It’s hard to find an honest review of preparing for the CCXP (Certified Customer Experience Professional) exam. My initial search engine hits were blog articles ultimatley trying to sell a masterclass or book. It’s a bit exhausting, especially for a profession that is about creating effective experiences. This is why I wanted to help out and provide one perspective on preparing for the exam. Through the spirit of open source and shared information, let me walk through how I studied, how long I prepared and what resources I used.
What we’ll cover:
- Remember, this is an exam
- Fun & frugal tips
- How to read for multiple choice exams
- My resource list
- Let’s summarise
I studied for about two months on-and-off, with a three-week break in between. Much of that time was used to figure out how to study for the exam or what resources to use. If you are reading this article, you are probably in that particular phase. The challenge with the CCXP is that you have all the information and no information available at the same time. There’s tons of content, but it’s difficult to understand what specifics will be tested. The big question is - where to start?
Studying felt more like a treasure hunt than a straight, well-trodden path. Unlike other exams, many resources are behind paywalls or free ones are too general for an exam scenario. Multiple choice exams are about recognising key terms and eliminating close answers, which means a reading list on its own will only get you so far. I found mixing select reading with multiple choice practice questions and creating a vocabulary list to be effect. By studying in multiple ways, I could identify a repetition in concepts and perspectives. This increased my confidence that I understood what CXPA wanted me to understand.
Remember, this is an exam
Studying for a multiple choice exam is different from increasing your knowledge about a topic. Most online guides focus on what to read, but don’t address the reality that this is an exam, not a free-form class. Being successful with multiple choice exams depends on your ability to: (1) thoroughly read and understand the question and (2) identify the best answer from provided options. As most professionals don’t do multiple choice exams often, it’s worth practicing.
I started doing multiple choice questions for the exam halfway through my study period. This helped to exercise my test-taking abilities, and identify areas or ideas that I needed to study further. Many times I found myself misreading the question or getting distracted. These were important reminders to slow down and fully read the content. Don’t wait until the end of your studies to practice. Even an unsuccessful practice exam attempt is useful feedback.
Fun & frugal tips
I love self-studying, which is why I did not go for a masterclass. Furthermore, the sales-y and somewhat old school nature of the exam’s ecosystem made me a bit jaded toward the idea. However, your study approach will depend on your situation and learning preferences. If self-learning is not your thing or time does not permit, go for a class that works for you. In my case, I considered self-studying for the CCXP a fun challenge.
The best frugal resource I found was online flashcards. Flashcards are good for building your recognise-the-concept skill, and if they are online, someone else did the heavy lifting. On Brainscape, there is a deck called ‘CCXP’. There are 99-100 multiple choice questions per competency. A monthly subscription for Brainscape is 10 dollars, however it was worth the costs as I could study on my phone, on-the-go. If you are more dedicated than I am, create your own CCXP deck on a Brainscape, Quizlet or StudyBlue and share them with the community.
How to read for multiple choice exams
That might sound pretentious, but how you read will determine if you can identify concepts on a multiple choice exam. This means reading with purpose, versus reading to get through a book. Select only a few key books, around three. Certain books can and should be reread at different stages of your studying. It will help to reinforce concepts.
While reading for a multiple choice exam you are looking for two key things: (1) terminology (2) definitive opinions. Throughout my reading and overall studies I kept a vocabulary list. This was particularly valuable when restarting my studies from a three-week break. It helped to refocus my efforts and identify weak points.
The 2020 existing reading list from the CXPA is extensive and overwhelming. I read through all of the articles over the course of three weeks. These helped to increase my overall familiarity with competency topics. Through the reading list, I strengthened my general CX knowledge and could better understand CXPA’s perspective. My advice is to pick key articles and if ones are too long, find more pinpointed resources online. If you start glazing over while reading, it’s probably time to stop and pick it up the next day.
My resource list
CXPA Exam Resource EBook, by CXPA: I skipped the book suggestions, as there were too many. The articles are good for knowledge growth.
Google: I did a lot of google searching and digging. This included looking at articles, blog posts and terminology glossaries. Along the way, you’ll find websites you trust the most.
Brainscape’s CCXP Flashcard Set, by Stephanie Como: Best kept secret. Multiple choice questions on a flashcard app. Thank you Stephanie, wherever you are.
Chief Customer Officer 2.0, by Jeanne Bliss: Yes, this is worth reading. The content is well structured and includes real-life examples that help to explain concepts.
Outside In, by Harley Manning & Kerry Bodine: It’s one of the key books behind the CXPA mindset. I reread it a week before my exam, and it helped to tie everything together.
CX Podcast, by Forrester: Something to listen to versus read, and is good for walks. Reiterates key ideas and keeps you motivated that the world does need more CX professionals.
CCXP Exam Simulator: The questions are way harder and more obscure than ones on the actual exam. For example, I scored 60% on the simulator, but 94% on the CCXP. The exam is good for vocabulary mining. After each exam I did google searches on particular terms.
CCXP Exam Preparation, by Michael Barlett: It’s more of a pamphlet than a book. I reread this many, many times to ensure I understood the absolute base of the CCXP.
- Studying for a multiple choice exam is different from increasing your knowledge about a topic
- Self-studying is possible, however your approach depends on your situation and preferences
- Don’t wait until the end of your studies to practice exam questions
- While reading for a multiple choice exam look for (1) terminology (2) definitive opinions
- Keep your book list short and reread to reinfornce concepts