C-BASE Exam (College Basic Academic Subjects Examination)

Pre-Admission Test of Basic Skills (CBASE)

Iowa colleges and universities with approved programs of teacher preparation are required by law to “administer a basic skills test to practitioner preparation candidates. Rules adopted shall require institutions to deny admission to the program to any candidate who does not successfully pass the test (Senate File 401)” Therefore all students in the state of Iowa seeking admission to a teacher preparation program must pass a basic skills test for admission and must be denied admission for failure to pass the exam. Candidates must pass the CBASE exam with a minimum score of 235 in each of the three sections of CBASE in order to be accepted into Teacher Education. If a candidate fails one or more section of the CBASE exam, he/she may retake that section for a total of up to three attempts on each section.

Students who fail any portion of the CBASE exam should seek support from the Central College tutoring center, review the listed study guide resources or enroll in a Math, English Literature or Writing course on campus to assist in their learning. Per state of Iowa statue requirement to deny admission for failure of the exam, if after three attempts on a specified section, the candidate still has not achieved a score of 235 or higher, the candidate will be counseled out of Education and advised in other relevant and desirable majors on campus.

A student with a documented disability as determined and approved by the Central College Disability Services office must provide a written request for accommodations and disability eligibility documentation to the Department of Education at least ten days prior to the date he/she intends to take the exam.

The C-BASE exam will be held in Roe Center 145.

  • Saturday, February 24, 2018


To register for the exam, you may stop by the student work room located on the first floor of the Roe Center room 127 to pick up a registration form, or by downloading the C-BASE application brochure for Sat Feb 24 2018 .  Bring completed registration form and check payable to Central College in exact amount to Natalie Spray, Office Manager of the Education Department in the Roe Education Suite. You must register at least 1 week prior to the exam date. Those requiring special accommodations should contact Dr. Melanie Hatch (628-5215 or hatchm@central.edu) at least 1 week prior to the exam date.

A copy of the Student’s Guide to C-BASE is available upon completed registration and payment of fees.

Fees (effective 2017)

  • $30.00 for Central College students taking all three sections
  • $15.00 for Central College students re-taking a section

Testing Procedures

The complete test battery includes a 40-minute writing exercise and a multiple-choice component divided into two subjects, English and mathematics. Each subject area of CBASE takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. If you are taking the writing assignment, a short break will be given before the multiple-choice section.

On the day of the test:

  • Arrive at the test site 20-30 minutes prior to the testing time. Late arrivals will not be admitted.
  • Bring #2 pencils with you
  •  Present a current photo ID & your Social Security Number
  •  Food and beverages are not allowed during the administration of the test.
  • Calculators are not provided. You may use your own hand-held, non-printing, four or six function calculator during the exam.
  • Students are not allowed to share calculators or use any other material not provided with the exam.

College BASE is a criterion-referenced academic achievement examination that evaluates knowledge and skills in English, mathematics, science, and social studies. The examination consists of 180 multiple-choice items in four subject areas. An essay prompt is also used to assess students’ writing ability. Central College requires and administers only the English, writing, and mathematics sections. In addition to traditional subject scores, College BASE assesses competency in the higher order thinking skills. Student score reports are mailed directly to each student and are also sent to the College.

The administration time per subject is approximately 45 minutes, plus 40 minutes for the essay prompt. Thus the total administration time at Central College, including breaks, is approximately 2.5 hours. Each of the subjects—English and mathematics—is organized into levels of increasing specificity. Each subject is divided into two or more clusters; each cluster is made up of several closely related skills; and each skill is defined by two to six highly specific subskills.

Interpreting College BASE Scores

College BASE numeric scores range from 40 to 560 points. This scale has been designed so that a score of 300 will always be the mean (average) for the entire group of examinees. The averages for a given institution, however, are likely to differ from the averages for the entire group. At Central College the required minimum score for each section is 235.


College BASE divides English into two clusters: reading and literature, and writing. The reading and literature cluster evaluates students’ reading comprehension skills and students’ knowledge of major literary terms, genres, figures, and works, with emphasis on British and American literature. The writing cluster evaluates students’ prewriting, composing, and revising skills through a combination of multiple-choice questions and an essay.


College BASE divides mathematics into three clusters: general mathematics, algebra and geometry. The general mathematics cluster assesses computational skills, knowledge of basic mathematical concepts and notational systems, and the ability to use techniques of statistical reasoning. The algebra cluster assesses ability to solve linear equations, inequalities, and quadratic equations and to reduce numerical expressions to their lowest terms. The geometry cluster assesses knowledge of basic geometrical concepts and ability to use those concepts in calculations. Students may bring their own handheld, non-printing calculator and use it for any of the mathematics problems, but they may not share calculators or use any instructional material.

Preparing for the CBASE

If you have more questions about the C-BASE, you may review the following guide and information provided by the Assessment Resource Center at the University of Missouri.

ARC (Assessment Resource Center) – University of Missouri


CBASE Study Guide and Practice Resources

Upon registering for the CBASE exam, students will be provided a detailed CBASE study guide. Additional study and practice resources can be found at:


Study.com CBASE Practice Study Guide






Graceland CBASE Study Guide

CBASE Study Guide

Barnes & Noble CBASE Practice Guide Study Questions

Barnes & Noble CBASE flash cards

Missouri CBASE Guide

ADDED NOTE: William Penn University in Oskaloosa also offers the CBASE exam. You may take it there by contacting Deb DeVos at 641-673-1100 or devosd@wmpenn.edu.