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CBEST Writing Examples: Test Questions, Tips, and Dates 2023

The CBEST Writing exam is a critical step in achieving your goal of becoming a teacher in California. It assesses your writing abilities and is mandatory for obtaining a teaching certificate. To give yourself the best chance of passing, it's important to start preparing now. Don't miss this opportunity to take your career to the next level, read on to learn more about the test and how to prepare for it effectively.

The page will include the following:

  • What is the CBEST Writing Exam?
  • CBEST Writing Examples .
How Is Your Writing Evaluated?
  • CBEST Writing Tips .
  • CBEST Writing Test Dates .
  • How to Practice for the writing section of the CBEST?

Let’s dive in.

Get more practice with our Free CBEST Practice Test or get full access to our CBEST PrepPack.


If you are looking for a different test, or are not sure which test is relevant for your position, please  contact us , and we will do our best to ensure you get the most accurate preparation for your upcoming assessment.

What Is CBEST Writing Exam?

The CBEST writing exam consists of two sections that measure your writing ability. The first topic asks you to analyze a situation or statement. The second section asks you to describe an experience you have had.

Test Instructions

Make sure you address all of the points raised in the initial paragraph and only write about the topics presented. Use specific examples to support generalizations. Take the time to read the content of the paragraph before you start writing, and build a mental plan in your mind.

Write an original response, without copying or paraphrasing anyone else's or some other work.

The responses you provide will not require any specialized knowledge.

How Long is the CBEST Writing Test?

The length of the CBEST writing section is 1 hour and 30 minutes.

CBEST Writing Examples and Topics

To practice read the following CBEST essay writing examples and topics and choose some for practice, the test will include a time limit so give yourself about 45 minutes to write an appropriate essay.

Writing example 1: Are you in agreement or disagreement with the following statement? Dogs are man's best friends. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Writing example 2: It has been said, "The key to success is to stop talking and start doing." Compare and contrast success gained from correct planning and consulting with other people with success gained from doing the work. In your opinion, which strategy is more important? Why?

Writing example 3: "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." Do you agree or disagree with the quotation above? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.

Writing example 4: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I will remember. Involve me and I learn". Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Writing example 5: Learning about the past has no value for those of us living in the present. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Writing example 6: Which habit is most important to be successful in today's world? Choose one skill and use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

Writing example 7: What are the important characteristics of a good father or mother? Over time, have these qualities changed in your culture or remained the same? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Writing example 8: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "In this life, we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love." Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

Writing example 9: There are many people who prefer to work for themselves or own their own businesses. Others prefer to be employed by someone else. Is it more appealing to you to be self-employed or work for someone else? Break down your decision into specific points.

In order to determine the score for the CBEST Writing Score Scale, the following characteristics of written performance are evaluated.

Rhetorical Force: How clearly the central idea or point of view is expressed; the coherence of the writer's argument.

Organization: The author's logical flow of ideas and the clarity of his or her writing.

Support and Development: The quality, depth, and specificity of supporting information.

Usage: How carefully and precisely the words are chosen in the writing.

Structure and Conventions: A writer's ability to avoid errors in syntax, paragraph structure, sentence structure, and mechanics (e.g., spelling, punctuation, capitalization).

Appropriateness: The writer's approach to the topic and the way language and style fit the audience and purpose.

CBEST Writing Tips

The CBEST Test has a scoring system that ranks each essay from 1-4. A "4" is a well-written essay that effectively communicates a whole message to the intended audience.

To communicate your message effectively keep in mind the following tips:

  • Clearly present a central idea or point of view while maintaining focus on that topic.
  • Writing outline - Arrange your Ideas or points of discussion in a logical way, and state their meaning clearly.
  • Make sure you don't make generalizations without supporting them with relevant, specific, and detailed arguments.
  • Be precise, careful, and accurate in your use of words.
  • Build coherent paragraphs by composing sentences of syntactic complexity and variety.
  • Use language and style appropriate for the given audience and purpose when forming your response, and make sure it addresses the topic fully.
CBEST Writing Test Dates

You can set a date for your CBEST writing test through the following Pearson Vue link. Fill in the location closest to your home and a suitable date, and it will show you the closest test centers.

If you're interested in online proctoring here are the official dates for 2023

cbest test dates

How to Practice for the Writing Section of the CBEST?

Prior to the exam, write at least three or four full practice essays. Choose writing prompts formats that are similar to the one you might receive on the CBEST, rather than just writing samples about anything you want.

There will be very specific criteria that examiners will be looking for, so even if you're an excellent writer, you should make sure you're able to write in the way they expect.

