Tips for taking the CSET
Ah yes... one more test to take before administering plenty yourself as a teacher!
It's also hard because you've probably graduated from college and need to get back in test-taking mode. To get to this point, you've probably developed lots of skills and methods for taking standardized tests, but you may not be very acquainted with the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), which you need to get a teaching credential. It's a little different from other tests you may have taken, but it's similar to the SAT subject tests.
For a multiple-subject credential, there are three subtests you have to take: Subtest I: Reading, Language, and Literature, and History and Social Science; Subtest II: Science and Mathematics; and Subtest III: Physical Education, Human Development, and Visual and Performing Arts.
Here's a suggestion: You don't have to take them all at the same time. In fact, it's often suggested that you take the first two you are most comfortable with first, get acquainted with the test makeup, then take the subtest you are not so hot on. You may even want to take one at a time. Just remember that the CSET is only administered every 2 months, so if you have a limited time to pass the CSET, you may want to keep this in mind. Plan early! Each subtest is $70.
If you take more than one subtest at a time and you don't pass one, you don't have to take them all again, just the one you didn't pass.
A passing score on the CSET is only valid for five years, which means that you have to get your credential before those five years are up, or else you have to take it again. What a pain!
There are different test preparation texts you can use, but make sure you look through each one physically and decide which will suit your needs and studying style best. You can also check Amazon and other websites for reviews and ratings on which is better. Some are written by former administrators and current test preparation teachers with lots of insight into the test. I use Kaplan, but there are other good ones too. Remember that one test prep book is probably not enough to do well on the CSET, and you will likely need to use another if not several other resources to help you out.
Credential teachers suggest you use actual school textbooks to study for the test as well. For instance, there is a lot to learn and refresh on for history, so you can use a 6th-grade history textbook to study up. Test prep books will specify which areas of the subjects you need to know well, so use those to find outside resources.
Remember, the material on the CSET is stuff you have probably already learned, so don't be too intimidated. Just also remember that the test covers information about how a teacher should be able to convey information and what students should really gain from certain lessons, so try to think with a teacher's mindset.
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