Paper and Pencil? Or Computer Based Testing?
Paper and pencil or computer-based test? Which is right for me?
This is one of the fundamental questions to answer in preparation for your ACE Certification Exam – regardless of which test you are preparing for. ACE currently offers the certification exams in two formats: a traditional paper/pencil/fill in the bubbles exam and a computer-based exam. Both are offered at a proctored testing center (also known as a ‘supervised’ testing center).
When making this decision you need to ask yourself two questions: Am I comfortable with computers? And, how soon do I want to take the exam?
Taking computer-based testing (CBT) doesn’t require a degree in computer science. If you use computers in your daily life at work, home, a friend’s house, or the library, then you probably have the skills necessary to take a CBT. What skills are we talking about? Click the arrow, click the circle, close the page, unclick the circle, click the other arrow etc. But…if you’ve never been on a computer before or are more than slightly terrified of those machines, then a CBT might not be right for you. Trust me, you do not want your testing experience to also be your first time on a computer.
Paper and pencil is a familiar format to anyone who has been in school. It is a traditional fill in the bubble sheet with a paper booklet of questions. We’ve all seen those before, and should be familiar with how to complete them.
The second question to ask is how soon do I want to take my exam? The paper and pencil exams are usually offered a maximum of four times per year. Although this was our original method of administering exams, the number of sites and dates has been steadily decreasing with the growth of the CBT. Depending on your location, CBT may be offered as frequently as every day. Our testing agency, CASTLE, contracts with a wide range of companies and organizations to set up testing sites.
I would recommend that as you start your test preparation/study, you look at the testing dates page on our website (ACE Fitness Certification Exams). If you are considering paper and pencil, then look at when and where the next dates are. If you are considering CBT, enter your zip code and see where and how often the tests are being offered in your area. We usually have paper and pencil cerification exam sites planned out for the entire year. CBT sites are often listed up to 60 days in advance, with the understanding that there may be additional dates/sites added as we go.
The goal is to see when you could test. If you are taking the paper and pencil exam, then your test date can strongly influence your study schedule. If you are taking CBT, it may not be as much of a factor. But…if you look under your zip code for CBT and find out that the testing options are 90 miles away, and only twice a month, then that will be something important to know. There are a limited number of seats at each testing location. For CBT, those seats may fill at any time. What you see today may not be what you see tomorrow.
So first, think about what type of test is best for you. Then, go to the exam date site and start checking to see when your possible test date could be. After that, get back to studying!
If you’ve got questions or need help navigating the website, just contact our Education Consultants at 1-888-825-3636 x782.