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Best Study Tips for the CBEST Math Test

The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is designed to test your ability to apply and use mathematical concepts. It does not test your ability to teach those concepts. You should concentrate on becoming fluent in the skills and concepts taught at the high school level. Calculators are not allowed on the test, so you should practice your computational skills and have a good command of multiplication and addition facts.

The questions cover three broad mathematical skill areas, with the distribution as follows:

  • estimation, measurement, and statistics, about 30 percent
  • computation and problem-solving, about 35 percent
  • numerical and graphical relationships, about 35 percent

The questions are in multiple-choice format. The main challenge of this test is that most of the problems are presented as word problems. You will rarely see a question such as “place the following decimal numbers in order from least to greatest.” Instead, you might be presented with the results of two measurements and asked which of the answer choices lies between the two.

Thus, in addition to being proficient in the actual numeric skills, you must also become fluent at reading problems, extracting information, and determining what steps you must take to answer the question that is asked. You need to recognize from a situation what skill is being asked for, in addition to performing the skill. Our study guide for the CBEST Math Test and practice test questions will get you started in developing this ability. Good luck!

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