How Long Does it Take to Prepare for an ASP or CSP Exam?

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March 31, 2022
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Patrick J. Karol,

That’s easily the top question Robert, Richard, and I get at our workshops. It’s understandable. Prospective ASPs and CSPs want to plan their study timeline and need to know. The short answer is, it depends. More precisely, it depends mainly on the answer to these three questions:

  1. What is your gap in knowledge, and what extent of the gap or gaps?

The BCSP publishes nine (9) domains or topics for the ASP and CSP exams. The more gaps among the domains, the more time required to prepare. Additionally, each domain is weighted differently. Your gap in a domain representing 7% of the exam has a lesser impact than a gap in a domain representing 14.5%. If you have limited or no knowledge of a particular domain, such as environmental safety management, which represents 8.7% of the ASP, you have a considerable gap that will take consistent and dedicated study over several days. One benefit of attending a workshop is clearly identifying your knowledge gap. Based on feedback from those who completed a Nito Solutions workshop and fully understood the course material, 5-14 days is often adequate time to prepare, pending your answer to the following questions.

  1. What is your goal for the exam?

Your goal factors into your study plan. Is your goal to simply pass the exam? Then a minimum amount of time may be all you need. Hopefully, your goal is to achieve a long-term understanding of the material or select domains. If so, distributed learning over time is more beneficial than a very short period of intense study. Numerous studies support the practice of spreading out study sessions over more extended periods to improve retention in long-term memory. For example, if you think you need 25 hours to prepare, it is more effective to study for one hour per day for 25 days than trying to complete all 25 hours of study over five days.

Spaced learning is effective because it ties into the overall process of how we form strong memories. A strong memory is like a two-way street. Over time we forget what goes in, but when we return to that material later, our attempt to recall the material jogs our memory. Engaging in this two-way process of forgetting and retrieval improves our retention.

  1. What is your current schedule?

Your schedule at home and work plays a role in your timeline. Do you have discretionary time during your week? How much time can you carve out? 10 minutes here and there adds up. Document what you spend your time on. Is there an opportunity to drop a low-impact activity for a few weeks? Are there times when you are less distracted? That could be an ideal time to study? Having a study plan to address a hectic work and home life reduces anxiety and allows you to get the most out of your study time.

An effective scheduling tactic is to work backward. Schedule the exam and then schedule study time up to that date. Paying for and scheduling the exam invokes a sense of urgency to build and implement your study plan. One tactic that we don’t recommend is cramming. See our blog titled “Does Cramming Work?”

How long it takes to prepare for the ASP or CSP exam is something every aspiring credential holder must work out for themselves. Above all, having a study plan based on these questions will reduce exam anxiety and increase your chances of passing.

Good luck with the exam!

Do you want to learn more about study techniques and exam-taking strategies? Consider taking one of our ASP or CSP workshops. See our schedule at nitosolutions@