Resources for State Credential Exams

Resources for State Credential Exams

Information on Basic Skills Requirements, Subject Matter Competence and Reading Instruction Competence Assessment


Basic Skills Requirements

California requires certified teaching candidates to meet the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR). These basic skills include Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Content covers competency of K-8 curriculum.

Options for meetings the BSR:

  • Pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) 
  • Pass the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET): Multiple Subject (subsets I,II,III) PLUS Writing Skills Examination  
  • Achieve Qualifying Score on the SAT or ACT: 
    • SAT: score of 500 or higher on the Critical Reading and 550 or higher on math
  • College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations: 
    • score of 3 or higher on the AP English exam and AP Calculus or AP Statistics exam
  • Pass the CSU Early Assessment Program or the CSU Placement Examinations
  • Pass a Basic Skills Examination from another state


Subject Matter Competence

Teacher candidates in California are required to demonstrate Subject Matter Competence in the subject(s) they will be authorized to teach .Each test is designed to measure a specific set of knowledge, skills, and/or abilities reflecting the subject area of the credential sought.

  • Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
    • CSET: Multiple Subjects (subtests I, II, and III)
  • Single Subject Teaching Credential 
    • CSET: Subject matter you wish to teach. Each subject has a different number of subtests.
  • Education Specialist Teaching Credential
    • CSET: Multiple Subjects (subtests I, II, and III)   


  • CSET: Subject matter you wish to teach. Each subject has a different number of subtests.


Reading Instruction Competence Assessment

California-trained candidates for Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials and Education Specialist Instruction Credentials (special education) are required to have the knowledge and skills important for the provision of effective reading instruction to students. This is demonstrated through the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA).


Websites for test preparation and practice tests

Saint Mary's College has not evaluated these services and does not have any information about the success rate for these programs. We are listing the sites below for your exploration only. We do not endorse any of the sites listed below and offer them only for your information:

  • has study guides, including test content, practice test questions, score scales for written assignments, computer-based testing tutorials, annotated bibliographies, and test results explanations.
  • has study guides on math, science, history, English and languages.
  • ExamEdge provides practice exams.
  • Mometrix has test resources that include comprehensive study guides, review videos, flashcards, practice tests and more to help you plan and prepare for the examination.
  • Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard for math, science, computing, history, art history, economics, and more, including K-12 and test preparation content.
  • Teaching Solutions provides study guides, practice tests and 'live' human help by former test takers who specialize in your specific exam.
  • has preparation advice, practice tests, and tutoring. We have a partnership with (TTP). Anyone can set up a free account and get access to one or two practice tests with basic diagnostics. Our students get a 50% discount if they want more extensive "CORE Plus" support.
  • YouTube has videos that explain each concept.


Test taking tips

  • Give yourself plenty of time to study before the test, there concepts you’ll want to review and review again.  You won’t remember what you need to in order to pass if you are just cramming at the last minute.
  • Take timed practice tests. This will help you learn the format of the tests and how much time to take per section.  Each question has the potential to show up on the test.
  • Review the content that will be on each exam, consider your preparation for each subtest, consider your test taking abilities, and finally consider any deadlines by which you need to completely pass all subtests.  Then decide your best course of action.
  • Create a study plan for each test: 4 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 weeks and week of. Do not cram!
  • Plan ahead on how many tests to take at the same time. the amount of time you have to take the test varies according to how many subtests you are taking. You can take one, two, three, or even four subtests during one test date, as long as you sign up for each subtest in advance.
  • Be sure to read each question carefully.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a multiple choice question, make your best guess (don’t leave it out).
  • TRUST YOUR GUT.  Your first answer to a question is probably the right answer. 
  • Don’t spend too much time on one question. Come back to it later if necessary.
  • On "constructed response” questions, read the entire question, and respond to all parts of the question. Even if you don’t think you can answer it correctly, do as much as you can. You will get credit for partially correct answers. You may know more than you think you do.