What is CBT and PBT?

These are the two most common testing formats for the TASC. The questions and answers are the same for both formats.  The major difference is how the information is presented (paper vs computer screen) and how the test-taker indicates the answer (i.e., bubble sheet vs clicks on an icon; hand written essay vs typed):

  • Computer Based Test (CBT) – There are online tools available with CBT that are not available with PBT. These CBT tools include allowing the test-taker to cross out a “wrong” answer, highlighting keywords in the text, and flagging a question for later review. The CBT format allows each test-taker to take the specific tests they need independently of when other test-takers may be taking the same tests.  This format allows greater flexibility for test-takers.
  • Paper Based Tests (PBT) – PBT test-takers are not allowed to mark in the test booklet. For PBT testing, all test-takers take the same sub-test at the same time. This means that the testing-sessions takes the fully allotted time. A test-taker who finishes a test early, must wait for the other test-takers before beginning the next test. This may also mean that a test-taker may have to wait while a test they have already passed is being completed by the other test-takers at that testing-session.

Click on this link to become familiar with the (CBT) format.

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