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How to Study for Water Treatment License Exams

American Water College prepares water and wastewater treatment operators to pass their state license and certification exams the first time.

We thought it might be helpful to share some of the things we’ve learned over past decade about how to study for your next state water or wastewater treatment certification exam.  In addition to this introduction, we’ll be covering these topics in future posts:

  • How do you learn best?
  • Developing a Plan
  • Mastering Water Math
  • Getting the Big Picture
  • Writing it Down
  • Summarizing Key Information
  • Using Flash Cards
  • Learning the Language
  • Using Visual Study Aids

Operator Certification Exam Facts

As you begin to prepare for your state water or wastewater license exam, you might want to consider these facts:

  • Exam pass rate is around 50% nationwide
  • Test anxiety is high among test takers
  • Having a preparation plan reduces stress and increases exam success

Importance of Attitude

You may have heard “Your attitude determines your altitude” or “attitude is everything.”  The bottom line is:

  • If you think you can, you can – If you think you can’t, you’re probably right.
  • Approaching your preparation with a positive attitude will improve the effectiveness of your studies
  • Attitude really is everything!

Success Requires Effort

Our exam preparation courses come with a 100% Risk Free Guarantee.  If you put in the time and effort and complete the entire course, you are guaranteed to pass.  If you don’t pass, we’ll refund 100% of your money or extend your course access until you do pass.  The key is to put in the work.  Here are some quick tips we’ve seen proven time and again by our students:

  • The way you will perform on your test is directly related to the effort you put into your preparation
  • You’ll perform on “Game Day” the same way you practice
  • Work a little each day toward your exam success

Do-It-Yourself vs. Proven System

Some of you are do-it-yourselfers and like to study on your own without taking an organized exam preparation course.  For you, we have a FREE Course designed to give you some tips you may find useful as you prepare your own study plan.  We’ll be sharing some of the material in that course called “How to Prepare to Pass Your Certification Exam” in the next several posts.

For those of you who prefer a more organized exam prep course, we have tested and proven Exam Prep courses for Water Treatment, Distribution System, Wastewater Treatment, and Collection System.


Only half of the water and wastewater treatment operators pass their state certification exams each year.  99% of American Water College students who put in the work and complete their course, pass their exams the first time. You can increase your likelihood of success on your next exam to almost 100% by having the right attitude, putting in the effort to prepare, and using either the process outlined in our FREE “How to Prepare to Pass Your Certification Exam” course or by using one of our Guaranteed Exam Prep Courses.

Look for our next post when we’ll discuss the importance of knowing how you learn best.