The State Test Is Coming!

Today is the last weekday of July. That means August is upon us next week, and September is right behind that. Saturday, September 18, is the date for the next California Water Distribution Operator exam. And now is the time to get ready!
How should you prepare? It’s much like the old joke, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” There is a huge body of information that you should know, and you can’t eat that “elephant” in one sitting. Most people think that learning is not really hard work, because you are sitting — or maybe even lying down — while you’re studying. But it is very hard work for your brain, and your brain gets tired. Just like you can’t perform manual labor tasks when you’re tired, you can’t learn if your brain is tired. So the first step to successful studying is pacing yourself — eating the elephant one bite at a time.
Studies have shown that learning actually deteriorates after about 8 minutes in most people. Apparently, the brain gets tired pretty fast! I think 8 minutes is too short of a period to devote to studying, but it is another indication that “cramming” for an exam, or “doing an all-nighter” is not very effective.
And that’s why I’m writing today about an exam seven weeks away. You need to start studying now! My recommendation is that you commit to yourself that you will study for at least one hour each week between now and exam time. Start this weekend! Just one hour!
For those of you who have taken my exam review classes, recall that they are broken down into eight sections. Read through the notes for Section 1 this weekend. Redo the Quiz for this Section. We do this in class in about one hour, so it should only take you about one hour to review it. Next weekend, do Section 2, and continue to do one Section each week.
Since it’s still early, if you come across a topic or two that you don’t remember or don’t fully grasp, you have plenty of time to take out a reference book and read up on it a little. Or you can talk with some of your co-workers about it. Or you can e-mail me at
Commit to yourself that you will pass this test! And that you will devote at least one hour per week to your studies. If you keep to this schedule, you should do just fine. And you’ll probably notice that on test day, you feel a lot more relaxed and confident — two essential keys to your success.

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