CSET: Spanish Exam

The California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET): Spanish consists of five subtests. However, not all five are needed for anyone teaching credential in Spanish. If you are seeking a single subject teaching credential, you will only need to take the first three. Those seeking a Bilingual Authorization for Spanish must take the last three subtests.

Who is Eligible?

CSET allows each institution, licensing agency or state board to set their own limitations on who can and cannot take this exam. Each certification program may decide on a certain number of prerequisites to be completed such as education or experience before they want you to take this. Be sure to check with your specific program as to what those may be.

CSET does require that each participant of this exam fill out an online registration and pay a fee of $99 per subtest.

When and Where is it Taken?

Each subtest is scheduled and taken separately, no matter what kind of credential you are seeking. The first three subtests are available during several 4-week testing windows throughout the year. The last two subtests are available year-round, Monday through Saturday.

All subtests are taken via computer at Pearson VUE locations scattered throughout the state of California and nationwide. A full list of available dates and times will be provided during registration.

Special accommodations can be made for those with disabilities who may not be able to test under normal conditions. Supporting documentation must be provided with your request during registration for approval.

Should you need to reschedule or cancel your exam appointment, you may do so for no additional charge. However, it is important to note that no changes can be made during the last 24 hours before your original exam.

What Should I Bring?

It is crucial that you arrive at the testing site at least 30 minutes early for each scheduled subtest. This ensures that you have enough time to properly check in and be seated before your exam begins. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to test and will have to reschedule, forfeiting any fees.

You will be required to present at least one form of current and valid government-issued photo identification. This must include your full name as it appears on your registration and your signature. If your ID contains incorrect or missing information, you will be asked for another ID or be turned away.

Personal items are strictly forbidden in the testing area and will need to be kept in a secured locker during the exam if brought into the building. This includes calculators, writing utensils, study materials, cell phones, jackets, hats, etc. If you are found in violation of this policy, you will be escorted from the building and your scores voided.

What is Covered?

As mentioned before, the exam consists of five subtests. Below you will find a brief description of each including the amount of time and questions given in each.

Subtest I: 40 multiple-choice and 3 constructed-response questions/1 hour 45 minutes

  • General Linguistics
  • Linguistics of the Target Language

Subtest II: 40 multiple-choice and 1 constructed-response questions/1 hour 30 minutes

  • Literary and Cultural Texts and Traditions
  • Cultural Analysis and Comparisons

Subtest III: 30 multiple-choice and 6 constructed-response questions/2 hours 15 minutes

  • Language and Communication: Listening Comprehension
  • Language and Communication: Reading Comprehension
  • Language and Communication: Written Expression
  • Language and Communication: Oral Expression

This subtest will require several recorded spoken responses.

Subtest IV: 50 multiple-choice questions/1 hour 15 minutes

  • Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Instruction and Assessment

Subtest V: 50 multiple-choice questions/1 hour 15 minutes

  • Geographic and Historical Contexts
  • Sociopolitical and Sociocultural Contexts

Subtests I, II, and III will require the use of special characters in one or more responses.

How is it Scored?

Scores are typically distributed about 2-3 weeks after your test date. This report will include your overall score for each subtest, your pass/fail status, and a diagnostic breakdown of your performance. Your overall scores only will automatically be sent to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and any institution you designated during registration.

Scores are scaled on a range from 100-300. You must receive a scaled score of at least 220 on every subtest to pass.

Retakes are available for any subtest as many times as necessary to pass. However, you must wait for 45 days before you may make another attempt.

How Can I Prepare for the CSET: Spanish Exam?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: August 1, 2019