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Is ASQ SSBB exam difficult to crack?
Overview: How to obtain ASQ SSBB certification?
Recommended preparation resources
SSBB Training for exam preparation
Study Notes and Sample Questions
Taking the Exam
If you are aspiring for Six Sigma Black Belt certification from ASQ, I would like to mention here, this article would definitely useful to you.
As you know ASQ (American Society for Quality) certifications have the prestigious recognition worldwide. Especially, when it comes to Six Sigma certifications. ASQ certifications for Six Sigma Green Belt & Black Belt are popularly known across industries and sectors globally. People, who are into a quality domain and want to make their career rewarding, go for these certifications. But, in spite of lots of information available about benefits of ASQ Six Sigma certifications at various places, most of you struggle to find out –
How should I start preparing for the ASQ SSBB (Six Sigma Black Belt) exam?
How much time I need to dedicate to preparation?
How can I assess myself, whether I’m ready for the exam?
What study material should I refer for preparation?
How should I manage my time during an exam?
And so on….
Believe me, you have right set of questions in your mind. I was one of you when pursuing to crack the ASQ CSSBB exam. I cracked ASQ CSSBB exam on my first attempt. Fortunately, this certificate came to me along with another blessing in my life – my kid. Here, I want to take this opportunity to share my experiences related to ASQ SSBB exam with you all the aspirants. I hope it will be very useful to you to crack the exam.
Passing ASQ SSBB exam was not so difficult for me. But, let me share, it was a result of –
Pattern of study to follow,
Right study material to refer during preparation
Dedicated time for preparation
Advice from mentors & peers
Past experience into Six Sigma improvement projects
And importantly, my zeal for obtaining this coveted certificate.
The very obvious question among aspirants! But, let me tell you, it's not so difficult.
In a situation like mine, when you have a newborn in your family, things look little difficult to manage. This was a time when my newborn was also demanding some portion of my time. But even then, I could manage to balance my time collectively in preparing the exam & at a workplace and simultaneously spent proper time with my infant. So, it’s just a matter of proper time allocation for your exam preparation, while managing other works in parallel.
Some of the questions, you might be researching to get the answers to –
Is preparing for ASQ SSBB exam expensive?
Exam fee: It costs $538. But, here is a tip for you. First, check with your organization for its membership with ASQ. Otherwise, apply for your individual ASQ membership. Because ASQ members get a discount on all certifications and as a member, ASQ SSBB exam fee costs you $388. Hence, a decent discount of $150 as your saving.
For reference materials & training, refer my upcoming sections in this article.
Is passing the certification difficult, as passing rate is low?
The average passing rate for ASQ CSSBB goes around 65 - 75%
But, making your position into this passing range is not so difficult.
It seems impossible to take an exam for four hours.
Four hours allow you to strategize your time in taking the exam wisely (refer tips from the section “Taking the Exam”)
I also researched these questions on the Internet. After browsing for good amount of time, I came to a single answer to all the above questions. And that is – “Big No”.
Clearing ASQ SSBB exam is much easier than we think. You’ll find my tips, strategies, and references very useful to ascertain your success.
Before applying for ASQ CSSBB, the questions encountered are:
Please go through the above links to find answers to your questions. Also, go to my blog, Roles of Six Sigma Belts & other positions to get more clarity about the kind of profile & certification, you should target now.
If, you find yourself suitable for ASQ CSSBB entitlement & meeting all prerequisites, look for-
This CSSBB BOK covers the whole syllabus for ASQ CSSBB examination.
The examination is conducted in two modes:
Online Computer Based Test (CBT) at Prometric centers
Click here to Apply
Paper & Pencil Test
You are free to choose any exam mode as per your convenience.
If you are an aspirant to sit for the exam, follow below instructions:
Fill online application form through above link (Apply).
Submit the signed copies of these affidavit (s) by fax or e-mail within one week of submitting your application.
As and when you get approval from ASQ based on your affidavit (s), schedule yourself for the exam.
Plan & prepare for the exam (refer upcoming sections of this article for tips)
Take the exam & get certified.
During your preparation for the exam, well plan your time each day. If you want to sit for an exam in next two months, you can spend around 1 - 2 hours each weekday with some extended time of around 4 hours on weekends. In case you have sufficient time for examination, 1-hour daily study is adequate. A better way to understand each concept from CSSBB BOK (Body of Knowledge) is to practice them at your workplace with the guidance from your peers.
For the basic understanding of Lean and Six Sigma concepts, read my blog, A brief introduction to Lean, Six Sigma & Lean Six Sigma.
