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Tips for a Great Performance on the CPC Exam

For many people, the challenge of taking a CPC exam is difficult enough without all the other distractions of life. Whether we're tired from long nights of studying or simply nervous about making a mistake, the truth is that feeling prepared and adequately supplied for our examination is one of the best ways to make the test-taking process is a breeze. Here are just a few ideas to ensure that you'll feel relaxed and confident on even the most stressful exam day.

Remember that this is only a test. A wise person once said it is better to succeed, but success does not make us better; and while it is worse to fail, failure does not make us worse. Exams are important, but they do not determine our worth as human beings.

Bring quiet snacks. There's nothing quite as bothersome during an exam as the feeling of exhaustion that accompanies a bout of low blood sugar. If you do choose to bring along snacks to the testing center, avoid snacks that make a lot of noise. Not only will a crunchy or excessively fizzy snack distract other test takers, it may also cause embarrassment! Good, quiet snacks include items such as chocolate bars or gummy bears.

Bring ear plugs, especially if you think other noises may disturb you.

Arrive a bit early. If you are even a few minutes late to the exam, you may be denied your place by the proctor. Arriving a bit early will allow you to park your car in a timely way or locate a hard-to-find testing facility. The extra time may also allow you to double-check that you have everything you need. Moreover, a proctor does not have to let you in if you’re late, and that can be a huge let down!

Make sure you open and read your exam confirmation email. While it may feel a bit redundant to open and read a confirmation email you received months ago, it may be the case that reviewing the guidelines laid down in the text of the message will provide you with crucial information about locating the test center or following a rule you weren't familiar with.

Only use process of elimination when you are unsure of your answer. If an answer seems confusing, it is often much easier to answer if we use the process of elimination to narrow down potentially accurate responses. Remember that test writers will sometimes use two answers that sound nearly identical, so that eliminating just one of the two will make the question that much easier to answer!

Get a lot of rest the night before your scheduled exam. While it may be tempting to stay up late cramming on the night before your exam, the truth is that test-takers tend to perform far better when they are well-rested. Remember that exhausting oneself prior to test day can make the answering of difficult questions far more difficult and time-consuming!

Complete the section that you are most comfortable with first and complete all of the questions you can answer quickly first. If you are unsure about an answer, be sure to mark the answer in your exam book as well as on your answer key. This will give you a quick reference to check your reasoning when you take time to review your answers at the end of the test. Answering questions that you are most comfortable with first will provide you with extra review time near the end of the exam.

Never leave an answer blank. When time is running low, you may be tempted to start leaving questions blank and move on to those you're more familiar with; however, the truth is that even a random guess is a surer bet than a question that isn't answered. Even on a question that contains five potential answers, a random guess will give you a 20% chance of a correct response, while an unanswered question will guarantee a 0% chance! When in doubt, it has been suggested that filling in a multiple choice question with a "c" is more likely to be correct than other random responses.

Google map the location of your exam and if you are unfamiliar with the location. Finding a test center on the morning of an exam can be highly stressful if we're unfamiliar with the area of town where the center is located. This is why it is important to take a test drive to the exam location before the test is to be administered. Doing so will also help you get rid of some of the anxiety of worrying about getting lost. It will also prevent you from really getting lost the day of your exam!

Pay attention to the time. A crucial item to bring for any exam is a good watch, largely because most exam conditions will not allow the use of a cellphone during the test. If you end up in a room where the proctor does not have a clock, you may also cause yourself extra stress as you scramble to complete your questions in a timely manner.

Make sure you eat a healthy balanced breakfast. Nothing provides the kind of energy necessary to exceed expectations on an exam quite like good rest and healthy breakfast. By keeping your body and mind working properly, a healthy breakfast will enable you to concentrate for extended periods without dulling your energy.

Bring peppermints to the exam. If you're looking for a quick pick-me-up while the exam is taking place, just remember that the smell of peppermints is known to aid brain stimulation. Having unwrapped peppermints on hand might work wonders when you're feeling a bit tired or distracted during the test.

Trust your answers. After you've put months into studying for an exam, you're going to want to be able to rely on your good instincts. Confidence is key to exam success, so don't let nagging doubts undermine your performance on test day.

Don’t study right before bed or right before the test. The human brain has developed over millions of years to perceive stress as a danger and to enter "fight or flight" mode when it arises. Because last-minute studying can create anxiety, it's best to give yourself a break and relax on the night and morning before the test and avoid the type of misjudgment that comes from too much stress.

Read your questions very carefully. When it comes to exam success, the best course of action is to watch out for tricky wording and extra information that is placed in questions designed to throw you off course. These red herrings are often placed into questions to test your ability to fact-check information on the fly, so be prepared!

Pack your bag the night before your exam. Instead of scrambling on the morning of an exam to double check an extensive supply list, make sure that you've got all your supplies ready and accessible on the night before the exam. Ensuring that your codebooks, pencils, watch, quiet snacks, erasers, waters, and other materials are at the ready will keep you healthy and focused on the task at hand. And that is the kind of focus that can't be beat when it comes to exam success!

In these ways, performing well on the CPC exam doesn't have to include unnecessary stress. By arriving prepared and ready to do our best, we just may give our performance the type of boost that will push us to our greatest potential. For many people, that is what successful exam taking is all about!

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