ASP/CSP Helpful Hints

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

A self-evaluation will help you determine how well you know various subjects included on BCSP examinations. Simply rate yourself on each major and minor subject area included on the examination for which you are preparing. Focus especially on the knowledge and skill statements. The safety discipline requires knowledge in many different subjects. A rating form to help you evaluate your knowledge appears later in this section. Also, refer to the detailed examination blueprints in the Safety Fundamentals Examination and Comprehensive Practice Examination Guides.

Have an Examination Preparation Plan

You can use your ratings to help establish a study plan. The examination blueprint shows how the items on an examination are distributed across domains and responsibilities. While the exact number of items devoted to each responsibility may vary on an actual examination, one can estimate about how many items may be devoted to each particular subject by assuming a uniform distribution within a domain.

The total number of scored items you get correct on a BCSP examination determines whether you pass. The goal is to get enough scored items correct to pass the examination. Scoring well in one subject area can compensate for a weaker score in another subject area. However, there may not be enough items in your strong areas to achieve a passing score.

You will have to get items correct in your moderate and weak areas to pass. Use this information to form a preparation strategy. If you know a subject well and are likely to get most items for that subject correct on the examination, you have few additional opportunities to increase your score within that subject. If you are likely to get few items correct for another subject, you have a larger number of chances to gain points by studying that subject.

Convert your subject strengths and weaknesses into a study plan that is likely to increase your overall examination score. You will want to refresh your knowledge in all subjects. It is also a good idea to study subjects that offer the greatest opportunity to increase your overall score. Make a chart of subjects. List for yourself how you will prepare for each subject. You may want to identify study hours for each, create a study schedule, or even chart out how you plan to prepare for each subject (reading, practicing working calculations, study group, refresher course, etc.).

Note that knowledge and understanding are essential in passing the examinations. Relying only on simulated examination items is not the best way to increase knowledge and understanding that form the foundation for examination items. Use simulated items to provide insight into the areas in which you should engage in additional study.

Develop a Test-taking Strategy

Knowing how to take examinations will help improve your score. BCSP examinations use multiplechoice items. Each item has one correct answer and three incorrect answers. Remember, the goal is to get as many items correct as possible. There is no penalty on BCSP examinations for incorrect answers. Only correct answers count toward reaching the passing score. All scored items have the same value.

Guess intelligently

If you do not know the answer to an item or are not sure about it, you should guess intelligently. Look for choices you know are incorrect or do not appear as plausible as others. Choose your answer from among the remaining choices. This increases your chance of selecting a correct answer.

Read the items carefully

Read each item carefully. Consider the item from the viewpoint of an examination item writer. Look for the item focus. Each item evaluates some subject or kernel of knowledge. Try to identify what knowledge the item is trying to test. Avoid reading things into an item. The item can only test on the information actually included. Recognize some items may include information that is not needed for correctly answering them.

Consider the context

Often an item is framed around a particular industry or situation. Even if you do not work in that industry or have not experienced a particular situation, the item may be testing knowledge that you have. Avoid dismissing an item because of the context.

Use examination time wisely

When taking your examination, complete those items first that you know or can answer quickly. Then go back to items that were difficult for you or required considerable time to read, analyze, or compute. This approach allows you to build your score as quickly as possible. You may want to go back over skipped or marked items several times.

Complete skipped items

After you have gone through the examination once or if you are running out of time, look for items that you have not answered. Select an answer for any skipped or incomplete item. By chance alone, you can get one of every four correct. There is no penalty for wrong answers.

Go back to troublesome items

It is a good idea to mark items you are not sure about or items that are difficult for you. After you have worked through the entire examination, go back to marked items. Reread the items and study the choices again. You may recall some knowledge or information that you had not considered earlier and be able to answer the item correctly. You may also be able to eliminate a choice that is not correct and increase your chance of guessing the correct answer.

Understand How to Use Your Calculator

Some items on BCSP examinations require computations to obtain the correct answer. You must bring your own calculator(s), and your calculator(s) must comply with the BCSP calculator rules. Make sure you know how to use your calculator since you could waste valuable time trying to understand how to use your calculator once your examination clock starts. You could also make computational errors if you have not practiced using your calculator. It is a good idea to practice working solutions to computational problems to be able to recall the correct calculator procedures.

All question and answer content has been provided using the following resource: Board of Certified Safety Professionals website (