CSET Art Test

The CSET Art test is broken down into two subtests. The first subtest has 20 multiple-choice questions about aesthetic viewing, 15 multiple-choice questions about the historical context of art, and 15 multiple-choice questions about artistic perception. This portion of the test also has short constructed-answer questions for each section. The second subtest has 30 multiple-choice questions dealing with creative expression, 10 multiple-choice questions dealing with connections and relationships, and 10 multiple-choice questions dealing with the history and theory of learning about art. Each section except the last also has a constructed- answer question, several of which are drawing- or portfolio-based.

The first CSET Art subtest covers elements of art, including the use of lines, shapes, and blank space. It further tests the candidate’s understanding of the principles of design in different contexts and environments. The test taker must be able to explain how visual art is used to teach and to convey emotion. The candidate must also be able to put art into a cultural context and discuss how art impacts cultures and how changes in a community are reflected by changes in that community’s artistic traditions.


The second Art subtest covers creating original art, and overcoming problems in producing the art. It also covers knowledge of the various materials, tools, and mediums that can be used in creating sculpture in wood, stone or clay, oil and watercolor paintings, and lithography. The candidate must demonstrate proficiency in media art, including photography and filmmaking, as well as new genres such as Internet art. The CSET Art exam also tests on the ability to explain how art can be used to teach other disciplines and how art relates to different careers, whether in the advertising industry, fashion, or even video-game development.

CSET Art Test Practice Question

1. Which of the following defines hue?
A) intensity of color
B) saturation
C) value
D) color

2. Which of the following describes complementary colors?
A) They are opposite from each other on a color wheel.
B) They are adjacent to each other on a color wheel.
C) They are shades of each other on a color wheel.
D) They are tints of each other on a color wheel.

3. Which of the following elements have to do with the balance of a design?
A) Rhythm, variation, unity
B) Contrast, emphasis, coordination
C) Symmetrical, asymmetrical, discordant
D) Subordination, repetition, dominance

4. Which sculpture technique is used in modeling?
A) Additive
B) Casting
C) Subtractive
D) Assemblage

5. Which of these could potentially create a hazard during printmaking?
A) Printmaking inks
B) Pigments
C) Modifiers
D) Ink reducers

CSET Art Test Answers

1. Answer: D
Hue names the color, and has nothing do to with how light or dark it is. Answer A, intensity, is a measure of how pure and strong the color is. Answer B, saturation, is the amount of brightness and is a measure of how much gray is in the color. Answer C, value, is also a name for brightness and measures how light or dark the color is.

2. Answer: A
Complementary colors are across from each other on a color wheel. The primary colors of red, blue, and yellow each have their complementary color created when the other two are mixed together. For example, a mix of red and blue creates purple, which is the complementary color of yellow.

3. Answer: C
A design may have symmetrical balance, asymmetrical balance, or discordant balance (off-balance). With symmetrical balance, the elements are very evenly distributed along the design; for instance, having a large image on the right and another large image on the left. In asymmetrical balance, the elements are not evenly matched from one side to the other, but balance is achieved by giving both sides an equal amount of visual weight. In a discordant design, the result will not have the same weight on both sides, and the result might suggest action or motion or create a sense of angst or awkwardness. Answers A, B, and D all list words that are part of the principles of design, but only answer C specifically lists elements of balance.

4. Answer: A
A sculpture that is created with clay, wax, or another type of soft material is made with an additive technique. Answer B, casting, is a form of sculpting in which a mold is created to a specific shape. Answer C, subtractive, is a technique in which material is taken away (such as in carving). Answer D, assemblage, is an additive sculptural procedure in which materials are put together.

5. Answer: B
Pigments can be a safety hazard. Pigments should never be ingested or inhaled. Chromate and cobalt can aggravate a person’s skin, especially when a person has open wounds. To avoid these hazards, employ pre-made inks, a glove box, and a respirator, and wash well (including yourself and the work area). Answers A, C, and D are non-hazardous materials.