This certification blog was written by David Nicholas, CRCE. David presently serves on the Executive Certification Committee and is a member of the Virginia State AAHAM Chapter.
Over these past several years since my sitting for and passing the formerly known as CPAM exam, now called the CRCE exam, I have had the opportunity to grade many exams of others around the country who are also interested in becoming certified. I have been saddened to see the low pass rate, and had a feeling that there may be folks who didn’t realize the importance of preparing for their exam. Possibly feeling maybe that they have been in the field a long time and already had all the knowledge needed to pass, but find out that there are many things that are in the exam that we don’t necessarily come upon in our daily lives that are important to know at more in-depth level. Passing your exam is a continued testament to the knowledge and expertise you have in your field and I’m very interested in seeing all who sit for the exam, pass it with flying colors. So, to that end I wanted to share what I did to prepare myself for the exam in hopes that it will help others pass theirs.
The one thing I realized when I looked at that very thick study guide is that I had to be serious about studying for and taking this exam. There is a lot of detail in the manual, and the test costs real money that I didn’t want to waste. So, I made a plan to put in the time to read through the manual each week. I gave myself 3 months to prepare for exam. I planned to, and usually did, put in at least eight hours over a weekend plus 2 hours 1-2 nights a week. During these study sessions I searched out the things that were the most difficult for me and I highlighted them in the book so I could go back to them several times during my study time and refresh my memory on them. The other material that I felt I was pretty comfortable with (calculations mostly), I would only review occasionally. This methodology allowed me to really focus on my weaknesses. The other very important part of my preparation was attending a group study session that was provided by my local chapter. This particular one was a 1-day, several hour session that was given by the local certification chair. She helped me continue to focus in on what was important, and helped by clearing up my misinterpretations of the information I was studying. I can’t tell you how valuable this was, and as I look back, what a small amount of time that really was in the grand scheme of things.
I know this doesn’t seem like rocket science to some of you, but I hope that my message resonated with many and will help those folks who might have struggled during the exam, go in with confidence and come out with a passing grade. Put in the time and effort, the rewards will soon follow!