Prepping for the CSET – Multiple subject

The Cset is a state mandated test that all teachers in California have to pass to move forward in their respected teaching credential program. There are a number of different subjects and test depending on grade levels and subjects areas that you would like to teach. The multiple subject Cset is specific to teachers that are looking to teach in grades K-6. As the name indicates, the test covers multiple subjects and requires a solid understanding of all subjects. The test is harder than you would expect and requires proper preparation to pass. It isn’t uncommon for teachers to struggle with this test which can delay moving forward in your respected program. My recommendation is to sign up early, pay attention to deadlines, study for at least a month, buy a practice guide and take the practices tests. Additionally, here some more information I wish I had prior to taking the test and my personal experience taking the test.

Test Structure and details:

The test is broken up into three sections and covers Language Arts and Social Science (test 1), Science and Math (Test 2) and Physical education, Child development and Music/Art (Test 3) . You can choose to take all three sections at once or break them up and complete them one at a time. Each test is scheduled to last an hour and 45 minutes. Although, you can get up for a break, your time will not stop. (No bathroom breaks) Also, spell check is not available for the written sections. You will need to take the Cset at a regulated testing center like Pearson Testing Centers. They fill up testing spots so set a date soon!!

Advice for Cset:

Earmark at least a month to study for this test:
It covers a large number of subjects, many of which you probably haven’t studied or used in a number of years. Many schools offer programs that can help you study and prepare for the test.
Purchase a study guide – I found this study guide to be helpful. The information was laid out well and the CD was great way to take practice tests. Overall, the practice tests were important indicators for areas that I needed to study.
Sign up in advance for the test and if needed reschedule – The tests dates fill up quickly and due to the limited testing facilities you can have to travel. Also, if you do not pass a section you will have to wait 45 days before you can retake the test.
Testing results take 5 weeks to process – It is a bit surprising that the test results take so long. Personally, this caused me some stress. If I did not pass the test the first time, I would been set back for a semester. Also, I did not turn in my score until after the deadline. Luckily many schools set soft deadlines but don’t count on it.
Pay attention to deadlines – The schools deadline and the delayed testing results caused a lot of stress for me. If I did not pass the test the first time, I would have had to wait a whole semester which would effected my timeline for entering into the teaching profession.

My experience taking the Cset:

The test was harder than I expected because the information covered was extensive. I really needed to brush up on Math, Social Science, Arts, Dance and Music. It took about 2 to 3 hours of study per day which I ramped up to 3 to 5 hours a couple days before the test. I spent about 3 weeks studying. I wish I had spent a bit more time studying but luckily I passed all three sections the first time. However, it was unnerving/unexpected to have to wait 5 weeks for the scores and to have to wait 45 days to reschedule a test, if needed. Overall, the deadlines and lack of testing facilities spots created an issue for me. Hence, I ended up taking the Cset in the middle of my finals. I had to take a day off work, get a hotel and had to drive out to LA (2 hour drive) because a testing center was not available in my area until mid-summer.

If I was to do it again, I would schedule my test well in advance of the deadline, study for 4 weeks prior to the test and not take it during finals week. Y

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