I just had to write an article about recently passing the CBEST. Way to gloat, right? First off, at the risk of sounding too cautious, I’m not about to divulge any of the test content, merely I’ll just take you through the process and procedures that a CBEST-taker must expect. CBEST stands for California Basic Educations Skills Test. Passing this test is generally required to enter a California teacher credential program. I took this test because having a college degree, I want to broaden my employment opportunities. A co-worker gave me this idea years ago but it is only a few months ago when I finally registered on the CBEST site. Finding a job is tough. And with the current times, landing a good paying one is close to impossible, if you live in a small town especially. So schools are always an option. They are not closing down schools too, are they?
In the state of California, if you pass the CBEST and have a college degree, you can apply as a substitute teacher. I have yet to find out if you can start teaching full-time after gaining enough experience in the classroom setting. Right now, my goal is to expand my experience in the teaching field and get an overall idea how the system works. That same co-worker of mine did the same thing and shares that with substitute teaching, you get adequate pay without sacrificing much of your time complying with the demands of full-time teaching.
If you are interested in taking the CBEST, here’s what you have to do. First, go to the official site and read the overview first to familiarize yourself with what this test is all about. For this year, there’s only three test dates, all on a Saturday. The registration deadline is a month before the test takes place. You have to pay a $41 fee. There are no refunds so be 100% positive you can make it to the test date. I believe the fee is good until you pass the test. You then get to choose from a list of several test sites that are spread all around major California cities. I took mine at a high school in Riverside. On the test day, you just need some Number 2 pencils, a picture ID (preferably your driver’s license), and your admission ticket, which is to be sent to your e-mail weeks before the test.
On the test day, you are asked to be at the test site 30 minutes before the test. To avoid the hassle, I would advise leaving your cell phones in the car because the test administrators will make you surrender them beforehand. As they put it, you have to surrender anything with an on/off button: phones, iPods, calculators, any electronic form of device. They were pretty strict about the whole process. We were even asked to take off the label paper from our water bottles, just in case someone cleverly wrote cheat codes on them. As tons of us were lined up before the classrooms, I noticed most people were around my age, in their mid to late 20s. We were then led to our assigned rooms, about 40 test-takers in one room.
All I can say about the test is, as long as you know your basics, you have nothing to worry about. The math part was time-consuming, as expected due to all the computations and lack of your trusty calculator. You’d think four hours is too long but I was barely aware of the time flying by. I was only upset about the writing section. I’m not too good when writing under pressure and I wished I had more time to polish it. I’m only glad whoever read it found it passable. You can view your unofficial test scores two weeks after, in your e-mail or through the CBEST site. You will then receive the official results in the mail a week later. I’m still waiting for mine.
If you decide to take the CBEST anytime soon, I genuinely hope you pass it. To help you study, there is a practice test found in the site and other helpful review sites. Good luck!