Introducing new reference books to your exam

Published on:

August 10, 2016

Read time:

3 minutes


New reference materials have been released – How long do you wait to update your exam?

Recommended reading

It’s common for certification and licensing organizations to release a list of recommended textbooks and other resources for their certification exams. This “booklist” is revised annually, updating new editions, retiring older works, and adding new releases.

The question: How much time should regulators wait until material from the new textbooks is added to the examinations?

The answer: It depends.

It depends if the new textbooks are updated editions of previous textbooks, or if these books are truly new. For example, a new textbook may be a Canadian edition of an existing textbook. It also depends on whether the content in these new textbooks represent changes in best practices or new information that was not previously available.

If the new textbooks are simply new editions and the changes are not substantial, exam question metadata (e.g., edition and page number of the new textbook) can be revised immediately and the question kept or added to the exam right away.

However, if the additions to your booklist represent significant additions to the body of knowledge within the profession, but still within the competency domain, then regulators should wait the length of time of the educational program before adding the new material to the examination. For example, some groups wait two years before testing on the material, enough time for candidates to have gone through an educational program that prepares them for the revised exam, graduating with the updated knowledge from the texts.


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