As you know, our instructors are here to help you prepare for and pass your certification exams. From teaching online courses to meeting you online during study sessions, to setting up personal encouragement phone calls, our instructors' main goal is to see you through passing your certification exam.
BUT, did you know they also sit for the exams? We encourage our instructors to sit for the exam before their recertification date is up. We believe it is invaluable when reviewing the course materials and understanding what you may be going through while preparing for and taking the exam.
Below Russ reflects on his CSP exam experience, how he prepared, and the strategy he took when taking the CSP exam back in 2014. (originally posted December 2014)
Woooo Hooo!! YYYiipppeee!!! Hip hip hoorraaaayyyyyy!!!
I sat for the CSP® exam on Saturday, December 13th and I'm happy to say I was successful! As promised in my last musing, here are some thoughts on my exam experience.
First I'll say, I decided not to put in any extra study time in preparation since I've been teaching ASP/CSP review courses for over 10 years. I ate a good breakfast with grapefruit and oatmeal in the morning, and I arrived 30 minutes early at the testing center.
As I progressed through the exam, I decided to rate my confidence of each response as either certain, uncertain, or guess. I was certain with 88 of my responses, uncertain for 69 responses, and I guessed on 41. There were two responses where I failed to note my confidence level. I used the calculator on 18 questions and there was only one question where I believe an appropriate equation was missing.
My strategy on the exam was to go through the exam twice. I skipped and flagged each question that required additional thought. It took me about 3 hours to go through the exam the first time, and it took me about an hour to go through the remaining 30 questions that needed additional review.
The exam was an endurance test. It was difficult to remain focused for such a long period of time. I took one 5 minute sitting break at the computer with my head down and my eyes closed. That short break was time well spent.
I struggled with the language on many of the questions. I consider myself to be a competent safety professional, but I still struggled with questions asking about the "best" response or "first" step. There are many ways to define "best", and no specific definition was given. I believe a true professional will rarely say there is always one best method to address a specific hazard. Many times, we need to evaluate cost, quality, precision, timeliness, and other factors. Sometimes cost may be the driving variable, but other times quality is more important.
The testing center was very professional. They took a palm reading as well as a digital photo. I had a booklet of laminated, legal sized graph paper and a dry erase marker for notes and working out equations. They handed me earplugs and there was a set of earphones on the desk as well. I did not use either of these.
I believe taking the exam again was an invaluable experience, and I encourage other safety professionals to sit for the exam again as well. I wish for your continuous pursuit of self-improvement.