March 22, 2016

Reduce Exam Day Stress With These Tips

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You set your exam date. You studied, took the self-assessment exam, not once but twice, and quizzed yourself with all of the exam prep questions you could find.

Now exam day is only a week away. Yikes!

To reduce stress and anxiety, it’s best to know what to expect on exam day. That way you can concentrate on the task at hand knowing you are fully prepared.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before heading to the testing center:

  • A day or two before, try a dry run to the testing center. This is great to see how long it will take you to get there and check out the parking situation.  As our managing instructor, Mike Edens remembers, “Many of these testing centers are nestled inside office parks. Even using the directions from the testing center, it was a little tricky to find.  That would have been really frustrating on test day.”
  • Eat a healthy, filling breakfast the morning of the exam. For me, that’s a bacon, egg and cheese English muffin. For you it might be a hearty bowl of oatmeal or a banana and a power bar. Just make sure it’s something that will allow you to concentrate for a few hours until the break.
  • Arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before your exam time to make sure you have ample time to check-in and take a few deep breaths before answering the first question.
  • Bring your driver’s license or another form of a government-issued ID and the Examination Authorization Letter.  The testing center will ask to see both items before allowing you into the center.
  • Remember to bring your exam approved calculator and make sure it has a full charge. Some clients state they were allowed to bring in two calculators.  Others report, the testing center had a back-up exam approved calculator you could use if needed. Refer to the certifying body that is administering the exam to confirm you have an approved calculator.
  • Most testing centers provide you with a locker for your personal belongings. You will be able to keep the key and your ID with you during the exam.  However, all other items must be put into the locker. As our Managing Instructor experienced, the “Only things allowed in the exam room are you, your glasses if you need them, and an exam approved calculator.”  Some clients report they were allowed to wear a sweater but a jacket or coat was not allowed.
  • Be prepared to have your id scanned and/or a fingertip scan.  Some centers ask you to turn your pockets completely inside out and may scan you with a metal wand prior to entering the exam room as well.
  • Most EH&S certification exams are now computer-based. The testing center will explain the exam procedures to you and provide you any allowed materials such as a dry erase board or notebook with markers. 
  • Finally, use your time efficiently.  All EH&S certification exams have a time limit and a set number of questions. As of this writing, you have:

                 - 5.0 hours to complete 180 multiple-choice questions for the CIH exam.
                 (optional 30-minute break at the halfway point) –
                 - 5 hours to complete 200 multiple-choice questions for the ASP exam
                 (breaks included) -
                 - 5.5 hours to complete 200 multiple-choice questions for the CSP exam
                 (breaks included) -
                 - 3 hours to complete 140 multiple-choice questions for the CHMM exam
                 - 3 hours to complete 100 multiple-choice questions for the CLSO exam
                 BLS –


Remember, the goal is to pass the exam. No one is expected to have a perfect score. Passing scores vary and can be anywhere from 55% - 70%. There will be questions you are unsure about, skip them and save them for the end. It’s not worth the stress to get caught up on one question. Skip it and move on.

At the end, hit the submit button and know pass or fail, you did your very best to prepare, reduced your anxiety, and knew exactly what to expect on exam day.

Read 1600 times Updated on March 22, 2016