Below are some recommended books for your SSBB exam preparation:
The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Primer by Bill Wortman (Quality Council of Indiana)
The Six Sigma Handbook by Thomas Pyzdek (McGraw – Hill)
These books are easily available in online stores also like Amazon and Flipkart. The first book covers the complete CSSBB BOK (Body of Knowledge) and an important book to refer for exam preparation. Other two books develop your basic understanding of Six Sigma concepts required for Black Belts.
Tip: ASQ CSSBB exam is an open book examination. Purchase a hard copy of the first book (Kubiak & Benbow) and keep it as a reference book to carry during your ASQ CSSBB examination.
To enroll for Six Sigma Black Belt training - would be a useful step for aspirants. If you have prior experience on contributing to six sigma improvement projects as a green belt or black belt, you can directly enroll for Black Belt training. Otherwise, first equip yourself to Green Belt level, and then proceed for Black belt training. There is no mandate to obtain Green Belt certificate before applying for Black Belt at ASQ. But, I would recommend going step by step. Get trained & certified for Green Belt and then aim for Black Belt certification.
For SSBB training, there are several online and classroom training available. You can choose any mode as per your convenience. Online instructor-led training can be opted by working professional to have an advantage of attending these training from their respective locations.
Below is some valuable training at reasonable cost being conducted by GreyCampus – A global training provider.
Online Self Learning
Live Online Training
Here’s how I prepared for the CSSBB exam:
Read comprehensibly & thoroughly all three mentioned books
Kubiak & Benbow book, I revised twice
Took GreyCampus Live Online training course on SSBB (I underwent through internal SSBB training conducted in my organization & had a prior hands-on experience on process improvement projects, so for me, it was a training to refresh my concepts. Thanks to GreyCampus, as I could clarify me all doubts with the trainer & come to a step closer to successful certification.)
Applied my learning to day – to – day work
Attempted & practiced hundreds of mock test questions
ASQ CSSBB broadly covers DMAIC phases in detail; you can go through my blog, DMAIC-A Six Sigma Process Improvement Methodology to know more about it.
You can practice CSSBB mock tests from below links, which are available free of cost:
GreyCampus' - OpenCampus - Six Sigma Black Belt Downloads
GreyCampus' - OpenCampus - Six Sigma Black Belt Practise exam
VSkills - Six Sigma Black Belt Practise exam
Simplilearn - Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Practise test
Exam-labs - ASQ CSSBB Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Exam
The key is – “The more you practice these mock questions, the better you develop your accuracy & confidence.”
Tip: During the practice of mock questions, set your time limits to answer and seek improvement.
Here comes the most important day of your journey towards Six Sigma Black Belt. Now, you are going to take the ASQ SSBB examination.
Even after a thorough preparation, I was nervous after completing my exam within an exhaustive four hours span. This time I was waiting for the result. It appears on – screen just after your submission of the exam paper. I could hear the clock ticking and within a minute – I gathered all the reasons for my happiness that time, I cleared the examination successfully.
Sharing my strategy for exam day:
I carried only a single reference book at the exam center - Kubiak & Benbow
Time management during the exam was a key to my successful submission of the examination within time limits. Some of my peers suggested me this timing strategy. Thanks to them and here I would like to take this opportunity to share it with you all:
I divided four hours time into four durations keeping half an hour spare to review –
One & half hours
First, thirty minutes, I took to skim through all questions and answered only those, whom I was cent percent confident about.
Second thirty minutes, I took to answer those questions, which I knew I could answer by recalling or referring to book in a moment.
Third, I allotted the time to questions, which I knew - where can they be found in the book, but need little searching.
The last span, I reserved for the question, which requires either extensive searching through a book or is calculative.
Remaining half an hour I kept reviewing all the questions before final submission.
This timing strategy would definitely help you to complete your exam paper within time and increase your chances of passing the exam. (You can adjust the timings for last two breakups depending on the type of questions or kind of difficulty, you face during an exam.)
After the completion of an examination, you’ll be handed over a hard copy of result at the center, if you get certified. Within four to five weeks, you’ll get the much-awaited hard copy of your certificate at your communication address.
Tips: Take a good snap a day before examination day. Before entering into a proctored exam room, go to the restroom. Freshen yourself. Because remember during the examination, if you go to the washroom, you’ll be penalized with exam duration as exam clock doesn’t stop during breaks. Don’t carry anything other than your Identity proof, Admit card and reference book.
ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt has globally recognized certification for Six Sigma Black Belt professionals. With some strategies and good preparation, it’s not so difficult to crack the examination. I’ve tried to contribute and share my personal experiences during ASQ SSBB examination. I hope these tips and suggestions would help you to be an ASQ certified Six Sigma Black Belt. Wishing you a great success in the journey to excellence.
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