CSET Math Reflections

Discussion in 'Single Subject Tests' started by Sbl94, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. Sbl94

    Sbl94 Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2015

    Got my CSET Math 3 results on Friday, and I passed! :) Over the past six months I passed all three subtests, each on the first try. I thought I would share my preparation experience - what worked, what didn't - to help others succeed as well!

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    My keys to passing:

    1. Plenty of time to prepare for each test. I gave myself eight weeks for Subtest 1, four weeks for Subtest 2, and six weeks for Subtest 3. I studied 10-15 hours per week. In the mornings I studied from a textbook, and in the afternoon I reviewed the same topics from online resources. I understand some people are pressed for time to pass these exams, but if possible, take your time. I can't imagine cramming for one of these tests in just a couple weeks.

    2. Using as many resources as possible. Below I'll explain which resources I used, but there isn't just one textbook or website that will cover everything. To get a good enough understanding of the material in order to pass, I needed several different perspectives.

    3. Create a list of proofs to memorize. As I journeyed through the textbooks, I always noted down any proofs that seemed like a potential proof on a constructed response question. Some proofs are easy enough to understand and derive when needed, but others are just complicated enough that you just have to memorize. Instead of trying to memorize weeks before the exam, I created a running list. Then the day before the exam, I committed all of these proofs to memory. They won't ever get saved to your long-term memory, but you'll remember them long enough to recall them on the exam the next day.

    4. Using flash cards. I created flash cards for Subtest 2 and 3 (geometry theorems/postulates, basic derivatives/integrals). Memorizing certain concepts/formulas was so helpful. Anything you memorize, you'll have to understand how to derive it, but when you're taking the CSET exam, being able to derive and pull from memory at a moment's notice will greatly help with the time factor.

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    What I wish I had known before I started:

    1. Take Subtest 2 first. I had heard some people say this, and wish I had listened. Sure, I think Subtest 2 material is overall easier than Subtest 1 for most people, but for me a huge factor was just getting used to the preparation routine and test format. I think it's better to take on Subtest 2 first as you get used to studying, and especially dealing with those stupid scanners (see #2). That way when you move on to Subtest 1, you have some experience under your belt.

    2. The scanners are a headache. On Subtest 1, I budgeted one minute at the very end to scan my last constructed response sheet. I literally got it in with one second to spare. I admit I should have allowed more time, and I simply got lucky it worked, but I had to re-scan that sheet so many times until it scanned correctly. It kept leaving a black area at the top of the scan, cutting off the bottom. I was seriously panicking! Finally after taking three subtests and submitting eight constructed responses, I finally figured out the problem. When you click scan, the scanner starts spinning to slide the page through, but as soon as it starts spinning, it's scanning whatever it sees, even if the page hasn't begun its journey though. Instead of waiting to push the page through, you need to put pressure on the page before clicking, and then with your other hand, click scan. That way the page will be pushed into the scanner immediately. I bet that scanner will become one of my recurring nightmares one day!

    3. Focus your studying based on the CTC Test Guides. When preparing for Subtest 1, I ended up reviewing a lot more than I should have. I accidentally studied topics for Subtest 2 (conic sections, combinations), and really under-studied number theory and matrices. By Subtest 3, I just printed out the test guide and reviewed it consistently to make sure I was on track.

    4. Don't buy any materials that are explicitly labeled as a CSET Math study guide. I bought one and it was a total waste of $40. It contained a bunch of very generic test taking suggestions, clearly not written by people who know the actually CSET Math exams. Textbooks are better and cheaper.

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    My top 10 study materials (in order of value):

    1. CTC Practice Tests - Why not study materials that are written from the same people who write the actual CSET tests?? (same goes for #2) Several times I saw questions on the CSET that were very similar to questions from the study guide (different values, same approach). Don't just use the practice test as a practice exercise, study every question and review multiple times. It will also give you an idea as to how in depth you must study each topic.

