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How to Prepare for the CRS Examination Maria A. Williams, CRS United Way for Southeastern Michigan Detroit, Michigan.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Prepare for the CRS Examination Maria A. Williams, CRS United Way for Southeastern Michigan Detroit, Michigan."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Prepare for the CRS Examination Maria A. Williams, CRS United Way for Southeastern Michigan Detroit, Michigan

2 2 Deciding to take the exam Why should I take the exam? –Demonstrates initiative, and dedication to your organization –Chance to earn a professional credential –There might some CA$H in it for you –The AIRS Standards strongly encourage it –Tests can be fun! (Yes, Im serious.)

3 3 Deciding to take the exam Now its time to prepare! Has it been a while? –Who has taken an important exam (other than the CRS or CIRS) in the last: –2 years? –5 years? –10 years? A good plan is the best defense against a tough test!

4 4 Knowledge areas Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria10% Record Structure/Data Elements25% Indexing Principles25% Classification System/Taxonomy10% Database Maintenance10% Service-Specific Questions15% Indexing/Proofing Scenarios 5%

5 5 Test format Multiple choice True or false Short answer –Indexing/Proofing Scenarios

6 6 Key preparation materials There are many existing resources available –Articles –Websites –Listservs –CEQuick training courses –Training sessions –National –Local

7 7 Articles The ABCs of I&R –The foundation of training for all I&R and Resource Specialists –Learning objectives –Introductory exercises –Summary of key points –Test questions! –Use the 2006 or later editions. The 6.0 AIRS Standards are included in the 2009 edition. –Pay particular attention to the sections dedicated to the resource database

8 8 Articles The ABCs of I&R Sections 19-24: Resource Database – Overview Resource Database – Inclusion and Exclusion Policy Resource Database – Data Structure Resource Database – Classification Systems and Taxonomy Indexing Resource Database – Database Maintenance Resource Database – Disaster and the Resource Specialist

9 9 Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria Record Structure/Data Elements Indexing Principles Classification System/Taxonomy Database Maintenance Service-Specific Questions Indexing/Proofing Scenarios ABCs of I&R Exam Content Overview Inclusion and Exclusion Policy Data Structure Classification Systems and Taxonomy Indexing Database Maintenance Disaster and the Resource Specialist

10 10 AIRS Recommended Articles CRS Performance Based Competencies for Certification What it covers: A detailed outline and description of the knowledge, skills, attitudes and work related behaviors an I&R practitioner must demonstrate in order to perform their job effectively. Covers general knowledge/skills, skills and abilities specifically related to resource database maintenance, and also has a section on work-related attitudes. How it helps: This is a good document to read once or twice, to gain a clear understanding of whats expected of a Certified Resource Specialist on the job. No need to memorize.

11 11 AIRS Recommended Articles Setting Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria: Determining the Scope of a Resource File by Dick Manikowski What it covers: Everything youve ever wanted to know – and everything you never knew you wanted to know – about developing an inclusion/exclusion statement for your database. How it helps: The be all end all of articles about inclusion/exclusion statements, this article is incredibly important. Read it multiple times, take notes. Then read it a few more times.

12 12 AIRS Recommended Articles Indexing with the AIRS/INFO LINE Taxonomy of Human Services by Margaret Bruni What it covers: The design features of the Taxonomy, the benefits of hierarchical design, types of terms, basic indexing principles, customizing the Taxonomy, and keeping your Taxonomy current. How it helps: Extremely helpful article for learning about why the Taxonomy is structured the way it is. Read this article several times and take notes.

13 13 AIRS Recommended Articles Taxonomy Supplements: How to Keep the AIRS/INFO LINE Taxonomy Updated for Your Resource File by Georgia Sales What it covers: Discussion of the continuous evolvement of the Taxonomy and the various ways in which updates to the Taxonomy occur, and of tools to maintain the currency of an agencys Taxonomy. How it helps: Useful article for understanding the Taxonomy, recommend to read it through once or twice.

