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CSET: English Subtests I-IV: The Best Teachers' Test Prep for the CSET English Subtests I-IV

CSET: English Subtests I-IV: The Best Teachers' Test Prep for the CSET English Subtests I-IV

by Jean Charney, Research & Education Association Staff

REA … Real review, Real practice, Real results.


Take your teaching career to the head of the class.


For California Licensure


Are you prepared to excel on the CSET? 

* Get to know the test, how it is scored, and much more.

* Set up a


REA … Real review, Real practice, Real results.


Take your teaching career to the head of the class.


For California Licensure


Are you prepared to excel on the CSET? 

* Get to know the test, how it is scored, and much more.

* Set up a study schedule by following our flexible, results-driven timeline

* Take one of the practice tests to discover what you know and what you should know

* Use REA's advice to ready yourself for proper study and success

Sharpen your knowledge and skills

* Book content covers all four subtests—Subtest I: Literature and Textual Analysis; Composition and Rhetoric. Subtest II: Language, Linguistics, and Literacy. Subtest III: Composition and Rhetoric; Literature and Textual Analysis. Subtest IV: Communications: Speech, Media, and Creative Performance.

* Fully aligned with California competency requirements for certification

* Lessons reinforce necessary skills

* Key tutorials enhance specific abilities needed on the test

* Targeted drills increase comprehension and help organize study

Practice for real

* Create the closest experience to test-day conditions with two full-length practice tests

* Chart your progress with full and detailed explanations of all answers

* Boost confidence with test-taking strategies and experienced advice

Get to the head of the class!  Get certified!

REA books and software have proven to be the extra support teacher candidates need to pass their challenging test for state licensure. Our comprehensive study guides are teacher-recommended and written by educators who have mastered the test and the related program of study.


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Passing the CSET: English Test


REA’s The Best Teachers’ Test Preparation for CSET: English Subtests I-IV is a comprehensive guide designed to assist you in preparing for an English educator license in California. To enhance your chances of success in this important step toward your career as an English teacher, this test guide:

• Presents an accurate and complete overview of the four CSET subtests

• Identifies all of the important information and its representation on the test

• Provides a comprehensive review of every domain on the test

• Provides two full-length practice tests

• Suggests tips and strategies for successfully completing standardized tests

• Replicates the format of the official tests, including levels of difficulty

• Supplies the correct answer and detailed explanations for each question on the practice tests, which enable you to identify correct answers and understand why they are correct and, just as important, why the other answers are incorrect. This guide is the result of studying many resources. The editors considered the most recent test administrations and professional standards. They also researched information from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), professional journals, textbooks, and educators. This guide includes the best test preparation materials based on the latest information available.


CSET: English consists of four separate subtests, each scored separately and composed of either multiple-choice, constructed-response, or short-response questions. This English test represents the combined expertise of California educators, subject area specialists, and district-level educators who worked to develop and validate the test. This book contains a thorough review of each subtest, as well as the specific skills that demonstrate

each content domain.

Who Administers the Test?

All the CSET tests are administered by National Evaluation Systems, Inc. (NES) and the CCTC. See contact information below.

Can I Retake the Test?

The CSET can be taken as many times as needed to achieve a passing score. Note: Once you pass a subtest, you do not have to take that subtest again, as long as you use the score toward certification within five years of the test date.

When Should the CSET Be Taken?

Candidates are typically nearing completion of or have completed their undergraduate

work when they take CSET tests.

CSET tests are administered six times a year at 26 locations in California and five locations in other states. To receive information on upcoming administrations of the CSET, consult the CSET test date chart at the CSET website. For all information:

CSET Program

National Evaluation Systems

P.O. Box 340789

Sacramento, CA 95834-0789

Telephone: (916) 928-4003 (9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday-Friday)

Automated Information System: (800) 205-3334 (available 24 hours daily)

Website: http://www.cset.nesinc.com

Is There a Registration Fee?

To take any CSET test there is a fee. It is structured per subtest. A complete summary of the registration fees is included in the CSET Registration Bulletin at the website above.


CSET: English assesses the candidate’s proficiency and depth of understanding of the

foundations of the subject contained in the English Content Standards for California Public Schools.

You are given five hours to complete the test, whether you take one or all of the subtests

during one testing session. By monitoring your progress on the practice tests and adding one test at a time, you can reach your own comfort level and approach your testing session with confidence.

The following chart is a clear representation of the subtests and their domains and approximate number of multiple-choice (MC) and constructed-response (CR) questions.

