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Sitting for the CPACC Exam - #4

Ashley Thompson is a member of DubBot’s Support team, serving as our newest Support Engineer. The following post is the third part of a blog series documenting her experiences as she prepares for the CPACC exam. The third blog entry about Ashley's experience is available here. The fifth and final installment can be found here.

Repetition is a foundational technique in studying. It helps move information from the short-term memory to the long-term memory, the conscious to the subconscious. With enough repetition, learning happens. However, it does have an upper limit to its usefulness, and using a single method of studying is not the most efficient way to get those facts to stick in your brain for accurate recall - plus, it’s boring.

As my exam date approaches, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my flashcards in this final stretch. Read the material, write the material, rinse, repeat. And it has been helpful, especially considering I can take the flashcards anywhere for a quick cram session, but how useful can it be to study the same flashcards over and over continually? How much longer will my husband tolerate me shoving flashcards at him, demanding "QUIZ ME?"

Stack of white flash cards in the foreground and a laptop in the background. The top card read The Functional Solutions Model.

Enter our friend, ChatGPT, a surprisingly great study buddy. For starters, it “knows” the material. The CPACC is a very niche exam, and you’re not likely to find anyone locally who is studying for it at the same time and able to pair with you to learn. ChatGPT scrapes the web in a far more efficient way than I can, so I can get specific with my answers during mock quizzes and flashcard sessions, and I get pretty comprehensive feedback (versus the glazed look I get from my partner when I force him into studying with me, who purely understands that these are all definitely words). ChatGPT will let me know when my answers are only partially correct and provide additional context for me to add to my notes.

A screenshot of a ChatGPT screen with several paragraphs of text and a red arrow pointing to the Regenerate button in the right bottom corner.

Another handy feature of studying with ChatGPT is the "Regenerate" button in the interface. I use this button a lot when I prompt ChatGPT to write me a quiz, because it will rephrase the questions. The CPACC is notoriously locked down when it comes to content. Participants are not allowed to share any hints or specifics on the subject matter, and least of all, any of the actual questions. Studying a flashcard over and over can hinder a learner studying for an exam like this because they may inadvertently be memorizing the question/answer pair they have on their card, and seeing the question or answer in a different format or phrasing may totally throw them off. The CPACC is timed, so being able to recognize the content quickly, regardless of verbiage, is crucial.

ChatGPT can be controversial, but, for now, AI only operates in how we humans use it. Interacting with AI as frequently as I do, I have seen lots of really great uses for this tool that don’t necessarily need to take away but rather add to what humans are capable of. Having ChatGPT as a resource for undertaking the CPACC has been wonderful, and I think it has elevated my learning experience. 

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to committing information to memory. If you’ve been following this series, you have already seen my Disney/Universal Design mashup. I have a whole song dedicated to memorizing my kid’s soccer team, and now I’m using an AI to help me study for the CPACC!

The third blog entry about Ashely's experience is available here. The fifth and final installment can be found here.

Ashley Thompson, CPACC
Support Engineer