So you’re taking the CBEST exam and you’re asking some of the following questions:

  • Where do I find a free practice test?
  • An exam breakdown?
  • How do I register for the test?

These are all great questions, and you’ve found the right place to get them answered!

My name is Marshall Highet, and at Best in Class we are here to familiarize you with all things CBEST exam

CBEST Video Overviews

These videos from 240 Tutoring provide helpful overviews of the content covered on the CBEST Reading and CBEST Math:

The following videos go through practice CBEST Math problems, with easy-to-understand explanations:

This video offers some helpful tips for preparing for the CBEST writing test:

CBEST Exam Breakdown

CBEST™ stands for California Basic Educational Skills Test. This exam is used in California and Oregon to assess the basic skills of educators. It is important to note that this test is used to assess potential educators’ skills in the areas of reading, math, and writing, and not to assess how well a potential educator can teach these subjects.

The CBEST™ is made up of three different tests: reading, writing, and mathematics. In order to pass the CBEST™ you need to get a total scaled score of 123. CBEST™ passing scores will be explained in greater detail in the next section.

You do not have to take all three subject area tests at the same time, but you can if you’d like. Keep in mind that you’ll most likely need to retake any of the tests that you don’t pass. You can take the subject area tests in any configuration you please, so if you fail one but pass the other two, you can just retake the subject area test that you failed. You do have to pay the registration fee for each subject test every time you take it.

You have four hours to take the entire test, regardless of if you are taking one, two, or three of the subject area tests. You can use any amount of time on any one subject. In other words, you can dedicate two hours solely to the writing section if you’d like to.

Here are three tables with some more specifics about each subject test of CBEST™:


Format Specifications Examples
50 multiple-choice questions based on passages 100-200 words long Critical analysis and evaluation 40%

Comprehension and research 60%

  • Compare and contrast
  • Make predictions
  • Recognize author attitude
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion


Skill Factor Format Specifications Examples
Skill Factor 1 Approximately 15 multiple choice questions Estimation, measurement, and statistical principles
  • Units of length, temperature, weight, etc.
  • Measurement of length and perimeter
  • Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
  • Averages, ratios, proportions
  • Probability
  • Standardized test scores
Skill Factor 2 Approximately 17 – 18 multiple choice questions Computation and problem-solving
  • Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, negative numbers, fractions, etc.
  • Simple algebra
  • Determination of appropriate mathematical process
Skill Factor 3 Approximately 17 – 18 multiple choice questions Numerical and graphical relationships
  • Data changes
  • Position of numbers in relation to one another
  • Rounding rules
  • Logical connectives


Format Specifications Examples
Two essay questions Essay 1: Expressive

Essay 2: Analytic skills (referential aim)

Essay 1: Remembered experience

Essay 2: Literature analysis

NOTE: Essays should not be letters or personal notes, and should not be about speculative or imaginary experiences.

The essay section of this exam is made up of two essays, or constructed-response questions (CRQs). In most states, CRQs are part of educational testing for teachers. These kinds of questions require the test-taker to produce or construct the answer in an essay form and are considered an additional measure of test-takers’ subject knowledge.

Remember, CRQ prompts will likely involve tasks like determining cause and effect, comparing and contrasting ideas, categorizing, drawing conclusions, and synthesizing information from sources.

In addition, most exam scorers look for clarity and proficiency in your writing; therefore, you’ll want to brush up on your grammar.

What is a Passing Score

Interpreting the scores on the CBEST™ can be a bit tricky. You need a total scaled score of 123 to pass. When split between the three subject area tests, this means you’ll need a scaled score of at least 41 on each subject area test. However, you may be able to pass with a scaled score as low as 37 on one or two subject area tests, as long as your total scaled score is 123 or higher. You cannot pass if you earn lower than 37 points on any of the individual subject area tests, regardless of your total scaled score.

How to Register for the CBEST

New to Teaching?

You must take the CBEST™ if you are:

  • applying for the first time,
  • haven’t taught for 39 months prior to your new job, or
  • are applying to either a teacher-prep or service-credential program (approved by the CCTC).

To register for CBEST™, you need to create an account on the California Educator Credentialing Assessments site.

After you’ve created an account, here’s what you’ll do to register for the CBEST™:

  • click on “Assessments”
  • click on “California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST™)”
  • click on “Reading, Writing, and Mathematics”
  • click on “Register for CBEST™”
  • You will then follow any remaining prompts and answer any required background questions before registering and paying for your exam.

Already Certified?

There are some individuals who are exempted from taking the CBEST™. You do not have to take this exam if you:

  • teach adults in an apprenticeship program
  • teach in a children’s center
  • teach a subject that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree
  • are a health care provider
  • are a student-teacher
  • are an educational specialist for the deaf or the hearing-impaired

There are some alternatives to taking the CBEST™. The ways that you can become qualified to pursue your teaching credentials in the state of California are:

  • passing the CBEST™,
  • passing a basic skills exam from another state,
  • passing all three CSET tests,
  • showing proficiency on the English and math sections of the California State University, Early Assessment Program,
  • earning at least a 500 on the English or 550 on the math section of the College Board SAT, or
  • earning at least a 22 on the English and at least a 23 on the math section of the ACT

Once you pass the exam (or one of the alternatives), you are qualified to seek teaching credentials in the state of California!

