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What is the PE CSET Like?

Instructor: Bill Sands
The PE CSET is a certification exam for aspiring physical education teachers in California. Learn more about the structure, format, and content of this comprehensive exam.

The CSET PE Exam

The California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) are used to determine whether the subject area knowledge of teacher certification candidates is on par with what should be taught in the state's public school classrooms. A description of what the CSET Physical Education (PE) test is like can be found below.

Structure and Content

As with most CSET tests, the PE assessment is divided into subtests, each of which focuses on a particular learning area (or domain). This particular exam consists of three subtests:

  • Subtest I focuses on the stages of human growth and development as well as the factors affecting an individual's acquisition of motor skills. Examinees' understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics as they relate to movement are also tested along with the effects of exercise.
  • Subtest II concentrates on the ways in which movement can contribute to individuals' personal and social development as well as the skills involved in dance, gymnastics, aquatics, team sports, and a variety of other activity types. This subtest also covers methods for assessing student progress and evaluating the results.
  • Subtest III quizzes a candidate's knowledge of physical education philosophy, legal issues, and the history of the subject's development along with current trends in the field. Examinees are also expected to demonstrate their understanding of how to select the proper instructional activities and adjust them as needed to fit students' abilities and skill levels.

Format and Length

The CSET PE test includes multiple-choice and constructed-response questions. The constructed-response questions for Subtests I and III feature video components. For these questions, candidates will watch a video and then compose a written response to a prompt about the video.

The number and types of questions for each subtest, as well as the time allotted to complete them, are broken down as follows:

Question Types Length
Subtest I 40 multiple-choice/2 short constructed response 1:45
Subtest II 40 multiple-choice/2 short constructed response 1:30
Subtest III 40 multiple-choice/1 extended constructed response 1:45

The total length of the test (assuming a student completes all three sections in one test session) is five hours. This does not include an extra 15-minute period during which candidates complete a nondisclosure form and tutorial about the administration of the exam.

Results and Test Fees

In order to pass, candidates must earn a score of at least 220 on each subtest, rather than a composite score for all three tests. For example, a student scoring 250 and 200 on two subtests would need to retake one of them, even though the average score is 225. Test results are released within seven weeks of the test date.

Each subtest comes with a $99 fee. The total cost for all three exams is $297.

Preparing for the CSET PE Exam

Now that you understand the structure, format, and content of the CSET PE, you can get to work developing a study plan that will help you pass the exam.

In addition to the review materials provided by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), the following study guides can be used to find out exactly what topics are covered so you'll feel prepared and confident for each subtest. You can also use the short quizzes and practice test included with each course to figure out how much study time you'll need to put in before exam day or identify which test subjects you need to revisit:

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