One of the common mistakes safety professionals make when seeking CIH certification is timing and preparedness when studying for the CIH exam. A question that often gets asked is "when do I know if I'm ready to try to pass the exam?" Most safety professionals will seek either on-line or classroom courses to help prepare themselves for the exam. It is highly recommended that you complete one of these helpful courses. The following are five helpful tips to decide if you are ready to pass the exam:
1. Have you taken an exam prep course? These can be a great way to either kick off your studying or to review the material if you have already been preparing. If you feel that you have prepared adequately before taking the course, you may only need an additional 2-4 weeks of studying. If the course was your first introduction to exam preparation, it is in your best interest to take the time needed (at least 2-3 months) to review the materials from the course and learn any concepts that you have not yet mastered.
2. If you take a CIH prep course, be sure to make flash cards of concepts as well as important facts that you will need to have memorized. Decide on a certain number of flash cards that you will master each day, then put in the time to reach your goal. Once you feel you are comfortable with the material and you can recall approximately 90% of the material from your flash cards, you can feel confident that you will be prepared to take the exam. Of course this is only true if your flash cards cover the right material, so take the time to make sure you are studying the right material! Flash cards should cover each of the topics that will be covered on the exam.
3. Most courses provide example questions to help you prepare for the exam. You should be able to easily go through these questions before you sit for the real exam. If you find yourself struggling with several of these questions or concepts, you may not quite be ready to sit for the exam. Ideally you would like to be able to score at or above 90% for any practice exams or test you take prior to taking the real test.
4. Perhaps the best test to gauge your readiness for the exam is if you are able to not only learn the material, but to also teach it to someone else. Once you feel confident that you can explain the material to someone else without having to rely on your notes, you will know that you have really mastered the concepts.
5. Make sure you understand the formulas that will be provided to you on the exam and how to use them. These formulas are essential for passing the exam however, if you do not understand them then they will not be of much use come test day. Perhaps equally as important, make sure you are comfortable with the calculator that you will be using on test day. You should be using the same calculator you plan to use on your test as you are studying and preparing. Make certain that the calculator you are using is on the ABIH list of approved calculators. If you get to the test center and learn that your calculator is not approved, this could prove devastating, not to mention cost you valuable testing time, if you are forced to use a calculator that you are not familiar with.
Remember the goal for most people is to pass the exam, not score 100%. However, you still want to aim to score well above the actual required passing score to ensure you have the needed confidence and preparedness going into the exam. Give yourself the time needed to properly prepare for the exam. Master each of the concepts in that will be tested and come test day you will be confident and ready! Good luck, and remember people pass the CIH exam every year. You can too!