Go over the 'how is your writing evaluated' section and make sure you cover all the key parameters.

Is the CBEST writing test hard?

The difficulty of the CBEST writing test can vary for different individuals. Some may find it challenging due to poor writing skills or familiarity with the test format, while others may have an easier time with proper preparation and practice. Ultimately, it is subjective and can depend on the individual's abilities and level of preparation.

What is the average CBEST writing score?

The writing section scores range between 4 and 16, and they are scaled to provide a more accurate representation of the student's performance, with an average range of 20 to 80.

Related Teacher Prep Pages

  • Full guide to the CBEST Test
  • CBEST Reading Practice Test
  • CBEST Math Practice Test

CBEST exam topic ideas?

janeypooh 4 / 15   Jul 21, 2009   #1 Any ideas for the writing topic for the CBEST exam

elainedlcruz 11 / 25   Jul 21, 2009   #2 Hi Janeypooh Here are some writing topics which I read from CBEST reviewers. There are not the actual cbest essay but it you can use it more to practice you essay writing, Topic 1: Sometimes success is harder to accept than failure. Write about such situation you faced when success brought its own difficulties. What brought on your success? What difficulties accompanied it? What did you learn from this? Topic 2: "A friend in power is a friend lost." Do you agree or disagree with this statement by Henry Brooks Adams? Support your ideas with reasoning and examples. Topic 3: The basic social standards of tolerance, honesty and responsibility are many of the important pieces of information children learn in the classroom. In this way, they learn how to function in society at large. Write about an experience in a classroom when you learned about one of these standards. Did it have a lastinf effect on you? Why or why not? Hope it will help you.

EF_Simone 2 / 1,986   Jul 21, 2009   #3 I'm not clear what you are asking. Are you wondering what the topics might be? Or, are you looking for sample topics to use in writing practice essays? Have you visited the CBEST website?

EF_Sean 6 / 3,491   Jul 21, 2009   #4 Hey, this is third time you've asked this question! At least this time you put it in its own thread, I suppose. Okay, I just moved another answer from yet another thread you posted that was identical to this one, which I then deleted. If you spam the forums like this again, I will be forced to suspend your membership. So please, don't.

EF_Simone 2 / 1,986   Jul 21, 2009   #5 I just placed the same warning on another thread. Possibly you are doing this in good faith, just trying to ask different members the same question. Whatever your motivation, though, just stop.

OP janeypooh 4 / 15   Jul 21, 2009   #6 I'm so sorry! I don't want this to be spam. I'm getting ready to take the exam on August 8th. I'm still trying to get aquainted with this forum. Please bare with me. I just wanted sample of the CBEST writing topics.

CalamityJane 1 / 13   Jul 21, 2009   #7 Say, thanks for asking this question. I am also new and had no idea about the CBEST, but I live in Oregon so I may want to take this sometime. Anyway, I had an idea about how you can prepare for this test, but it would take a little of your time. The book I'm using for my college writing class there are all kinds of sample questions that go with different readings. You might be able to get something similar at the library or just samples online. The book I am using is called "Patterns for a Purpose." The questions are actually related to different essays but they would keep you in the habit of writing answers using the writing styles that the CBEST is going to require. According to Wikipedia the scoring is based on the following areas. My course book is designed to strengthen these areas. CBEST Writing Score Scale 1- Rhetorical Force 2- Organization 3- Support and Development 4- Usage 5- Structure and conventions 6- Appropriateness Personally it still takes me about an hour to write a three paragraph essay answering one question about something I read so I would have to do this a lot to get down to 1/2 hour for each. Best of luck on your test.

EF_Simone 2 / 1,986   Jul 21, 2009   #8 As I have said on the other threads where you asked this question, visit the CBEST website and follow their guidelines for test preparation.

elainedlcruz 11 / 25   Aug 4, 2009   #9 Hi You can check out this website for sample cbest past essay questions csun.edu/~hflrc006/ep16et.html Hope pass the exam

OP janeypooh 4 / 15   Oct 30, 2009   #10 Merged: I over analize the CBEST writing topics (how to write freely?) Hi all, I have a problem with the CBEST writing topics. I over analize the topics. I think and think that it takes me a while to start writing. How can I just write freely without over thinking about the topic. HELP!!!!