14 14 Articles From the website:www.211taxonomy.org An Orientation to the Structure and Contents of the AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy by Georgia Sales What it covers : A comprehensive overview of the Taxonomy, its structure, service categories, target populations, and comments on local customization written by the Taxonomy guru herself. How it helps: This is an important article, especially for Taxonomy newbies. Although its a bit longer than the others, at 33 pages, its worth reading at least once or twice. Take good notes.

15 15 Articles From the website:www.211taxonomy.org Structure and Contents of the Taxonomy by Georgia Sales What it covers: A quick outline of the structure and contents of the Taxonomy, this is an excellent summary. How it helps: This is a good article for more experienced users of the Taxonomy to brush up with.

16 16 Articles AIRS Standards for Professional Information & Referral and Quality Indicators You should be familiar with all of the AIRS Standards, but youll want to pay particular attention to the standards that deal with the Resource Database: Standard 7: Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria Standard 8: Data Elements Standard 9: Classification System/Taxonomy Standard 10: Content Management and Indexing Standard 11: Database Search Methods Standard 12: Database Maintenance

17 17 7: Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria 8: Data Elements 9:Classification System/Taxonomy 10: Content Management and Indexing 11: Database Search Methods 12: Database Maintenance Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria Record Structure/Data Elements Indexing Principles Classification System/Taxonomy Database Maintenance Service-Specific Questions Indexing/Proofing Scenarios AIRS Standards Exam Content

18 18 Websites and listservs Your states AIRS affiliate siteAIRS affiliate site –Training documents from local trainings AIRS I&R Networker Listserv –http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/airsnetworker/http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/airsnetworker/ AIRS Taxonomy Listserv –http://www.211taxonomy.org/resources/listservhttp://www.211taxonomy.org/resources/listserv Both listservs provide discussion forums for the I&R community. Its an outlet for you to ask questions and get help.

19 19 CEQuick What is CEQuick?CEQuick –CEQuick is an online training tool that allows you to pay a nominal fee to take a training course and have the opportunity to earn CE (Continuing Education) credits –Fees range from $5-$35 per course –Suggested courses for CRS test prep: –AIRS: An Overview for Resource Specialists ($20) –AIRS: Database Maintenance ($20) –AIRS: Introduction to Taxonomy and Indexing ($30) –AIRS: Resource Database Style ($25) –Total cost = $95 **Check out the Unlimited $99/year package if you plan to take all four courses.

20 20 Training sessions Be on the lookout for in-person training sessions –National –Local Benefits of in-person training –Get immediate answers to your questions –Networking Printed training resources –Taxonomy Training CurriculumTaxonomy Training Curriculum –ABCs of I&R

21 21 Training sessions Which of the following best describes a hierarchical classification system? a)An alphabetical listing of keywords that would occur to most people b)A structured set of concepts that illustrates the relationships between listings c)A computer system that searches for any and all strings of words d)A collection of detailed definitions of various human services

22 22 Training sessions Of the following, which is not a required data element? a)Unique record identification number b)Geographic area served c)Federal Employer Identification Number d)Date the information was last verified

23 23 Training sessions Which of the following represents a Taxonomy branch? a)BD, BH, BM, BR, BT b)B Basic Needs, D Consumer Services, F Criminal Justice and Legal Services, H Education c)J, JD, JD-1500, JD , JD d)FP-0500 Advocacy, TL Arms Control Advocacy Programs, TD Education Advocacy Groups

24 24 Training sessions The inclusion/exclusion criteria for the resource database should be: a)Told to everyone who contacts the I&R agency b)Published in relevant documents that are shared with the public c)Known only to the Board of Directors to ensure confidentiality d)Flexible so that the Resource Specialist can use discretion

25 25 Training sessions What are the main advantages of a style guide? a)Defines inclusion/exclusion criteria b)Documents indexing decisions c)Documents rules for consistent data entry d)Supervises Resource Specialist staff

26 26 Training sessions When should an I&R resource database be comprehensively updated? a)Two months before the publication of a new directory b)Annually c)Monthly d)Continuously

27 27 Training sessions What is a Use Reference? a) A term that has the exact opposite meaning of the given term b) A term that has a very close meaning to the given term c) A term that has the same coding as the given term d) A term that suggests a related yet distinct concept to the given term

28 28 Study strategies and methods Dont count on short-term memorization –Too much information –Too complex –Too important

29 29 Study strategies and methods Take notes –When reading articles –When attending training sessions –Right now!

