When taking a professional certification or license test, sometimes every little hint and personal account can help. This month starts a three month series containing personal stories of studying for, taking and passing the Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) test.
We would like to thank our HRA-INCOSE members Michele King, Robin Smith and Kelly Moses for sharing their perspectives. This month's account is provided by Robin Smith, PMP, CSEP.
Creating a study schedule for yourself is extremely important. I started studying in the late August and tested in late October. I read through the book first and just highlighted concepts that seemed important to me. Then, I went through each chapter and studied for terms and concepts. I used Reed Integration’s prep materials and practice exams to help remember definitions. It was a total rinse and repeat effort. I studied everyday for at least an hour. The last week prior to the exam, I took practice exams every day. The testing experience for me was nerve wrecking. I was scheduled to test at 8 am, however my exam didn’t start until around 10. I believe those two hours of waiting caused me more anxiety and stress. I felt uneasy during the first 30 minutes or so of the test. The first couple of questions seem like gibberish to me. My mind was coming back blank. But after recognizing things I did know, the information came back to me and I was ready to complete the test. I finished the test with like 15 minutes to spare. I reviewed my first questions (the ones that were once gibberish) and understood what they were asking for. Surprisingly, I did not change my initial responses and reasoned within myself that I had chosen the right answer. I pressed submit and waited. And waited. And waited. Then I realized I PASSED – THANK GOD!!
In comparison to the Project Management Professional (PMP) test, I think I was more anxious for the CSEP test. However I think was more prepared – meaning I knew the material more. I really think that 2 hours of waiting to test messed with my head.