EF_Sean 6 / 3,491   Oct 30, 2009   #11 Writing without thinking isn't that difficult. In fact, judging from many of the essays posted here, it is far easier to do than writing thoughtfully. Just start putting down your ideas, and trust that you will end up saying something intelligent. It will help if you have a lot of familiarity with the subject matter, so that you already have a pretty good idea of what you plan to say for any given topic.

cbest writing essay topics

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CBEST Writing Prompts & Top Tips (2023)

The CBEST writing section is considered by many to be the ‘wild card section’ of the CBEST test due to the fact that one’s score can vary based on a number of factors as well as how lenient the evaluator was when looking over the entirety and style of your essay, making the use of CBEST writing prompts and guides highly vital in preparing for it.

This is because it won’t matter if you have perfect grammar and can write multiple paragraphs in the span of a few minutes because you will be given little to no points if you didn’t conform to the scoring criteria of the exam.

When you take the CBEST writing test, you will have to write two essays:

  • The Expressive Essay – Where you have to write an essay that contains your personal opinion or experiences on the topic given.
  • The Expository Essay – Where you have to make an analytical essay on the topic supplied to you.

This means that you should be careful not to mistake one for the other and make good use of CBEST writing essay samples and other CBEST writing tips and techniques as the mere volume will not get you anywhere and can even prove disastrous to your score if you try to brute force it.

How to Ace CBEST Writing Section։ Top Tips

Write your essay in five parts:.

Ideally, you should write your essay in five paragraphs, but since everyone has their own writing style, it is instead recommended that you compose your essay in five parts for both Expressive and Expository essays, namely:

  • The Introductory Paragraph
  • First Example
  • Supporting Example
  • Most Important Example

For the Expressive Essay, focus on impact:

Since this particular essay requires you to talk about a personal experience, mentioning how it affected you or changed you in some way will bolster your conclusion. Let’s say that the subject given to you revolves around saving money, you can use instances where you realized that it’s better to buy in bulk in the long run due to the convenience of never having to travel to the grocery store too often, saving you gas or transportation costs, among other things.

For the Expository Essay, try to mention statistics:

Due to the analytical format of this essay, it is almost completely vital for you to mention concrete information, recent studies, or recent national events to solidify your narrative or point

Don’t overshoot:

Apart from writing a terrible or mediocre essay, another reason why so many test-takers fail to get a lot of points in the CBEST writing test is because they try to use overly complex examples that they barely understand but wanted to use because it’s somewhat related to the subject given to them in the test. In reality, however, the CBEST essay writing section doesn’t require you to have an intensive knowledge of the topic in your essay, only enough to convey your message or point.

What is the CBEST Test and why is Essay Writing Included in it?

The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is an aptitude test that measures the cognitive abilities of aspirant teachers in the states of Oregon and California. Math, Reading, and Writing are the three sections of the test. At Prepterminal we have created the CBEST guide and CBEST practice tests to help you ace the exam and start your career as a teacher.

The writing section was included in the CBEST test to measure a prospective teacher’s ability to write and convey information effectively. Because it is one of the three main sections of the exam, the others being the reading and math sections, preparing for it should just be as important due to how many points you can miss out on for just winging it. That’s why we have developed Math practice and Reading practice tests for you to get a taste of what is going to be on the real exam.

As practicing is the main guarantee that you can ace the CBEST test, Prepterminal offers you the actionable CBEST prep course. Our CBEST preparation course has been developed by experts and psychometric specialists who regularly keep an eye on the exam so that our content is always updated. The course includes 10 core modules and video-based modules on the reading and math sections of the CBEST assessment. These modules contain numerous question banks and practice tests for each subject or subsection, allowing you to be as prepared as you can be.

So, don’t wait, ensure you successfully embark on your teaching career and enroll in our CBEST course today!

CBEST Test Prep Course

  • 1 BONUS Interview Prep Video Guide Buy this Course: Get full access to all lessons, practice tests and guides.
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Hey, I’m Michael, PrepTerminal’s CBEST Prep Course expert. I am here to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about the CBEST Prep Course. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] .

CBEST Practice Test

CBEST Writing Samples

Below is a sample response to each of our CBEST Practice Essays . Review these responses for an example of two high-scoring essays. These CBEST sample essays follow the template that’s in our CBEST Writing Guide . Below each example is a short commentary which explains why it is an effective essay and why it would receive a high score.


According to the CBEST Writing Score Scale, essays are given a score ranging from 0–4. This essay would receive a score of a 4. It is a well-written example of a response to a Type 1 Essay Question.

