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The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 13, 2012 • Issue 12:02:01

Inspiration

You, too, can become a CPP

The inaugural round of testing for the Electronic Transactions Association's Certified Payments Professional (CPP) program is complete, and 180 of the 220 individuals who took the test scored high enough to earn the CPP designation. If you'd like to be on the CPP list, now is the time to begin preparing for the test.

First, determine when you want to take the exam, which is offered twice a year. The next test windows are May 1 through 31 and Nov. 1 through 30, 2012. Their respective deadlines are April 1 and Oct. 1. Be sure to get your application in on time - given the pace of the payments industry, it's easy for important, but not urgent, items to slip through the cracks.

If you're like most working adults, it's probably been a while since you've taken a test. And the skills required to succeed in sales are different in many respects than those needed to score well on multiple choice exams. Following are several tips to help you prepare so you can be confident when you walk into your nearest testing center that you've done your best to master the material on the exam.

Study well, study often

  • Review all the information about the exam on the ETA's website, www.electran.org. And download the candidate handbook, which lists the topics covered.

  • Assess your strengths and weaknesses to determine which areas merely need a review, which ones need moderate attention and which ones will require significant study for you to fully understand them.

  • Take stock of all available resources, including books, articles, websites, webinars, classes, video and audio recordings, live presentations and panels, and industry mentors. Then, based on how you learn best, select the resources you want to use.

  • Determine the number of hours you want to study each week, and schedule in the time. Don't put them all into one block. It's better to split them up into several smaller chunks during the course of each week. And with the smaller segments, say one hour, take a short break after 20 and 40 minutes to refresh yourself.

  • Decide what topics you are going to cover each week and in each session.

  • Locate at least one good place to study, preferably a quiet spot where you will be comfortable and will not be distracted or interrupted. Be sure you have all the supplies you need to accomplish your goals for each session, as well.

  • In each study session, tackle the most difficult material first, while your mind is still fresh.

  • Take notes as you study, and review them at the end of your study time. Notes should include questions that may arise, as well as points and concepts of particular importance. Be sure to get your questions answered as soon as possible after the session, either by a trusted mentor or through research.

  • If you are having difficulty with a particular topic, find out who in the industry knows it inside-out and ask that person for help.

  • If you know someone else who is studying for the exam, set up some joint study sessions where you can talk about what you're learning and help one another. And when the test date is drawing near, devise practice tests for each other.

  • Teach what you're learning to someone who is new to the industry.

It is also important that you eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest throughout your test preparation period, especially in the days before your exam. And on your appointed day, focus on enjoying how well your mind works as you, a well-prepared professional, breeze through the test. end of article

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