Note: The ERP exam used to contain 180 questions, but as of 2014, GARP has changed to format to 140 questions spread over 8 hours total. The Practice Exam and this article have been accordingly updated to the new format.
Solving as many practice questions as possible is the best way to prepare for the Energy Risk Professional exam in the last stage of preparation. This will point out areas of weakness and will simulate the exam experience. Next to knowing about the important topics covered in the readings, you must also make sure you can manage your time effectively, and you should know what to do in case a question comes up you did not expect.
When I prepared for the ERP in November 2010, I often spent too much time on the math questions, solving them until the end, just to go through the entire exercise. In some cases it is possible to find the right solution by just excluding the answers that do not work. You can also deduct the right answer from the question, for example by determining the approximate value and then comparing that with the answers provided.
Here is a small check list that you could use when you solve practice exams:
- Solve the practice exam about two weeks before the actual exam. This will give you enough time to look up the topics you would like to look up again.
- Make sure you stick to the right time window: Each session lasts 4 hours, you want 1 hour of review time in each session . This leaves you with 3 hours for 70 questions in each session. This will allow you to spend about 2:40 minutes per question on average. In order to have enough time, you should be faster than that though because you want to go through the questions again and find errors that you made. As a rule of thumb, never spend more than 3:30 minutes per question.
- Do not use the practice material to look up answers to the questions when you solve the exam. This defeats the entire purpose. If you are pressed for time, you should still solve the exam without the answers visible to you. When you are finished and check the answers, work through all the answers very diligently to refresh the concepts.
- Use only the allowed calculators during the practice exam.
- Mark an answer for each question on the first go. Even if you are not sure if it’s right, still mark the one you think may be correct and then move on. This is very important: In case you do run out of time, you would not want to have left any answers blank.
- Take a break between the two exam sessions. Each session lasts for 4 hours, so it is unrealistic to work through the entire 140 questions and still be highly concentrated. Take a break of at least 60 minutes in between.
- GARP is well-known for confusing exam questions. If you encounter a question you did not expect or that you never heard about, be not surprised. Just apply common wisdom and logic, and exclude the answers you think are wrong.
I hope this helps you preparing for the exam. If you would like to check out the practice exam on energyriskprofessional.com, please click here or on the picture below.
As always, let me know if you have any questions. I wish you all the best for your ERP exam!
A little less than two months are left until the big day of the ERP exam… I hope all of you are getting through the required reading materials as expected. If you are like me, then you probably underestimated the commitment a great deal. When I took the exam in 2010 I should have started about two months earlier to prepare at a comfortable pace. I was able to make up for lost time with a speed reading technique that I think you could benefit from as well. Let’s get started!
For scientific material I use a reading technique called SQ3R. It is a five-step reading strategy, and the letters are an abbreviation of the five steps of the strategy: Survey (or Skim), Question, Read, Recite (or Recall) and Review. It helps you transform the reading material into questions that your brain is trying to answer while reading. A similar approach is the foundation of the ViveraRISK ERP Concept Checkers, which are in Q&A format, but you can do this yourself with this technique.
Let’s go through these steps in a little more detail and see how you can use the technique in the Energy Risk Professional preparation:
- Survey (2 minutes): Before beginning reading look through the whole chapter or paper of the syllabus. See what the headings are – the major ones and the subheadings; hierarchical structures seem to be particularly easy for our brains to latch onto – check for introductory and summary paragraphs, references, etc. Resist reading at this point, but see if you can identify three to six major ideas in the chapter.
- Question (usually less than 30 seconds): Ask yourself what this chapter or paper is about: What is the question that this chapter is trying to answer? What question do I have that this chapter might help answer? Repeat this with each subsection of the chapter, turning each heading into a question. (As a variation of this technique, you can write the important question down; this is called SQW3R)
- Read (at your own pace): Read one section at a time looking for the answer to the question proposed by the heading. This is active reading and requires concentration, so it is important that you find yourself a place and time where you can concentrate. Reading in a train or bus may not work. Best is at home at your desk.
- Recite/write (about a minute): Say to yourself out loud or write down a key phrase that sums up the major point of the section and answers the question. You have to use your own words, not just copy a phrase or paragraph from the book.
- Review (less than 5 minutes): After repeating steps 2–4 for each section you have a list of key phrases that provides a sort of outline for the chapter. Test yourself by covering up the key phrases and seeing if you can recall them. Do this right after you finish reading the chapter. If you can’t recall one of your major points, that’s a section you need to reread.
You should treat the review part as an ongoing process with flash cards or notes made during reading the materials. You should use these cards every few days until the exam to really drill the concepts into your memory.
I hope this helps you speed up the reading process a bit, and I wish you all the best for your ERP preparations!
Studying for the ERP exam demands a lot of organization and self-discipline. Once you have read all the required study material the three most important things for exam success are:
In the pdf file below I summarized the questions I found hardest from the ERP practice exam that was available from GARP in 2010 and added some of my own questions that came up when I studied. Please feel free to download it from here:
ERP Exam questions summary
I hope this helps you in your exam preparation. I wish you all the best!