Preparing for the Exam
Preparing for any exam is a stressful time. The CSMLS would like to help you best prepare for the Certification Exam and support you in your journey of developing a study plan that works for you.
Use the Competency Profile for your discipline as a guide when you study. The Competency Profiles include the Examination Blueprint. The Blueprint is a guideline that shows the exam weighting for each category (how much each category is worth).
View Competency Profiles
The CSMLS does not provide a ‘study guide’ for any of our exams. There are no study guides or preparation courses that are sanctioned by the CSMLS. You must prepare your own study notes and prioritize your study time using the Competency Profile and Blueprints.
We often receive requests from nervous candidates seeking out the best way to ensure success on exam day. We have put together a short list of what we think are the most important elements. Like all examinations, preparation involves three components: mental, physical and emotional.
Mental Preparation: Know the Material
- Use the appropriate CSMLS Competency Profile to develop your own study notes.
- In the Competency Profile, consider the blueprint where it identifies the mark percentage for each category so you know how much each category is worth.
- Set up a study schedule three to six weeks before exams start.
- Create flash cards to help absorb the material in smaller segments (see Flash Card tips).
- Ensure you study each discipline, with a little more time for subjects you are having difficulty in.
- Study your most difficult subject FIRST, not your favourite!
Physical Preparation: Take Care of Yourself
- Take breaks where you get away from the books– long enough to relieve stress, but short enough to maintain focus.
- Keep caffeine and sugar intake at regular levels.
- Maintain an exercise schedule; even short bouts of exercise will get blood flowing and keep you alert and focused.
- Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time each day.
- Keep your life as balanced as possible, especially during exam time.
Emotional Preparation: Conquer Anxiety
- Often, exam anxiety is caused by lack of preparation. Have a plan in place to deal with problems encountered on the exam.
- Use positive self-talk.
- Staying up all night to study can cause anxiety that can lead to poor exam performance.
Flash Card Making Tips
We recommend making your own flash (or study) cards. Flash cards are an inexpensive and effective way to help you remember and retain important facts. The process of making flash cards often helps commit the information to memory.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Recipe or index cards are a great size for making flash cards.
- Create categories and write the category number in the corner of each card. Labelling the cards will help keep you organized if they get mixed up.
- Stick to one question, key term, or equation on the front of the card and place its corresponding answer on the back. Don't include more information on one card than you can reasonably recall later.
- Keep the cards clear and simple. Don’t be too wordy.
- Practice studying with your cards by reading the front of each card and trying to remember the answer on the back. As you go, set aside the cards you already know well and concentrate on your weaker areas the next time.
All exam candidates are required to read and complete the Exam Handbook and Application.
The Handbook contains all the information you need to prepare for writing the exam. It includes:
- Policies and procedures that candidates need to follow
- Explanation of how the exam is created and scored
- Details on how to apply for exams and eligibility criteria
- What to expect after you write the exam
- And much more!