Monday, April 19, 2010

How I Prepared for the CSC Exam (Part 3)

When I look back after taking the CSC exam, this is what I feel:

First of all, don’t wait too long after you finish studying the course materials. Why? Because the significant portion of the course materials requires memorization. The longer it lapses, the more it fades away.

I booked and wrote my Exam 1 within 3 weeks after my course finished Volume 1 (while I was still in Volume 2 of my course). I booked and wrote my Exam 2 within a month after my Exam 1.

You have to estimate when you can finish studying volume 1, and book an exam date. Exam dates are not always available in many less popular cities in Canada. In Toronto, the closest exam date that you can book is two weeks later (unless you are willing to pay extra for a sooner exam date).

The format of the exam can be paper-based or computer-base; however, the computer-based exam costs $50 extra. Computer-based exams are available only in some locations.

The advantage of a computer-based is that you will know the (tentative) results right away, whereas for the paper-based exams, CSI says that you’ll know the result in two weeks’ time. But from my experience, you’ll know the result (from you account on the CSI website) two to three days after you take the exam, depending on whether your exam time is in the morning, afternoon, or evening.

Both Exam 1 and Exam 2 have 100 multiple-choice questions, and allowed time is two hours. To time myself, my rough estimate is that I have to finish one question per minute. Whenever I encounter a question that I was not sure, a put a tiny little mark beside the question number on the answer sheet (but make sure not to confuse the machine that marks your answer to think that it’s an answer).

In Exam 1, after I finished the first round of the 100 questions, there were about 4 or 5 questions that I was not sure. And I still had about ten minutes left for me to go back to those 4 or 5 questions.

In Exam 2, I did not even have enough time to through the 100 questions. At the end, I had to wild-guess more than 12 questions. So I personally think that Exam 2 is harder than Exam 1.

You may not believe, but some (2 or 3) questions in the real CSC exam actually are the same as those I encountered in the CSC Check practices.

There are 2 or 3 questions in each Exam that test on very minor details – like a small paragraph in the textbook. That’s why I suggested, after doing the CSC Check practice, to go over the explanations of all the questions (even for those questions that you got correct) because it may touch on some minor details that you may have missed. Also, I posted those minor questions I encountered here.

So after you taking the CSC exam, if you remember some questions, please email me ( so that I can share them with future students.

Good luck to your exam!

Read Part 2

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