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How to Track Candidates for Multiple Certification Exams

by | Certification

Isn’t one test enough?

Not always! Credentialing organizations may opt to break up their exams into multiple tests for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Eligibility pathways – Newer entrants into the profession may need to demonstrate prerequisite proficiencies, so an additional test is required.
  • Multiple exam modalities – Some skills require a practical or oral exam in addition to a traditional multiple-choice exam.
  • Extended in-depth content – Several highly regarded professions have exams consisting of hundreds of questions requiring hours and hours of test administration. While some have one exam administered over a very long day, others break it into smaller sessions taken separately.

Once the exam committee has determined that the assessment will consist of multiple exams, the staff and test administrator will need to administer the registration, payment, and scheduling in a manner that doesn’t cause any undue burden on the candidate.

How to Track Candidates for Multiple Certification Exams With Technology

Boards that use technology will improve how they track candidates for multiple certification exams. As you consider your candidate management software options, consider three areas from the candidates’ and staff perspectives.

  • Online application
  • Data integration
  • Automated communications

While an online application is a given, not all candidate management platforms have the tools to support certifications with multiple exams. Consider these questions:

  • Do you have a separate registration process for each exam?
  • Do you have a single registration process with different exam window registrations vs continuous testing?
  • Do you have time-bound rules for retakes?
  • Do the exams need to be passed within a certain application timeframe?

Ideally, your candidate management system will help the candidate track their progress in each of the exam components so that they know what is expected of them. The exam should be challenging, not the registration and tracking.

Behind the scenes, the key to making this all work smoothly is the data integration between the candidate management system and the testing administrator. Here are the factors for consideration:

  • What data are you exchanging? Authorization to test and score reports are a given. What about exam scheduling data? Is single sign-on from the candidate management platform into the test scheduling system an option?
  • What is the exam sequence? Do you require that each exam be passed in a specific order? Or may the candidate choose?
  • How do you need the candidate management system to manage retakes and handle rescheduling, especially in light of exam sequencing?

Some test administrators have more stable platforms and robust options than others. The technology for both candidate administration and test administration is key to the best candidate and staff experience. It doesn’t matter how well you throw a ball if the other system cannot catch it.

Keep Candidates Engaged and on Track for Success

In today’s distracted society, whenever we have more than one thing to do or need to complete multiple steps over time, a little nudging can go a long way. When candidates need to track multiple certification exams, reminders and confirmations will help them stay engaged and prepare for the next exam.

As you configure your system, consider when a candidate would benefit from a reminder or confirmation. Here are some scenarios to consider:

  • When a candidate has passed one exam, and has yet to register for the second after thirty days.
  • When a candidate has passed one exam, and the application cycle will expire in six months.
  • When a candidate has to retake an exam, and has signed up for other exams requiring the first as a prerequisite.

With a strong communications plan and an automated system, reminders and assistance can be sent to the candidate with their next steps, giving them a much greater chance of achieving their certification and significantly improving their experience. 

A Look Into the Future: Remote Proctoring

More and more programs are considering remote proctoring as an option, at times as an alternative to in-person testing. As we consider how to track candidates for multiple certification exams, one of the emerging trends is to offer the same exam in two modalities; in-person or remote proctored. As the psychometricians consider the structure of the test and delivery options, one way to manage exam length will be to break the assessment into components. Our prediction is that we may see more programs with multiple exams and a remote proctored option. Boards will need the tools to improve their management and the candidate experience for multiple exams required for one credential.

Getting Started with Heuristic Solutions

Heuristics Solutions provides a configurable certification system that can track candidates for multiple certification exams with ease. For programs with multiple credentials, or multiple exams per credential, consider a system built for an organization like yours. To learn more, connect with us on our contact page or schedule a meeting with one of our expert team members.

Heuristic Solutions is a leader in software and technology for certification, licensure, and accreditation. Partner with us today, and we’ll modernize your system to better serve your organization.


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