a quotation mark instead of an apostrophe.

Answer (D) is incorrect because while it uses the correct apostrophe and "s," the extra apostrophe added to the word "car" is redundant.

💡Tip: Although you will be evaluated based on many different factors, clear and concise communication is crucial. Your message must be, first of all, understood without any confusion caused by grammatical mistakes. 

How to Practice for the CBEST Writing Section

Even if the Writing section of the CBEST is not multiple-choice format, there are still ways to practice before writing your essays. Our PrepPack not only includes example questions so that you can practice writing about topics similar to the real test, but also grammar practice tests to perfect the different elements that go into writing a high-quality essay. 

Our PrepPack includes practice for:

  • Language Usage.
  • Spelling Practice.
  • Written Communication.
  • Punctuation & Capitalization.


CBEST Scores

A score range of 20 to 80 is assigned to each section of the CBEST test, and to pass, you must score a minimum of 41 on each section. This means that you need a total score of 123 to pass the CBEST test.

After completing the examination, you can expect to receive your official CBEST test results within four to six weeks. The official exam website will also provide an unofficial version of your CBEST passing score at the end of the exam.

Additionally, you will receive a score report that breaks down your performance by section, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

CBEST Test Registration

To start the registration process for the CBEST test, you'll need to create an account on the CTC Exams website. There, you can access registration information, test dates, and all the details you need. When setting up your account, you can select your preferred CBEST testing method (on-site or online) and choose the specific test sections you wish to take.

It's important to note that each section of the CBEST is administered independently, and you'll need to complete a separate registration for each.

Please be aware that the exam fee for each CBEST section may vary and is subject to change. Be sure to check the current fees on the official CTC Exams website.

Day of The Test - Important Things to Keep in Mind

Testing procedures will differ depending on whether you take the test remotely or in person.

In-person Computer-Based Testing

It is recommended that you arrive 15-30 minutes before your scheduled testing time to the testing center. Late arrivals will not be allowed to take the test.

Once you arrive at the Pearson VUE testing center, you must present two forms of identification, one with your photo on it. As part of the process, you may also be required to submit a virtual signature, and you may be asked to scan your face and/or palm.

The testing room should be kept free of all personal belongings.

You'll be given a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) to review and sign upon entering the testing room.

Restroom breaks are permitted at any time, but time will not be stopped.

Remote Testing with Online Proctoring

Log in to your account before the beginning of the CBEST exam. A valid ID with your photo will be required once you log in.

Your personal laptop camera will be used to scan the room.

At the beginning of the exam, you will need to read and sign a digital NDA.

During the test, no one should enter your test area.

CBEST Prep Tips

CBEST test success depends not only on how much time you spend preparing but also on your preparation strategy.

Checking your progress along the way is a good idea. Taking CBEST practice tests is a great way to evaluate your progress.

The advantage of practice tests is that they show you exactly in which areas you need improvement.

When practicing pay attention to the following:

  • Questions you got wrong.
  • Questions you didn't know how to answer.
  • Questions to which you took too long to answer.

This will help you identify your weak spots and understand what type of questions you need to work on.

Keep in mind that because you have a time limit, solution speed is key to achieving a successful result.

Study the material until you fully understand the questions. In, that way you won't have any doubts about the actual exam, and you can go through and answer the questions quickly.

Study With JobTestPrep's CBEST PrepPack

Familiarizing yourself with the format and question types will help you answer faster and better. Our CBEST PrepPack includes material related to the content of the actual test, that way you can determine your strengths and weaknesses, to focus practice on the areas you need the most.

Starting at $79, gain access to:

  • Interactive and comprehensive study guides
  • 15+ practice tests that simulate the CBEST test
  • Detailed explanations and expert tips to develop your own answering strategy. 



Can I Take the CBEST Online?

If you intend to take the exam remotely, make sure you meet all of the technical requirements. You can check your system at the Pearson VUE website.

Use a desktop or laptop computer with a single monitor (tablets and touchscreen devices are not allowed). A webcam and microphone are also required.

Can I Retake the CBEST if I Didn't Pass?

CBEST can be retaken as many times as needed. However, retests cannot be scheduled immediately; there is a waiting period of 45 days. Take advantage of this window of time to improve your problem-solving ability in the parts of the test where you performed poorly.

When Do I Get My CBEST Test Results?

If you are taking the test at a PearsonVue testing center, you will receive preliminary test results for the Reading or Mathematics section immediately. Upon completing the Writing Section at the test center, candidates will receive a completion receipt. Test results are available within two weeks of testing.

Regarding online remote testing, score reports may be delayed for up to two weeks. In other words, candidates taking an online-proctored test will not receive a completion receipt or preliminary test results.

Do I Need to Pass the CBEST to Be a Substitute Teacher?

Passing the CBEST is one, and a very popular way to obtain a teacher permit, which allows you to be a substitute teacher. However, there are also alternative methods to get the permit. You can check the list of requirements on the CTC website



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