15 last minute tips before taking an ASQ Green or Black Belt exam

You’ve been studying for the ASQ Green or Black Belt exam. You think you’re ready, but you’re nervous that you overlooked something, or will make a mistake that prevents you from getting certified. Here are some last minute tips to consider, to put your mind at ease. Many of these tips can be used for any exam, but we’re targeting those taking an ASQ exam.
If the exam date is months away, or you’re just considering the exam, we have provided some tips and reference material for those taking the Green Belt exam
If you’ve decided to take the exam, check out our newly launched “ASQ Six Sigma Exam Reminder System,” which provides you with timely updates in your inbox leading up to the exam date.
The exam is coming up soon. Am I overlooking or forgetting something?
Here are the last minute tips I tell people a couple days before the test.
asq_cssbb_tabs_sm1) Know your reference material
Don’t forget your reference materials and books. You can bring as many items as you want, but if you bring more than 3 things, you have too many. Definitely bring your Primer booklet, however any sample questions and answers from the practice exam must be removed. For reference books (see list of recommended Green and Black Belt books), you should have post-it notes or colored flags to mark and label important sections (see image at left), so you don’t waste time searching for the answers.2) Bring the correct supplies
Bring at least two pencils with good erasers and plenty of lead, and a calculator you are familiar with that has newer batteries. You will be provided with scratch paper that you will need to turn in when you’re done, so you don’t need to bring paper.
3) Pace yourself
Bring a watch or cell phone, so that you can properly pace yourself, so you don’t lose track of time. Here is the takt time for both tests, which is how much time you have to complete each test. You should check after every 30-60 minutes where you are at to make sure you are ahead of schedule.
81+AiiG-MhL._SL1500_Green Belt: 144 seconds per question (2:20)
  • 100-question, 4-hours
  • 240 minutes / 100 questions
  • 2.4 minutes per question, or 2:20 or 144 seconds
Black Belt: 96 seconds per question (1:36)
  • 150-question, 4-hours
  • 240 minutes / 150 questions
  • 1.6 minutes per question, or 1:36, or 96 seconds
So you need to be quicker than you were with the Green Belt exam, in addition to the tougher questions. If you don’t know what takt time is, review the section on Lean.
4) Stay positive
If you think you are going to pass, you will be more relaxed and more likely to succeed. Maintain a positive attitude even when you’re struggling, and try to stay relaxed. If you start to feel nervous take a few deep breaths to relax, or stretch for a few seconds.
5) Start with the easy questions
Don’t stay on a problem that you are stuck on, especially when time is a factor. Since it is multiple choice, if you run low on time, you can always guess at the hard ones. All questions are equally weighted, so the easy questions are worth the same as the hard ones. If you skip a question, put a star or mark it so you can quickly find it (both on the question booklet and the answer sheet).
6) Take your time 
Pace yourself, don’t rush. Read the entire question and pay attention to exactly what they are asking for, which might not be what you read the first time. The exam will have questions that seem tricky or worded in a way that may be confusing. Don’t skim it or make assumptions about what the question might be asking.
7) Focus on you
Don’t worry if others finish before you. Focus on the test in front of you, and how you are doing. Use the full time allotted if possible, to increase your chance of getting the best score possible, as exams are ranked based on complexity/difficulty. Learn more at: http://asq.org/cert/faq/exam-grading-process-detailed
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8) Inspect your work
If you have time left when you are finished, look over your test answers. Make sure that you have answered all the questions, since there is no penalty for guessing. Watch out for careless mistakes (misaligned answers with the question number, especially if you skip questions). Ensure that you fully fill in the ovals so you get proper credit, and fully erase answers you decide to change.
9) Eliminate poor answers
Since the exam is multiple-choice questions, the process of elimination can help you choose the correct answer. Start by crossing off the answers that couldn’t be right. Then spend your time focusing on the possible correct choices before selecting your answer. I prefer to cross out the ones I eliminate, so it’s more visual.
10) Breaks may be worth the time
Take a break during the test if you need it. A five minute break may seem costly, but it can refresh your mind, and help you break from a stressful situation. Even standing up and doing a quick stretch can be enough to get your mind back on track.
11) Get to bed early
This seems obvious, but many people try to get as much studying in the night before, and it can do more harm than good. Your brain and body need sleep to function well, so don’t stay up late!  In fact, go to bed earlier than you normally do, as you may be nervous or have trouble falling asleep, so the extra time might come in handy. Cramming is not helpful for these exams, since memorization is not important.
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12) Know your exam location
Do you know where the exam is taking place? If you have never been there before, go visit the location so you know how long it takes to get there. This includes finding the actual exam room, not just the building. The exam date is not the time to get lost or take the wrong road.
13) Eat a good breakfast
Don’t skip breakfast the morning of the test. Hunger can cause distractions, and drain your energy. Consider bringing something to eat like power bars, candy, snacks and/or something to drink.
14) Arrive early
Get there early to allow for unforeseen problems (accidents, construction, car issues, etc) that can stress you out or make you late. This will also give you time to review your notes right before the test, so your brain is ready to go.
15) Set multiple alarms
The last thing you want is to oversleep and stress out getting there, or worse, arrive late and not have time to finish. Set multiple alarms, and have someone else make sure you are up by a certain time. This is a significant and important test, so take every precaution you can.
 Hope these tips are helpful to you. Did we forget some tips that you feel are important? If so, leave a comment below. Good luck!!

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