August 2, 2011

The CSP Exam - Insights from a Bowen EHS Client

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Are you studying for the CSP Exam and wondering what to expect?  One of our clients shared her experience with us comparing the ASP Exam and the CSP Exam.  Our hope is that her insights will help those studying for the CSP Exam for the 1st OR 2nd time.


My biggest suggestion for those studying for the CSP versus the ASP is to establish a different study strategy. The ASP seemed more black and white and pertained very well to the reference sheet. The CSP required more in depth thinking and putting you in the shoes of a safety manager. Therefore, the CSP exam required a broader view, the bigger picture of the organization and how safety management fits into that.

  • The problems were much wordier, therefore, you really need to be mindful of that and watch your time as you can spend a lot of time getting caught up in reading and re-reading them.
  • The wording of the problems was trickier. So even if it was a basic probability question, the way it was worded seemed to leave out necessary information - that threw me off. After a few of these, my confidence was shaken and I started second guessing what I did know.
  • For some of the word problems, there were at least 2 answers that seemed like they could be correct. I had to read and reread before I settled on my first guess. On several occasions, I realized the last choice might have been the correct answer and initially, I had glossed over it.
  • For the ASP, on most (if not all) math questions, they provided on the screen 1 or 2 formulas that you may need to figure that problem. For the CSP exam, you have access to an electronic version of the BCSP reference sheet; therefore, they provide you no tips on what formula you may need to use for the problem. There was at least 1 problem that provided a formula, but it was not a formula from the BCSP reference sheet.
  • To access the BCSP reference sheet during the exam, you need to click on that option on the screen. Each page is a different tab. I found it somewhat challenging to go between the screen that has the problem/details to the reference sheet tabs with the formulas. I practically have the topics memorized on the hard copy reference sheet and for me, that was easy to go right to the necessary page, but for the online reference sheet, I lost a little time trying to scan each tab to find the formula for which I was searching. The online reference sheet follows the same page numbering and is exactly the same as the hard copy reference sheet. It was just a different feel for me.

It's hard to explain what threw me off but my confidence was shaken and about 1.5 hours into the exam I realized I was spending a lot more time than I could afford on individual questions. I then proceeded to answer all the questions on my first pass through and flag the questions for which I wasn't certain, just in case I ran out of time. This was crucial because I finished my 200th question with only 5 minutes to spare. In that 5 minutes, I went back to re-review the flagged questions, but I really didn't have time to devote to the in-depth questions. I was also afraid to change what might have been a correct 'first' answer.

The other difference I noticed (it may be the difference between the ASP & CSP exams or between passing and failing) was that immediately after the ASP exam time ran out, I had to complete a survey. Once the survey was finished, the screen told me to summon the proctor to check out. When I checked out at the front desk, the checkout sheet gave me my pass/fail result (I passed!). After completing the CSP exam questions, I completed the post-exam survey and clicked submit. The next screen revealed that I had failed. I wasn't expecting this as I thought I'd get the results at the desk. So it was very disheartening because I had just spent a grueling 5.5 hours to complete the exam and though I had doubts of my success, I was still hopeful until the final screen notified me otherwise. It will be important to be prepared for on-screen final results - - brace yourself.

My CSP experience, while unsuccessful on the 1st attempt, helped me to understand what further information I needed to study to be successful, not only on the next CSP exam attempt, but in my career as a Safety Professional - - I need to stay focused on the end result. The Bowen EHS workshop provided a broad general overview of all safety topics and an in-depth review of key topics that are important to know and understand for success. The resource center has been invaluable with access to the materials and recorded messages. The personal touch and quick response time from Bowen EHS staff goes well beyond the typical classroom setting and really helps one feel that they are not in this alone. I highly recommend the Bowen EHS online course to those interested in furthering their knowledge and credentials as a safety professional!



Occupational Safety Consultant




Read 13827 times Updated on March 29, 2012