Subtest            Domains                                                           # MC               #CR

I*             Literature & Textual Analysis                        40                    none

Composition & Rhetoric                                   10

Subtest Total                                                    50                    none

II             Language, Linguistics, and Literacy                 50                    none

Subtest Total                                                    50                    none

III             Composition & Rhetoric and                             none                

Literature & Textual Analysis                                                Subtest III consists

of 2 constructed-

response questions —

1 based on literary

text, 1 on nonliterary

text. (extended


IV             Communications: Speech, Media             none                 4 (short responses)

& Creative Performance

*Subtest I is a multiple-choice test that covers the two domains of Literature & Textual Analysis and Composition & Rhetoric. Subtest III is a constructed-response test that covers the same domains.


How Do I Begin Studying?

Identify which CSET: English subtest you wish to prepare for, then review the organization of this test preparation guide.

1. To best utilize your study time, follow our CSET Independent Study Schedule. The schedule is based on a six-week program, but can be condensed if necessary.

2. Take the first practice test for each subtest, score it according to directions, then review the explanations to your answers carefully. Then, study the areas that your scores indicate need further review.

3. Review the format of the CSET.

4. Review the test-taking advice and suggestions presented later in this section.

5. Pay attention to the information about the objectives of the test.

6. Spend time reviewing topics that stand out as needing more study.

7. Take the second practice test for each subtest and follow the same procedure as #2 above.

8. Follow the suggestions at the end of this section for the day before and the day of the test.

When Should I Start Studying?

It is never too early to start studying for the CSET. The earlier you begin, the more time you will have to sharpen your skills. Do not procrastinate!

A six-week study schedule is provided at the end of this section to assist you in preparing

for the CSET: English. This schedule can be adjusted to meet your unique needs. If your  test date is only four weeks away, you can halve the time allotted to each section, but keep in mind that this is not the most effective way to study. If you have several months

before your test date, you may wish to extend the time allotted to each section.

Remember, the more time you spend studying, the better your chances of achieving your goal of a passing score.


It is very important for you to choose the time and place for studying that works best for you. Some students set aside a certain number of hours every morning to study, while some choose the night before going to sleep, and others study during the day, while waiting in line, or even while eating lunch. Choose a time when you can concentrate and your study will be most effective. Be consistent and use your time wisely. Work out a study routine and stick to it.

When you take a practice test, simulate the conditions of the actual test as closely as possible. Turn your television and radio off and sit down at a quiet table. When you complete the practice test, score it and thoroughly review the explanations to the questions you answered incorrectly. Do not, however, review too much at any one time. Concentrate on one problem area at a time by examining the question and explanation, and by studying our review until you are confident that you have mastered the material. Keep track of your scores to discover areas of general weakness and to gauge your progress. Give extra attention to the review sections that cover your areas of difficulty, as this will build your skills and confidence on test day.


The subject review in this book is designed to help you sharpen the basic skills needed to approach the CSET: English test, as well as provide strategies for attacking the questions.

Each subtest is examined separately, clearly delineating the content domains. The skills required for all subtests fulfill the objectives of the CCTC and the Content Standards

for California Public Schools and are extensively discussed to optimize your understanding of what each specific CSET: English subtest covers.

Your schooling has taught you most of what you need to succeed on the test. Our review

is designed to help you fi t the information you have acquired into each specific subtest

content domain. Reviewing your class notes and textbooks together with our reviews

will give you an excellent springboard for passing the test.


Multiple-Choice Questions

A candidate’s performance on CSET: English with multiple-choice questions is based

strictly on the number of test questions answered correctly. Candidates do not lose any

points for wrong answers. Each multiple-choice question counts the same toward the total

score. These items are scored electronically and checked to verify accuracy.

Two Types of Constructed-Response Questions

Both extended-response and short-response constructed-response questions are focused

responses that require a breadth of understanding of each subtest’s content domain and the ability to relate concepts from different aspects of the field.

Extended-response questions take approximately 45–60 minutes to complete, whereas

short-response questions take 10–15 minutes each to complete. Both will be scored by at

least two qualified California educators using two sets of performance characteristics and

two scoring scales.

Extended-response constructed-response questions: Scorers focus on the extent to which a response fulfills the following performance characteristics:

Purpose: addressing the constructed-response assignment in relation to relevant

CSET subject matter and/or content specifications.

Subject Matter Knowledge: applying accurate subject matter knowledge as described in relevant CSET subject matter and/or content specifications.

Support: using appropriate, quality supporting evidence in relation to relevant

CSET subject matter and/or content specifications.

Depth and Breadth of Understanding: the degree to which the response demonstrates understanding of the relevant CSET subject matter requirements.

