One of the most challenging aspects of this exam is the breadth of knowledge that it covers. The ten domains cover a wide assortment of job skills and it’s rare that any single person will have direct experience in all ten. Instead, you’ll find that two of the domains (possibly more) are very familiar to you, and you’ll have to spend time studying the remaining domains.
Additionally, answering 250 questions in a straight six-hour period can be exhausting. I remember walking out of the exam with my brain feeling like mush. Doing the math, you can see that you’ll have close to 1-1/2 minutes to complete each question (360 minutes / 250 questions = 1.44 minutes). If you find yourself spending more than a minute on an exam question, move on. You don’t want to run out of time. After you finish with the first pass through the questions, you can come back to the ones you weren’t sure about. You can also mark up the exam booklet so if you know an answer is incorrect, cross it out so it’s easier to focus on the other answers.
Recognizing the marathon nature of the exam, you can take some steps to prepare yourself:
- Get a good night’s sleep before the exam.
- If you’re driving from out of the area, consider driving the night before and staying in a hotel. The cost of the hotel is a lot cheaper than the cost of retaking the exam ($550 or $600).
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- You know what food makes you feel good and what food weighs you down. Stay away from food that makes you tired and lethargic.
- Take breaks.
- Your mind will work better if you take a short break about once every 60 to 90 minutes. You can do something as simple as getting up, walking to the back of the room, and stretching.
- Bring something light to eat and drink.
- You’ll be able to place your food and drinks at the back of the room. When you want to take a break, it’ll be waiting for you. You won’t get extra time for any breaks, so the clock will still be ticking while you’re eating or drinking.