From the beginning, the essay addresses the question with a story about an obstacle the writer has had to overcome, by writing, “We all face obstacles in our lives, but there are no obstacles that are more frustrating than the ones we construct ourselves. The biggest obstacle I have had to overcome in my life is my fear of failure.” The writer chooses to discuss an obstacle that he has constructed for himself, which is a major focus of the entire response. He clearly states his main idea and maintains it throughout the rest of the response.

The following paragraphs explore the moment that the writer learned how to overcome his fear of failure. He begins by explaining (1) how this obstacle has affected him. He then describes (2) the precipitating event that helps him make a change. He finally finishes the story by explaining (3) how things have changed since he has learned to overcome the obstacle. The story is engaging, makes sense, and remains focused on addressing the essay question. The conclusion brings the story back together with the prompt and even discusses how this event will help the writer in the future.

Additionally, the writer’s style is clear, focused, and entertaining. Instead of just dryly responding to the question asked, the writer weaves an entertaining story that proves his point. He spends just the right amount of time telling the story so that it has an impact on the readers without boring them, and effectively concludes in a way that ties the response up nicely and neatly.

According to the CBEST Writing Score Scale, essays are given a score ranging from 0–4. This essay would receive a score of a 4. It is a well-written example of a response to a Type 2 Essay Question.

The introduction to the essay presents a clear thesis, as the writer declares, “I believe that people are more influenced by their environment than by their instinctive human nature.” The writer manages to focus on proving that thesis throughout the rest of the response, using several different examples to support her position.

The examples provided in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th paragraphs remain on topic, and effectively support the writer’s overall thesis. The writer discusses (1) the impact families have on a student’s success, (2) how The Lord of the Flies proves her point by telling the story of children shaped by their environment, and (3) how people are shaped by the cultural beliefs of the people around them. The logic of these examples make sense, and even though some of the analysis the writer makes is arguable, it is still convincing and effective. The conclusion brings all of the writer’s examples together to drive home the writer’s thesis statement.

Additionally, the writer’s response is focused, clear, and well-supported. The writer’s logic is easy-to-follow and convincing, and she does a great job proving her point. There are no real errors in grammar or mechanics either, which helps elevate this response to a high score.

You should now be fully prepared for the CBEST Writing Section. To review how to create high-scoring essays like the samples above, revisit our CBEST Writing Guide . For CBEST Reading and Math practice please visit CBEST Practice Test .

cbest writing essay topics

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cbest writing essay topics

How to Prepare for the CBEST Writing Test (With CBEST Writing Examples)

The California Basic Educational Skills Test or the CBEST is one of the credentials aspiring teachers in the state should get. It is available for test takers all year round, and can even be retaken as many times as needed.

One of the three sections of the CBEST is the Writing portion, which unlike the other two subjects, is not in a  multiple-choice format . Beyond basic grammar and language skills, this test challenges test takers to prove their competency in creating and organizing arguments. If you are worried about not getting a passing score in this section, we are here to help you prepare and improve.

Table of Contents

CBEST Writing Structure

The CBEST Writing portion is offered by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to qualified individuals who want to be teachers or want to apply to certain positions in the education system. It is one of the qualifications that cover basic requirements in the state. The CTC website offers in-depth information about the test.

The CBEST consists of three sections:

  • Reading – 50 multiple choice items, 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Math – 50 multiple choice items, 2 hours
  • Writing – 2 essays, 1 hour and 30 minutes

For the Writing section, test takers will be given two topics: first about a given situation or statement to analyze, and the second about a specific personal experience and their reflections on this.

cbest writing essay topics

The most important part to remember about the Writing section is that there are certain rubrics or standards your essays will be graded over:

  • Rhetorical Force : the overall cohesiveness of the essay in relation with the central or main idea, as well as the quality of the writer’s ideas
  • Organization : the clarity of the writing and the logical sequence of the writer’s ideas
  • Support and Development : the relevant and proper use of the supporting statements in the essay and how it flows or develops down the line
  • Usage : the use of proper terminologies and precision in word choice
  • Structure and Conventions : the proper use of grammar, language, syntax, paragraph structure, sentence structure, and mechanics (e.g., spelling, punctuation, capitalization)
  • Appropriateness : the extent to which the writer addresses the topic and uses language and style appropriate to the given audience and purpose

Try to not worry too much about word count, although an ideal length would be around 300-500 words. Write only about the topics or prompts presented and make sure the main idea is supported by the rest of the essay.

CBEST Writing Test Examples

The following are sample CBEST Writing Test prompts you can start with:

  • Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” In an essay to be read by an audience of educated adults, state whether you agree or disagree with Jobs. Support your position with logical arguments and specific examples.

