CSET Test Preparation Guides – Beware The Hype
If you are aspiring to be a teacher in California you are probably aware that you must verify your teaching credentials for each subject you hope to teach. There are two ways you can do this. You can either complete an approved program at an accredited educational institution. Or you can pass one or more subject matter examinations – known as CSET, short for “California Subject Examinations for Teachers”.
If you choose the second option you will have traded a longer term course of study for what sounds like a fast track method of obtaining your credentials. This is a very attractive option for many people, but it places considerable emphasis on the aspiring teacher’s ability to perform well in the pressure-packed atmosphere that testing always involves.
As anyone who has taken standardized tests knows, these tests are almost always difficult, frustrating, and quite unpredictable. Many people discover they not only have to know the actual subject matter, but they also have to be proficient test takers. Each testing procedure has its unique approach, and the more familiar a person becomes with the techniques used in a particular test, the better he or she is likely to perform.
**CSET Preparation is very important**
The bottom line is that preparing for your CSET tests is very important. And since so much is riding on your test performance you will be tempted to look for preparation short cuts.
A quick Google search for “CSET Test Preparation” will bring up a number of products designed to help CSET candidates improve their test scores. But how do you decide between these products? With so much riding on your decision, it is important to know which ones will help, and which ones are hype?
Here are some suggestions for evaluating CSET Test Preparation programs:
1. Be wary of outrageous or overblown claims. – We all know the saying: “If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” There is no better proof of this than in the field of internet marketing. This means you have good reason to be sceptical when a test guide company says “We maintain a full time research staff, all of whom…have actually scored in the 99th percentile of the toughest tests.” Ask yourself, “Why would these people be working for an internet marketing company if they are such cracker jack teachers?” Or, “Is there really enough money made by selling these products to afford a ‘full time research staff’ of highly skilled people?”. Do you know that most internet marketing companies do not have ANY full time staff!
Another CSET Test guide company claims “Our CSET test takers have a 87% pass rate which is substantially higher than other CSET test preparation programs.” But comparative statistics of this kind are simply not available. So it is impossible to make such a claim without just fabricating the numbers!
2. Stay away from programs that rely on a “secret approach” – Any program that suggests you can replace concentration on the subject matter by focusing on the testing procedure is misleading you. At least one program of this sort suggests it will teach you the “secret keys that ‘gives away’ [sic] the right answer a lot of the time.” Do you really think the people who created these tests are not bright enough to hide these secret keys? And if they really were that incompetent, wouldn’t they just buy this guide, discover the “secret keys”, and change them?
3. Don’t settle for an “ebook” – A company that publishes an ebook and pretends it is serious training software is probably misleading you. Virtually anybody can produce an ebook filled with 30 or 40 pages of recycled “advice”, and then hype it as though it was a “revolutionary breakthrough”. If something as important as a study guide for a career-determining test is not worth more than a cheap ebook, then you would be best to ignore the product. Look for a guide that is an actual software program that includes time-tested study techniques and memory-enhancement aids and exercises.
4. If a training product downplays the importance of CONTENT, then you should be suspicious of it – The best training guides will have thousands of sample questions. And in order to give the most comprehensive review of the subject matter, the software should have a method of randomizing both the sequence of questions and the possible answers. Without this randomizing it is inevitable that the user of the guide will start to identify a particular question with a specific sequence of answers. It is impossible to do this kind of randomizing in an ebook.
5. Do not deal with a company without a history – Avoid outfits that are vague on details about location or staff. Websites make it very easy to pretend to be something you are not, so be suspicious of companies that do not publish their address and phone number. If you call the phone number and cannot talk to a real person, chances are the company has no real staff and may be nothing more than a front for a downloadable product. If the product is credible it will probably have been around for a few years and it will have gone through several versions and revisions. Almost nobody gets it right the first time (consider Microsoft, Apple, Sun, etc.) so if the product has not gone through a few different versions it is probably not much of a product.
6. If a website uses a bunch of gimmicks it is probably substituting hype for substance – Here are some of the more popular gimmicks used by online marketers. The presence of any of these should set off alarm bells:
— A “Money Back Guarantee” accompanied by some “guaranteed” increase in test performance. Internet marketers know that customers rarely pursue these guarantees, so they throw them around with reckless abandon. A friend of mine recently bought a golf club “guaranteed to add 30 yards to the average drive”. When it actually resulted in a LOSS of yardage…guess what…he bought another club from the same company! On his third day out with the new club THE HEAD FLEW OFF and ended up the lake. Is he considering buying another club from the same people? Of course!
— A very long pitch that spells out the “The 5 (or 6) Things that a Study Guide Must Have”. Of course all but one or two of these are exclusive to the product being sold on that site. And then the long pitch climaxes in…
— Free Bonus Offers “worth hundreds of dollars”. This is a standard technique used by every graduate of “Internet Marketing 101”. These free bonuses are usually worthless. They are often outdated ebooks readily available from a hundred other online sources. And even if you take the trouble to download them chances are you will never look at them.
When choosing CSET test preparation software be careful to avoid the hype and go with the product that delivers content, does not use gimmicks, and is backed by a company that is committed to long term service and product development.