View Full Version : How do you study?

02-23-2008, 06:33 PM
This question goes out to all those studying for the CPP exam - or those who have passed it. How are you guys studying for the exam? What kind of methods are you using to work through the stuff you don't know very well?

02-23-2008, 10:43 PM
Study the book! I think there are sample questions on PPA web.
Next: realize it's a multiple choice exam - if unsure of a question, use process of elimination. I've been Certified so long that there were view camera and lots of chemistry questions, but nothing related to digital!
I did my renewals every five years.

02-23-2008, 11:28 PM
you're too funny, George! Of course I'm studying the book... My question really is to find out HOW people are studying the book. Do you just read it over and over until it sticks? How do you know what you don't know? How do you get those more difficult topics or concepts to "stick"? Any study tips that have worked for others? I started working on some flash cards, which, if nothing else, have required me to go through again with a fine tooth comb. Just curious what others are doing!

02-24-2008, 12:43 AM
Personally, I take notes as I read, seems the act of writing down helps me remember better.

02-24-2008, 12:58 AM
Just read the book. Focus on the chapters for which I've done the questions- those are the ones that were most relevant (on my exam, anyway.) Make sure you know the color wheel, color theory, equivalent exposures, lighting ratios, digital theory. It's actually fairly straightforward. If you are really concerned, you may be overthinking things. Just relax, read through the text, make sure you understand why the answers to the review questions are what they are, and you should have a solid foundation and can chime in with your own "it's not that bad" after you take the exam. Let's hope we end up with the same passing percentage as last year!

02-24-2008, 01:15 AM
When I took the exam, I just read the book. Honestly, I only had time (and the inclination) to read it through once. I had the one that had view camera and chemistry questions and I hadn't been in a darkroom since college and I hadn't used a view camera but once or twice. I have to admit it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd been led to believe.

02-24-2008, 03:40 AM
I used the study questions provided on the web site, and highlighted the portions of the book that pertained, then read those portions over and over again.

02-24-2008, 04:32 AM
I read the book about 1/2 hour each day. Also, read some other sources so it (the techie stuff) was presented in a couple different ways (guide numbers, ratios, inverse square law)... Then crossed my fingers, took a deep breath, said a prayer and took the test! It was 5 years ago (must renew this year) but (for me) I don't think it was as hard as I thought it was going to be...

02-24-2008, 05:14 AM
I kind of piddled around semi-studying for several months. Then, with 30 days to go before the test, it dawned on me that I would have to tell my two kids what my score was..one was in the 5th grade and the other was a HS sophomore. That scared me to death. I started studying at least 1 hour a night until exam time.
I was so proud to tell them I made an 82...passed on the first try. Then my wise-acre daughter pops up with "82!!!! Daddy, that's just a B!":D

02-24-2008, 02:16 PM
Hey, Dave, that's what I got! :)

To be honest, it wasn't my intent not to study, but my test prep packet didn't come in the mail until 2 weeks AFTER I took the test. They mailed it out a couple of months ahead of time, but the pony express in New Mexico delivers mail at its own speed, so it came the same time as my results.

02-24-2008, 02:52 PM
I studied the book pretty thoroughly. I would read through the chapter and keep going over areas that I thought might be on the test until I was pretty comfortable with them, even if I already knew them. I probably spent a little too much time on the film development chapters, but my goal was not to just study for the test but to absorb all the information I could about all aspects of photography. After I was pretty confident about the chapter, I would go to the online study questions. Each time I made it to another chapter, I would tend to go back at least one chapter in the online study questions and redo those questions, too. Sometimes I would also do a web search on certain topics just to see other visual examples. I did take notes throughout the entire book, too.

02-24-2008, 03:22 PM
Oh, I just remembered. I would do the online study questions BEFORE reading the chapter, so I would know where I stood and know what to get out of the chapter's reading.

It's a funny thing about scores. Before I took the test, I was concerned about getting a 70. When I took the test, I was pretty sure I'd passed, but didn't want to get a barely passing score, because that would be embarrassing. So I hoped to get at least and 80 and in my heart of hearts decided I would be pleased with an 85. After getting my score, at first I was thrilled, but now I'm back to "I could have done better." Oh well. When I take my refresher, perhaps.

02-24-2008, 05:05 PM
The score doesn't matter as long as you get a 70 or better!!! The number isn't on your certificate or the pin they send you..

