CBEST Test: Format, Registration, Dates, and Practice 2023

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What Is the California Basic Educational Skills Test?

The CBEST is an online computer-based proctored test created by the California CTC to assess teachers' Math, Basic Reading, and Writing Skills. It takes 3.5 hours and includes 50 multiple-choice questions for Reading, 50 multiple-choice questions for Mathematics, and two essays for Writing.


Test Dates

cbest test dates

Source: The following CBEST test dates screenshot is taken from the CTC website.

CBEST Scores

A score range of 20 to 80 is assigned to each section of the CBEST test. Each section must score 41 to pass, so a total score of 123 is required to pass the CBEST.

No matter how high your other section scores are, you cannot pass the test if you score anything below a 37 on any section.

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

You will receive a report with a breakdown of your score by section, providing you with the opportunity to analyze your strengths and weaknesses.

CBEST Test Format Outline

CBEST testing format consists of 102 questions and is divided into three parts: Math, Reading, and Writing.

Math Section

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.

Reading Section

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 (40%).
  • Comprehension and research (60%).

Writing Section

Two essay questions are included in the CBEST Writing section, which is timed at 1.5 hours. You are being asked these questions to determine how well you can write.

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.

CBEST Test Registration

To begin the registration process for the CBEST test for substitute teachers you need to set up a Pearson VUE online internet account. When you create an account, you can choose which test you wish to take and which CBEST testing method you prefer (on-site or online).

Every section of the CBEST is administered independently and requires a separate registration.

As soon as you fill out the information and agree to the testing rules. Payment of a $30 exam fee will be required for each CBEST section.

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 at 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.

After entering the testing room, the test taker is given a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) to review and sign.

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.

How to Get a Test Waiver?

Passing the CBEST is one way to meet the CTC Basic Skills requirements and get your CBEST certificate but there are other ways.

The following methods can also be used to satisfy basic skills requirements:

  • Obtain a passing score on the CSET: Multiple Subjects and Writing Skills exam.
  • A pass on either the CSU Placement Examinations or the Early Assessment Program at CSU.
  • Pass the SAT or ACT with a qualifying score.
  • Advanced Placement Exams (AP) administered by the College Board.
  • Achieve a passing score on another state's Basic Skills Exam.
  • Obtain the Basic Skills Required for Coursework.
  • Obtain Basic Skills Requirements through coursework and exams.
  • You can find more information about the test waiver procedures and basic skills requirements on the CTC website.

CBEST Prep Tips

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

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 what areas of your performance need to be improved.

When practicing pay attention to the following:

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

As a result, you will be able to identify your weak spots and understand what type of questions you need to work on.

Remember that because you have a time limit to answer questions on the test solution speed is key to achieving a successful result.

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

CBEST Practice Strategy

Utilize your learning time effectively by following the steps below

  • Review the questions on the first test without any time constraints to determine what parts are easy and what parts are challenging.
  • Set a timer for yourself, but allow yourself to look at the answers to difficult questions.
  • Simulate the Day of the test. If you have enough CBEST test practice material, use it to simulate the environment you will encounter on the day of the test. Try to answer test questions as quickly as possible while sitting at a desk or table in a quiet room.


What Are the Requirements if You Want to Take the Test Remotely?

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, along with the OnVUE application.

Can I Retake the Exam 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 solution ability at parts of the test where you performed poorly.

When Do I Get My Test Results?

If your doing the test at the PearsonVue testing center the results for the reading section or mathematics section will receive preliminary test results immediately.

After completing the Writing Section at the test center, candidates will receive a completion receipt. Test results are available within 2 weeks of testing.

When it comes to online remote testing, results are usually available two weeks after testing.
Taking this test via online proctoring may delay score reports for up to two weeks.
In other words, candidates taking an online-proctored test won't receive preliminary test results or a receipt of completion.

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