Well, we have 30 days remaining until your test. Now it is time to bear down and really focus.
First, let's discuss what's at stake for you.
1.) Obviously, if you don't pass you have to postpone your plans another six months.
2.) Second, if others are depending on you passing, that may create additional anxiety for you. I point this out not to add additional pressure, but just to "keep it real." It's important to pass this time.
3.) You have all the tools you need to prepare. Your most important tool is yourself. If you don't pass, your self-confidence will be deflated for a while. It took me a month to get over not passing.
Okay, now let's focus on the positive. These are the things that will happen after you pass:
1.) You will breath a huge sigh of relief. (You will be smiling inside and outside.)
2.) You will be able to discard all your study materials. You won't need them again-ever.
3.) You can go on to the next steps which are easy.
4.) You will have your evenings and weekends free again for other endeavors. : ))
So, to pass your test, you need to stay focused. Don't let up. Don't slow down, don't take your foot off the gas. What separates people who pass from people who don't is the time you devote to serious study.
I will share a paraphrased quote from my colleague and friend Dennis Quiles, CPP, Worldwide Director of Security for McDonald's Corporation.
Dennis regularly volunteers to ASIS by giving study and prep tips during his security-related presentations to our ASIS Chicago CPP Study Group attendees.
During his presentation, Dennis always closes his remarks by telling the attendees: "You must take time to study if you want to pass. Get away from the TV, the kids, and other distractions." It's only a temporary condition. But you will not pass if you don't commit the time to preparation.”
Next, I want to share some observations learned along the way:
1.) During your state test you will not see all the same questions you have been studying. The reason is because the state test is only 75 questions. About half of the questions will cover content from Gilbert (Detective) or Fischer and Collins (Security).
That means 35-40 questions covering all the potential test topics from your text books. ***The reason the test is challenging is because we don't know which questions the state will decide to include on your test.***
Consequently, you have to be familiar with multiple topics, concepts, terms, definitions, laws, etc.
Reality Check 1. You may only see a handful of questions that you recognize. Maximize your chance for success by taking the practice tests-regularly.
2.) Focus on your weak areas. Don't avoid your weak areas because they're boring or "hard." Confront your weak areas to reduce them and transform them into strong areas.
Reality Check 2. If you don't confront your weak areas, you will fail. Another reason the test is challenging is because the subject matter comes from 4 or 5 sources.
3.) Use multiple study methods to increase your retention. Don't just rely on reading. You need to read, create flash cards, do practice quizzes, make notes in the margins, and reflect and relate the topics to your own experience.
Reality Check 3. Don't just study using traditional methods. Create your own audio files and flash cards. Ask your spouse to quiz you. Study multiple topics at the same time. Even though it may feel weird, it’s an effective retention method.
My example is shaving and brushing my teeth with my left hand. I'm right-handed. I always feel uncomfortable when I use my left.
Also, when I run long runs, I always feel like I can barely get back home. My legs are wobbly, I'm bent over, and totally exhausted. However, the ironic thing about work and the human body is, the more you challenge it, the better it improves.
Additional materials coming. This weekend I will send my folks updates to the practice tests and a new mp3 audio update. The mp3 will contain additional interpretations of Illinois criminal law. There are some new laws to be aware of. One is revenge porn and the others include changes to the eavesdropping law. I will discuss these in the update. Any questions, let me know.
Remember, every question and answer matters!
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