Test tips

I read the January 2010 article, "Test Run," with interest. From 1996 through 2000, I led and facilitated group studies for several ASQ certification exams. And, after earning five certifications, I feel well qualified to add three more activities that will help improve the odds of passing an ASQ certification exam:

  1. Plan on long-term, continuous reading. You need to create your own quality library. Our study groups set aside each Saturday morning for up to six months prior to the exam, and those meetings were productive because of individual reading and study hours.

    We each purchased and used the Quality Council of Indiana study guide as a base text and supplemented the primer with other books recommended by ASQ in its certification descriptions. Group participants read assignments in advance and participated in group study by explaining what they learned and how significant they thought the information would be for the exam.

    We used the sample exams as a guide for our discussions and created our own questions to challenge the study group. We shared supplemental books and reference materials, some of which were easily found through internet searches and others through libraries, used book stores and other sources. Our sharing saved each other the cost of purchasing each and every suggested book.

  2. Study in a group. Green Bay Packers legend Vince Lombardi said, "Individual commitment to a group effort … makes a team work." Thus, you should find, create, initiate and build a study group. It not only will be a major step toward passing any ASQ certification exam, it will also become a social event you will look forward to week after week during your study period.
  3. Practice what you study. Find ways to use what you study in your work. Even if you complete a study, test, inspection or audit by yourself just for practice, do it so you apply what you’re studying. If your study group is diverse enough, you can help each other by creating benchmark data and information that will benefit your understanding and heighten your learning.

Gary Knapp
Fort Wayne, IN

Being social

I’ve used online social networks for a few years for personal and professional networking. The article by Babette Burdick ("Social Graces," January 2010) provided me with even more information to apply to my current online activities, especially blogs.

I also have relatives and friends who are concerned about their current job status; I forwarded this article to them to read, as I thought it was a well-organized and thorough resource for them to get a great start at social networking.

Dianna May Lyons Deeney
Phoenixville, PA

Make the grade

Taking a certification exam always requires a disciplined approach. Specifically for first-timers to ASQ certification exams, the task is overwhelming, as the body of knowledge is wide and generic enough to be applicable to many industries. The article by Govind Ramu ("Test Run") summarized his experiences into well-defined approaches, such as planning and preparation, exam strategy and exam taking.

After reading this article, I am confident readers will be able to put together a good plan for their exam preparation and test taking. Thanks to Ramu for sharing his thoughts and experiences in this article.

Ramesh Konda
Fremont, CA

Individual improvement

Russell Westcott’s article ("Getting the Promotion," January 2010) really highlights the need to be constant learners in our profession, and to continue to grow and learn through a self-directed development plan. Figure 1 is worth closer inspection, as it shows the challenges and rewards an individual will face trying to learn new skills. This article is a great reminder to continue to "sharpen the axe" on a regular basis, especially in challenging economic times.

Drew Weaver
Dameron, MD

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