Confessions of an ACA Exam Survivor

Important update: I PASSED THE ACA EXAM!!! WOOHOO!

Sorry, I just had to put that out there. I’ve known for a week, and I’m still on cloud nine. Now that I’ve taken the test, and the experience is still fresh in my mind, I’d like to put some tips out there for all of you future test takers. . .

  • Be early – not on time. They start giving instructions about 30 minutes before the actual exam.
  • Bring more than one pencil! I forgot how annoying it is to fill in Scantron bubbles with a dull pencil!
  • Turn your phone off, or don’t bring it.
  • Read each question VERY CAREFULLY.
  • Look for answers to questions within other questions.
  • You are going to get stuck between two (and sometimes three) answers. It is just going to happen. Some of the questions on the test, in my opinion, were a bit subjective.
  • If you are totally stuck on a question, move on and come back to it.
  • You will most likely have plenty of time. It generally doesn’t take three hours.
  • Study the Archival Fundamentals Series. I think a lot of the more straight-forward questions came from those.
  • Be sure you know your domains well: 1) Selection, Appraisal, and Acquisition 2) Arrangement and Description 3) Reference Services and Access 4) Preservation and Protection 5) Outreach, Advocacy, Promotion 6) Managing Archival Programs 7) Professional, Ethical, and Legal Responsibilities.

These are just a few nuggets that might help you if you’re planning on taking the test next year. If anyone else has more tips, please comment and share!

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I am one happy archivist! Technically, I am now a provisional member until I petition that I have enough work experience to qualify as a fully certified archivist. But hey, I’m not complaining!