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Exam information

What you need to know about the CSET Multiple Subjects Test

The CSET has been developed for students who intend to receive the teaching certification in the State of California. The CSET is a criterion-referenced examination. All this means is that you’ll be tested on a certain set of concepts. The concepts on your test will be pertinent to the credential you seek, and all of them have been approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The actual test is administered by Pearson.

Depending on what you want to teach in California, you’ll have to satisfy varying requirements. For example:

  • If you want to teach in a general classroom, you’ll need to satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement by passing:

  • If your plan is to teach a certain subject, you’ll need to meet the Subject Matter Competence Requirement. To do this, you’ll need to do one of the following:

    • Apply for a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and pass all three sections of the Multiple Subject test.

    • Apply for a Single Subject Teaching Credential (or an Education Specialist Instruction Credential, if that applies) and pass the appropriate subject area test.

You may be trying to enter the teaching profession in California under other circumstances and this information may be helpful. If you enrolled in multiple subject matter teacher prep program in California on or after July 1, 2004, here are three ways to verify your subject matter competence:

  • Finish a multiple subject matter preparation program approved by the CTC.

  • Pass all three of the CSET® Multiple Subject subtests.

  • Verify related education or experience if you were trained in another state.

The CSET® Multi-Subject test is the test for which we have preparation materials. The test includes three subtests covering the subjects listed here:

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Exam facts

Answers to all your questions about the CSET Multiple Subjects Test

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What are the costs?

The cost of taking the CSET examination will be as follows:

  • $99 per subtest taken separately

  • $247 for all subtests taken together

  • Registration fees must be paid using a credit, debit, or check card

What should I bring?

  • On the day of the test, you must bring a valid picture ID. If you are unsure about a form of ID being accepted, please visit the website provided here.

  • You will not be permitted to bring your own writing utensils or paper. You will be provided with a pen and a booklet for any notes you wish to write down as you conduct your assessment answer. Your notes will not be scored. A complete list of prohibited items and test center rules is available here.

  • For Multiple Subjects Subtest II, a standard four-function on-screen calculator will be provided for you on the day of the test. Learn how to use the on-screen calculator here.

  • Multiple Subjects Subtest II will have one or more tasks for which you will hand-write and scan your response. To learn more about this process, go here and here. These instructions will also be available to you during the test and pencils will be provided.

How is it scored?

  • Passing Score: Minimum of 220 per subtest

  • If you pass a subtest, you will receive no additional information other than a status of Pass. If you do not pass a subtest, you will receive your score with a description of strengths and weaknesses in each section. This is to help you designate areas of study before retaking the test.

  • CSET scores are valid for earning a Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Other steps that may include earning National Board Certification are necessary to obtain a Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

  • For more specific details regarding scoring, visit the page given here.

  • Test Results: Results are available within 5 weeks of testing.

  • If you would like a list of test results release dates, visit the page provided here.

What kind of job can I get?

The field of education is a promising and rewarding career with many opportunities. Teaching candidates have many choices of areas in which they may choose to work, depending on the academic level and subject area(s). Most states will consider candidates highly qualified to teach if they have earned a teaching degree from an accredited university, field work experience (such a student assisting/teaching), and by passing their state’s basic skills exam. Taking each of these steps will result in receiving a teaching license.

Am I eligible?

  • You are eligible to take the CSET only if you have obtained a GED (or the equivalent), a high school diploma, or are currently taking courses or have been taking college courses to acquire a teaching degree. Please contact the CTC if you are unsure about your eligibility or visit Commission on Teaching Credential Website to answer any further questions with regard to your eligibility.

  • To retake a test or subject, you must wait 45 days from your previous test date and register again for the test or subtest you would like to retake.

Why does it matter?

The California Education Code requires teachers in that state to demonstrate a mastery of the content they will teach. The CSET is one way to satisfy this requirement. It is specifically designed to accurately measure the skills needed by a teacher and to be an unbiased assessment of them. There are certain exceptions to the CSET requirement and more information can be found here.

What salary can I expect?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for experienced teachers is $77,990. It is important to understand salaries can vary greatly, according to the area and particular school district. In addition, supervisory positions will provide an even higher yearly salary.

When is it available?

The CSET is available at a variety of testing centers. Find your local testing center by visiting the website provided here. Testing dates can be made by appointment year-round, Monday through Saturday (excluding some holidays).

What are some Tips & Tricks

On the day of the CSET exam, you will be required to sign a form saying that you have read all of the CSET policies. The policies document is very lengthy, and you will be given a very limited time to read it on the testing day, so it is best to review it ahead of time here.

How much time is allowed?

  • You will have 3 hours per subtest to complete Subtest I and Subtest II, each of which consists of 52 multiple-choice questions and 4 constructed response questions.

  • You will have 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete Subtest III, which consists of 39 multiple-choice questions and 3 constructed response questions

  • You will also be given 15 minutes for introductory procedures. Any breaks you may take will be taken out of your given test time.

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