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February 17, 2005

Accolades and constructive criticism

Here are some selected responses to the question...

"Now that you have taken the exam, what, if anything, would you change about the CAE Study Course"

posed in the post-exam evaluation for the Center for Association Leadership's CAE Exam Immersion Study Course. Knowing how much I enjoyed the course, can you guess which one is mine? The following also reveals some really great tips on how to study for the exam.

It's great. I feel strongly that my participation is a major reason I was successful in completing the CAE exam. It's a very encouraging and positive environment, too.

Nothing. [The Center's Staff], et al are the best!

One of the best features of the study course was networking with others taking the CAE exam and developing our own study groups. This needs to be encouraged throughout the CAE study course.

Content should focus more on the concepts, definitions, etc. That candidates need to know as well as strategies for handling scenario questions.

More conversational, small group discussions. Overall, this was an awesome course. Well worth the time and money. In fact, I think it's under-priced. You could raise the fees up to 50% and it would still be a good value.

The study course was a great preparation for the exam, however, it delivered some practical knowledge that was very valuable for running an association but was too philosophical for exam purposes. Perhaps more emphasis should be placed on exam content -- I didn't feel the group exercises helped at all, for example, but they are valuable for general education purposes (i.e. they should be incorporated in other courses not specifically related to the exam). Staff was very good, responsive, and accommodating. Instructors very well versed.

The most valuable information I gained from the Study Course was how to take the test--not how to study for it.

It's the test that needs to change, not the Study Course.

It's all about leadership and getting into the mindset of a CEO, CSE, CAE or whatever you want to call it. The course needs to really stress that you need to answer the questions as if you are in the top job and what a person in the top job needs to know. I think the test outline and percentages identified for each section are all wrong!

I think more of the questions were situational than I was anticipating and they didn't always seems to link back very clearly to the knowledge base I had acquired, so I felt like I was sort of answering on instinct/experience. It would be nice if more practice could be given in this area during the immersion experience, i.e. working on questions to ascertain what knowledge base is being called for/drawn upon.

Have psychometricians and other exam writers give the course; Include more exam questions throughout; Presentations were unnecessary--we wanted practice taking exams; Make it shorter--the days were far too long with presentations--1.5 days of just exam questions and review of correct and incorrect answers would have been sufficient

Use more knowledgeable presenters--several there didn't have good answers to our questions.

I would have made it a couple of days longer.

Overall, I thought the course was helpful but the exam did differ in the percentage of content than was presented both in the study materials and in the immersion course. A high volume of the questions on the exam related to "leadership" issues which were described in the course as the "least testable" area to study for. I expected many more questions on legal and administrative issues and was surprised by how little they showed up on the test.

Encourage, nay, assist in helping candidates form "study groups." I participated in a self-selected group and it helped me stay focused and forced me to study.

I believe the course outline worked well - the practice tests were outstanding. I didn't leave the course "knowing" everything - still don't of course! - but tremendous guidance as what areas were "testable" and where to find the information to study. I could not have passed the test had it not been for this course - keep it focused, motivational. Thank you!

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