Tracy, A Success Story

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November 15, 2023
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Patrick J. Karol,

Tracy is a particular, even special person. When I think of her, I think of perseverance, dedication, persistence, goal-oriented, and a never-give-up attitude. Her story? She took and failed the Associate Safety Professional exam five (5) times before she passed. She didn't blame anyone for her struggles. She didn't cast aspersions at the exam or other exam prep tools. She did remain persistent and continued to pursue her goal. I spoke with Tracy after she attended our workshop and passed. Here's what she shared about her experience.

Pat: Was there one critical success factor that finally got you over the hump?

Tracy: The difference in the study material was most beneficial. I used different online materials and apps. They all had some benefits, and I did improve after each exam. I tried flashcards, but they didn't work. The Nito Solutions material with the answer explanations benefited me the most. Studying the answer sections gave me a broader knowledge base, allowing me to answer the question or eliminate answer options.

Pat: You attended our workshop in person but could have attended virtually. Why did you choose to participate in person?

Tracy: I discovered that I needed to be in class. I learned more about the study and exam-taking techniques that worked best for me that I didn't learn from the apps. Also, talking out loud during the discussions helped me better understand and retain the material, particularly the philosophies.

Pat: What exam-taking techniques worked best for you?

Tracy:  I checked my experience at the door and asked myself before the most challenging questions, "What is the BCSP looking for here?" It reminded me of something a college professor taught me when taking an exam: ask myself, "What are they asking for?" It was easy for me in my previous attempts to fall back on my experience to answer a question.

Pat: That tactic will serve you well on the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) exam. The CSP applies fundamentals from the ASP and includes more scenario-based questions. There is often more than one plausible answer. Relying on your experience in the case may serve you poorly.

Tracy: Next, I took frequent breaks, as suggested in the workshop. I took a break when I realized I was getting mentally exhausted, which was about every half hour.

Pat: Good point. In five years as an exam prep instructor, no one I know has run out of time on the exam. The ASP is a five-hour exam, and the CSP is 5 ½ hours. Most exam takers finish with plenty of time remaining.  

Tracy: I also used the laminated paper they gave you at the testing center to write down notes from the question. It was like talking out loud, which worked well for me.

Pat: Do you have any suggestions for someone considering an exam prep workshop?

Tracy: Yes! Two things: First, pay attention to the study tips covered in the workshop and determine which works best for you. Second, take the exam as soon as possible after the workshop. I waited too long due to some personal challenges. I plan to take the CSP exam soon after the workshop.

Pat: That's good advice. Scheduling about 30 minutes at a time for study and finding a place with limited distractions is critical. Mental distractors are often the toughest to handle. Keeping a notepad handy allows students to get mental distractions off their minds. Also, attendees who review the material before the workshop are more likely to schedule the exam soon after the workshop, often within two weeks, and do well.

Pat: Tracy, thanks for sharing your story and inspiring others who struggle to study or take exams. You became a better student, which made you a better exam taker.

Relearning effective study techniques is critical if you have been out of school for an extended period. Additionally, being intentional about taking breaks during study time and the exam ensures your time is well spent. Mental fatigue will become a factor and cause exam-takers to miss a keyword or the meaning altogether.

Persistence and perseverance are leadership characteristics and critical success factors in any goal, particularly stretch goals.