    2. CTC Test Guides - The CTC is basically telling you what will be and what won't be on the tests. This was valuable in knowing what I needed to study, and what I shouldn't study.

    3. Jay's website (Math CSET Guru) - The best site out there for CSET Math, period. I seriously couldn't have passed without this site. Every single page has gold.

    4. Textbooks - I bought textbooks recommended by Jay (Innovation Guy). Don't buy new! You can buy 10 year old used textbooks for under $10-$20. Math doesn't change.

    - For Subtest 1, I used "College Algebra", by Stewart, 2010. It was a pretty good book for algebra, but I wish I had supplemented with another book for Number Theory.

    - For Subtest 2, I used "Geometry: Concepts and Applications" by Cummings, 2001. This was an excellent book! It was pretty much a review of high school geometry, but it covers everything you'll need for the CSET 2 test. For stats, I bought "EZ-101 Statistics" by Sternstein - this was more of a study guide than a textbook, and I barely used it. For stats I recommend just using online resources (see below).

    - For Subtest 3, I used "Calculus and Analytic Geometry", by Thomas, 9th edition. This was the best book I bought, very applicable to the actual CSET 3 test. It literally covered all topics on the CTC study guide.

    5. Flash cards

    6. Teacher Test Prep - You can take one practice test for each subtest using a free account. Just like the CTC practice test, first take this practice test as an exercise, and then use it as a study guide. The questions are pretty close to what you would find on the actual CSET exams.

    7. Khan Academy - Khan's videos are just fantastic. They're easy to understand and simply enjoyable to watch. Khan is great for proofs. Whenever I stumbled upon a Khan video that contained a proof that looked like a constructed response candidate, I bookmarked it.

    8. Math is Fun - This site is more about basics and fundamentals, but it's very easy to understand if you're starting from zero on a particular topic.

    9. Regents Prep - Very good Subtest 2 practice problems. Just google "Regents Prep Center Geometry".

    10. Wikipedia - Wikipedia can get too advanced and formal for what's necessary on the CSET exams, but it can help stretch your brain a bit.
     
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  3. Brenda Tessendorf

    Brenda Tessendorf New Member

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    Feb 20, 2016

    Congratulations on passing! These are real buggers to take. I took them last year 2 times for CSET 1 and 2. I'm just wanting to get through those for the foundational credential. I'm going to use your ideas to help guide me. Thank you so much for posting your ideas. There doesn't seem to be much out there when it comes to help for CSET Math.
     
  4. crl101

    crl101 New Member

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    Mar 17, 2016

    Thanks for the advice! I am a math major and am about to enter student teaching in September, but only if I can pass CSET 1 and 2. I took Cset 1 and got 159. I didn't have time to study and only did a 10 hour session the night before so I get the score. I was debating in taking CSET 2 this Saturday March 19th, but I haven't been able to study and I'm taking a credential course and was working over-time full time simultaneously. After, reading your post I decided to order the Geometry book you recommended and check out the websites and I will take the test in 4 weeks. I no longer work and pretty much have a clear schedule. So I have plenty of study time. I also want to go in to the test knowing I studied and not only glanced at the study material in one session. Thanks again! Your advice is Gold!
     
  5. tguinto2003

    tguinto2003 Rookie

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    Jul 1, 2016

    Thank you so much Sbl94 for the advice! I took Subtest 1 and passed on the first try! I used "College Algebra", by Stewart, 2010, the OCDE Study Guide and Jay's Subtest 1 Packet. I also used Regentsprep and Mathisfun websites.

    I am so glad I found this forum. Extremely helpful!

    Now, on to the next Subtest. I am ready to unload all my study materials for Subtest 1 so if anyone is interested, just message me!
     
    Cody likes this.
  6. Fgmd

    Fgmd Rookie

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    Jul 3, 2016

    How can u get Jay's subset 1 packet. I am in SF EAST BAY , CALIFORNIA
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 3, 2016

  8. Fgmd

    Fgmd Rookie

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    Jul 3, 2016

    thanks Teacher Groupie. I cant get in touch with him ,I sent him emails too.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 3, 2016

    Emails from his site?
     
