## What Is the Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST)?

The CBST test is a pre-employment cognitive ability test, assessing basic math and verbal skills for entry-level positions. The test was developed and administered by test provider Criteria.

The test contains 40 questions in 6 topics:

**Math – **basic numeracy, word problems, tables and graphs.
**Verbal – **synonyms, spelling & grammar, reading comprehension.

In the Free Practice section we provide samples for all question types, so check it out.

The time constraints of the CBST test are challenging, but they are much simpler relative to other cognitive tests such as the CCAT. Therefore, **you are expected to get a rather high CBST test score to pass**. See more in **Scoring**.

## Test Structure and Question Format

Here are the main features of the Criteria Basic Skills Test:

- All questions are multiple-choice and contain
**4-5 answer options**
- There are no sections –
**questions are mixed** between topics.
**Questions become increasingly more challenging** as the test progresses.
- There is
**no score deduction for wrong answers**.
**Calculators are not allowed**, scratch paper is allowed.

## What Does the Criteria Basic Skills Test Measure?

According to the official test provider, Criteria, the CBST test assesses 4 main traits, derived from your math and verbal ability scores:

- Job readiness
- Trainability
- Learning ability
- Attention to detail

This free, 6-question sample CBST practice test provides you with **one sample question for each of the 6 test topics**.

According to the rules of the original test, this practice test should take you no more than 4 minutes.

Good luck!

## Question #1 – Basic Numeracy

123 x 74 = ?

- 8,456
- 7,486
- 5,312
- 9,102
- 10,558

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is **D – 9,102.**

Even if you are well-trained, fully solving this question in 30 seconds is quite a challenge.

Here’s where the crucial element of shortcut techniques comes into play.

The first trick to use in multiplication drills is the **last-digit trick**:

- The last digit of the result can be obtained by multiplying the two last digits of the multipliers.

In our case:

12**3** x 7**4** → **3** x **4** = 1**2 →** 2

The last digit of the product is 2, which leaves us with answers C and D.

Now, we’ll use the second trick – **first-digit** **estimation**.

- The product will be larger (or equal) to the multiplication of the first two digits of the multipliers.

In our case:

12**3** x 7**4** > **1**00 x **7**0 = **7,**000

So, the answer must be larger than 7,000, which leaves only answer option D.

Combining shortcut techniques such as these is the surest way to solve the more complex questions of the CBST within the time frame.

## Question #2 – Word Problems

Andy has 12 marbles more than Bob. Bob has 6 marbles more than Chris. Andy has twice as many marbles as Chris has. How many marbles does Chris have?

- 18
- 6
- 36
- 24
- 12

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is** A – 18.**

The main challenge in word problem questions is to convert sentences to equations. Let’s do just that, sentence by sentence:

**A**ndy has **12** marbles **more** than **B**ob → **A** = **B + 12**
**B**ob has **6** marbles **more** than **C**hris → **B = C + 6**
**A**ndy has **twice** as many marbles as **C**hris has → **A = 2C**

Since we need Chris’s number of marbles, we’ll want to leave only the Cs, and express A and B with them. So, plugging equations 2+3 into 1:

2C = C + 6 +12 → C = 18.

Chris has 18 marbles.

## Question #3 – Tables and Graphs

A car rental company charges a base rate per day, plus an additional fee per mile driven.

Based on the tables below, if Jasmine wants to rent a car for 4 days and drive 100 miles, how much will she pay?

**Rental Days** |
**Base Rate** |

1 |
$100 |

2-3 |
$75 |

4-5 |
$60 |

6+ |
$50 |

**Total Miles Driven** |
**Rate per Mile** |

Less than 20 |
$0.35 |

20 – 50 |
$0.3 |

50 – 100 |
$0.25 |

More than 100 |
$0.2 |

- $60.25
- $85
- $265
- $260
- $310

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is **C – $265.**

The first thing you should do in table questions is to mark the location of the data relevant to your question.

In our case:

**Rental Days** |
**Base Rate** |

1 |
$100 |

2-3 |
$75 |

4-5 |
$60 |

6+ |
$50 |

**Total Miles Driven** |
**Rate per Mile** |

Less than 20 |
$0.35 |

20 – 50 |
$0.3 |

50 – 100 |
$0.25 |

More than 100 |
$0.2 |

And the calculation is: 4 x 60 + 0.25 x 100 = $240 + $25 = **$265**

## Question #4** – **Synonyms

Which word means the SAME as *scoundrel*?

- rodent
- rascal
- snake
- orbit
- crimson

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is **B – rascal.** Both rascal and scoundrel mean a crook, a dishonest person.

## Question #5** – **Spelling & Grammar

Choose the correct word to complete the sentence:

I have _____ working for this company last month.

- began
- begon
- begone
- begun
- beginned

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is **D – begun**, which is the past participle of “begin”. The other forms are wrong.

## Question #6 – Reading Comprehension

Surprisingly, while humans have existed on this Earth for over 300,000 years, the earliest form of writing dates to around only 5,500 years before our time, in Mesopotamia. Separate writing system have also evolved somewhat later in Egypt, China, and Central America.

What is the main point of this text?

- There are a number of writing systems in the world.
- The earliest form of writing is more than 5,000 years old.
- Writing first appeared in Mesopotamia.
- Humans have invented writing.
- Compared with human history overall, writing is relatively new.

Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is** E.**

This type of question on the CBST is somewhat more complex and requires understanding of implicit ideas in texts.

In this text, the main point is the comparison between the overall time of human existence and the relatively new development of writing. While all other options are indeed factually true, they only provide further knowledge for this main notion.

## Why Preparing?

To be fully honest, the CBST is not considered a particularly challenging test. Most candidates get a score of 33/40 and above.

But…

Particularly for that reason, if you want to move on in the hiring process, **you need a VERY high score** – 37 or 38 at least.

## How to Prepare?

While I have not yet found any accurate prep for the Criteria Basic Skills Test, most online prep websites can provide you with some sort of generic prep materials for the CBST.

The topics on the CBST are pretty generic and can be **found in nearly any cognitive ability test**. I would recommend, however, to make sure that the prep material contains a bit of **advanced material**, as this will be the edge you need for that **oh-so high score that you need on this particular test.**

Don’t be tempted to purchase a CCAT test prep if you are taking the CBST. That is complete overkill – the topics, time constraints, and number of questions are completely different.

## How Is the Criteria Basic Skills Test Scored?

The Criteria Basic Skills Test is scored solely based on the number of correct answers. No points are deducted for wrong answers.

That number of correct answers, or **raw score**, is then calculated into a **percentile score**. For instance, a percentile score of 65 means you scored higher than 65% of CBST test-takers.

While the overall CBST score is what will eventually determine your success, Criteria, the test provider, also provides the employer with **separate math and verbal scores**.

## What Is a Good Score on the CBST Test?

According to this sample score report from Criteria, 34 correct answers are considered “within range” to nearly every job the CBST tests for.

However, that score is around 54^{th} percentile, which is slightly above average. That means that **almost half of candidates get 35 or more correct answers of 40**.

As you can see, that means that in order to move on in the hiring process, you need a VERY high score.

## What Is the Average Score on the Criteria Basic Skills Test?

There is no official data provided by Criteria, but it can be safely assumed that the average CBST score is **somewhere between 33-34 correct answers**.