I have always been an avid note-taker, and this weekend I have been clearing
out a folder full of old notes. I came across an absolute gem which I thought you might find valuable.
I took my CBAP exam a year or so ago. On the train home from the exam centre, I wrote down my impressions of the exam itself.
I used the title: Notes made immediately after CBAP exam. AKA “Things I would tell myself if I was sitting this again”
I hope you find this insight useful!
My (largely unedited) notes are pasted below:
1. You have plenty of time: You have 3.5 hours to complete the exam (150 questions), this is more than adequate and allows time for re-visiting questions that you weren’t sure about.
2. RTFQ (read the ‘full’ question): The questions use very specific wording, and it would be incredibly easy to misinterpret them if you read them quickly. So read and re-read the question (and the answers) before submitting!
3. Watch out for negative phrasing: E.g. “Which is the LEAST appropriate reason……..”.
4. Terminology: It proved incredibly useful to know the exact terminology used in the BABOK. This comes in useful when trying to respond to a question you’re not sure about… you can eliminate some answers simply by realising that they aren’t proper BABOK terms:
Example: “Which techniques are used for xyz”. If an answer includes “Organisational diagramming” then it’s probably wrong… as the BABOK term is “Organisational modelling”
5. Ignore what other people are doing: In the exam I sat, there were two other candidates, one who was scribbling quite intensely on his scratch pad. I can only assume he was sitting another exam… although it was a little unnerving at first!
6. Be prepared for background noise: When I sat the exam, a class started in an adjoining room and I could clearly hear the instructors voice… which was a little distracting. If I was sitting it again, I would seriously consider bringing ear-plugs in case that happens again.
7. Don’t focus purely on 3rd party practice questions: IIBA do not issue past papers or practice questions, but a number of training organisations offer study guides or courses. The only way to prepare is to know the BABOK cover to cover. Practice questions from a reputable training supplier will be indispensable, but also reserve time for re-reading your BABOK study or training course notes
8. Plan for fatigue: I hadn’t sat an exam for a while, and started to suffer from fatigue where my mind wandered. It is worth preparing for this… e.g. more exam practice. And if it does happen, ask to take a bathroom break to get fresh air and re-focus the mind!
I hope you find these tips useful. Have you recently sat your CBAP exam? What tips would you give?