Monday, May 21, 2007

CPLP Knowledge-Based Exam Strategies

The Certified Professional in Learning & Performance (CPLP) knowledge-based exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions -- all delivered one question at a time via a computer screen.

The exam covers subject matter from across the nine (9) areas of expertise outlined in the 2004 ASTD Competency Model and presents questions that range from understanding definitions to applying knowledge.

The exam is timed. Time is tracked and displayed by the computer system. Candidates must complete the exam within the allotted time.

It's all meant to test comprehension of material from across the workplace learning & performance industry.

Clearly, studying for an exam so broad in subject matter can be a daunting task (understatement!). Preparation is key!

Click here to visit the ASTD Certification Institute site to view example test questions. (Note: This link opens a Word document in the browser.)

Looking for practice questions with a bit of remediation?

Click here to checkout the Owl's Ledge sample practice exam.

If you're looking for something more robust, click here to checkout the full set of Owl's Ledge online practice exams - 120+ questions!

Prep early, prep often -- the penalty for failing the exam is a $350 re-test fee to sit the exam again.

On top of studying a lot of stuff, sitting a multiple choice exam presents its own unique set of pros and cons.

On the pro side, with the nature of a multiple choice question, you know that the correct answer is there somewhere (and doesn't have to be rattled off the top of your head).

On the con side, that means that multiple choice questions often demand a greater familiarity with details such as specific facts.

Have hope! There are universal multiple choice test taking techniques you can use to increase your success rate, especially on questions that throw you for a loop.

Here are some some things to keep in mind:

  • Watch for questions where responses use absolute words, such as "always" or "never." These are less likely to be correct responses than ones that use conditional words like "usually" or "probably."

  • Humourous responses are usually just that -- humourous -- and no more.

  • "All of the above" is often a correct response. If you can verify that more than one of the other responses is probably correct, then choose "all of the above."

  • "None of the above" is usually an incorrect response, but this is less reliable than the "all of the above" rule.

  • Look for grammatical clues. If the stem ends with the indefinite article "an," for example, then the correct response probably begins with a vowel.

  • Read through all of the answers first, then select the best one. Tip! Read the answer choices from bottom to top to slow yourself down and give yourself a chance to consider all answers before selecting one.
  • Look for verbal associations. A response that repeats key words that are in the stem is likely to be correct.

Also keep in mind - you can mark questions and return to them later. This way, you can temporarily skip over questions you don't immediately know the answer to -- and return to them later.

Finally -- Practice Practice Practice. Not just practice in studying the material, but practice sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods of time. You're going to be in that exam center for a while -- so get your body acclimated to that kind of environment before you sit the exam.

(I know, I know -- some of us are already all too familiar with this!)

Figure out how you perform best on these types of exams and head to the testing center with your own personal strategy.

From all of us here at the 'Ledge, good luck!

~ Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP
Owl's Ledge LLC

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