For this writing prompt, you can begin on whether or not you disagree with the quote, to introduce the main idea of your essay. You should then follow this up with at least three strong supporting ideas, such as the role of passion in innovation, how it brings out the best and the creativity in people, and if you can, give an example of other famous personalities who are known to be passionate with their work. End the essay by reiterating your stand on the quote and a closing sentence that summarizes everything.

  • Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
  • Explore the role of history in promoting empathy and understanding among individuals and communities. Discuss how learning about the past fosters tolerance and helps bridge cultural divides.

For this writing prompt, begin with stating your main idea, which is how history promotes empathy in people, no matter the race, age, or nationality. You can support this by talking about significant cultural events that have brought out the best in people, bringing them together amidst tragedy or adversities. Follow up with how history helps us remember as people, and how it reminds us that no matter what age or era we are all humans who survived because we learned how to help each other. Add other strong points that support the main idea and end with an inspiring closing sentence.

  • Explore a course where the content was particularly complex or demanding. Describe the specific challenges you encountered in understanding and mastering the material, and discuss the strategies you utilized to enhance your comprehension and performance.
  • Reflect on the role of extracurricular activities in a student’s educational experience. Discuss the benefits of participating in extracurricular activities and how they contribute to a student’s personal growth and development.

For this prompt, open with your main idea, which is the main benefit of extracurricular activities. As an educator, draw from your personal experience and observations to use these for your supporting statements. You can talk about different extracurricular activities and how they helped you or a student come out of their shell. List down benefits of physical activities without making generalizations. End your essay by reiterating your main argument.

You can get more free sample prompts and premium CBEST Prep Packs over at our partners at JobTestPrep !

How to Interpret the CBEST Writing Test Score

Unlike the Reading and Math Sections of the CBEST which are in multiple choice format, the Writing Section has scorers who will read and evaluate each of your responses using the standard set of criteria mentioned earlier. You will get a score anywhere between 4 and 16, which are then scaled to provide a more accurate representation of the student’s performance, with an average range of 20 to 80.

The official CBEST Test Results Information provides an official writing score scale and description, with 1 being an “inadequately formed writing sample that fails to communicate a message to the specified audience” and 4 as “a well-formed writing sample that effectively communicates a whole message to the specified audience.” This diagnostic scoring will also be provided to you when you receive your results, and will help you see where you excel and where you might be lacking, in case you have to retake this section of the CBEST.

How to Prepare for the CBEST Writing Section

cbest writing essay topics

Writing is not for everyone, but with enough practice, you can learn to write well enough to get a high score in the CBEST Writing Test. Here are some tips on how to prepare:

  • Begin with the official CBEST Writing Practice Test . This is the best way to begin your practice writing sessions. The practice test provides prompts and a writing sheet, as well as the official guide to scoring to remind you where to focus.
  • Remember: the first draft is the most important. Not everyone likes writing, and some even find it daunting. For the Writing section, practice by writing and using test prep packs. Begin with a simple outline, and then get to writing. Avoid second-guessing every sentence and focus on writing your thoughts down first. Once you finish, then you can reorganize your thoughts, flesh out some ideas, and of course proofread to weed out mechanical errors.
  • Review the Rubric. Focus on the scoring standards so you know which aspects of the essay to prioritize, which are mainly the structure, the contents, and the mechanical aspects. Don’t try to use words you are not sure of the meaning of just to “sound smarter.” Don’t add more words and sentences for the sake of length, but don’t try to write it too short either. The official writing practice test shows the sample responses with their respective scoring to give you a basis.
  • Keep on Writing. There’s no better way to improve than using writing prompts to keep you going. Practice organizing your thoughts and ask for feedback from friends, mentors, and colleagues. Write about your day at work, an article you just read, or a movie you just saw.
  • Read to Improve. Learn about new topics, discover how other writers flesh out their ideas, and see how they open or close their essays by reading. This will also help you expand your own vocabulary and strengthen your mental capacity to take on any writing prompt when the test day arrives.

Make sure you prepare for the day of the test and arrive at the testing center or login on your computer early! Shake off the nerves and know that you can ace this section.

The Write Way

The Writing Section of the CBEST challenges test takers on their abilities to analyze situations and talk about their stands or personal experiences in essay form. It tests their capacities to provide solid supporting arguments and their critical thinking abilities as well, which is important in becoming a good-quality educator.

Preparing for this section of the CBEST may sound difficult because you won’t know the prompts or questions until the day of the test, but sharpening your technical skills and using practice packs will definitely help. Keep in mind the scoring rubrics to focus and organize your essay and you will get that passing score in no time. Good luck!

