How I Passed the CSET….Little Tips and Pointers That Made the Difference Between Pass and Failure

The CSET — Your Path To A Rewarding Career!

Few careers can provide the levels of responsibility, satisfaction and fulfillment that teaching brings to California educators. Each day, thousands of teachers across California help their students to study, to learn and to reach for their dreams.

Good Teachers Create Great Lives

Teachers can touch lives in ways that no one else can. Everyone remembers at least one teacher who provided them with encouragement and inspiration, with the help and advice that they needed just when they needed it most.

You are one small step away from becoming such a teacher.

Good Teachers Also Lead Great Lives

But teachers don’t just inspire and educate. As a teacher, you’ll enjoy respect from your family and friends, and a social status given to few other professionals. You’ll have long paid vacations that will enable you to travel the world or pursue your own goals. And you’ll have an income that will bring you independence and a career path that can lead you from challenge to success.

All that stands between you and a rewarding career of educating, guiding and inspiring students right now is your CSET test.

Pass The CSET exam, Pass On Your CSET test Knowledge

The CSET exam is a series of single-subject tests intended to prove to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing that you have the basic CSET test knowledge and ability to teach your subject in a classroom. There is also a CSET Multiple Subject exam which is required for K-8 certification.

Currently there is a

  • CSET Mathematics
  • CSET English
  • CSET Social Science
  • CSET Science
  • CSET Spanish
  • CSET Business
  • CSET Health Science
  • CSET Home Economics
  • CSET Physical Education
  • CSET French
  • CSET Spanish
  • CSET German
  • CSET Industrial and Technology Education
  • CSET Art
  • CSET Agriculture

    With hard work and, no less importantly, the right CSET test preparation, you should find it easy to pass the CSET and start your teaching career.

    What You Need To Know About The CSET

    Whichever subject you intend to teach, you’ll find that passing the CSET test will require you to make use of two sets of skills: recalling the CSET knowledge that you possess about your subject; and answering exam questions quickly and accurately.

    Both of these skill sets are vitally important on the CSET.

    What is the CSET?

    The CSET is a single subject exam, intended to replace the old Single Subject Assessments for Teaching and Praxis II tests. There are three types of test in the CSET:

    Single Subject Teaching Credentials are mainly used from grades 7-12 and authorize a teacher to teach one particular subject.

    Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials allow teachers to teach a range of different subjects and are generally used in elementary schools for grades K-6.

    Education Specialist Instruction Credentials allow teachers to teach students who have a particular disability or special need in grades K-12.

    Each exam in the CSET contains a number of subtests and lasts up to five hours. The sub-tests themselves are not timed however, allowing you to spend more time on areas that you find difficult and less time on the parts that you know best.

    Time management will be an important element in getting the score you need to pass the CSET exam and become a teacher.

    Two Types Of Questions, Two Types Of Challenge

    CSET exam questions come in two forms: multiple-choice questions ask you to choose the best answer from a number of options. In these questions, it is important to remember that the best answer isn’t necessarily the only correct answer. You may find that two CSET exam answers look correct but one answer will be more correct than the other. (This also means that when two answers look the same, you’ve got a 50/50 chance of guessing the right one.)

    Constructed-response CSET questions ask you to discuss, describe, analyze, explain etc. Often you’ll be asked to complete more than one task. Always read the question carefully and make sure that you have completed all the tasks.

    CSET Test Taking Tips for Essay Writing

    CSET Test Preparation– How To Cram Fast And Effectively

    Whatever your subject, the CSET exam is going to expect you to have memorized vast amounts of information. Some of that CSET information you’ll know well because you use it every day. But much of the details that will turn up in the exam will be the sort of knowledge that will normally have you turning to the books to find the answers.

    In the CSET, you’ll need to be able to recall those facts from your memory. That means being able to cram.

    Top Methods To Quickly Complete CSET Test Preparation

    At some point, just about everyone finds themselves having to cram for an exam. It might not be the best way to learn, but it’s often the only way to pass the test.

    There are a number of effective techniques that you can use to fill your head with the information you need to breeze through your CSET exam.

    1. Organize Your Priorities

    No one excels at everything. There will inevitably be some subjects at which you are stronger and others at which you are weaker. You’ll need to make sure that you spend more time memorizing and learning your weaker areas than your stronger ones for the CSET.

