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CSET English Test? – Top 10 Quickest And Easiest Ways to Pass Now…

You need to pass-the-CSET English Single-Subject, but didn’t major in English?

Even if English was your major in college, 83% of CSET English test takers state there’s too much to study required in too little time before their testing date…

cset english

…That’s a huge challenge if don’t want to drag your CSET English study out 6-24 months in order to get a passing score and advance your teaching career.

However, your hard work is about to pay off as you enter into an exciting career as an English teacher. It doesn’t have to be so hard, stressful or confusing to achieve a passing score.

If you leverage the following CSET English practice test and study guide techniques, you won’t find yourself staring at a stack of generic English CSET books at 2:30am in the morning pulling your hair-out in stress and an empty coffee cup (we’ve all been there).

The CSET English test preparation tactics below reveals how to leverage CSET practice questions</a
and prep books to achieve a passing score.


cset english preparation materials

Top 10 Tips And Tactics To Pass-The-CSET English

1.) How to Use CSET English Single-Subject Test Structure to Raise Your Score In Less Time

It’s important to know what to expect when you walk into the testing center. Before you begin your CSET English practice and review, get a crystal clear understanding of all parts of the exam you’ll be tested on. Keep in mind how many questions there are in each domain and subdomain and how long you have to finish the exam. Concentrate your efforts in your CSET exam prep sessions on areas of the exam where just a few hours of review can boost your score…

…Hint: It’s not the areas of the test that you enjoy reading about and are already proficient in!

Use the CSET English test format to play to your strengths. Subtests I and II each contain 50 multiple choice questions. Subtest III asks you to write constructed responses. The last test, Subtest IV, requires four short answer responses.

Each subtest of the CSET English exam focuses on different subjects:

  • CSET English Subtest I
  • Reading Literature and Informational Texts
  • Composition and Rhetoric
  • CSET English Subtest II
  • Language, Linguistics, and Literacy
  • Subtest III
  • Reading Literature and Informational Texts
  • Composition and Rhetoric
  • CSET English Subtest IV
  • Communications: Speech, Media, and Creative Performance

You can take each CSET English subtest separately or take them all together as one long six-hour exam.

  • Subtest I: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Subtest II: 1 hour
  • Subtest III: 2 hours
  • Subtest IV: 1 hour, 30 minutes

With this basic information ask yourself:

Do I perform better in a pressured testing environment? If so, I can complete all writing and multiple choice questions on the same day.

Would my score be higher taking the CSET English subtests separately?

Which topics am I confident in and which ones do I need more practice with?

Your answers will determine how you use your CSET English practice tests and preparation materials. Think you may do best taking fewer subtests at a time? While it could take more time to pass all CSET English subtests, you can hyper-focus your study sessions while keeping stress and overwhelm in check.

cset english subtest 1 2 3 study guide book

Links To Free CSET Practice Tools And Tactics:

If you struggle with linguistics (and will take the tests separately) you can organize your study time to focus in on that topic. This way you won’t have to spread your CSET English study time so thinly across such a wide breadth of English subject matter where anything can be ‘fair game’ on the test.

2.) The Secret to Turn Your CSET English Weaknesses Into Opportunities
Think about your testing weaknesses. After answering CSET English practice test questions, you’ll notice a pattern of questions that you answer incorrectly.

Note these topics and the structure of the question. Did you answer incorrectly because you were not familiar with the content? Did you get the CSET practice questions wrong because the wording of the question and answer choices were tricky?…

Use these evaluations to guide how you use your CSET English books and practice questions.

Go to: Why Some People Also Make Passing The CSET Look So Easy…

3.) Tips for Conquering Confusing CSET English Content

If you’re struggling with competencies required by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
(CTC), try breaking information down into manageable parts:

  • Identify topics (ex. Renaissance authors or grammar)
  • Create/find visual aids such as timelines and graphic organizers
  • Try related practice questions
  • Write down notes by hand

This last point is very important. Research shows that taking notes by hand improves memory/testing recall and the quality of your learning experience.

4.) Overcoming Tricky CSET English Questions Using the Building Blocks of Exams

The way CSET English test questions are written can be tricky. Couple that with the fact you’ll be under pressure and frantically pacing yourself so you finish on time, so foolish mistakes are easier to make. It leads many test takers to the wrong answer, even when you know the material!

When reading test questions try these strategies:

  • Annotate the CSET English question by underlining key words and phrases
  • Eliminate unlikely answer choices
  • Look back at all of your resources (text, question, and answer choices) and search for similar language which might give you a clue to the answer

For CSET English constructed responses, it’s also important to make sure to answer all parts of a question. If your test question asks you to identify two important themes, don’t get carried away answering the first part and forget to finish answering the question.

5.) When In Doubt, YouTube It! has become a trusty friend whenever you need to learn anything from crocheting to fixing the kitchen sink. Many videos are just like having free CSET English prep courses online.

