Preparing for the RP Exam

NAP members preparing for the Registration Exam so they can become Registered Parliamentarians (RP) may benefit from the following information and tips.

NOTES:
* Starting in August 2011 the RP Exam has been also offered as an online exam, giving immediate scoring.  Inquire with NAP if interested.
* With the 11th edition of RONR on September 27, 2011, expect the RP exam to be updated in 2012 with a new study guide.  There will likely be several months initially where an applicant will have a choice of taking the exam on the 10th edition or the 11th.

The main sources of information on the exam are:
•    The NAP website’s introduction to the RP exam
•    The RP exam application (PDF)
•    NAP Operating Policies and Procedures, section 5.1
•    The In Order Study Guide for the NAP Registration Exam, $29 paper, $25 PDF at NAP Store

Minimum (and sufficient) items to have for studying for or taking the exam:
•    Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition, $18 at NAP Store
•    In Order Study Guide for the NAP Registration Exam, $29 paper, $25 PDF at NAP Store

Optional resources:
•    ParlQuest, a CD with the 1200 exam questions and lots of part 1 drill questions at NAP Store, at ParlQuest
•    Basic Information Leaflet, $1.50 at NAP Store

The exam consists of 5 parts:
A. Part I - Research (open book)
B. Part II - Motions and Related Procedures
C. Part III - Meetings, Sessions, Conventions, and Related Procedures
D. Part IV - Officers, Elections, Voting, Board and Committees, and Related Procedures
E. Part V - Rules of the Assembly and Related Procedures

Part I  consists of five open book research questions. Each question is a direct quote from RONR, and the applicant is given 30 minutes to find the page number for all 5 quotes.  The applicant is allowed to have the current print edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised and the Supplemental Index to RONR for this part of the test only. The use of the RONR on CD-ROM or other electronic devices is prohibited.  Passing grade is 80% (4 of the 5 quotes).

Parts II, III, IV, V are multiple choice, with a total of 300 questions, taken from the 1200 study questions in the Study Guide.  Pass with 85% on each part (II-V).
•    Part II (Motions and Related Procedures) is 100 questions out of 400 study questions;
•    Part III (Meetings, Sessions, Conventions) is 80 out of 325;
•    Part IV (Officers, Elections, Voting, Boards, Committees) is 80 out of 325;
•    Part V (Rules of the Assembly) is 40 out of 150.

Plan on 2 to 6 months of preparation time.  See application form for information on selecting a monitor.  At some point pick a target exam date, and submit the application at least 40 days before hand.

Tips on preparing for part I:
  1. To practice for part one of the exam (find page numbers for 5 RONR quotes), time yourself (minutes and seconds) for each of the 20 practice quotes in the study guide.  That will give you a feel for how long it normally takes you to find a quote, so that when taking the test, if a quote takes much longer, you can skip it and go to the next quote.
  2. When looking for a page number for a quote, first think what word in the supplemental index might help, and on the quiz sheet under the quote write the word and the page numbers, then look up each page.  Visually scan the page for some visually distinctive part of the quote such as capital letters, italics, bold, numerals, special characters.  Also scan footnotes.  Cross off the page number from your handwritten list once you have scanned it.  Sometimes you will have to try a different index word; in such cases, the crossed off page numbers help you to avoid scanning a page a second time.  If you have to skip to the next quote and return later to this one, the index words and crossed off page numbers help you know where to resume your search.
  3. You can expect to have 3 “easy”; 1 “medium”; and 1 “hard” quote in your set of 5 quotes.  You don’t want to get stuck on the hard one and run out of time, so the timing technique described above is critical. 
  4. Sometimes a similar sentence can be in a different part of RONR; look for an exact match for the quote.  Sometimes the subject matter spills over to the page beyond the one listed in the index, so you may want to scan a bit beyond the listed page.
Tips on preparing for parts II through V:
  1. Do a trial test to determine how well you do with and without study.  For each multiple choice part (II, III, IV, V), test yourself on the first 20 questions without study, and the next 20 with study, and compare scores.  Would you pass (85%) without study?  With study of only half the questions?  Time yourself on each set of 20.
  2. Study only half of the questions for each part, and if time permits, then study the other half for each part.  If time still permits, review (first half, then second half).
  3. Set an exam date several months out, send in application, and use that exam date to motivate yourself to study rather than procrastinate.  Select exam date when no known big distractions occur for the 2 weeks beforehand, so you can cram/review as needed.
  4. For study, photocopy the answer key from the back, then go through the questions like this (in half the normal time): read the stem (the part before the 4 alternative answers), read the answer key to get the letter of the correct answer, then read the correct answer.  DON’T read the wrong answers.
How long will the test take?  Average your times for taking each set of 20 questions above.  Take half of that to get your average time for 10 questions.  Times 30 for 300 questions.  Add 30 minutes for part I.

Additional tips:

Memorize the 13 ranking motions in order.  Then memorize their characteristics (interrupt? second? debatable? amendable? etc.)  See the Basic Information Leaflet listed above for a chart for these, along with the other motions (incidental motions, motions that bring a question again before the assembly), or see similar charts at:
•    http://www.parliamentarians.org/about/parliamentary-basics/motions/
•    Jim Slaughter's chart of RONR motions
•    Michael Malamut's charts of motions (PDF)
•    Shane Dunbar's rules for motions

Memorize:
•    The standard articles in bylaws and their order
           Article I: Name
           Article II: Object
           Article III: Members
           Article IV: Officers
           Article V: Meetings
           Article VI: Executive Board (or Board of Directors)
           Article VII: Committees
           Article VIII: Parliamentary Authority
           Article IX: Amendment of Bylaws
•    The ranking of different types of rules
           law
           corporate charter
           constitution
           bylaws
           special rules of order
           parliamentary authority
           standing rules
•    The standard order of business
           Reading and Approval of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting
           Reports of Officers, Boards, and Standing Committees
           Reports of Special Committees
           Special Orders
           Unfinished Business and General Orders
           New Business
•    Use mnemonics to help memorize: Shane Dunbar's Mnemonics,

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