It’s finally here: Exam Day — at least for those of you taking the California Water Distribution Operator certification exam.
I hope you have followed my advice over the past few weeks, and did a little studying each day. Whether you have or not, what should you do today and tomorrow to make sure you squeeze the most points out of your effort — hopefully enough to get that license?
If you’re off today, some studying will be beneficial. But don’t overdo it. If you were running a marathon tomorrow, you would probably do a little light running today, just to stay loose. The same is true for the exam. So limit yourself to an hour or so of studying at a time. Then take a break for 30 – 60 minutes, and go back to it.
I find that the best studying just prior to the exam is going over practice exam questions. I think it’s too late to be looking up things in textbooks or doing online research. In your last minute studies, your objective should be to maximize the points you can score on topics with which you are already fairly comfortable.
If you have a practice exam, I would also suggest taking that today. Time yourself while you’re taking it. I think you will find that you will easily complete the exam in well under the three hours that the State will be giving you tomorrow. That should help you build confidence that you can be successful tomorrow, and also let you know that you won’t be rushed.
And if you’re working today, don’t overdo the studying when you get home. The most important contributor to your score at that point will be eating well tonight and tomorrow morning, and getting a good night’s sleep.
Take a look at Wednesday’s blog, if you haven’t already, for a few more tips.
During the exam tomorrow, slow down and take your time! That can be very difficult under the pressure of the exam, but it will definitely improve your score. Promise yourself that you will read each question at least twice before you answer it — and read it a third or fourth time if necessary. Many of the questions will have confusing wording, and you might be providing the correct answer to the wrong question — if you don’t slow down.
If you get to a question that you can’t answer, skip it! Move along to the next one. Make sure you skip it on the Scantron form, too! I recommend checking that you are on the right question number on your Scantron every time you flip a page of the exam. That way, if you did screw up, you only have to erase and re-do a few questions. You don’t want to discover that you’re off by one number as you’re answering the final question of the exam!
Also, the Scantron reading machines can be very sensitive. Make sure you are using the correct, No. 2 pencil. And bring a nice clean eraser, so your erasures will leave no extra marks or “shadows” that would cause the Scantron reader to mark your answer as incorrect.
And save at least five minutes at the end to double-check your Scantron. Make sure you answer every question — even if you have to guess at a few. Check those erasures to make sure they’re complete, and be sure that there are no questions with two answers — even if one of them is correct, you will get zero credit for that question.
Best of luck tomorrow!