A common question that I receive from Bowen EHS ASP/CSP class participants is: "when will I know I am ready to take the exam?" You don't want to wait too long because you want the course material to be fresh, yet you do not want to take it too soon, only to find that you're not ready. Here are some practical tips to help you make that decision for yourself:
- Try to take your exam within three months of your review class so that the material is still fresh. If the class was truly a review for you, schedule the exam on the front end of this window. If you used your course to teach yourself the concepts and had done little studying prior to the course, aim for the latter end.
- Have you made review notes and cards of all the Bowen EHS material? Studying the math alone is not enough. Prior to taking your exam, you should be able to recall most (80-85%) of your study materials when prompted by someone else. Make yourself questions from the lectures.
- Study your math. Make blank copies of the homework, final exam and optional final exams. Take them periodically without the use of anything but your calculator and BCSP formula sheet. You should be scoring at least 80% prior to taking your exam. Do the same with the study questions in the Bowen EHS® Member Center.
- Do you know how to use your calculator? You need to know how to use the statistical functions (find mean, median, and standard deviation), the probability function (prb key) and how to enter log functions, at a minimum, before you take your exam.
- Teach someone else. If you really understand a concept, you should be able to explain it to someone else. A study group works best but a spouse, older child, family member or friend, etc. will also work. Many times you will have an "Ah Ha!" moment when doing this.
- Get the BCSP Self Assessment Guides, test yourself, and aim for scores of at least 80% without notes. Study the answers in the back as well and make notes from them.
- Improve your knowledge on topics that you still do not understand. You do not have to be an expert in everything, but as we tell you in class, picking "C" for everything is also not the wisest option. Three sources of information that may help are: the recorded lectures (pause and take notes, listen to recordings of the other instructor's lectures, if applicable); the Kahn Academy website; and Safety and Health for Engineers by Roger Brauer.
You will not know everything, and your goal is not to get the best ever score on the exam. Your goal is to pass and get three new letters after your name. Most people who have completed the steps above are ready for the exam. Once you get to this point, don't continue to wait because the momentum cannot last forever. People who wait tend to get caught up in life--their studying suffers or they may end up not taking the exam at all.
So, are you ready for your exam?
Ms. Eubanks is a former OSHA compliance officer with expertise as a safety and health consultant working with a variety of industries including health care, manufacturing, and government agencies. She has several years experience teaching for Bowen EHS, the SC Chapter of National Safety Council, and Midlands Technical College.