Using videos while studying can be helpful for those who learn better when hearing information. You can listen to CSET English study guide videos of sample questions and answers while traveling. Try pre-loading a few videos to listen to on your morning drive to make maximum use of your study time.

6.) CSET English Linguistics: Moving Beyond “I Have No Idea”

Questions about linguistics might surprise you on the California Subject Examinations for Teachers English. Not all teacher education programs require students to take a linguistics course. However, knowing the basics of this field is important when studying for Subtest II.

Study up on the basic terms and principles of linguistics. Many test takers find this resource useful as a jumping off point:

CSET English Practice Test Questions interactive full length

Another useful CSET English test practice strategy is to skim through linguistics sample questions for key terms. Make sure you can define these ideas and will be able to answer similar questions on the exam.


7.) How to Avoid Overthinking Short Answer Responses

CSET English Subtest IV requires constructed responses based on situation based questions. These are not full essay responses. They do not have fully developed introductions and conclusions.

When practicing writing Subtest IV constructed responses, make sure to:

  • Answer all parts of the CSET English question
  • Provide detail to support your response

Grammar and sentence structure are important parts of writing. However, do not waste exam time on format. In this section, content is king and should remain your focus.

8.) The Monsters Under Your Desk: Grammar

Some love to debate the gritty details of grammar. Others have been conditioned to shrink in fear at the very mention of the topic. This is an area of the CSET English exam that many test takers fear.

If you’re feeling a little dusty on these topics, try practicing grammar skills at This website quizzes you through multiple choice questions based on many topics. NoRedInk also explains the reasoning for answer choices and features a wide curriculum (even on the free version!).

cset english practice test questions study guide book
9.) Too Many Terms, Too Little Time: How to Keep Track of Terminology

There is a seemingly endless list of CSET English vocabulary words that could help you correctly answer test questions and raise your score. One way of staying on top of these terms is to keep a stack of blank notecards nearby when you are studying.

When you come across an English term you want to come back and review write it down on a notecard. Later, you can go back and add the definition. Use these flashcards to review on the go. Separate the terms you need more practice with from the ones you have memorized.

Typing your notecards into an online study website like also benefits you through the repetition of reading and writing terms. Quizlet is a great tool which also allows you to turn your cards into fun study games!

10.) How to Avoid Mindless CSET English Practice Tests by Studying Purposefully

Completing at least two, high quality CSET English practice tests is mandatory if you want to maximize your probability of passing. Taking a few full length and timed CSET practice tests will help you to be successful on the real one. These practice runs test your ability to budget time and stay focused. Reviewing sample questions also allows you to become comfortable with the format of questions.

Don’t let taking CSET English practice exam questions over and over again be your only method of preparation. Once you’ve taken a full practice exam, evaluate your correct and incorrect answers…

  • Brainstorm a list of CSET English Single-Subject domains and subtopics you struggle with
  • Create a study plan to review those topics in small portions and schedule it
  • Determine the fastest and easiest ways for you to review and master the content and actually make the hours you need to invest a more enjoyable and enriching experience (reading notes, creating visual charts, listening to videos, etc.)

These ten simple CSET English test prep strategies are sure to reduce stress, build confidence, and put you on the path to a passing score!

CSET English Practice Test Question – Subtest I Multiple Choice Questions

Read the selection below from the Anglo-Saxon poem, “The Seafarer,” and answer the question that follows.

“The Seafarer”

This tale is true, and mine. It tells
How the sea took me, swept me back
And forth in sorrow and fear and pain,
Showed me suffering in a hundred ships,
In a thousand ports, and in me. It tells
Of smashing surf when I sweated in the cold
Of an anxious watch, perched in the bow
As it dashed under cliffs. My feet were cast
In icy bands, bound with frost,
With frozen chains, and hardship groaned
Around my heart. Hunger tore
At my sea-weary soul. No man sheltered
On the quiet fairness of earth can feel
How wretched I was, drifting through winter
On an ice-cold sea, whirled in sorrow,
Alone in a world blown clear of love,
Hung with icicles. The hailstorms flew.
The only sound was the roaring sea,
The freezing waves.

1.) In this poem, the narrator describes the hardships he faced at sea where “hunger tore at my sea-weary soul” and “the hailstorms flew.” In these descriptions, the narrator uses which of the following literary devices?

A. Repetition

B. Irony

C. Personification

D. Onomatopoeia

The correct answer is C. Personification. In this example, the narrator is giving human-like characteristics to hunger and to the hailstorms.

Answer choice A and D are incorrect because neither repetition nor words that mimic sounds are present in the entire selection. Answer choice B is incorrect because the question asks specifically about devices related to short descriptions and not for an analysis of ideas.

Want more of the best free CSET English practice test and study guide tips online?

Go to: Why Some $21 CSET Books Can End Up Costing You Over $40,000 In Teacher Salary

Author: Mark Dahlson