Monday, September 01, 2014

What's the Fastest Way to Fail CPLP Knowledge Exam? Part I

Let's get straight to the heart of it:

Trying to study it all is the fastest way to fail the CPLP Knowledge Exam.

Many candidates who fail the exam make the mistake of equating "studying" to memorizing massive amounts of material (like a 700+ page PDF).

That's not studying; that's cognitive overload.

And cognitive overload marks the path to CPLP Knowledge Exam failure.

What is "cognitive overload"?

In a nutshell, "cognitive overload" happens when you flood your short-term memory (your working memory) with extraneous information that - gets "stuck" - and doesn't transfer to long-term memory.

This "non-relevant" extraneous information not only takes up critical "space" in your short-term memory (literally preventing additional study material from "getting in"), it also demands an exhaustive amount of mental processing to hang on to it - to keep it in memory.

(Because that's what temporary memory is for - temporary memory. If it won't transfer to long-term memory, it just sits in place, eating up your mental energy, and blocking meaningful information from getting in.)

It looks like this:

Most of us recognize this sensation as "feeling overwhelmed."

Feeling overwhelmed from cognitive overload is not the only problem caused by candidates trying to cram content (and calling it "studying").

Blindly trying to stuff more material into your head also:
  • Distracts your focus. You study all the wrong things, instead of being focused on the right things (the things that matter).
  • Zaps your energy (and motivation). Studying begins to weigh heavy on you, so you spend less and less time studying, which you know won't be to your advantage on the exam.
  • Gives you a false sense of exam readiness. You think just because you read the material that you're ready for the exam. Wrong. How well does that approach work for your learners? (or your kids on their homework?)
  • Wastes your time. You waste most (if not all) your time micro focused on the minute details, and not on the practical application of the essential concepts. You miss the Big Picture - which may be okay for an exam that's based on rote memorization and recall, but that's not the nature of the CPLP Knowledge Exam. The CPLP exam is based on real-world application, where you must filter what you know through your experience to arrive at the correct answer.

Trying to study everything is the path to exam disaster.

You know better; so do better!

Just because you read it doesn't mean you can apply it... and certainly doesn't mean you can put it into practice answering application-level (scenario-based) questions on an exam (like the CPLP).

Here's an example --

You may or may not get a question like this one - featuring one of the hundreds of obscure theories seemingly randomly referenced in the ATD materials --

but you will FOR SURE get questions (several, in fact) on the Kirkpatrick 4 Levels of Evaluation - like this one --

Get the answers! Visit:

Where do you want to spend your study time?

Trying to memorize obscure terms and definitions from 700+ pages of content in the ATD Learning System PDF?

Or --

FOCUS your study efforts on the CORE subject matter -- the material CENTRAL to the Competency Model and to the CPLP exam?

What's the path to success?

Triage. Prioritize. Pay attention to what's important.

Do this by developing a personal Study Plan that is:

Deliberate. Strategic. Targeted. Focused. Intentional.

How do you know what's CORE? What's CENTRAL to the exam?

It's easier than you think!

I've written a book, workshops, and online courses about it -- but 

-- I'll show you in my next blog post!

To your success!

~ trish 

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