A comment often heard after completion or leading up to the CMP exam is that the questions are vague, ambiguous, tricky, or unclear. To which the answer is……. wait for it….. Yes. No question that some of the questions are tricky, ambiguous and unclear. However, it is your challenge to dissect the question and determine what the BEST answer is. I find it unhelpful to bemoan this point because it is what it is. You may think I’m being unhelpful but in fact what I am saying is there is a way to prepare yourself to deal with the questions the way they are written.
OK, deep breath, we’ve gotten past the unfairness of dealing with this imperfect system, so let’s look at what the writers of these questions do. By the way, the writers are your fellow CMP folks who have jumped this hoop to go on and earn the honor of creating questions for you and those like you to jump over! Certified Meeting Professionals who attend the annual CMP conclave create questions for the exam bank. When you have jumped this hoop you can join the ranks of question makers and who knows maybe you can contribute the perfect questions which will remove this objection from the minds of all those with CMP aspirations.
Back to tackling those minxy multiple choice questions. Here are some key things to keep in mind when taking multiple choice tests:
1) Read the question and answers thoroughly. Circle key words if necessary.
2) If the answer is not immediately evident you can typically eliminate 2 of the choices leaving 2 remaining choices. Read the question again to ensure you are focused on the key words to select the best answer.
3) Wrong response answers are on the test, they are there to separate the wheat from the chaff. Expect it!
4) If you are going through the exam and hit a tough question. Skip the question and keep a list of questions to go back and review. Remember to make sure you stay on the correct number question and answer sheet bubble, especially if you are going to skip a question and go back. In addition to revisiting questions this is a good place to indicate questions which you feel are particularly vague, tricky, ambiguous and unclear. There is a place for you to indicate your objections after you complete the exam. This could lead to a question being thrown out if they receive enough well supported feedback.
5) If you are still not sure, ask yourself if the answer or question ties back to the goals of the meeting. If it does this is typically the path to follow. Meeting goals are key.
6) Expect questions to target higher level thinking processes. You will be expected to know the information and given a scenario you must be able to apply this information and come up with the appropriate response. This is harder than it seems and why it is so important that learning happens when reviewing the material not just rote memory. It is also important to remember that the answer must agree with the study materials. Even if you have done something successfully a different way for 20 years, you are not creating the tests, so the material is the content expert!
7) All or none of the above. I believe these questions should be removed, however, I am not the authority on that so be prepared to see them. Attack the question in the same way as the others. Process of elimination. If you cannot remove any of the answers then maybe the All of the above is correct, if you can remove one then it is probably not the correct answer.
I found practice tests to be the most effective way to become accustomed to tackling these test strategies. This is an area that some who have taken the CMP exam disagree with. I waited to start practice tests until I had completed all the study materials and was about thirty days out from the exam. Others feel the exams are not written in the same method and can lead to making someone feel over confident or confused if the questions are written intentionally confusing. This will have to be a personal choice and I recommend talking to those in your circle who have taken the exam and asking for their perspective!