Top 5 Mistakes Exam Takers Make

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November 22, 2023
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Patrick J. Karol,

You have 5 hours to complete the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) exam and 5 ½ hours for the Certified Safety Professional(CSP) exam. Both are 200 multiple-choice questions. That is ample time for either exam, so there is no need to rush. Right? Yet, rushing is an easy mistake that many exam takers make. Giving away points by rushing could be the difference between passing and failing. Nothing can take the wind out of an aspiring CSP's sails than failing the exam by one or two points.

As Nito Solutions instructors, we hear from many exam takers who have shared their experiences. Here is what we have learned: if you want to avoid giving away points and reduce your risk of failing, avoid these mistakes:

  1. Fatigue – Both     ASP and CSP exams are 200 multiple-choice questions. Mental and physical fatigue can quickly and silently creep in. Signs of fatigue include forgetting the question, rereading a question or answers multiple times, skipping questions, or being easily distracted by thoughts, sounds, or objects around you. Signs of physical fatigue include slumping in your chair and fidgety, nervous, or restless feelings. If you notice these signs, it's time to take a break. Planning to take a break every hour is advisable.
  2. Rushing – This one is my biggest mistake. You have 5 hours to complete the ASP and 5 ½ hours for the CSP. You will not run out of time. Rushing causes undue stress and leads to not carefully reading the question AND the answer or skimming. Skimming can happen when we rush through seemingly straightforward questions. The problem I encounter is that my focus diverts to the clock ticking in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Too often, I allow it to put me in rush mode. I have to remind myself that I have plenty of time. In five years as an exam prep instructor, I have never, not once, had anyone tell me that they ran out of time. You will not run out of time!
  3. Changing your answer  – Trust your gut. Don't change an answer after you initially answered the question. It's most likely the correct answer. Stick with your gut unless you see the question answered or see a clue in another question. If you are having second thoughts, make a note on the laminated paper. Return to it if you see it answered in another question. Don't second-guess yourself.
  4. Failing to understand the principles – Don't attempt to memorize questions and answers from a study guide. You will not see the same questions on the exam.     Understand the principles or concepts required to answer the problem. If you are using the Nito Solutions study guide, read the answer sections for context and additional information.
  5. Applying your experience - Applying your experience or over-generalizing rather than asking yourself, "What is the BCSP looking for?" Many questions, particularly on the CSP exam, are scenario-based questions that require you to apply fundamentals, principles, or current management theory. In your experience, you may take a different action contrary to current management or leadership theory. Check your experience at the door.

Every point counts. Avoiding these mistakes will help to ensure you do not give away points. In Nito Solutions workshops, we cover study and exam-taking techniques because you want to pursue something other than retaking the exam.