CSET Constructed Response Examples

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Constructed response questions are a large part of the CSET exams. This lesson provides a variety of examples on different subjects so that you can practice on how to answer them effectively.


The CSET, or California Subject Examination for Teachers, is an exam that must be passed in order to teach in the state of California. What exam you must take is dependent on the subject(s) you want to teach. All CSET exams consist of a variety of multiple-choice questions and constructed response questions. A constructed response question usually consists of a set of information or video that must be reviewed. Then, an answer must be written between 150 and 300 words to address the subject. There are a variety of examples below.

Constructed Response Examples for Physical Education

With a constructed response for CSET Physical Education, you'll be writing a small essay response to an example given. Although your writing needs to be concise and informative, this isn't what will be assessed. What's most important is your depth of knowledge on the subject and your ability to reference philosophies and scientific ideas. For physical education, a prime example of a constructed response question is this:

Imagine you're watching a video of three separate students doing handstands for gymnastics. Each student is getting into a handstand in a different way, and each student is also holding the handstand differently. Underneath the video are the following directions:

  • Detail the level of proficiency of each student. Explain the level of performance as you see it, while notating any strengths and weaknesses.
  • Look and assess the movements and describe them from a biomechanical perspective.
  • Explain how you would tell the student how to improve their movements.

Now, you can watch the video, notating information as you do, though remember you can rewind and watch the video as many times as you need to construct your answer.

Constructed Response Examples for Social Science

For the CSET in Social Science, you'll be addressing a variety of subjects, such as world/U.S. history, civics, economics, geography, and sociology. Since you have three sections in the social science CSET, you have nine constructed response questions that'll have to be answered. The following are some examples you might see:

Problem 1

Imagine you have two images in front of you. The first image is a map of the globe, showing the world in a circular fashion. The second image is a flat map, showing the world in a flat perspective. With these images in mind, this is the constructed response directions:

  • Look at both images and describe the advantages and disadvantages of each map in teaching students.
  • Make sure to include which geographical activities should be taught by which map.

Problem 2

Thailand is a country that's heavily influenced by Buddhism. Buddhism is followed by over 90% of the country. Follow the directions below:

  • Explains Buddhism's main tenets.
  • Discuss the differences because Buddhism and other influential religions.

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