Exam day – do’s and dont’s

Back to Blogs Posted: January 26, 2021

You’ve prepared and applied for your professional certification, your application has been verified and accepted by the GCCC®. Next step? Planning for exam day! If you’re a little nervous about the exam – believe me… I’m there with you – IABC/BC is coming to the rescue with tips to ace your (S)CMP® exam!


  • Get a good sleep the night before Take the time to sleep – at least eight hours – before your exam. You want to make sure that you can concentrate for three hours of answering question after question. Tons of research papers have revealed that sacrificing sleep could be counterproductive, so don’t pull an all-nighter. Also, skip caffeine the night before you take the exam. While it might kick your adrenaline levels, it can also disrupt your focus and add more stress. 
  • Be on time – Plan to reach your exam location at least an hour earlier than your exam slot (GCCC®, asks you to arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled exam time). This will provide adequate time to complete the necessary sign-in procedures. It is also a good practice to visit the exam location once before – at least that’s one less “unknown” for your big day.
  • Bring your ID, admission form and a laptop or tablet with internet connection capabilityOne week before the exam you will receive a Certification Exam Admission form from GCCC®, which you’ll need to bring to the exam location. This form will also indicate whether or not you’re asked to bring a small laptop or large tablet with internet accessibility with you. Also, be prepared to show one valid, non-expired, government-issued form of personal identification. Keep them ready the previous evening so you don’t risk forgetting anything.
  • Mask up and be safeWe ask all candidates to comply with the exam location’s health and safety measures to keep their fellow candidates and IABC members safe. For the January 26 exam at the Vancouver Convention Centre here will be medical grade backup  masks in case anyone forgets to bring one – and a temperature check, including a COVID screening questionnaire.
  • Finally, relax and go with the flowNot only have you studied for weeks or maybe even months up to this point, but you have also proven to have the experience to write the exam through the application process. Although it’s natural to experience some “FONK” (fear of not knowing), trust in yourself! Keeping a relaxed mind will help you to manage time and recall information to answer the 100 questions on the exam.



  • Don’t give up The exam might be challenging, but not impossible! Even if you don’t have experience in a specific area, think about the best way to apply professional and ethical communication principles to the situation.
  • Bring extra items into the exam roomDon’t bring pens, pencils, pencil cases, food, beverages, notes, textbooks or earplugs. Extra items, including electronic devices, purses, and backpacks, will need to be stored away.
  • Leave questions unanswered Go with your first instinct. If you’re not sure about a certain question, put it away and get back to it later. Looking for hints that point to one answer over another or breaking out key words might help you understand what the situation really asks for.
  • Take too many breaks during the exam – With each break you’re losing time. Don’t go into the exam with a full stomach (or bladder!) to avoid having to run to the restroom multiple times during the exam.

And remember: the (S)CMP® exam might feel like the Goliath of exams, but getting your designation will definitely make you feel on top of cloud nine! Good luck, you got this!

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