    Don’t worry if it looks like there’s a huge difference between the amount of work you have to do and the amount of time you have to do it. The next step will be to chop down the work and preparation required to pass the CSET.

    2. Pick And Store for the CSET

    Once you’ve identified those areas that will need the most work, read all the information through once. Highlight the most important points (don’t just underline: it’s easier to picture a highlighted page than an underlined sentence).

    There are a number of different methods that you can then use to store your CSET exam information in your head:

    o Break up what you need to learn into bite-sized chunks. There’s a limit to how much you can stuff into your short-term memory in one go. Take each piece a little at a time.

    o Acrostics help you remember a list in the right order by turning them into strange sentences. My Dear Aunt Sally is the famous way to remember to Multiply and Divide before you Add and Subtract. You can create your own acrostic for any set of facts on the CSET.

    o Turn your CSET notes into musical notes. If you can put the words you’re trying to memorize to a tune you like, you’ll find them much easier to remember. You might not be able to hum in the exam, but you can sing in the shower — and in the process, keep memorizing for the CSET;

    3. Get the CSET Rammed Right In There!

    Cramming only puts the information you want in your head for a short time (using what you’re memorizing will keep it there for the long term). In order to stop what you’ve memorized falling out before your CSET exam, you’ll need to keep seeing it and going over it right up until you need it on the day.

    Acing The CSET

    The actual content of your exam will depend on the subject you’re thinking of teaching. The official CSET study guides will tell you what you’re supposed to know before you walk into the CSET exam room. You should certainly be familiar with the CSET guides that apply to you.

    What the CSET study guides won’t tell you though is how to ace the CSET when you aren’t sure of the answer. That isn’t because you can’t do it; it’s because they don’t want you to know how to do it.

    Here are 5 Ways To Ace The CSET (Even When You Don’t Know The Answer)

    1. Do the easy questions first

    Use the first few minutes of the exam to zip through the paper. You’ll certainly find some of the questions easier than others. Do those straight away. It will make you feel a bit better and give you more time for the tough questions. And if you find yourself getting stuck on a question, make a mark, leave it and move on. Come back to it at the end when you’ll have more time, more focus and less panic.

    2. Use a process of elimination

    This is an absolute must on any multiple choice question. There will always be one or two questions that are outrageously wrong. Knock them out quick and your score doubles.

    3. Drop extreme language and numbers

    One way to pick the bad answer choices from the good is to look at the wording of the answers. The examiners generally prefer the correct answer to be wishy-washy. Any answer choice that uses words like ‘all’, ‘never’ or ‘always’ are probably wrong. Similarly, on math and science questions, the highest and lowest figures are usually bad choices too. Take them out.

    4. Identify similar answers

    Another way to hone in on the right answer choices is to pick out any answers that look the same. Usually on the CSET exam, two answers will be extreme, one will look right and one will be right.

    The one that looks right has been put there deliberately to confuse you.

    The examiners are hoping that as you rush through the exam, you won’t notice that there’s a better answer right next to it and pick the wrong choice. That’s mean, but it actually does you a favor. When two answer choices look similar, one of them is likely to be right.

    5. Use previous questions

    One of the great things about long exams like the CSET is that the answer to one question can often be found in another part of the test. It’s going to be almost impossible for the examiners not to repeat a subject or duplicate a point. If you’re scratching your head over a question, move on and keep an eye out for it later. There’s a good chance that they’ll give the game away in a different question.

    Those are just five simple tactics you can use to ace the CSET test. There are dozens of others and you’ll need them all to put yourself in the classroom and in front of the blackboard. To learn all the tactics you need, and to make sure that your CSET test preparation is right on track, check out our Study Guide and start your teaching career with top marks.

  • Random Facts Versus Whole Science Approach to Homeschool Teaching

    When it comes to learning science, most of us were taught in the public school system, which is a big proponent of the random fact teaching methodology. In other words, science was a single subject taught in a vacuum separate from other subjects. When it comes to teaching difficult or complex subjects such as science, it makes more sense to take a holistic approach. Here’s why.