Sarah Duncan

Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.

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A Study Guide to the CBEST WritingTest: & Tips

What Is the CBEST Writing Test?

How to take the cbest writing exam, example questions asked on the cbest writing test, how is the cbest writing test scored, what is the passing score on the cbest writing, be aware of first-time pass rate on the cbest writing subtest, how to be successful on the cbest writing test, frequently asked questions, final thoughts, a study guide to the cbest writingtest: & tips.

Updated November 20, 2023

Hayley Ashworth

The CBEST Writing test evaluates the ability to express ideas clearly and effectively in written form.

Candidates are given two writing prompts and are required to write two essays.

The prompts address general topics that are relevant to education. The purpose is to evaluate writing skills, including their ability to organize thoughts, develop coherent arguments, use appropriate grammar and vocabulary, and demonstrate effective writing mechanics.

The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is an examination designed to assess the basic proficiency of individuals who wish to become educators in California.

It consists of three sections:

  • Mathematics

The CBEST Writing exam specifically evaluates an individual's ability to express ideas clearly and effectively in written form.

In the CBEST Writing section, candidates are given two writing prompts and are required to write two essays within 90 minutes.

The prompts usually address general topics that are relevant to education and teaching.

In addition, the purpose of this section is to evaluate an individual's writing skills, including their ability to:

  • Organize thoughts
  • Develop coherent arguments
  • Use appropriate grammar and vocabulary
  • Demonstrate effective writing mechanics

The first essay prompt in the CBEST Writing section typically asks test takers to express a personal opinion or share personal experiences related to a specific topic. Test takers are expected to provide a clear and concise response supported by relevant examples or evidence.

In addition, the second essay prompt usually presents a situation or scenario, requiring test takers to analyze and present a logical argument. They must demonstrate their ability to critically evaluate the given information, develop a clear position, and support it with appropriate reasoning and evidence.

It's important to note that the CBEST Writing section does not assess creativity or knowledge of specific academic subjects.

Instead, it focuses on evaluating an individual's writing skills and their ability to communicate clearly and coherently effectively.

CBEST writing preparation involves practicing writing essays, developing strong writing skills, and familiarizing yourself with the scoring criteria to understand what the scorers are looking for in a well-written essay.

Various study materials, CBEST writing practice tests and resources are available to help individuals prepare for this section of the CBEST exam.

Prep for the CBEST Writing Test with JobTestPrep

When candidates are ready to take the CBEST writing section , they first need to register and decide which format they will sit the exam in. It will either be paper-based, online-proctored, or computer-based.

To register and take the test, you will need to:

  • Visit the official CBEST website and create an account by filling out the registration form. This form will ask for personal details, contact information, and educational background.
  • Select the test and test date.
  • Pay the $30 registration fee (per section).
  • Confirm you have received the confirmation and admission ticket. The admission ticket contains important details such as the test date, location, and reporting time.
  • On the scheduled test day, arrive at the test center early, bringing your admission ticket, a valid photo ID, and any other required materials. Follow the instructions provided by the test center staff.

If you are taking the test remotely, log on and check all your equipment at least 20 minutes before the test starts.

All tests are in English and must be answered in English.

The Different Types of Tests

There are three ways that someone can take the test:

  • Computer-based
  • Paper-based
  • Online-proctored

Computer-Based Test (CBT)

The computer-based version of the CBEST Writing test is administered on a computer all year round at a Pearson testing center .

Candidates use the computer to type their essay responses within a provided word processing software. The CBT format allows for automatic spell-check and editing features. This version typically provides a more convenient and streamlined testing experience.

Tests are available Monday to Saturday, and you sit your exam with other candidates.

Those taking the computer version will also receive preliminary test results immediately.

CBEST Writing: Study Guide & Tips

If you need to prepare for a number of different employment tests and want to outsmart the competition, choose a Premium Membership from JobTestPrep . You will get access to three PrepPacks of your choice, from a database that covers all the major test providers and employers and tailored profession packs.

Get a Premium Package Now

Online-Proctored Test

The online-proctored version of the CBEST Writing test allows candidates to complete the exam remotely using their personal computer or laptop.

They connect to the test platform via a secure online connection and are monitored by remote proctors who ensure test security and integrity. Candidates are required to use the provided word-processing software to type their essay responses.

The online-proctored format provides flexibility by allowing test takers to take the exam from their preferred location.

Paper-Based Test

The written version involves physically writing your CBEST writing topics using a pen or pencil on paper.

