Taking an ACE certification exam (or any exam for that matter) can be unnerving and overwhelming. We often hear from exam candidates statements like, “I am a terrible test taker,” “I get test anxiety,” or “There seems to be more than one possible answer.” Being informed on your test format, as well as establishing a test-taking strategy, can help create a more successful test-taking experience.
Know Your Test Format
Your ACE Certification Exam is comprised of 150 multiple-choice questions, 25 of which are experimental questions that could potentially be integrated into future exams. It is a weighted exam made up of analysis and recall questions. There are several versions of the exam and each question is weighted based on its exam domain (refer to your ACE Certification Candidate Hand Book and Appendix B, in your manuals for more information on exam domains). These questions test your knowledge on the content contained in your core manuals and competency in applying what you have learned.
Once you register for your exam, we provide a free sample test that shows how the test software is presented. Note, that this sample test has nothing to do with ACE content; it is simply an opportunity to view the computer-based format and practice navigating the software.
Be Efficient in Using Your Practice Test
We strongly encourage the use of a practice test. If you have opted to invest in a study program, you should have at least one practice exam available to you. If you invested in the manuals only, practice tests can be purchased from the ACE website.
These practice tests reflect the exam and question structure, providing the perfect opportunity to review exam content and practice your test-taking strategies before your exam day. Ideally, you should take your practice test in one sitting, undistracted, mimicking the test-day environment. Although there are only 60 questions per practice test, this is a fair representation of the way questions are presented and distributed within the exam domains. Additionally, practice tests offer an explanation to question responses and reference the manual pages where answers can be found. Keep in mind that these practice tests are not intended to forecast your success on the exam, but they can help you create a more detailed review guide. Use the questions you missed as a guide for the topics you need to review. See the blog, “4 Tips for a Successful Study Experience" for strategies for making the most of your practice tests.
Strategies for Multiple-Choice Questions
1. READ THE QUESTIONS IN THEIR ENTIRETY.
As simple as this may seem, it is critical that you read the entire question along with the answer options. If you anticipate the question (that is, if you assume you know what is being asked), it is likely that you will misinterpret the information. Reading the question thoroughly can make the difference between choosing the correct or incorrect answer.
2. AVOID OVERANALYZING THE QUESTIONS.
When answering questions, it is easy to try to seek out more information, assume more than the question provides, or dissect a given scenario. The best practice is to take the question as is. In other words, avoid asking, “What if?” All you have is the information provided, which is how you should determine the best response for a question. It is true that in real-life situations there may be multiple factors to consider or multiple ways to approach a scenario; however, in the exam, all you have is what the questions provide. Answer the item based on what is offered in the question and nothing else.
3. FLAG QUESTIONS IF NECESSARY.
The time allotted for your exam is three hours, which breaks down to approximately one minute and 12 seconds per question. Use this time wisely and efficiently. Some questions will be answered more quickly than others, leaving additional time for more complex questions. Flag any questions (using the exam feature that allows you to mark questions to which you would like to return) that require a bit more time to answer. If you are strategic, you will have enough time to go back to these questions.
4. ELIMINATE RESPONSES.
There are times when you may become conflicted about which answer is the best response. While it can be argued that more than one answer seems possible for a question, there is only one best answer response. This is where the process of elimination becomes useful. Eliminate the answers that you are certain don’t make sense or don’t fit. Once you have narrowed the possibilities down to the two most likely responses, reread the questions, consider what is being asked and then pick your response based on the information you have. If you are still unsure of your answer, either due to unfamiliar content or because you can’t recall the information, make the most educated guess.