    The Science Random Fact Junk Drawer

    There has been much news lately about the American education crisis in regards to a lack of interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines. The United States is falling behind other developed countries when it comes to new technologies and discoveries, mainly because it is producing fewer graduates with related degrees.

    One of the reasons for this lack of interest in STEM disciplines is due to the way kids are taught. Students often learn a bit of science here and a bit of science there without being provided any logical way to connect the dots. This collection of random facts can be likened to your junk drawer at home – you know there’s a screwdriver in the midst of all those rubber bands and paper clips and batteries and gadgets somewhere, you just can’t find it amongst all the clutter.

    The same holds true for kids learning science. For instance, if a child learns a little something about the earth and the moon and how the shadow of our planet can cause a lunar eclipse, that’s an interesting, but random, fact. You might also have taught your child some astronomy concepts and explained how the moon affects the ocean’s tides. Perhaps your child has also learned something about gravity and the moon’s gravitational pull. But if you are using many mainstream homeschool science curricula, those facts were never pulled together to show the student how the moon is at the core of all these facts and they are interrelated. That’s why it’s so difficult for many kids (and adults alike!) to make the leap between one science fact and how it impacts so many other areas of the world around us. This also makes it very hard to extract a random fact later because the child must rely on rote learning.

    The Whole Science Teaching Approach

    A better, more effective way to teach homeschool science is through an exponential approach. By helping kids make their own connection between subjects, they are much better equipped to draw broader conclusions. This is also a great way to encourage their natural curiosity and develop hands-on experimentation that offers exciting new discoveries in the child’s mind.

    The whole science homeschool teaching approach is all about extrapolation. Once your student has assimilated some core concepts they are prepared to expand that knowledge and apply it to different, everyday situations.

    For instance, let’s go back to that random fact about the moon’s gravitational pull on earth. That’s a physic concepts and that explains much about a lunar eclipse, which is a topic generally brought up in astronomy. Those same gravitational forces are at work when it comes to oceanic tide cycles, a topic that may be part of biology learning. By painting the bigger picture, a student can connect the dots between physics and astronomy and biology herself and become excited about learning more.

    This approach also compartmentalizes and organizes bits of information so they can easily be retrieved at will and on demand. And it aids the homeschool science teacher, who often doesn’t understand the information herself, present complex concepts and help the student come to a conclusion that need not be foregone.

    When it comes to teaching a difficult subject such as science, the homeschool teacher would be wise to use a whole science approach rather than relying on a random fact methodology.

    Teaching English Tips: How To Be A Successful Teacher

    If you’re interested in moving abroad for a job teaching English, you’ll likely find that it’s quite different than being a teacher or tutor for native speakers. However, before you move to start your new career, consider brushing up on some tips to help you become a better teacher. These aren’t the only ways to become successful, but they can certainly help your students learn the language.

    Tip #1: Speak Entirely In English

    If you’ve ever tried to learn another language, you know that it can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to go back and forth between your new and native tongues. Studies have shown that immersion classrooms are more successful, mostly because students are forced to switch their brains over to the new language. If your students are just beginners, they may have problems following along so make sure that you write down any necessary information, such as homework assignments. Students may need to look up a few words in a translation dictionary before they truly understand, and having the instructions written down will help ensure that they can complete the assignment at home.

    Tip #2: Encourage Everyone To Speak Up

    Instructors aren’t the only ones who should be talking throughout the class. Students should feel free to speak to each other, without worrying about being mocked for making a mistake. Learning a new language is difficult and everyone needs to actually say the words in order to be effective in their new language! Don’t let a few outspoken students run the class though. Teachers should make an effort to call on each student at least once a session to ensure that everyone is progressing as they should.

    Tip #3: Require That Students Write In English

    Have you ever met someone who’s fluent in another language, but they can’t read or write it? These are often people whose families speak other languages, but they learn another in school. To help your students become successful in all parts of speech, make sure they write, as well as read and speak in the new language.

    Tip #4: Make Teaching English Fun

    Your class will learn better when they’re having fun, even if they’re adults. Nothing will put your class to sleep faster than a dry, boring lesson. Instead, use games and other teaching gimmicks to make the lesson enjoyable for yourself and your class. Pictionary and charades are especially fun, as well as spelling bees and 20 questions. If you notice that your class prefers certain games to others, try to adapt them for different lessons. Or, ask your students to come up with their own game to teach the class — when they’re directly involved in their own education, they’ll be more likely to be successful.

