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Study Tips For The CMP Exam

Jan 1, 2008
The Certified Meeting Planner certification is a classification created by the Convention Industry Council to distinguish meeting planners who have demonstrated their knowledge of special event planning via successful completion of a special CMP examination. Aside from the recognition, achievement and wide acceptance of the certification in the industry, many CMPs use their certification as a bargaining chip or competitive advantage when applying for jobs or attempting to win new client business. Successful completion of the examination is not a walk in the park, but with a few study tips you can be well on your way to becoming a Certified Meeting Planner.

Write to Remember

On average, we remember 5% of what we hear in a lecture, 10% of what we read, but 30% of what we write. Take notes on all the reading you do and prep-classes you take before the test, put the main points on a stack of notecards, take the cards everywhere you go and review them whenever you have downtime. These simple steps will increase your retention rate 3-6 times and will give you something to do when you have a few minutes to spare in an airport or waiting room.

Practice Makes Perfect

Once you have mastered some of the basic CMP principals and read through one or two study books make use of practice exams included in your study materials. The average retention rate for something you have actually performed is 75%. Make use of practice tests to help sharpen your focus on important topics. Once you've finished a practice exam and graded yourself, run through the questions again and ask yourself: how could this question be re-worded to make a new question on the same topic. Keep these "re-worked" questions in mind as you continue to study as typically test creators will re-use the same idea to create many different questions.


Study groups are an excellent way to increase your retention of the facts you need to know for the CMP exam. Keep in the mind the following, though: we remember an average of only 5% of what we hear, but we remember 50% of what we discuss, and 90% of what we teach to others. This means that merely "sitting in" on a discussion session will do you less good than reading the text on the subject. But if you are able to discuss the material with others, or even teach the material to the group you will retain far more than you would listening or reading.

The modern model for adult study groups is based on studies of adult-education and centers around a cooperative learning environment. Informal study groups can have a similar structure without the need for a dedicated instructor or leader. At the end of each study group session, break up the next meeting's topic into sub-topics and make each person or pair of people responsible for learning the material in that section and teaching it to the group (maybe answering prep-questions at the end of a chapter?). This will allow everyone the benefit of not only reading and writing the material (10% and 30% average retention), they can also teach and discuss the material (90% and 50%).

The CMP exam, like any major certification exam, requires diligent study and a willingess to prepare ahead of time. However, those who put in the time to learn the material and educate themselves on the proper procedures for planning special events will be rewarded with recognition from CIC and their peers, a feeling of personal achievement, and monetary rewards in the form of high salaries and contract prices. Good luck!
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