CSET Prep Advice You Need To Get Your California Teacher Credential

The CSET test prep method you need to employ depends on several considerations, namely, your stock knowledge, learning style, amount of time you have to review and availability of test preparation resources. Effective exam prepration leverages your current content knowledge and test taking skills and improves your weak areas so you pass.

Why do test takers fail or struggle with test practice and passing the California Subject Examinations for Teachers? Many test takers plunge blindly into the review without following a plan or strategy.

Why Some Fail Using The CSET Test Prep Books Others Used To Pass?

Although CSET prep classes, preparation books and tutors are a very important, it’s not the only ingredient you need for success.

Here are the highest leverage CSET prep tactics you can employ are as follows:

• Make sure you know all the domains and information you’re required to know. — Then comprehensively cover all the content that’s tested in your review time.

Don’t allow poor understanding the tested domains to kill your test practice and exam score.

The CSET exam covers a voluminous content that may require you reference several review manuals. Your worst nightmare and biggest waste of time in CSET test prep would studying content that does not appear in the test. Worse, the topics that were skipped were the ones being asked in the actual test.

Make sure you check the CTC Subject Matter Requirements to identify the content you need to study. This will be a good way to gauge if you are getting good study materials. The SMRs specify the content tested for every subtest like English or Science.

First, go to the official CSET website. Take at least an hour to get familiar with what is tested in each domain of the exam. Then print it and use the domains as a visual reference chart to stay on task and not lose time during your study sessions.

• Before you start CSET prep assess what you already know and concentrate more on what you do not know.

You can make use of the sample test at the official CSET website to familiarize yourself with the topics covered in the test. Moreover, you can also use a practice test in most review books to measure your stock knowledge.

An effective exam readiness assessment, will identify your weak points and in consideration of this draw up your study plan. With the CSET prep, you get to know how good you are in test taking; paying mind not only to how correctly you answer the questions.

How To Avoid CSET Exam Prep Overwhelm

• Avoid CSET test prep ‘information overload’ which causes you to be overwhelmed and not know where to begin your study sessions.

Avert the demoralizing feeling of wondering how you’re going to absorb all this information before exam date. Start at least 8 weeks before your testing date to reduce this feeling and time crunch.

Break your preparation sessions down into small chunks of time. Don’t focus on the big picture of how much you have to do. That’ll only overwhelm you and not be productive use of your mental energy. Just focus on one chunk of study at a time to avoid overwhelm.

With so many names and theories to recall, some test takers push themselves to study many hours a day. Be sure to give your mind a break from thinking and your body break from sitting by taking short breaks after each hour of study.

Remember that the brain learns at the most optimal level when you study in short bursts rather than with an all-nighter. If you feel you have to prep for the CSET test more, do so in increments like 2 hours in the morning, another 2 in the afternoon and the last 2 hours at night.

It would be futile to do more for you will not absorb anything in this way. It’ll just be a waste of time. Your time would be better spent in a break, renewing your mind, body and spirit by resting, doing exercise or going for a walk to clear your head.

• The CTC has a list of sources and supplemental readings they suggest to help you prepare. While this may work if you had 6-12 months to read the several dozen books they reference, it would be comprehensive.

• Stir clear of long winded CSET prep materials that read like a textbook, use long complicated sentences and do not clearly explain all the pertinent subject matter.

Generic academic information is not geared for the core content you need to pass. It’ll only lead to frustration your exam practice sessions and a failing score. Get a study guide that is ‘user friendly’ and is oriented to passing the CSET, not giving you a bunch of academic theory and psychobabble.

• Watch out for practice tests failing to mirror the format and difficulty of the real test.

Practice exams should comprise a big chunk of your CSET exam prep time. Without the use of relevant practice materials, it is like driving down the freeway the first time you get behind the wheel of a car…


The best practice tests and example questions offer full rationales and explanations for both correct and incorrect answers.

A Special Note About Increasing Your Score In The Constructed Response Questions

• Spend extra time, energy and practice prepping for your Constructed Response Questions.

Many test takers say this is the hardest section of the exam. The lowest hanging fruit in prepping for the CSET Constructed Response Questions is: Just answer in a direct and concise way. Avoid “throat clearing” introductions and discussions that tip toe around the answer. — Just get to the point so you don’t annoy the grader who will mark you down for this!

• Ask previous test takers both passers and those who failed about the exam. In this way, you get an idea on how to study and what to do to be fully prepared. You can learn from the mistakes of those who failed and get inspiration from those who passed.

A List Of CSET Prep Courses, Study Guides, Tutors And Practice Test That Really Work

• Be keenly aware of what CSET test prep materials are available to you.

Many preparation books can be purchased online at Amazon.com or the local bookstore like Barnes & Noble. The leading names in terms of review and feedback from previous users are Cliffs, Kaplan, and Barron’s.

You may also use old textbooks, college notes, or the books in the annotated list of sources of the CTC if find they cover the domains of your specific test.

Here are a few samples: Everything You Need to Know Series for the CSET Multiple Subjects; “for Dummies” series in CSET Math or the The Times Complete History of the World for the CSET Social Studies.

A timeless favorite that helps thousands pass each year is the Teaching Solutions CSET Comprehensive Success System. You can get their free report. Go to: CSET Practice Test Guide now.