How to Prepare for the CPO® Certification Test

So you’re planning to start a new career in pool operation and gearing up to take the CPO® certification test. While the prospect of starting a new job is exciting, taking the test can seem daunting. While everyone has their own strategies for test taking, there are some tried and true tips that can make the experience easier. Here’s what you can do to pass the CPO® Certification test with flying colors.  



As with any exam, preparation is key for the CPO® certification test. Many potential pool operators make the mistake of thinking preparation starts on the first day of CPO® courses. To truly prepare yourself, it’s best to start going over the pool operator’s handbook as early as possible. By going over the material ahead of time, it will be much less intimidating than walking in blind to your certification courses.

Skim over each chapter and start getting familiar with where each section is within the book. With a basic understanding of the course overall, you will find it is much easier to follow your instructor during class. Rather than feeling lost while your instructor teaches, you can actually follow along and learn. Also, since the test is open book, the more quickly you can find where each topic is the smoother things will go.

Get Organized

Because it’s so important to know how to navigate your pool operator manual, organization is imperative. Getting familiar with the manual can only take you so far in being able to quickly find the information you are looking for. Make sure to highlight key information that you think might be covered on the exam. It also helps to make labeled tabs on the outside of each section so you can easily find them. This will help you pass the test as well as serve as a good reference for your future in pool operation. Organization can even benefit you on the day of the test. If you keep your notes and references in a neat pile on your desk, you won’t be distracted by the clutter or find yourself shuffling through a mess of information.


This may seem easier said than done but keeping a cool head during the test is very helpful. Many people get overwhelmed at the beginning of test taking and it ends up throwing them off. Even the most prepared students can get nervous and ‘blank out’ when the test begins. On the day of your exam, take a few deep breaths before you start working. Starting off in a relaxed state will help you easily navigate through the exam.


Time Management

Since the exam is open book, the real hurdle to get over is time management. You have all of the answers at your fingertips but you need to find them quickly and efficiently. A good tip for time management is identifying your weak points. For many, the math sections of the CPO® certification test are the most difficult and time-consuming. In this case, it would be best to skip over the math questions and answer every ‘easy’ question first. Once you have gotten through those questions, you can start chipping away at the more difficult ones. You don’t want to get tripped up on a difficult question at the beginning of the test and find yourself rushing at the end. If a question is taking too long, skip it and come back to it at the end.

Passing the CPO® Certification Test

The absolute best way to pass the CPO® certification test is to learn from an experienced and knowledgeable instructor. Pool Operation Management’s award-winning CPO® certification courses train you how to properly operate a swimming pool. Our two-day courses offer a wealth of information and training in everything from pool chemicals, to energy conservation to surface water removal.

Aside from our exceptional CPO® courses, we offer a wide range of services for both commercial and residential pools, including maintenance, consultation and more. Our proven expertise also qualifies us to act as expert witnesses in pool-related legal disputes. We exemplify unmatched knowledge, experience, and customer service that you are sure to appreciate. To start your CPO® certification courses or use our many services, contact Pool Operation Management today. To get in touch with the pool experts, contact us today.

*This information is obtained from the Certified Pool and Spa Operator Handbook. This information may not be applicable to your pool based on your pool type and location. One should reference all applicable regulations and standards for your facility.

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