This format may be available in certain circumstances or upon special request.

However, it's important to note that the availability of the written test option may vary depending on the test administration and location. As this version is being phased out, availability is scarce and the fees are often higher.

If you are unsure about any of the test formats, visit the official CBEST website or contact the testing authorities for information about each format, as well as any eligibility requirements or limitations associated with them.

These CBEST writing essay examples are designed to give you insight into the type of questions you can expect in your test.

Remember that the actual CBEST Writing prompts may vary but generally revolve around educational topics and require you to express your thoughts clearly, provide supporting evidence, and maintain a coherent structure in your essays.

Completing CBEST writing examples and developing your writing skills will help you feel more confident when taking the CBEST Writing test.

1. Do you believe that extracurricular activities are essential for a student's development? Support your position with specific examples and reasons.

2. Describe a challenging experience you faced in your education and how you overcame it. Discuss the lessons you learned from that experience and how it shaped your perspective on learning.

3. Imagine you are a school principal faced with the decision to implement a new educational program. Discuss the steps you would take to ensure its successful implementation and the potential challenges you might encounter along the way.

4. Read the following passage about the benefits of technology in the classroom. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating technology in education, and provide your opinion on its overall impact.

5. Should schools require students to wear uniforms? Take a position on this issue and support your stance with logical reasoning, evidence, and examples from your own experiences or observations.

6. Explain the importance of parental involvement in a child's education. Discuss specific ways in which parents can contribute to their child's academic success and overall development.

7. Do you believe that standardized testing is an effective way to assess student's knowledge and abilities? Why or why not? Provide specific examples and evidence to support your viewpoint.

8. In your opinion, what is the most important quality for a teacher to possess? Provide specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

9. In today's society, there is a growing concern about the impact of social media on mental health. Discuss the pros and cons of social media usage, and provide your opinion on whether it is overall beneficial or harmful to individuals' well-being.

10. Public transportation is an important aspect of urban life. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using public transportation, and explain whether you believe it should be promoted as a primary mode of transportation.

The CBEST Writing test is scored using specific criteria provided by the test administrators.

It is evaluated based on four major domains: Purpose and Focus, Organization, Development, and Language and Conventions.

Purpose and Focus – The clarity and effectiveness of your main idea. To score well, you will need a clear and well-defined central idea that directly addresses the prompt. You will also need to maintain a consistent focus on the main idea throughout your essay.

Organization – The structure and coherence of your essay, including how well you organize your thoughts, use paragraphing effectively and provide a logical flow of ideas. More points will be awarded for clear topic sentences, smooth transitions, and a well-structured introduction and conclusion.

Development – The depth and quality of your arguments and supporting evidence. You should be able to provide relevant examples, details, and explanations to support your ideas.

Language and Conventions – Your use of language, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. You will be evaluated on the clarity and effectiveness of your expression, including your vocabulary choices and sentence variety.

Each of the four domains is scored on a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest.

It's important to note that the scoring process is subjective to some extent as it involves human judgment.

After your test has been scored, you will receive a score report that includes your individual domain scores, as well as an overall score for the CBEST Writing test.

This report provides feedback on your strengths and areas for improvement in each domain.

As this is a complex scoring process, taking the time to complete CBEST writing test examples will help develop your writing skills.

The CBEST is composed of three tests. A passing score on this test will depend on the score from the other two tests.

Scaled scores are calculated based on the raw scores you receive on each section of the writing test.

The raw scores are converted to scaled scores to account for differences in difficulty across the different test versions.

Additionally, the scaled score range for each domain is 20 to 80.

A score of 41 indicates you have a basic level of competency in writing skills.

From 2012 to 2017, the CBEST subtest with the lowest passing rate on the first attempt was the CBEST Writing test.

Only 66.9% to 75.1% of candidates passed the written subtest compared to 79.2% to 81.5% for the reading subtest and 78.3% to 80% for the math subtest.

This has led to the popular opinion that the written test is the hardest one to complete.

However, it might be that those candidates that failed the written test the first time may not have properly prepared or not have given it as much attention.

To avoid making the same mistake, take the time to complete CBEST writing examples and develop your writing skills. Particularly those skills that are assessed.

Preparing for and passing the CBEST Writing test requires a combination of effective study strategies and focused preparation .

Here are some CBEST writing tips to help you prepare for and increase your chances of passing the writing subtest:

Step 1 . Understand the Test Format

Familiarize yourself with the format of the CBEST Writing test. Review the instructions, time limits, and scoring criteria.

