3 Tips for Getting the Most from Your Exam Prep Workshop

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March 11, 2024
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Patrick J. Karol,

Do you plan to attend an exam preparation workshop? Or are you thinking about attending? A three-day exam prep workshop is exhausting—there’s no getting around it. It’s also a significant investment in time and money. The return on this investment is a certification. Like so many other things in life, you get out only as much as you put in. Follow this strategy to get the most out of your workshop.


Participate in the discussions. When we think of sitting in a workshop or studying for an exam, we generally imagine ourselves sitting quietly, reading, listening to a lecture, and taking notes. However, studies suggest more active learning strategies can be more effective. For starters, participate in the discussions. If there are fifteen workshop attendees, that’s fifteen potential perspectives that offer an opportunity to learn and retain new knowledge. Everyone has a unique experience and if we are willing to share knowledge from that experience, we all benefit. Additionally, questions are good…ask! I don’t have any empirical data, but I suspect at least one other person in the workshop has the same question.


Take notes, but not in the typical fashion. As attendees take their seats on the first day of the workshop, I see them reach for their laptops or iPads to type notes. This seems to be an efficient method for capturing notes. However, more studies are beginning to prove that writing your notes in longhand fashion using pen and paper improves our retention and ability to process new information. Going old school forces you to boil down the information, summarize essential points, and carefully organize your notes. Highlighting important passages, as I like to do, has been shown to be worse than useless,

Doodling your notes and drawing out concepts has also significantly increased recall. It works particularly well for recalling steps in a process, such as steps in the lockout/tagout process. If you are studying alone, reading the material out loud can also help you remember and recall the information.  

Understand your goals. We always suggest, more like insist on two goals. The first is a short-term goal to be accomplished by the end of the 3-day workshop. Identify your gaps in knowledge. This also applies if you use Nito Solutions exam prep material alone to prepare for the exam. The ASP and CSP exam reflects the broad nature of the safety, health, and environment profession. As you might expect, the workshop covers far more material than we can learn and retain in only 3 days. Identifying your gaps in knowledge uses your workshop time wisely and lays the groundwork for your study plan.

The long-term goal to be accomplished within the following 12 weeks is to pass the exam. It sounds simple, but there are two essential reasons for this goal. First, you are likely to see questions on the exam that seem to come from out of the blue or questions with more than one plausible answer (CSP exam). When you come to this question, remind yourself, “My goal is to pass the exam!” We often tell workshop attendees you can “make a point” or“ get a point.” The best answer is frequently the answer the BCSP is looking for, not the answer you want to give based on your experience.

Second, waiting longer than 12 weeks to take the exam runs the risk of forgetting material already learned. It’s the law of recency, which states that material most recently learned is best remembered. Conversely, the longer a workshop attendee takes to sit for the exam, the more difficult it is to remember. The law of recency is one of Thorndike’s Laws of Learning, a topic on both exams. For more on Thorndike, see our blog: Who is Edward Thorndike and why does it matter?

If you plan to invest your time and resources in a Nito Solutions 3-day exam prep workshop, get the most out of it by following these tips, participating in the discussions, taking notes the old-fashioned way, and sticking to your goals. Tips #2 and 3 apply if you plan to study alone using Nito Solutions without attending a workshop. An exam prep workshop is a great opportunity and the first step towards certification. Take full advantage of it.

For more questions about our exam prep materials or workshops, contact us.