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Exam success factors

Before the exam on exam Day

Taking the exam - overview

Answering exam questions







Exam Success Factors - Behaviors that Lead to Passing the Exam?

  1. Set a goal to pass the exam. This is for you and your career. Preparing and taking the exam is a short term intensive effort. Delegate or postpone other activities to free time for study. Put in the time necessary. Get family support.
  2. Use the APICS Exam Content Manual (ECM) as a study guide. Obtain study resources that supplement gaps in your understanding of the material.
  3. Repetitive review of study material will provide better recall at exam time than reading the material once. Develop a reading and study routine over several weeks. If you are taking a course, this pace is set for you.
  4. Read using the successive pass technique. Pass 1 and 2 plus completion of the OPS-MATH exercises are the minimum required preparation before attending class.
    1. Pass 1. A 10-15 minute perusal of the entire reading assignment. Focus on the main headings, subheadings, charts, graphs. Read only small parts of the text to bring context to the headings and subheadings. Complete in one sitting.       
    2. Pass 2. A time-limit fast read. Multiply the number of pages you need to read by 1.5 minutes. This is the time you need to put aside for this pass. Read the entire assignment in this amount of time. Some pages will take more time, some less. Complete within the time allotted and in one sitting.       
    3. Pass 3. Read every word and study charts and graphs in detail. This pass may take more than one sitting and can be completed on different days.
  5. If you are behind on reading.
    1.  Don’t read a past assignment at the expense of the current assignment. It is more important to come to the next class prepared.       
    2.  Catch up on past due reading – most recent first and work backward.       
    3.  Find small amounts of time to catch up such as lunch, waiting at the Dr.’s office, during travel, or before bedtime. Waiting to get 2-3 hours of study time leads to procrastination.
  6. Attend and be an active participant in classes.
  7. Study the vocabulary.
  8. Repetition is your friend. Read and re-read. Practice the OPS-MATH exercises. This is particularly important between the time of your last class and the examination.
  9. Study the material intensively (cram) the week before the exam date. This should not have been the first read of the material, but if it is, it’s better than not reading at all.
  10. Take the exam within three weeks of the last class. The longer you wait the more you forget.
  11. Take a day off work the day prior to the exam and use it for intense study. This should not be the first time you have read the material and practiced the OPS-MATH exercises. If it is, your chances of passing are reduced, but it's better than skipping it altogether.

Before the exam on exam day.

  1. If time permits, study for the exam but not for more than one hour. Focus on overall concepts or areas you feel weak in.
  2. Eat a light meal before driving to the exam site.
  3. Bring your reading glasses, a pencil, and basic calculator.
  4. If you have a cold, bring tissues, cough drops, etc. If you are not accustomed to taking over-the-counter cold medications this may not be the day to experiment. Some medications may cause nervousness or drowsiness.
  5. Plan to arrive at the exam location 45 minutes early. You will have to check in with identification. This will allow for unforeseen delays and cause less stress than arriving late.
  6. Make sure that you have read the Registration Bulletin and have brought all items you need and make sure you don’t bring disallowed items.
  7. Think positive!

Taking the exam - Overview

  1. Use all time given to complete the exam.
  2. Know your takt time; that is the time you have to answer each question on average. Multiply the number of hours allowed for the exam by 3,600 (number of seconds in an hour) and divide your answer by the number of questions. This is the number of seconds you have, on average, to answer each question. Some questions will take you longer to answer than others.
  3. Don’t dwell on a question too long. Mark it and come back later. Sometimes answering more questions will refresh your memory and make that question easier when you come back to it.
  4. After you have finished the first pass on the exam, return to any question you skipped.
  5. Don’t leave any question unanswered. Blanks count as wrong answers. If you guess, you have a 25% chance. If you can eliminate two possible answers, you have a 50% chance.
  6. After you have finished the second pass, go back and spot-check your answers.
  7. If you get fatigued, stop your work, look forward, and close your eyes. Count to 30 silently and slowly in cadence with slow, shallow breathing. It is a better use of your time to relax for a minute or two than it is to press forward with fatigue.

Answering Exam Questions

  1. Answer exam questions from an academic point of view, not from personal experience. Personal experience that does not align with the study material may result in an incorrect answer.
  2. There are four possible ways you can get the answer correct.
    1. You know the answer. There are rare times when you know the answer as soon as you finish reading the question and you are searching the answer choices for it. No matter how much studying you do, this will not happen often.
    2. Evaluating the answer choices to choose the best. You read each answer choice and eliminate the ones you don't think are possible and then choosing the best from what's left. Your success with this careful analysis will be a direct result of your studying. You will use this process for almost every question.
    3. You learn the answer.  Sometimes you will not be able to choose the best answer. Don't spend too much time on it. Mark the question and return to it at the end of the exam. Sometimes a future question or answer choice will trigger a thought that will lead you to confidence in answering the question.
    4. You guess the answer. Don’t leave any question unanswered. Blanks count as wrong answers. If you guess, you have a 25% chance. If you can eliminate two possible answers, you have a 50% chance.
  3. Read the question. If it confuses you, ask yourself, "What is this question asking me?"
  4. Read each answer and determine if it’s a possible answer or not. You can usually eliminate at least two possible answers.
  5. Review the answers that you thought were possible answers and pick the best one. Is one answer a subset of the other?
  6. Watch out for 'except,' 'almost', and 'never.'
  7. Some correct answers may be obvious to you but you may have a tendency to think there is a hidden meaning to the question. This will get you off track. Don’t read anything in to the question.
  8. After you have selected an answer, go back and re-read the question and your answer selection as one complete statement. If you are satisfied, then mark your answer.
  9. Keep in mind that you are looking at the correct answer because this is a multiple choice exam.