Short-Response Questions: scorers focus on the same performance characteristics as the extended-response questions, omitting consideration for the Depth and Breadth of Understanding category.

You are given 5 hours to complete the test, so be aware of the amount of time you are

spending on each question. Using the practice test will help you prepare to pace your time

evenly, efficiently, and productively.

Scoring scales will be found at the end of Practice Test 1, Subtest III and Subtest IV.


After you have taken the CSET, you will receive a score report for your records. Your

results will also be sent to the CCTC and any institutions you indicated when you registered.

For each subtest taken on the CSET: English, your score report will include your passing

status and, if you did not pass, your total subtest score. The reverse side of the score report contains diagnostic information about your performance.

Each CSET subtest is scored separately and a passing score on each subtest is required to pass the examination. For each CSET subtest, an individual’s performance is evaluated against an established standard. The passing score for each subtest was established by the CCTC based on the professional judgments and recommendations of California educators.

Passing status is determined on the basis of total subtest perormance. The total subtest score is based on the number of raw score points earned on each section (multiple-choice section and/or constructed-response section), the weighting of each section, and the scaling of that score. Raw scores are converted to a scale of 100 to 300, with the scaled score of 220 representing the minimum passing score.


Although some of you may not be familiar with tests like the CSET, this book will help acquaint you with this type of test and help alleviate your test-taking anxieties.

Tip 1. Become comfortable with the format of the CSET. When you are practicing, stay calm and pace yourself. After simulating the test only once, you will boost your chances of doing well, and you will be able to sit down for the actual test with much more confidence.

Tip 2. Read all of the possible answers. Just because you think you have found the

correct response, do not automatically assume that it is the best answer. Read through

each choice to be sure that you are not making a mistake by jumping to conclusions.

Tip 3. Use the process of elimination. Go through each answer to a question and eliminate as many of the answer choices as possible. By eliminating two answer choices,

you have given yourself a better chance of getting the item correct since there will only be two choices left from which to make your guess. Try to answer all questions; you are not penalized for wrong answers, but you are rewarded for correct ones.

Tip 4. Place a question mark in your answer booklet next to answers you guessed, then recheck them later if you have time.

Tip 5. Work quickly and steadily. Avoid focusing on any one problem too long. Taking

the practice tests in this book for your CSET test will help you learn to efficiently budget your time.

Tip 6. Learn the directions and format of the test. This will not only save time, but will also help you avoid anxiety (and the mistakes caused by getting anxious).

Tip 7. Be sure that the answer circle you are marking corresponds to the number of the question in the test booklet. The multiple-choice section is graded by machine and

marking one answer in the wrong circle can throw off your answer key and your score. Be extremely careful.


Before the Test

On the day of the test, make sure to dress comfortably, so that you are not distracted by being too hot or too cold while taking the test. Plan to arrive at the test center early. This will allow you to collect your thoughts and relax before the test, and will also spare you the anguish that comes with being late.

You should check your CSET Registration Bulletin and other registration information to find out what time to arrive at the testing center.

Before you leave for the test center, make sure that you have your admission ticket and the following identification:

• one piece of current, government-issued identification, in the name in which you

registered, bearing your photograph and signature

• one clear and legible photocopy of your original government-issued identification

for each test session in which you are testing (i.e., one copy for the morning and/or

one copy for the afternoon session)

• one additional piece of identification (with or without a photograph)

Note: If you do not have the required identification, you will be required to complete additional paperwork and have your photograph taken. This additional step will result in a reduction of your available testing time.

You must bring several sharpened No. 2 pencils with erasers, as none will be provided

at the test center.

If you would like, you may wear a watch to the test center. However, you may not wear one that has a calculator, or one that makes noise. Dictionaries, textbooks, notebooks,

briefcases, laptop computers, packages, and cell phones will not be permitted.

Drinking, smoking, and eating are prohibited.

During the Test

You are given 5 hours to complete the CSET. Restroom breaks are allowed, but they count as testing time. Procedures will be followed to maintain test security. Once you enter the test center, follow all of the rules and instructions given by the test supervisor. If

you do not, you risk being dismissed from the test and having your scores cancelled. When all of the materials have been distributed, the test instructor will give you directions for filling out your answer sheet. Fill out this sheet carefully since this information will be printed on your score report. Once the test begins, mark only one answer per question, completely erase unwanted answers and marks, and fi ll in answers darkly and neatly.

After the Test

When you finish your test, hand in your materials and you will be dismissed. Then, go home and relax—you deserve it!

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