  10. Fgmd

    Fgmd Rookie

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    Jul 3, 2016

    yeah the innovation guy something email address
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 3, 2016

    If you emailed him this weekend, it IS a holiday weekend.
     
  12. Fgmd

    Fgmd Rookie

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    Jul 3, 2016

    no it was more then 3 months ago after i passed subtest 2. after that i was busy with my parents my mother got hospitalized and she left this world on 14th june.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    My condolences, Fgmd.
     
  14. Cody

    Cody New Member

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    Aug 2, 2016

     
  15. Cody

    Cody New Member

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    Aug 2, 2016

    Hey tguinto2003,
    My name is Cody, I a
    I'm definitely interested in studying for the math cset together. I am currently studying for subset 2 on geometry and stats but if you are on a different subset that is ok too because we can still help each other out alot.
    Message me back
     
  16. Benoit

    Benoit New Member

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    Sep 5, 2016

    Excellent advice. Jay's site (CSETMathGuru) may be good, but his QBank is filled with many errors, wrong answers, and typos. I would advise against buying that. I like your advice though...find the free stuff that is out there. It helped me as well. University of Irvine also has an excellent prep website...for free!
     
  17. innovationguy

    innovationguy Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2016

    Thank you for your response.

    I admit there are a few errors and typos but my materials have helped literally thousands of candidates over the last 15+ years [no hyperbole there].

    That said, a sense of perspective: there is absolutely no other service or program offering several hundred Qs with worked-out solutions for each subtest. Yes, there's cheaper stuff out there but trust me: you get what you pay for, and most of it is frequently unreflective of the style and difficulty of the actual CSET Qs -- I know this from personal experience and from the voluminous feedback of candidates that have employed other resources in vain. [My Inbox is flooded with kudos and effusive expressions of gratitude upon attainment of success so much so that I stopped updating the testimonials page!]

    Also, in an endeavour as massive as this [each Q Bank with 600-800 Qs], there are bound to be a few mistakes which I endeavour to fix immediately upon notification in the VERY next iteration [unlike a textbook that is updated every 5-8 years]. Moreover, consider this: textbook publishers hire armies of proofreaders...and yet as any student shall tell you bear scores of mistakes which we tolerate with a shrug. As a single individual, I am profusely sorry for the handful of errors that have crept in and I readily appreciate that it's a source of frustration to users. But the process of problem-solving is more important: the Qs are worked out so even when there are typos, theyre quite obvious, Id imagine.

    Thank you for your candid feedback. I shall redouble my efforts to weed out errors and would gladly compensate you for emailing me about specific errors because Im always endeavouring to create a more perfect document.

    Jay.
    www.csetmathguru.weebly.com
     
  18. tguinto2003

    tguinto2003 Rookie

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    Sep 6, 2016

    Hey Cody, sorry very late reply, just read this now.

    But I just passed Subtest 2 !!! Now on to Subtest 3 !

    If you are still studying for subtest 2, goodluck! Make sure you print the Test Prep materials from the Cset website and practice each of the concepts listed. I think that is still the best reference and then supplement with textbooks and online stuff.
     
  19. Cody

    Cody New Member

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    Aug 17, 2017

    Hi, i am doing subset 3 now. Do you have any tips on which topics to study most?
     
  20. mahua mal

    mahua mal New Member

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    Mar 26, 2018

    Hi Cody , do you still have any material left for Subtest 1? I am really interested . Taking the test next month . Thank you . Mal
     
  21. debbiecakes

    debbiecakes Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2018

    I have a question about Subtest III for the Math CSET if anyone could answer it...up to what level/course of calculus does the subtest cover?

    To rephrase my question- does the subtest cover all material from Calculus I w/ Analytical Geometry, Calculus II w/ Analytical Geometry and Multivariate Calculus?
     

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