Becoming a teacher is an excellent option for anyone. It is a career field that is always hiring and is often well-respected by the general public. If you live in California and are thinking of becoming a teacher, you will, at some point, have to take the CBEST.
The CBEST, or California Basic Educational Skills Tests, is a teacher-accreditation exam given to all potential California teachers. It is broken into three parts. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the math section of the CBEST, which consists of 50 multiple-choice math questions.
What is the CBEST Math?
The CBEST Math section covers all different types of math that you commonly find throughout elementary and middle school. It doesn’t get into trigonometry, precalculus, or calculus, so if that isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. These are the three big categories that are covered on the CBEST math exam.
Numerical and graphical relations
This section of the test will focus on your ability to interpret data, frequently in the form of a graph. The test will give you a graph depicting information, and you will be asked questions about the data presented. You may be asked to fill in parts of the data that are omitted, so understanding patterns and how the data relates to itself is vital for this section. This section will be about 35% of the math section.
Computation and problem-solving
This section of the exam will cover your basic math skills. You will be asked to use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to solve numerical problems as well as word problems. Understanding what a question is asking and being able to solve for the answer is key to passing this part of the test. This section will account for around 35% of the questions in the math section.
Estimation, measurement, and statistical principles
This section is further broken into two parts: statistical principles and estimation and measurement. About 30% of the questions on the test will be from these categories.
In statistical principles, you will be tested on your understanding of basic statistics. Concepts such as probability, percentages, and averages are essential to passing this part of the test. You may be asked to determine relationships between different grades and the whole class, which is a skill that you will need in order to be a teacher.
In the estimation and measurement section, you will be tested on your ability to give a ballpark answer to basic arithmetic questions. You will be expected to understand basic measurements, such as length, temperature, and capacity.
It is important to remember that the CBEST math exam must be completed without a calculator. Not having a calculator means that all of the math for all of these categories must be completed either in your head or on a piece of paper with a pencil. Not having a calculator makes the test slightly more complicated than it would have been with a calculator, but since you aren’t tested on any large formulas, it shouldn’t be too hard.
How Many Math Questions are on the CBEST?
There are 50 multiple choice questions on the CBEST math exam spread across the three categories of questions. You will be given two hours to complete this section of the exam. Like the rest of the CBEST, it can be taken either in person at a testing center or with an online proctor. Either way, you are not allowed to use a calculator at all throughout the math section of the exam.
Pacing will make sure that you have time to get through all the questions on the CBEST math exam in the time allocated. You will have two hours to complete these 50 questions, so thinking about your pacing can help some people grasp their heads around tackling 50 questions. On average, you should be spending no more than two and a half minutes on each question.
What is the Passing Score of the CBEST Math?
The simple answer to this question is that you will need a scaled score of 41 to pass the math section of the CBEST. Scoring starts to get slightly more complicated when you look at all three sections together. Each unit is given a scaled score from 20 to 80, with a 41 counting as a pass, but it gets a little interesting when looking at the whole exam.
Overall, you will need a scaled score of 123 to pass the CBEST. In order to get a total score of at least 123, you could get as low as a 37 on two out of the three sections and still pass, provided that your third section had a high enough score to put your total score over 123. So, in that way, you would pass the CBEST if you got a 37 on your maths exam, but this wouldn’t technically count as passing the Math section itself.
Is the CBEST Math Section Hard?
Any math exam can be seen as hard if you don’t prepare for it well enough. Understanding how to study for an extensive exam, such as the CBEST, is essential to your success. Although the CBEST math exam can seem long and hard, it only covers basic math skills, so you won’t be expected to know trigonometry, precalculus, or calculus, making the math section much more approachable than it would have been with those more complex sections.
How to Study for the CBEST Math?
There are many things to think about when studying for the CBEST in general and for the CBEST math section. From creating a study schedule to investing in the best study materials, there are a lot of choices to make.
1. Reflect on your past math experiences
The best thing you can do is to understand yourself, though. Are you someone who tends to think of things very analytically? Has math come easily to you in the past? If so, it might be easier to prepare than you think it will be since the math section only covers basic math skills.
2. Brush up on your mental math skills
One thing to be aware of with the math section is that you won’t be able to use a calculator, so make sure you brush up on your mental math. Making sure that you feel comfortable doing basic math functions with a paper and pencil can go a long way toward making you feel more confident when you go in to take the test.
3. Invest in a good study guide with a strong math section
You will want to invest in a good study guide or at least some CBEST math practice worksheets to aid in your studying. Being able to practice with questions that are written to look like the exam questions will really help prepare you for what you are going to see on exam day.
Major book publishers like MoMetrix, Apex TestPrep, and The Princeton Review, all have up-to-date CBEST study guides that they publish each year. Investing in a book like this can be super helpful when preparing for the whole test, but if you are particularly worried about the math section, it might be worth it to invest in a math-specific study guide.
MoMetrix has an excellent math section study guide that comes with some incredible online resources to help you practice and prepare. They come with tons of practice questions, study guides, and worksheets to go through. Making sure that you have lots of practice questions is essential to feel comfortable when you walk into your testing center.
4. Create (and stick to) a study schedule
Another thing you should consider to aid in your studying is creating a study schedule. Sitting down and figuring out how much time you have to study before your test date and how best to use the materials you have is a great way to set yourself up for success on the whole CBEST.
We have some great articles on creating a study schedule that is right for you, so feel free to check those out if you need some help.
If you have a study guide to use and a study schedule to follow but no place to study, you won’t be getting very far into your studying. Try to set aside a place in your house to dedicate to studying. Your study area could be a table or a box that you store all your study materials in so they are easy to find when you are ready to study. Making sure that you are organized and have all the tools you need in easy reach will really help.
5. Find or create a good study space
If you don’t think that studying at home will be very productive for you, or you don’t think you have a good study space in your home, try keeping all your study materials in a bag, so they are all together. That way, when you head off to a local cafe or the local public library to study, you won’t have to stress about remembering all your materials since they will already be grouped together.
It might seem silly to spend so much time discussing how to study and ways to make studying less stressful, but studying is a skill that needs to be built up over time. This means that you will want to help yourself out and make the studying process as easy as possible, so you are fully prepared when you do go to take your CBEST exam.
Wrapping Things Up: What Type of Math is on the CBEST?
We hope that you found this article packed with tips to help you crush your math section on the CBEST. Understanding what to expect on the exam is a massive part of the battle, so taking some time to fully understand the three sections of the math exam and how the questions will be asked will go a long way toward your overall preparedness for the exam.
Remember that the CBEST tests you on your basic math skills. It’s not designed to trip you up and confuse you, so with the proper preparation, anyone can crush this exam. If you follow our tips, create a study schedule, invest in good study resources, and keep your space and materials organized, you can also pass your CBEST math section with flying colors.