Examination

Taking the Exam

There is one examination for Professional certification regardless of desired designation.  The exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions in English and takes approximately 3 hours to complete. It is administered electronically within a two-month window, twice a year at proctored sites across the country as well as internationally.

Spring offering: April – May Application deadline November 30

Fall offering: September – October Application deadline April 30

Exception to these deadlines is not possible due to the time needed to process and evaluate each application.

Candidates who need testing accommodation in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must advise BCPE of their accommodation need(s) at the time their application is submitted for processing and evaluation.See Accommodation Policy for more details.

Scheduling the Exam

Your application has been approved and you’ve paid the exam fee. It’s time to register for the exam. Approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the exam window you will receive an Exam Registration letter that steps you through the registration process.

You can schedule your exam for any time during the available two-month exam window of the chosen exam offering, following the instructions in your Exam Registration Letter.  Sites are available around the US, Canada, as well as internationally.

Visit the EXAM SITE MAP to explore your options.  Each exam center maintains its own hours of operation and may or may not offer weekend/holiday hours. The exam site map does not provide location contact information because all contact should be through the registration site. Identify your preferred sites on the map so that you can look them up during the registration process to select your date and time to take your exam.

Site availability can change, so please check the map frequently. If you cannot find a site near you or in your country, contact the BCPE.

If you miss your exam appointment you will not be automatically rescheduled and you will forfeit the exam fee. If you are late for your exam you might not be admitted. Late admission is at the discretion of the testing site.

Need to Reschedule: If you find that you need to change your exam date or exam window, notify BCPE as soon as possible. If you change your exam date (within the same exam window) greater than 7 days before the exam date, you can make this change yourself with no fee. If you are within 7 days of the exam date, request BCPE to reschedule and there is a rescheduling fee.

Exam Day

On the day of your exam, you will need to bring a printed copy of your registration confirmation received by email, as well as a government issued form of identification (such as a driver’s license). The proctor will setup the exam and you will begin.

No personal items are permitted, including cell phones, watches, calculators or purses. (A timer and calculator are on the exam interface.)

No breaks are allowed during the 3-hour exam. If leaving is necessary, the exam will end.

Results

Your exam results will be provided by e-mail within 4 weeks of taking the exam. Successful candidates receive a certificate, are provided access to the Private Certificant Directory and allowed use of one of our internationally recognized credentials, selected at the time of application.

BCPE’s current policy is to provide a Pass/Fail exam result. Examinations are scored electronically and converted to a scaled score. The score is provided as a scaled score between 200 – 500 with a pass score of 350. In this way, if a candidate sits the exam more than once, the scaled score can be compared to the previous scaled score. Therefore, a candidate may determine if his or her score improved or not between exams. BCPE does not provide feedback on performance on the sections of the exam because the information is not helpful. However, we do provide mentoring.

All questions have the same score. There is no penalty for a wrong answer, so Candidates are encouraged to attempt a response to all questions. Each exam version is equated with prior exams using standard statistical processes to ensure the difficulty level is the same for each version and that candidates are evaluated according to the same competency standard.

Retaking the Examination

Candidates wishing to retake the examination may do so by contacting BCPE. The exam cannot be taken more than once in the same exam window. A non-refundable retake fee applies to each exam attempt. Upon payment, examination information will be emailed for signing up for the next exam offering. The exam can be retaken as many times as needed, within a candidate’s two-year eligibility period. After this time a new application is required.

Preparing for the Exam

Some important concepts on test development are presented here in an overview.

Exam content is based on the BCPE Core Competencies.

Sample exam questions and answers are provided here.

A list of recommended references is available here.

You may wish to consult the professional development calendar for possible courses for reviewing subject matter. The BCPE does not review, sponsor or endorse any preparation materials or review courses for the certification examination. Separation from courses is a best practice for certification bodies to be sure there is no conflict of interest.

Core Competencies

The core competencies provide the framework for the examination.

BCPE CORE COMPETENCIES
Based on 2014 Job Analysis

The following core competencies is the exam specification, listing the critical tasks necessary for an early career professional (minimum 3 years of experience) to show competence in order to be certified as a BCPE Professional.  Under each task are listed knowledge and skills. The main sections and tasks of these competencies are validated with percentages reflecting the importance of each section to practice. The exam content is balanced according to these percentages.