    These aren’t the only ways teachers can be successful when they’re teaching English to non-native speakers, but they’re certainly a good start. If you can, connect with others who are teaching English and work together to share ideas and strategies that will help you — and your class — to be successful.

    Tips for Teaching Young Children

    How do we teach in a way that hooks into a child’s natural desire to learn?

    Children are naturally curious. They explore, experiment, touch, ask questions, and are motivated to learn. To them it’s all play, and they don’t need adults praising them for their efforts.

    Wondering how you can help children succeed? Consider the following characteristics of how they learn to help you teach in ways that improve their ability to make sense of new concepts.

    1. Young children learn when subject areas are integrated

    Offer children thematic units rich with content and they will be interested and motivated, especially if you can bring real things to touch and explore that relate to the theme.

    Basic literacy and math concepts can be taught and reviewed as the theme content is shared. A “winter” theme offers many opportunities to teach the letter W, to count and record the number of mittens on snowmen constructed in an art lesson, or to create patterns for paper scarfs.

    A child learning about the life cycle of a butterfly may act it out with creative movement and poetry, paint the process with a large paper and paint, illustrate and label the stages in science and literacy lessons and listen to related stories and songs. Avoid pursuing a theme if the children have lost interest. Ask yourself if you are presenting enough “real objects”. New themes get everyone motivated and enthusiastic.

    2. Children learn in lots of different ways

    Visual learners watch closely when you demonstrate an activity and like to draw and play with shapes and puzzles. Auditory learners understand ideas and concepts because they remember information they have heard, follow spoken directions well and remember songs easily.

    Although all children learn through touch, some learn best combining touch and movement (tactile/kinetic learners). Some children like structure while others learn more easily in an unstructured environment.

    If you want busy, happy and on task children, give them a variety of lessons that meet the needs of different learning styles.

    3. Children often do not have the vocabulary to express themselves

    Inexperienced teachers sometimes misinterpret a child’s unwillingness to participate as stubbornness or bad behavior when in reality, the child may lack the skills to explain himself. Use reflective listening to help children communicate why they are upset.

    Sometimes children work well in groups, learning to share and develop ideas. At other times they just need to be alone with ample time to figure things out for themselves.

    Do not expect perfection. Relax and have fun with your students!

    4. Children progress when concepts are taught in a structured, step-by-step way

    When concepts are presented in a structured step-by-step process with each step building on previous knowledge, children learn with less effort.

    For example, expecting a young child to understand the concept of a food chain without previous experiences with, and vocabulary about, chains and links is assuming too much.

    5. Children’s abilities to observe and process information develop at varying rates

    Some four-year old children have superb small motor coordination and draw and cut beautifully, but have delayed speech patterns. Other children may be verbally eloquent but be physically uncoordinated or be at a scribbling stage in drawing.

    Just as children develop physically at different rates, they also progress academically, socially, emotionally, and artistically at varying speeds. Effective teaching happens when teachers remember that learning is developmental.

    Offer open-ended activities to meet the developmental stages of all students. An open-ended activity involves children at a wide range of developmental levels. Children are less frustrated working at their own level and they do not have to compare their results to a set of identical worksheets.

    6. Children learn best when given things, objects, and stuff to explore

    When teaching young children, always use concrete materials, as children need sensory experiences when learning new ideas and concepts.

    Take advantage of the many educational learning materials available to teach geometry, number sense, pattern skills, symmetry, classification and other math concepts.

    Use science materials like magnets, light paddles, scales, weights, and collections of birds’ nests, as well as book character toys and puppets to enhance literacy.

    7. Children need instruction, practice and time to learn new skills and concepts

    A child doesn’t learn to ride a bike by only looking at the bike and exploring its properties, he/she also needs time to practice and guided instruction.

    Practicing concepts and skills does not need to be dull and repetitive. Do not automatically think “worksheet” when you think of skills practice. There are lots of ways to practice skills using puzzles, games, diagrams, art and more.

    8. Children won’t learn if they are over tired, hungry, upset or worried

    Be flexible and understanding with young children. Check to see if kids are hungry. It’s easier to let a child eat part of her lunch early, than attempt to make a hungry child concentrate on a task.

