Pass Your Certification Exam – Developing a Winning Plan

Success with your certification exam

In my previous posts, we talked about Preparing to Pass, and the Seven Laws of Learning.  In this post, we’re going to take the principles that we learned and use them to Develop a Winning Plan as you approach your certification exams.

There are 4 steps to developing a winning plan:

  • Step 1: Identify required information
  • Step 2: Acquire necessary resources
  • Step 3: Establish a study schedule
  • Step 4: Stick to your plan

Let’s break these out and look at the steps individually.

Your first step to identifying the required information should be your state licensing agency.

Organizations like WEF or AWWA may have study guides to help you narrow down the information being tested.  Another option is to take a review course, such as those offered by American Water College.  Identify the information that you will need to know, and you’ll have won half the battle.

Step two has us acquiring the necessary resources.   These resources could be a study guide, a review course, or reference books.  The reference books provided by the Office of Water Programs at Sacramento State University are very good; they contain most everything that will be tested on your certification exam.

You’ll also want to create flashcards (see my post on the Seven Laws of Learning; repetition is required!), and possibly enroll in an online review course, or attend a classroom review.  You will want to do this well in advance of your test to make sure that you have adequate time to study.  American Water College offers online courses for Water Treatment, Distribution and Wastewater, as well as regional training; contact us, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter to see if we’re coming to an area near you!

The third step is to establish a study schedule.

It is important to begin early; we recommend taking 40 to 45 days before your exam, because you need the time to assimilate the information and to allow for repetition.

Also, be specific in your plan. Write down what you’re going to learn, when you’re going to learn it, and when you’re going to review it.

Be consistent in your schedule.  Cramming near the end of your study time, or learning too much at the beginning and not taking the time to review will greatly hinder your learning and your memorization of key facts.

Step four; Stick to your plan!  Make a commitment.  Just like a professional athlete, you must commit to succeeding and you must practice.  Don’t get distracted; turn off your TV and radio, and focus on your learning.  Don’t get discouraged; remember that you’re learning the information that you need to know to pass your certification exam.

Steps 1, 2 and 3 are the easy part.  American Water College has developed review courses that take care of these three steps; we have provided training that identifies the key exam concepts, delivers resources to aid your study, and we have provided a study schedule for you.  Step four is on you.  Commit to your success, and stick with your plan.

The courses offered by American Water College are designed with the Seven Laws of Learning in mind.  We teach for understanding rather than knowledge, and we build on the basics.  Each lesson is short so that you can take it in, and “digest” it in small pieces.  The study schedule is established, outlining what you will learn on each day, as well as which flashcards you will review.

Each course is grade-level-appropriate.  The lower level courses don’t cover the upper level concepts, while the upper level courses do contain the basics covered in all of the lower levels.  This is in line with the 4th Law of Learning; Understanding Begins with the Basics.

We believe you can succeed.  We have seen many students change their thinking, establish a winning study plan, and go on to pass their certification exams.  With our exam review courses and the resources available, we believe that you can too.  For American Water College, I’m Joe Kerschner.  Thanks for joining me.