There are some important ideas that the wording of the core competencies currently reflects:

  • Human-centered design or design applies to products, tasks, jobs, organizations and environments.
  • System applies to recognizing and understanding how humans and non-humans interact and influence one another within an integrated whole.
  • The term user implies both individuals and groups rather than single users to clarify to the reader that there are a variety of settings they may be faced with, and to reduce the potential for the reader to focus on the individual user.
  • We used plural forms for products, tasks, organizations, and environments to encourage the idea that persons may be working on one or more aspects of a situation at a time.

Human Factors/Ergonomics/User Experience discipline is characterized by the following*:

  • Takes a systems approach, therefore considers the broader context of the human in the environment even when focusing on a specific type of interaction.
  • Is design driven, involving analysis and assessment resulting in recommendations and actions for design.
  • Focuses on two related outcomes: performance and well-being, which includes efficiency and effectiveness and health and safety.

* J. Dul et al. 2012 A strategy for human factors/ergonomics: developing the discipline and profession. Ergonomics 55:4, 377-395

Overview

%CompetencySectionTasks
34%IANALYSIS –discover, gather data7
33%IIDESIGN – develop systems7
24%IIIVALIDATION – testing, evaluation5
9%IVIMPLEMENTATION – training, education, communication2

 

%Core Competencies
34%I  ANALYSIS –discover, gather data
Analysis determines the criteria for performance of humans in the context of system elements, such as products, tasks, jobs, organizations and environments.

1.  Conduct user research and/or evaluation to identify, document, and prioritize requirements for individuals and groups to achieve their goals.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Ergonomic design principles, regulations, guidelines, and standards, including those that focus on user accessibility
  • User research, usability testing, field projects, psychometric approaches, ecological and contextual analysis, observational methods, and performance metrics

2. Identify and apply relevant anthropometric data, including applicable demographic and cultural attributes of individuals and groups, to develop design criteria.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Anthropometric, demographic, cultural, and human development attributes of the user population
  • Design criteria/strategies for anthropometric data (e.g., ‘design for the extreme’ or ‘design for fit’)

3. Identify and employ relevant organizational factors impacting individuals and groups interacting within an organization, to produce recommendations to enhance quality of work life, safety, effectiveness and efficiency.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Fundamentals of organizational structure, organizational behavior and group dynamics,and principles of work
  • Macro-ergonomic analysis methods, sociotechnical systems theory, and methods for assessing work systems

4. Identify and measure the relevant physiological and biomechanical responses of individuals and groups to their activities and environments with particular reference to health, safety, comfort and effectiveness and efficiency.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Biomechanics, physiology, functional anatomy, circadian rhythm effects, and adaptation to stress and workload
  • Physical measures and psychophysical/subjective measures

5. Identify cognitive, behavioral and social characteristics and responses of individuals and groups that impact health, wellbeing, safety, performance, quality of life, attitudes, value belief systems, and motivation.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Cognitive task and error analysis methods
  • Cognitive function and process measurement methods, workload and situational awareness, social causation, network analysis, and assessment of teams

6. Identify and apply methods of evaluation of cognitive aspects of human-technology interfaces to reduce human error, optimize mental workload, and enhance health, comfort, safety, effectiveness and efficiency.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Cognitive factors, performance metrics, and evaluation methods for design, systems, and human performance
  • Human-technology performance modeling, inspection methods, and participatory methods

7. Identify and apply methods of evaluation of physical aspects of human-technology interfaces to reduce human error, optimize physical workload, and enhance health, comfort, safety, effectiveness and efficiency.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Performance metrics for human-technology interfaces, and evaluation methods for design, systems, and human performance
  • Measurement techniques in climatic and perceptual environments, analysis of risk factors, workplace assessment tools, and analysis of tasks, scenarios, user profiles, personas, and ROI
 33% II DESIGN – develop systems
Design applies the criteria for development or change for desired performance of humans in the context of system elements, such as products, tasks, jobs, organizations and environments.

