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Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST) Preparation 2023

criteria basic skills test

You’ve applied to a whole bunch of positions, and you’ve finally heard back from one. At first it seems promising, but then you realize that you have to take the Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST). While a basic test in name, this test isn’t necessarily so easy. Make sure you know what to expect.


What Is the Criteria Basic Skills Test?

The CBST is a pre-employment psychometric exam designed for anyone applying to an entry-level position, including but not limited to sales representatives, customer service representatives, clerks and secretaries, and administrative assistants.

The test contains 40 questions in total, and job-seekers have 20 minutes to answer all of the questions, leaving 30 seconds per question on average. The questions are all multiple-choice questions and focus on math and verbal reasoning.


How to Prepare for the CBST Test?

Even if you’re sure you know the material, you should make sure to prepare with some timed practice. Don’t forget, you’ll be up against the clock when taking this basic skills test. You may be familiar with the principles tested, but unless you can pace yourself properly, you’re not going to have time to answer all of the questions.

With a bit of online preparation, you’ll learn how much time you can spend per question, and you’ll have the time to figure out tricks and techniques to help you solve each question more efficiently. That way, you’ll be more than ready when you head out to the assessment center.


What Information Will Be On the CBST?

This Criteria test focuses on math and verbal skills exclusively. You’ll be tested on your knowledge of math, grammar, spelling, and the English language in general. Be prepared to:

  • Read and analyze short passages
  • Identify correct punctuation
  • Identify misspelled words
  • Solve basic arithmetic equations
  • Manipulate numbers in word problems


What Is a Good Score for the Criteria Basic Skills Test?

The average score on the Criteria Basic Skills Test is a 31 out of 40. If you’d like to score within the top 25th percentile though, you’ll need to answer 36 questions correctly.

Bonus Tip: You won’t be penalized for wrong answers, so you should always make sure to fill in an answer even if you have to guess!


How Does the CBST Differ From the Criteria Cognitive Abilities Test?

This assessment differs from the Criteria Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT) in a few key ways. First of all, the CCAT contains 50 questions with a 15-minute time-limit. Not only are the questions more difficult, but there’s also a logic component that doesn’t exist on the CBST.

Because this aptitude test is designed for entry-level positions, the test is significantly less difficult, and scores are slightly higher. In fact, the majority of graduates taking the CCAT don’t even have the chance to answer all of the questions let alone answer them all correctly.