02-24-2008, 05:07 PM
I took notes as I read, and also used the online study quizzes.

Then I made a "summary" of all the things that were harder for me to remember, and reviewed those things more frequently. I did also retake a number of the quizzes closer to the exam. :)

02-24-2008, 06:24 PM
The score doesn't matter as long as you get a 70 or better!!! The number isn't on your certificate or the pin they send you..

I thought 80 out of 120 was the passing requirement...took it 12 years ago.:)

02-24-2008, 10:55 PM
How many questions are typically on the exam?

02-24-2008, 11:35 PM
As I recall....

There were 84 or so questions and some were double weighted to bring it to 100. Then I heard that the test was changed to contain 100 questions.

Maybe someone who has recently taken the exam can add to this?

02-25-2008, 12:06 AM
I just took the exam at ImagingUSA in January, and the exam was 100 questions, and you needed 70 to pass. I passed, but wish I had done better than I did. Tests always make me freeze up.

As for how I studied - I just read thru the book a couple of times, and focused on the material that was similiar to the sample questions on PPA's website. I wish I would have been reading the forums before then, as I think Mark has been doing great with covering the materials that are needed for the exam.


02-25-2008, 02:43 AM
It was 100 questions -- confirming :D

02-25-2008, 12:51 PM
Well, I'm glad to know that what I'm doing seems to be on track. Mark's study questions were GREAT (thanks again, Mark... seriously).

8 weeks and 6 days. Let the countdown begin. Oh, and then image review is the first part of May....

02-26-2008, 09:50 PM
Heather, I read it before bed for 1/2 hour every night for a few weeks prior to the test. I revisited things I wasn't sure about and then I asked questions of people who had been there, to clarify things like the color wheel. Mark is pretty much on the spot about topics and those questions he has posed are fantastic to help get you there. I also took notes and wrote diagrams like the color wheel, two triangles/opposite (like chinese checkers board) and then learned to label rbg and cmy around the outside.

Good luck!

1/2 way there

02-27-2008, 04:13 AM
I took the test the year after George.
Wasn't there a question on the composition of flash powder? :D

I first read through the entire book and highlighted the topics that they listed as objectives, at the beginning of each chapter. (Hopefully they still do that)
Do the same with all the sample questions you see.
The second time through I underlined the parts that answered the objectives.
I made sure I understood why they asked the question and what the basic premis was.
I then reviewed, nightly for about a half hour.
Don's suggestion about finding other books on the topics is great. If you memorize the wording of the topic, from "the book", without understanding the meaning, you might get confused if they word the question differently.

Marie, I congratulate you for having the initutive to get Certified.
I wish that more would do so.
Right now the only people who know about being Certified are other photographers. We need to at least double the number of Certified Photographers to make the public aware that 1. the program exists and 2. appreciate why they should be looking for a Certified Professional Photographer to capture the important events and times of their lives.
We should all strongly encourage our fellow photographers to make the effort to get Certified. It will only help our own profession.

Gene Paltrineri, CPP, M.Photog. Cr.

02-27-2008, 08:35 AM
Hi Heather,

I think I read through the book a couple of times about 4 months before my test then I got lazy or bored and just stopped studying. Then speed read through it the night before the exam after partying at Golden Gate School. I passed on the first take.

I've always had some lazy study habits but am a surprisingly lucky test taker.

Now, I'm closing up on my renewal which I will not need to take the test but if I needed too, then I would probably read the book* again a few times the week before.

*I already sold my book. Now whomever purchased it (forum member here) needs to take her test already so she could pass on my lucky magic book to someone else around here.

02-27-2008, 12:12 PM
The score doesn't matter as long as you get a 70 or better!!! The number isn't on your certificate or the pin they send you..

Yeah, but for us overachievers, it's not enough to "just" pass! If I shoot for 100, then I should do well... if I shoot for 70, I won't.

Wow... just like print comp. :D

02-29-2008, 02:43 PM
There's a test prep packet? Does that come when you mail in money and say to yourself, "THIS IS IT!"

02-29-2008, 04:28 PM
That was supposed to be the theory, anyway. I don't know if they still send stuff out. I took the test a few years ago, I think just before they revamped it.

At any rate, my study packet came about the same time as the results. Oh, joy.