1. Apply ergonomic principles and data appropriate to developing and fulfilling a set of requirements to achieve a safe, usable, effective, and efficient human centered design.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Ergonomics design principles, regulations, guidelines, and standards to fulfill design and user requirements
  • Human centered design techniques and process for conceptual, prototype, and operational model design alternatives

2. Design the hardware product, which includes functions, information displays, interactions, communication modalities etc., within the constraints and capabilities, and context to enable individuals and groups to accomplish a particular set of goals.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Requirements, regulations, principles, guidelines, and standards for hardware design
  • Instructional, safety and warning systems design principles including perceptual environments
  • Controls and displays design principles, specifications, and methods

3. Design the software product, which includes functions, information displays, interactions, communication modalities etc., within the constraints and capabilities of the hardware and the context to enable individuals and groups to accomplish a particular set of goals.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Requirements, regulations, principles, guidelines, and standards for software architecture and design
  • Software and systems design processes, including prototyping and iterative methods

4. Design tasks within human capabilities and limitations, and the workplace context to enable individuals and groups to accomplish a particular set of goals, and manage stress and fatigue.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Designing for physiological, cognitive and biomechanical capabilities and limitations, and stress responses
  • Individual and group decision making (e.g. formal and naturalistic) and decision making strategies and assessment of teams

5. Design jobs using systematic procedures, principles, and techniques in developing and combining tasks into jobs to make them safe, efficient, effective, and motivating, to better utilize human capabilities, and manage stress and fatigue.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Principles, guidelines, and regulations of job design, shiftwork and automation effects, and human performance measurement
  • Job and task analysis methods

6. Design the organization within human capabilities and limitations, and the social context to enable to accomplish a particular set of goals, and manage stress and fatigue.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Organizational behavior, group dynamics and organizational theory
  • Design strategies to promote and facilitate individual, team and organizational processes

7. Design the environment, within human capabilities and limitations, and the wider context to enable to accomplish a particular set of goals, and manage human stress and fatigue.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Environmental design principles, regulations, guidelines, and standards for indoor and outdoor spaces, tools, and equipment (e.g. acoustic, visual, noise, lighting, vibration, acceleration/deceleration, temperature)
  • Environmental effects on physiological and cognitive systems and responses, and human performance
 24%III VALIDATION – testing, evaluation
Validation confirms effective design for desired performance of humans in the context of
system elements, such as products, tasks, jobs, organizations and environments.

1. Evaluate and design an existing product and related systems, for predictive, stable, reliable and effective products.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Test design and analysis methods for products and systems for determining if design criteria are met
  • Validation and re-design methods for products and systems

2. Evaluate and design an existing task and related systems, for predictive, stable, reliable and effective tasks.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Test design and analysis methods for independent and integrated tasks and systems
  • Task assessment tools and human performance measurement techniques for evaluating task design and re-design

3. Evaluate and design an existing job and related systems, for predictive, stable, reliable and effective jobs.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Test design and analysis methods for independent and integrated jobs and systems
  • Methods for evaluating human performance with respect to workload balance and structure

4. Evaluate and design an existing organization and related systems, for predictive, stable, reliable and effective organizations.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Test design and analysis methods for organizations
  • Organizational analytics, performance metrics, and economic analyses

5. Evaluate and design an existing environment and related systems, for predictive, stable, reliable and effective environments.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Test design and analysis methods for environments to ensure conformance with relevant regulations, guidelines and standards
9%IV IMPLEMENTATION – training, education, communication
Implementation manages incorporation of the design to attain desired performance of
humans in the context of system elements, such as products, tasks, jobs, organizations and
environments.

1. Define the integrative strategies necessary to effectively and efficiently implement design.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Human centered design processes, instructional systems design, training and education processes, feedback processes and methods, and communication methods
  • Analytics and performance metrics for determining successful implementation

2. Deliver training/education to support effective and efficient individual, group, and organizational adoption of design.

Knowledge and skill in:

  • Instructional systems design, training and education processes, and communication methods
  • Methods for evaluating and/or measuring effectiveness and efficiency of development and delivery of training
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