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Study tips for your CRSP exam prep

During our classes, we have the adult students discuss how they are studying and what they think is the best way to prepare for this comprehensive examination. There are tons of good ideas that are shared. So many that I thought I’d put them in an article and start a LinkedIn group for those who are currently in the process.

I hope that, over time, the database of ideas and practice questions will become a helpful place for candidates to visit and participate. Here are a few to consider:

•    Give yourself significant time to study and prepare. Seeking professional designation is not for the faint of heart. Give yourself sufficient time to formulate and execute a study plan. You’ll likely be a CRSP for the rest of your career. Take the time to do it right.

•    Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t successful the first time. There are many common reasons for being unsuccessful. The most common one is that the plan the candidate had to study and prepare was not executed because of work or family pressures and events. There is no shame in not being successful. And once you finally succeed, you don’t put how many tries it took you to succeed. You don’t indicate: “John Smith CRSP (it took me twice).” It just never happens. Some of the finest CRSPs I know were not successful the first time they tried, and nobody needs to know that.

•    Read the 147 competencies and develop three questions that you would ask another exam prep student to determine if they know the subject of the competency. Use the BCRSP’s study guides, recommended texts or the Examination Prep Course materials you’ve received if you’ve taken a course.

•    Make flash cards for the “memory” work portions of the domains. Put the question on one side and the answer on the opposite side. For example:

•    Who is Sir Percival Potts?

•    What is Douglas McGregor known for?

•    Describe the PDCA Cycle

•    Seek out an expert in the fields of expertise you are struggling with (hygienist, OH nurse, and/or engineer) and ask their assistance for the “tough” questions.

•    Read, read, read. I know that in our preparation courses, students who read the material just before the practice questions claim that they learn a great deal by just reading the study material. Let me demonstrate: The National Safety Council (NSC) Method of Risk Analysis is based on this formula: Risk = Probability + Severity + Exposure. Remember this!

•    As you read through the materials you have, create a colour coding system to indicate your progress and level of understanding. Mark each page of information with a colour that indicates how well you know the material on the page. For example: green means “good to go”; yellow means “know it well”; red means “needs more work and review”; and another colour for “don’t know this subject well at all.” As you start to increase your confidence with the material, change the colour to reflect your progress. This will not only refine your study over time, it will be a great confidence builder as you see your knowledge increasing over time.

•    Create memory joggers for yourself to help you remember the information you are struggling with. If you’ve ever studied music, you remember the simple example of remembering what notes belong where on the music sheet (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge — or Fun, for those of us wanting to avoid sugar).

•    One way to ensure you really know and understand something is to prepare to teach it to others. Find fellow CRSP candidates in your area and create a study group. Divide the work among the participants and have each prepare a session to discuss one of the competencies to the others.

•    An important tip is to study what you don’t know and spend less time on what you do know. Humans are pretty predictable. We have a tendency to read what we like and avoid what we don’t like. Once you’ve organized what you know and what you need to work on, then you should schedule your reading and study based on your analysis of areas where you need to improve.

•    Take a course on the subjects you are weak in. If Occupational Hygiene is an area you need to work on, find an online course or one at a local university and refresh your knowledge. If fire protection hasn’t been a big part of your career, so far, find a course or befriend a fellow professional who has had that experience to help you understand.

•    What is the National Safety Council’s Risk Assessment Formula? (After you’ve answered this question, see point #6 above). You probably got it right! If not — read, read, read.

I hope some of these tips have helped you feel more confident with your preparation. Feel free to join our LinkedIn Group and email or call us for our study materials and course schedule. We’re in this together and the CRSP designation is about getting more professionals, not keeping people out. Most CRSPs that I know will be happy to help you anyway they can.

Alan D. Quilley, CRSP

Alan D. Quilley is the author of “The Emperor Has No Hard Hat — Achieving REAL Safety Results” and the President of Safety Results Ltd. a Sherwood Park Alberta OH&S Consulting Company. Visit www.safetyresults.wordpress.com for more information.
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