Understand what is expected in terms of essay structure, organization, development, and language proficiency.

Step 2 . Review Writing Techniques

Refresh your knowledge of effective writing techniques, including thesis statement development, paragraph structure, transitions, and coherent argumentation.

Practice constructing well-organized essays with clear introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions.

Step 3 . Read Sample Essays

Read sample essays to get an idea of the quality and structure expected in CBEST essays.

Analyze how those candidates present their ideas, use evidence, and maintain a coherent flow of thoughts.

Step 4 . Develop Time Management Skills

The CBEST Writing test requires writing two essays within 90 minutes.

Practice time management skills by completing CBEST writing samples to ensure you can plan, write, and revise your essays within the allotted time.

Step 5 . Practice Writing Prompts

Completing CBEST writing practice tests is the best way to prepare.

Use practice prompts to develop your ability to express your ideas clearly, support your arguments, and use proper grammar and vocabulary.

Pay attention to addressing all aspects of the prompt and providing well-developed examples and explanations.

Step 6 . Ask for Feedback

Ask someone knowledgeable in writing, such as a teacher, tutor, or mentor, to review and provide feedback on your practice essays. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement, such as clarity of expression, organization, and grammar.

Step 7 . Enhance Grammar and Vocabulary Skills

Review common grammar rules, punctuation, and sentence structure.

Expand your vocabulary by making reading a daily habit and ensuring you read a variety of publications.

You can also use resources such as grammar books, vocabulary lists, and online language-learning platforms to improve your language skills.

Step 8 . Invest in a Study Guide

The CBESTs are an important step to becoming an educator. If you feel you need additional support or help, invest in a CBEST writing study guide .

Step 9 . Manage Test Anxiety

Develop strategies to manage test anxiety and stay calm during the exam. Practice relaxation techniques, such as box breathing and meditation to help maintain focus and confidence.

What is the CBEST writing test?

The CBEST writing test is one of three subtests mandatory in the state of California for all those wanting to become educators. It consists of two writing prompts and you have 90 minutes to write a clear and concise essay for each prompt.

How to pass the CBEST writing test?

The best way to pass the CBEST writing test is to prepare. Take the time to work through as many example prompts as possible to develop your writing, grammar and vocabulary skills. Reading a variety of publications regularly will also help develop your skills.

How to improve my CBEST writing?

The best way to improve your CBEST writing is to practice and ask for feedback from an expert. Make an effort to write as many essays as possible and ask a teacher or mentor for feedback on where you need to improve.

Where can I find CBEST writing examples?

A simple Google search will yield hundreds of results for CBEST writing examples. Try the ones on JobTestPrep .

Who grades the writing portion of the CBEST?

Trained scorers read and grade the writing portion of the CBEST.

How long does it take to get a computerized CBEST writing score?

You will receive a preliminary score immediately after submitting your CBEST writing essays when using a computer. However, these scores may change after the official scoring process.

How does the score for writing for the CBEST work?

Trained scores read through and grade your essays. You will receive a raw score that will then be converted into a scaled score between 20 and 80. A score of 41 indicates a basic ability.

Which is the best source to improve CBEST writing?

There are lots of websites that can help you improve your writing skills, such as Grammarly. However, the most effective way is to write as many essays as possible and ask for feedback from an expert such as a teacher or mentor.

How do I schedule the CBEST writing test?

You schedule your CBEST writing test by visiting the CBEST website , creating an account and selecting the schedule option. From there, you will be taken to a registration page where you choose your test format, time and location. To confirm your booking, you will need to pay a $30 fee for each test you book.

What is the highest possible score for the CBEST writing section?

The highest CBEST writing score is 80.

Where can I get a pack of CBEST writing practice tests?

JobTestPrep has a variety of practice tests for you to complete.

There are also comprehensive preparation packs available on Amazon and at local bookstores.

How many people pass the CBEST writing section?

In recent years only 66.9% to 75.1% of candidates passed the written subtest. This is compared to 79.2% to 81.5% for the reading subtest and 78.3% to 80% for the math subtest. It is unclear if this is because the writing test is especially difficult or if past candidates have not prepared as thoroughly compared to the other subtests.

Remember, consistent practice, attention to the specific requirements of the CBEST Writing test, and a focused study plan will contribute to your success.

Additionally, using reputable study materials and resources designed specifically for CBEST preparation can greatly assist you in developing your skills and passing the exam.

You might also be interested in these other Psychometric Success articles:

A Full Guide to Teacher Cover Letters: with Examples/Samples

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