Taking the Exam
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Currently, the CAWA exam is provided in a paper and pencil format and is given at several locations around the country on the same day, typically in June and November.

Eligible candidates will be provided with an Authorization to Test (ATT) Letter which includes logistical details related to the exam and serves as a candidate’s admissions ticket to the exam.

The CAWA certification exam consists of 100 questions.  Candidates will have a maximum of two (2) hours to take exam once the timed portion begins.

Check-in begins 60 minutes before the scheduled exam time.  You must arrive at the exam room for check-in between 30 and 60 minutes before the exam time.  Any candidate who is not in the check-in line 30 minutes before exam time will not be admitted.  The exam will start at approximately the scheduled start time.  After instructions are read, candidates are given precisely two (2) hours to complete the exam.

Only pre-registered and confirmed candidates will be admitted to the exam room.  To confirm your identify and eligibility, you must have with you the Authorization To Test (ATT) Letter and a currently valid, government-issued, photo ID bearing the exact same name as the name you used on your application.  If your government-issued photo ID reflects a different name, you will not be able to test.

Please contact the CAWA Certification staff at certification@sawanetwork.org if you need to update our records of your name to ensure it matches your ID.

The CAWA certification exam is proctored and administered under strict security and standardized conditions.  You must follow all proctor instructions.

You will not be permitted to bring into the exam room any reference materials, notes, dictionaries, language translation dictionaries or devices, cellular telephones, PDAs, computers or tablets, calculators, cameras, video cameras, scanners, digital watches, or other electronic or communication devices.

Exam Format

The CAWA exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions.  All questions have four options.  Some of the exam items are direct questions:

Who was the first woman to run for President of the United States?
A) Hillary Clinton
B) Susan B. Anthony
C) Geraldine Ferraro
D) Victoria Woodhull

Other questions are open-ended:

The primary purpose for placing an animal in bite quarantine is to:

A)    observe the animal to determine if it has rabies.
B)    monitor the animal’s behavior to determine if it is aggressive.
C)    examine the animal to determine if it has been vaccinated against rabies.
D)    isolate the animal so that it does not pose a health threat to other animals in the shelter.

Some questions will be RECALL questions, which simply ask you to remember a fact or a piece of information, such as with the question above about the first woman to run for President.

Other questions require you to APPLY knowledge that you have to a situation and determine the correct answer, such as in the second example above.

Each item has only one (1) best, correct answer.  You are provided with one (1) point for each correct answer.  There is no penalty for incorrect answers or for questions left blank.  This means that while taking the exam, it is always best to make an educated guess if you are uncertain about the answer, rather than leaving the answer blank.

After the Exam

After you complete the exam, answer sheets will be sent to SAWA’s professional testing agency partner for scoring.  Approximately six (6) weeks after the exam, you will receive your scores.  Your score report will provide you with the passing score, your total score, and a breakdown of your exam performance across the five content areas.   If you have been unsuccessful on the exam, this breakdown can help you determine in which areas to focus further preparation.  Your score report will not provide you with information on how you performed on individual test questions, or other information that might compromise the security or validity of the exam.

The passing point (“cut score”) for the CAWA certification exam is recommended by the Cut Score Action Team and approved by the Exam Committee, which developed the exam, then reviewed and approved by the CAWA Certification Council.  To set the cut score, the Cut Score Action Team uses generally-accepted, criterion-referenced standard-setting procedures (i.e., Modified Angoff method.)  Using a criterion-referenced passing point means that your score is only dependent on your performance; it is not compared with how others who tested at the same time perform.

If you are successful in passing the exam, SAWA will send you a certificate and other materials to recognize your achievement.

If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, there is no limit to the number of times you may retake the CAWA certification exam, but you must demonstrate that you meet the eligibility requirements for each exam administration when you reapply.  You are given the opportunity to pay a reduced Retesting Applicant exam fee for up to two (2) years after your first exam.  After two (2) years, you must reapply as a new applicant.

If the CAWA Certification Council determines that results of the exam do not represent a valid assessment of knowledge as sampled by the exam, such as due to irregular behavior of test takers or another reason related to exam administration, the results may be deemed invalid (neither pass not fail.)  Examinees whose results are deemed invalid must reapply and retake the exam with a passing score to achieve certification.


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