Hurray! You’re well on your way to becoming a California educator.

CBEST™ Free Practice Test

You’re preparing to take the CBEST™ and want to know if you’ll pass.

One of the best ways to find out is by taking a practice test.

Luckily, you’re in the right place. We’ve done the research and found the best practice tests for the CBEST™.

Best Free Practice Test

240 Tutoring’s Diagnostic Practice Test

240 Tutoring has been helping teachers pass their exams since 2011. They offer an online, completely free practice test for the CBEST™ Math and Reading sections. There isn’t a practice test for the essay questions, but they have some great tips for you on how to practice for that part of the exam. Each practice test will give you a free score breakdown, so you can see exactly what you need to study.

240 Tutoring’s Diagnostic Practice Test – Math

240 Tutoring’s Diagnostic Practice Test – Reading

CBEST™ Paid Practice Test

Best Paid Practice Test

240 Tutoring’s Online Study Guide and Practice Test

240 Tutoring also offers a full study guide and full practice test. Their CBEST™ study guide has over 538 practice questions, 209 pages of content, and tons of flash cards. The content and practice questions are aligned with the testing standards, so you can be sure that you are studying the right information.

Best of all, the study guide comes with a money-back guarantee that you will pass the test. If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on a practice test, you want to pick one you can rely on, so it’s good to know that 240 Tutoring stands behind this guide.

240 Tutoring is a month-to-month subscription. You get access to all of their CBEST™ study guides for one monthly price of $39.99. So subscribing to one study guide gives you access to all the study guides.

240 Tutoring CBEST™ Study Guide

240 Tutoring CBEST™ Reading Study Guide

240 Tutoring CBEST™ Math Study Guide

Runner-Up for Practice Test

CECA Website

The California Educator Credentialing Assessments (CECA) website has some resources that will help you prepare for your exam, including a practice test for each subject area test.

One thing to note is that these practice tests are in PDF format, whereas you’ll most likely be taking the CBEST™ on a computer. However, it’s always useful to get the information straight from the source – in this case, CECA – even though the format may be different.

CECA CBEST™ Practice Test: Reading

CECA CBEST™ Practice Test: Math

CECA CBEST™ Practice Test: Writing

Honorable Mention

Union Test Prep

Union Test Prep also offers practice tests. The company uses a computer-based test, which is great for practicing your test-taking skills in the same format you’ll see on the CBEST™.

The format of some of the questions in the reading section is a bit confusing, as you have to switch back and forth between the question and the text that goes with it. Also, the writing section tests you on some of the literary devices that you would need to write effectively, but you won’t have an opportunity to actually write a sample essay.

Those considerations aside, Union Test Prep is also a solid option.

Union Test Prep CBEST™ Practice Test: Reading

Union Test Prep CBEST™ Practice Test: Math

Union Test Prep CBEST™ Practice Test: Writing

CBEST™ Free Study Guide

You’re preparing to take the CBEST™ and you want to know exactly what you need to study in order to pass.

Well, you’re in the right place. We’ve looked closely at several different resources and have found the very best study guides for the CBEST™.

Best Free Study Guide

240 Tutoring’s CBEST™ Ultimate Guide

240 Tutoring’s Ultimate Guide for the CBEST™ exam covers all your bases, starting with an overview and then breaking down each section individually. In the overview, you’ll find quick facts, frequently asked questions, and more. And the subject area sections are even more extensive, providing you with in-depth explanations of several key concepts that are most likely to appear on the exam.

The best part is that this Ultimate Guide is free! It includes quick links to the practice tests so that you can easily take them, discover your strengths and weaknesses, and shift your effort to where you need it most.

CBEST™ Paid Study Guide

Best Paid Study Guide

240 Tutoring’s Online Study Guide

240 Tutoring also offers a full study guide that covers every exam topic. The CBEST™ guide includes more than 538 practice questions, 209 pages of content, and tons of flash cards. The information is presented in a clear and concise format, making it easy to read through the material.

The study guide also comes with a money-back guarantee that you will pass the test.

240 Tutoring is a month-to-month subscription. You get access to all of the 240 Tutoring CBEST™ study guides for one monthly price of $39.99.

240 Tutoring CBEST™ Study Guide

240 Tutoring CBEST™ Reading Study Guide

240 Tutoring CBEST™ Math Study Guide

Runner-Up for Study Guide

Mometrix Study Guide

Mometrix offers a study guide that does a solid job as well. However, the video lesson format may not be for everyone. While many test takers find video lessons helpful, others find them to be too time-consuming. It’s important to understand what method of learning is most effective for you before committing to a study guide.

CBEST Mathematics Study Guide (2021) 

CBEST Reading Study Guide (2021) 

CBEST Writing Study Guide (2021) by Mometrix

Honorable Mention has an accurate and reliable study guide as well. If you have plenty of time to study, this can be a great resource. However, the math, reading, and writing study guides have a combined 17 hours worth of video, which can be overwhelming. At $59.99 per month, this is also one of the more expensive study guide options.

CBEST Math: Practice & Study Guide Course 

CBEST Reading: Practice & Study Guide Course 

CBEST Writing: Practice & Study Guide Course