    Sometimes a child needs to be left alone and creating a small retreat space in the classroom can help students who are too overwhelmed by home or other circumstances to cope with their peers or teacher.

    9. Motivated children pay attention

    Young children are generally motivated to learn about everything. Unless they have often been made fun of when investigating or presenting their knowledge, they have a strong desire to find out and share information.

    Reinforce thinking processes rather than praising the child. Saying “That’s an interesting way you sorted your blocks. Tell me what you were thinking” rather than, “Samuel is so smart” will focus the children’s attention on exploring the blocks. Making too much fuss of any one child can result in a competitive atmosphere.

    10. Children learn by teaching others

    When children have an opportunity to communicate their new knowledge to adults or other children it helps solidify concepts. Some children need extra time to find the correct words to explain what they are thinking so patience is necessary.

    To help children share their knowledge, use descriptive words as they play or work and they will copy your vocabulary.

    11. Children Need to be Active

    If children have been sitting still too long, they will let you know it’s time to move. Even the best, well planned, interesting lessons fail if the children need a break.

    Take plenty of movement breaks, go for walks around the school, march around the classroom or jump up and down! You will have more alert and focused students.

    Summary

    As children experience your love and acceptance and realize that you are willing to help them, they relax and learn. Keep a sense of enthusiasm, wonder and curiosity about the world around you, and your students will imitate your behavior. Your classroom may be one of the few places where their opinions and ideas are valued.

    HPLC Analysis Tips

    High-performance liquid chromatography is one of the most common methods in pharmaceutical quantitative and qualitative analysis, yet the lack of some of these top 10 tips for HPLC analysis in pharmaceuticals it can prove to be overly complicated. These tips aid in optimizing the analysis process other than pushing the wrong elements of the analysis, for example, the temperature. These tips encompass understanding what HPLC analysis entails. In this case, it entails optimizing selectivity.

    1. Tip number one is avoiding trying to re-invent the wheel, which would result in lots of experimentation and thus time wastage. Instead, one should consult the existing literature on what has been done before to identify the appropriate conditions. Such literature will also often consist of information on the most suitable HPLC analysis, normal phase HPLC or the Reverse phase HPLC.

    2. Another tip is the determination of the sample preparation required. Sample preparations vary from dissolution, pre-concentration, or filtration among others depending on the preparation that optimizes selectivity for specific samples.

    3. The correct choice of the chromatography process is important in getting reliable analysis results. Acidic and basic analytes should be analyzed using reverse phase ion suppression. The most suitable chromatography type for low to medium polarity is the normal phase HPLC. On the other and, ion exchange chromatography is best for inorganic anions and cations.

    4. Complex samples should be handled using the gradient HPLC. It is the most appropriate method in this case because it offers greater resolution the higher number of peaks in complex samples. Also, gradient HPLC eliminates the shortcoming of out of range capacity factors under isocratic conditions.

    5. The sizing of the columns should be correct. Unless in the case of complex samples. The columns should measure 10-15 cm for packing particle size of 3 or 5 micrometers.

    6. During the selection of the detectors, sample properties should be put into consideration. These properties include the presence of chromophores, which enable UV detection. Detection limits should also be put into consideration. Another consideration would be the necessity of chemical derivation to increase sensitivity.

    7. Fluorescence and UV wavelengths are important parameters in the optimization of the process. The UV wavelength should be set to the maximum, while the Fluorescence wavelength that results in the maximum emission should be referred to from existing literature, or deduced through the use of expert system software and empirical methods.

    8. Cleanliness is vital in the chromatography process. As such the column should always be kept clean via the use of column protection, filter samples, filter buffered mobile phases, sample clean up, and appropriate flushing.

    9. Peak issues are a common occurrence that could have multiple causes. The secret lie in determining the cause of the peak issue and resolving it, for example tailing with increased retention could be caused by a disrupted flow path or poorly packed bed.

    10. Upon the choice of the most suitable High Performance Liquid Chromatography method, a follow-up validation process should follow to ensure the credibility of the process. This process should also involve double checking the necessary procedures and preparations upon which observation gives a highly reliable HPLC analysis.