What Should I Study For My Exam?

What should I study for the multiple choice portion of my specific exam level?

People often ask me what they need to study for a specific exam.  For example, “What do I need to know for my Distribution 2 Exam.”   As far as what to study for your specific exam level, here’s the thing about the exams… the questions are all over the place.  In principle, the lower level exams should be more basic and focus on definition type things more, and the higher level exams should focus on management, water quality, and government regulations.  In reality it’s not necessarily so, regardless of what some trainers my say when selling their courses or practice exams.  When it comes to the multiple choice questions, there really is no level one question, level two question, level three question, etc.

When I tested for my Distribution 5 (as high as it goes in California), I saw one question that was word for word the exact same question that I got on my D2.  I’ve also seen questions on a Treatment 2 exam that were very detail centered and had no business being on a T2 exam.  Examples like those are very common.  The main difference I’ve found between levels of certification is in the difficulty of the math problems, so my advice to you is to make sure and soak up all you can when testing, and then just try to add to your knowledge base for each subsequent exam you take.

Which Water Math DVD should I study for the math portion of my exam?

When I first created the Beginning Water Math DVD, my goal with it was to be able to use it to pass your T2 and / or D2 exams.   (If you are out of California, to gain an understanding of approximate level,  California goes: Distribution 1-5, with 5 being the highest, and Treatment 1-5, with five also being the highest.)  I still think it should be good enough for the D2.  Having said that, some recent T2 exams have started to ask problems which I cover under the “advanced dosage” section of the Advanced Water Math DVD set.  So If you want my completely honest opinion, I would say order them both if you are testing for anything greater than the bottom level exam.  Know everything on the Beginning DVD set, and also be familiar with the first disk of the advanced DVD set.

There is a lot of crossover in the math.  The entire Beginning Water Math set, as well as the first disk of the Advanced Water Math set, are applicable to exams centered around either Treatment or Distribution.  Higher level distribution oriented exams will need the material on the second disk of the Advanced set.  People testing for a top level treatment centered exam will also need to know math problems related to preparation of aliquot solutions.  Because they are only on top level treatment exams, I do not cover those in the math courses.

Also, make sure and check out the bonus math videos on the YouTube tab of this site.

Which podcasts lean towards Treatment or Distribution exams, and which are equally applicable to both?

3      Water Treatment Overview
15    Water Treatment Exam Prep – Audio Flash Cards
26    Advanced Treatment Audio Flash Cards
27    Membrane Filtration
28    Chemicals in Treatment

17     Trenching, Shoring and Water Main Construction
18    Distribution Review – Audio Flash Cards
19    Meters and Valves

10    Biological Contaminants and Disinfection
11     Hard and Soft Water, Iron and Manganese Problems, Nitrification
12    Government Regulations
16    Drinking Water Supply
20   Water Chemistry
21    Water Treatment Techniques – Part 1 (yes, both)
22   Water Treatment Techniques – Part 2 (yes, still both)
23    Pumps and Motors  (Recent feedback has moved this from “Dist” to “Both”)

Which of your videos lean towards Treatment or Distribution exams, and which are equally applicable to both?

Water Treatment Overview:  Conventional and Direct Filtration
Water Treatment Plant Tour of a 40 MGD Membrane Filtration Plant

Water Math DVD Bonus Footage – Part I  (Specific Capacity portion of this video is distribution.  Detention time portion is both)
Water Math DVD Bonus Footage – Part II
Breakpoint Chlorination
Chloramine Formation and Reactions With Chlorine
Presence / Absence and MPN Testing for Coliform Bacteria
Alkalinity Test
pH, Alkalinity, and Hardness

I also have a few continuing education classes which cover both distribution and treatment.  I do charge for these courses, but if you have a workplace that reimburses you for continuing education, they will essentially be free and you may find them extremely helpful.  

Biological Contaminants and Disinfection:
A very in-depth look into the different types of contaminants.   It discusses the history of disinfection, takes a good look at chlorine itself in its three states of matter, and goes over the breakpoint curve.  It also discusses the pros and cons of using chloramines in place of chlorine, how chloramines are formed, and how they react with chlorine.  Finally, it covers other methods of disinfection and possible harmful disinfection byproducts.   Some aspects of my free material, such as the “breakpoint chlorination” video, are used in this course.

Water Quality Problems and Treatment Techniques:
I REALLY wish this course had been available for me to take when I was studying for exams!  It would have made so many things which originally confused me so much easier.  This four hour course will give you a good overview of water quality problems within the system and go into depth on hardness, corrosion, iron and manganese, tastes and odors, and nitrification.   I tried to create a course which really covers these issues in a way that makes sense.  I also tried to include clear explanations for the things that I personally had hang ups on when I was first learning this, as well as many commonly asked questions by other operators.


Additional Outside Resources:   Please see the “links” page.