Return to Blog

Tips and Tricks to Pass Your Category Exam

If you are like me, deciding to get your pesticide applicator certification or add a category is a big deal. You’ve spent time looking for the best exam prep to prepare you for your exams. You’ve circled the date on the calendar and the pre-test jitters are setting in. You have questions like “how much should I study? and "what should I study?” Every state's exam may be slightly different but the test taking skills you will need are universal. Here are some of the best exam taking tips to help you pass your exam.

Obviously the most important factor in passing the exam is knowing the material. However, don't lose sight of the goal: passing the test! Learning is great but you can't use what you've learned if you don't pass.

  1. Start by only answering the easy questions. Read the entire exam and only answer the questions you absolutely know the answer to. This will give you a sense of progress and your subconscious will begin thinking about the questions you skipped. When you’ve got a timed test, there’s always the concern that you’ll get hung up in a section and not be able to finish the test. Don’t be one of those people--unanswered questions are marked wrong. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the last three questions on the test were easy ones— guaranteed points for you--but you wound up just having to fill in a random answer on them because you didn’t have time to actually read and think about them? By skipping through the questions you don’t know the answers to and focusing first on the questions you do know the answers to, you’re assuring yourself that you get time to answer the questions you are most likely to get right.
  2.  If you don't know it, wait. Skip questions if you don't know the answer--don't waste time on questions you don't know. For example, if math is difficult for you, skip the math problems until after you finish the rest of the exam. Occasionally, the answer to an earlier question will be revealed in a later question. It is not uncommon on the exam to have questions that relate to one another, like using the same equipment or pest scenario. These hidden answers are another reason why reading all the way through the exam once at the beginning is a great idea.
  3. Don't second guess yourself. As a general rule, once you've answered a test question, don't change your answer even if you're unsure of the answer you selected. It has been statistically proven that you are much more likely to change an answer from a correct answer to an incorrect answer. An easy way to get tripped up on the pesticide certification exam is to misinterpret an answer choice, thanks to complicated wording. Deceptive language is fair game on tests like this, so are double-negatives, unrelated conclusions, or red herrings (especially in the math portion of the test). Do your best to puzzle it out, but ultimately move on without answering if you estimate having to spend more than a minute thinking about the correct answer.
  4. There is no penalty for an educated guess. Once you have gone through the exam at least twice, time may be running short and now would be a good time to start making educated guesses. The worst that can happen when you guess on a question is that you don’t get any points. The best thing that can happen though, is that you have a one in four shot at getting a point. Unanswered questions are marked wrong, and it is far better to take a chance on a wrong answer than eliminate any possibility of getting the correct answer. That being said, don’t guess blindly. There is likely at least one answer that is obviously wrong. Read the question and answers first and choose the most likely answer.
  5. Don't compete with other applicants. You're given plenty of time to complete the. Don't worry if other people finish before you do, it could be they are taking a completely different exam. All types of exams are given in one room. You may be sitting next to someone getting a completely different category from you. Remember that many students who finish quickly… fail.

There is no extra credit for a perfect score. If you’re like me, the allure of a perfect score on a test is hard to ignore, but in the case of this exam, we must remember, your goal is to answer the number of questions correctly that will get you a passing score. Use all your best energy to get to the passing threshold—anything beyond that doesn’t matter.

Bonus Tip: do as many practice exam questions as you can. The test is multiple choice and you will perform MUCH better if you've been doing practice tests that mimic the exam. Use a trusted service like ours to prepare for the actual exam.

Share

Return to Blog