How to Study for the Spanish CSET Subtest 1

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The California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) are a group of exams used to determine whether a teacher qualifies to teach particular classes in California public schools. To be certified to teach Spanish, a teacher must pass the three Spanish subtests. The first part of the Spanish exam, subtest 1, focuses on linguistics. While those with a linguistics background may need only a cursory review, others – even native Spanish speakers – require a training course in the subject. Linguistics vocabulary is a foreign language itself to most people, and mandates concentrated study.

Visit the CSET Test Guides website (see Resources). Click on "Test Guides" on the left side menu of the opening page. When the window opens, click on "Spanish." The page that opens is entitled "CSET: Spanish Test Guide."

Open and read the brochure entitled "Spanish General Examination Information," linked in the first paragraph. It provides an overview of the subject and breadth of the exam. Part of preparing for an exam is understanding what the exam covers and how it is set up.

Find the "Spanish Subtest 1" subheading in the third paragraph of the Spanish Test Guide page. Two links are available under that subheading. Click on the first link, "Subtest Description," to learn which areas of the discipline the exam covers, and the second link to see a sample test. Complete the sample test, answering the multiple choice and written questions. Compare your answers to the correct answers that follow the test. Evaluate how well you understand linguistics and the type and intensity of review you require to prepare for the exam.

Obtain and review the linguistics texts listed in Annotated List of Resources for CSET: Spanish from the CSET Internet site. (From the initial Spanish Test Guide Page, click on the link in the first paragraph, "Spanish General Exam Information," and scroll through to the end; the final section covers resources for study.) Read the texts you select, making notes on the points of linguistics discussed. Some of the texts are general linguistics information; others are specific to Spanish.

Construct a list of linguistics vocabulary words, together with their definitions, as you read through the linguistics text. Review these until you can write or recite the definitions by heart.

Select and participate in a Spanish subtest 1 review course if you need additional help. Review the programs offered on the Internet, which include preparation classes and individual tutoring. Alternatively, select self-review preparatory materials, including workbooks and flashcards.

Set a regular study schedule well in advance of the exam and keep to the schedule. Put in a little time every day for a month studying linguistics materials rather than cramming the weekend before the exam. Form a study group with others preparing for the test if that kind of study approach works for you.


A good linguistics vocabulary is a key to passing this exam. Prepare and review lists of words and definitions much as you would in learning any other foreign language.


Note that The CSET tests your knowledge rather than your thinking process. Actual linguistics knowledge is essential to passing.