Just Keep Swimming to Shore Up Your CIH Designation


You've been studying for the CIH exam for months on end. Maybe you think you can't take one more stroke or read one more sample question.  Maybe your brain is clouded like murky water and you can't get through the sea of anemone jumbling your thoughts. As Dory sings in the film, Finding Nemo,  "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." That's Dory-speak for keep on truckin', keep the faith, and keep your eyes on the prize.

Keep reading as Sonia Lal, a Bowen EHS client, tells her story about how she just kept swimming, swimming, and swimming....

I went into the exam today - as if I had just prepared for my first UFC fight. Prepared for months and months. Not knowing how to prepare for something you haven't seen is hard. I get it! Trust me!

First some background...

You know....I was even preparing my new nickname for the January Course start with Russ...that's how I felt going into the exam.....a few weeks back I reached out to Russ asking him to keep a seat free for me in the next session. I had given up.

To set the scene further - I took Russ's course in January. I had never ever taken the exam. You could call me afraid of the exam or a perfectionist. Not sure. My buddies and I had studied a few years back - but I was not ready. I even took Russ's course then too. I knew I was just not ready.

Now a Mom on my own, I decided this had to be done and so I started the journey in January. The only trouble with starting too early is that - what you learned or read - you forget - well I'm older - so I did forget and that was scaring me - nearing the exam date.

I studied like crazy. What does that mean? I did read a few texts, but earlier on in the year and now - I had forgotten a lot of what I read. I listened to Russ over and over again. I never considered the study sessions until late October!  Russ needs to really put more emphasis on those - especially for new folks taking the course. They are really really helpful!. The study questions are phenomenal to help you study and gain some more "applied knowledge" or learn how to "apply formulas" to different scenarios and all.

My little boy, 4.5 years old even loves to hear Russ laugh - as I listened to the online courses. He was excited whenever I'd upload a video and listen to Russ talk about welding or ventilation. My son would say - mom make sure your units match!!!!! I really enjoy Russ - he is fun and his tone in the sessions is full of energy and I really do like his laugh! It helped enjoy the studying....that aside....try to like the studying....that will help you keep at it. Yes, I became a nerd in doing this - there was no other way for me to do it.

Practice using your formula sheet right off your computer screen. Ditch the hardcopy. I started that a month ago. Also practice with the old school HB pencils and just drill yourself with memorizing and practice problems. It becomes a familiar place when you finally sit for the exam.

Reaching out with the messages tool to others is also very helpful. I think I just made a lifelong friend in Angelica whom I call my Twin now!!! I only started when folks started reaching out to me as I posted a bajillion ventilation problems one night in the Vent Forum.

The trick to this exam I believe is to stay calm - that's what everyone says.....What does that mean? That means going in - you already know it's going to be a killer. So get over that part right away. Give yourself some time ( a week?) before the exam - whatever it takes to know that it's going to be a nasty exam. When you are over that - learn to stay calm. (trust me - I'm an emotional type and almost didn't take the exam cause of nerves - so coming from me - you know I'm being sincere!). Do whatever it takes to stay alert and calm. I did just that - that or I was just too tired to be nervous! That did it too.

Learn to breath deeply as well. You may not be the nervous type so this won't apply to you. So keep reading...

Skip all the math. I caught myself - when I saw a math problem I knew how to tackle I started trying to solve and then stopped myself. SKIP IT! Do the short questions first the non-math ones. Flag all the others.Then once you get the one part of the exam done - at least you've seen the whole thing and now go to the flagged questions. You may panic then - cause you've flagged a lot (I did) - didn't know which one to do first. Just keep going. The Dory "Keep Swimming" song came to mind....just keep it going. No time to panic.

Do what you can and if you get stuck (I did - said a bad word here and there! and that's NOT like me!). Just leave it and get back to it later when your mind gets untangled!

At the end of the day - I really didn't know what my result would be. I didn't even look at the screen as I was afraid of failing. Didn't want to hit the books again. My little boy hated to see me studying all the time these past few weeks. I was ready to abort this process.

I am HAPPY to say with Russ's tough love support, and my friends herein online Angelica, Chase, Earlstown - I am indebted to you all and hope to meet you soon!

This was a long journey....(and long note)....but ....I wanted to let you know...If I can keep swimming...YOU CAN TOO!


Good luck to all. Prepare like a UFC champion and you will gut punch this exam where it counts!

Just Keep Swimming!


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