30 30 Mnemonic devices Memory/learning aid –Acronym mnemonics use a word H.O.M.E.S. Huron Ontario Michigan Erie Superior

31 31 Mnemonic devices Acrostic mnemonics use a phrase –Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally –Every Good Boy Does Fine –King Penguins Congregate On Frozen Ground Sometimes

32 32 Mnemonic devices

33 33 Mnemonic devices What else could you use a mnemonic device for? –AIRS standards? –Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria –Data Elements –Classification System/Taxonomy –Content Management and Indexing –Database Search Methods –Database Maintenance –Required vs. recommended vs. optional data elements?

34 34 Flash cards An oldie but a goodie Can be used to help learn a wide variety of material, including items that are highly content-driven (AIRS Standards) Another person can quiz you without also having to know the material

35 35 Goal-setting and time management

36 36 Goal-setting and time management Remember that a good plan is the best defense against a tough test How much do you need to study? –How comfortable are you with the knowledge areas? –How quickly do you absorb new information? –Do you have a good memory? –Are you a fast reader? Set realistic goals for yourself and stick to them! –I will have all of my flashcards made by Friday. –I will spend 15 minutes with my flashcards each day. –I will run through my mnemonic devices each morning while brushing my teeth.

37 37 Time management Traveling to take the exam –Distance to travel –Time of day –Time of year –Effect on your performance

38 38 General test-taking tips For multiple choice tests –Read all options before making a selection –Eliminate the highly implausible answers –Be aware of words like always, never, only, must, and completely. These are usually wrong answers since there are many exceptions to rules. –Answer all questions without skipping or jumping around, identify doubtful answers by marking in the margin, recheck these as time permits after all of the questions are answered. –Dont linger too long on any single question –Reread all questions containing negative wording like not, or least. Watch out for double or triple negatives. –Your first guess is usually right!

39 39 General test-taking trips Eat breakfast! (Or lunch.) Get a good nights sleep Go to the bathroom first Bring a bottle of water and tissues with you Bring extra pencils – sharpened! Try to relax!

40 40 Web tools for continued communication Facebook –Please join the group I created a group for us, called AIRS Certified Resource Specialists. Trillian IM –Chat with fellow resource managers who may use AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC Google Docs –Collaborate online and create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that are stored online and can be accessed from any computer with a connection to the Internet

41 41 Questions?

42 42 Thanks!

43 43 Bibliography The ABCs of I&R, The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems Study Guide of Performance Based Competencies for Certification: CRS, The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, retrieved from Setting Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria: Determining the Scope of a Resource File, by Dick Manikowski. Originally published in Information and Referral, the Journal of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, retrieved from Indexing with the AIRS/INFO LINE Taxonomy of Human Services, by Margaret (Gillis) Bruni. Originally published in Information and Referral, the Journal of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, retrieved from

44 44 Bibliography Taxonomy Supplements: How to Keep the AIRS/INFO LINE Taxonomy Updated for Your Resource File, by Georgia Sales. Originally published in Information and Referral, the Journal of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, retrieved from An Orientation to the Structure and Contents of the AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy, by Georgia Sales. Originally published in Information and Referral, the Journal of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, retrieved from Structure and Contents of the Taxonomy, by Georgia Sales. Retrieved from Structure_and_Contents.pdf. Structure_and_Contents.pdf

45 45 Bibliography AIRS Standards for Professional Information & Referral and Quality Indicators, The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, retrieved from


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