Finding the most effective way to study can be difficult — the way each person learns best is different and unique to them. If you’re preparing to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) or Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®) examination, it’s crucial that you discover an effective way to study the material you’ll be tested over. Some tips for self-studying for these exams are:
Know What to Expect
When it comes to any kind of test, it’s helpful to know what to expect. If you know the kind of material that will be covered, it’s easier to study the correct information and feel confident that you will be prepared. Let’s discuss the material that you will be tested on for both the CHES® and MCHES® exams.
The CHES® Exam
The CHES® exam covers all the core competencies of the health education and promotion field, also known as the Eight Areas of Responsibility. These areas include:
You can read more about the Eight Areas of Responsibility here. There’s also a CHES® network on Facebook, where you can see what previous test takers have to say about their experiences. They offer some helpful tips and knowledge, such as:
“Not going to lie, the test was pretty hard. They will give you a series of answer choices, and oftentimes, multiple answers could apply — you just have to pick the one that's most correct." - Claire H.
“Answer the questions you know for sure first and go back to the hard ones later. I was thinking 3 hours is a lot of time for a test, but I used every second…you basically have 180 minutes to answer 165 questions!” - Alisha P.
“Show up early in case there is anything that might prevent you from getting to the testing location on time. There was a marathon going on in the morning that I tested, and lots of roads were blocked off because of it!" - Hannah A.
The MCHES® Exam
The MCHES® exam covers the core competencies found in the CHES exam, but with additional advanced competencies and more emphasis on leadership and management skills. To view our test blueprint and see a percentage breakdown of the number of questions that come from each competency, please review this page.
Try Common Study Methods
Sometimes, the common and reliable methods of studying can be a good place to begin when trying to discover how you learn best. Many CHES® and MCHES® candidates have reported positive outcomes through:
- Joining in-person or virtual study groups
Whether you like to stick to paper flashcards and a physical textbook or prefer an online quiz game, these study methods will help put you on the right track. If you find that none of these work for you, try combining a few of them to create your own way of studying! Read a few chapters of your textbook and turn each chapter into a Quizlet — or, get your study group together and play Kahoot. You can personalize any of these common study methods to fit your learning style best, so you’ll be sure to ace your CHES® or MCHES® exam.
Use Available Resources and Material
It’s important to have a good understanding of the material you’ll be tested on — beyond what is in your study guide. While study guides are helpful, they only contain sample questions, not what will actually be on the test. Since you won’t know what questions will be asked on the test, it’s important to take advantage of other resources and material to fill in any knowledge gaps you think you may have.
We have a dedicated page of student resources specifically for those interested in taking the CHES® and MCHES® exams. These resources include:
You should be prepared for your exam by using these resources along with your study guide and other study methods. Utilizing all the available study tools will help increase your chance of success.
Staying motivated while studying for the CHES® and MCHES® exams can be tough. Putting in many long hours can be grueling, but keeping your end goal in mind is the best way to avoid burnout from studying. Other ways to stay motivated include:
Ready to Take the CHES® or MCHES®? Let’s Get Started.
If you are pursuing a career in the health education and promotion field, credentialing as CHES® or MCHES® is an excellent way to showcase your skills and ability to perform in the workplace. Certification demonstrates that you have up-to-date knowledge and expertise, as well as your commitment to the profession and future professional development. To access everything you need for CHES® and MCHES® preparation, please visit NCHEC’s resources and our strong community of health education specialists.