Examination Study Suggestions
Candidates for AIRS Certification should consider reviewing the following study materials:
AIRS Standards for Professional Information & Referral — The AIRS Standards address all aspects of an I&R operation including service delivery, resource database, reports and measures, cooperative relationships, disaster/emergency preparedness and organizational effectiveness.
The AIRS I&R Training Manual: Candidates should read the sections/volumes that pertain directly to their job (e.g. the Service Delivery sections/volume for CIRS and CIRS-A/D candidates, especially the first 6 sections, and the Resource Database sections/volume for CRS candidates. It won't hurt to read the entire manual, but it is not essential for examination preparation. Although CIRS-A/D candidates should review the two section on Serving Older Adults and Serving People with Disabilities. Note: Although the manual is intended to help people understand I&R issues, the test is about I&R work and not the literal contents of the training manual. Most of the exam questions are scenarios and involve applying the principles within the manual. For CIRS-A/D candidates: The manual is not a specialized guide to providing services for aging/disabilities but is intended to focus on the fundamental I&R/A skills and techniques that are applied to all types of situations.
AIRS Online Training — All of the AIRS courses available on the AIRS Online Training portal are useful study material. However, the course entitled "AIRS: The Information and Referral Process" serves as a "core" resource for all CIRS and CIRS-A/D candidates. For CRS candidates, "AIRS: Introduction to Taxonomy and Indexing" covers some very important material.
General Guidance -- All exam questions have been written and are regularly reviewed by subject matter experts (i.e. your peers within I&R). Before a question makes it to an AIRS exam, it has gone through three separate groups of 8-10 subject matter experts (each group having at least two members whose first language is not English) and a further review by a psychometrician. Furthermore, every year the performance history of questions is assessed and any question where less than 60% of candidates answer correctly, is reviewed by subject matter experts and changed if it is thought that the wording is misleading.
Note that there are dozens of questions that register 100% correct answers -- e.g. 303 candidates answer it and all 303 answer it correctly. The questions are not designed to "trick" candidates. However, candidates often feel the questions have layers of meaning and read too deeply into the nuances of the question. More often than not, it is best to simply go with your first instincts. Similarly, there may be questions where more than one answer may sometimes be correct in certain circumstances. Once again, do not "over-think", choose the answer that is most right in most situations and try to avoid adding to the scenario (e.g. "Answer B is probably correct but sometimes if x or y are involved or if we knew more details about z, it can be answer C"). Most of the questions are scenario-based and even if you have not encountered that scenario, your understanding of I&R should indicate the best approach. Finally, there might be some questions where the answer choices all have some merit but in these cases, there is one answer which would generally considered as the "best" option of those available.
Note also that the Job Task Analysis listed at the end of each of the sections below, provides some insight into the composition of each exam in terms of the number of questions on each of the tasks and knowledge domains.
An online CIRS Practice Test is available as a module of our online training. Some of the questions are drawn from the AIRS I&R Training Manual while others have been pulled from old exams. Although there are only 50 as opposed to 100 questions, the format and the weighting of subject areas is the same as in the full exams. There is a $13 administration cost. NOTE: This practice exam is helpful for folks who are unfamiliar with the type of question structure that will be in the 'real' exam. But at the same time, we do not want to 'over-promote' this practice exam as some people have disagreed that it is representative.
Specific Training on Disability Issues: This course is a good general awareness training on disability issues for new candidates.The training course is entitled "Disability for I&R Specialists" and is available on the NASUADiQ website at http://www.nasuadiq.org/login/index.php. If you are new to NASUADiQ, you must create a new account. Please note that there is no fee to create an account or to take the training course. Directions for creating an account are available on the NASUADiQ site. There is also an Instructional Guide to NASUADIQ.org Online Learning Center available for those who would like more assistance in using this online learning site. To access the disability training, go to Disability for I&R Specialists”under available courses.’ Once you enroll in the course, you will have 45 days to complete it. The course is provided in several formats, including a written narrative report, a set of slides, and a narrated presentation that includes slides accompanied by an audio presentation. Additional training material is available at the same site.
An online CIRS-A/D Practice Test is available as a module of our online training. Some of the questions are drawn from the AIRS I&R Training Manual while others have been pulled from old exams. Although there are only 50 as opposed to 100 questions, the format and the weighting of subject areas is the same as in the full exams. There is a $13 administration cost. NOTE: This practice exam is helpful for folks who are unfamiliar with the type of question structure that will be in the 'real' exam. But at the same time, we do not want to 'over-promote' this practice exam as some people have disagreed that it is representative.
Indexing with the AIRS/INFO LINE Taxonomy: A practical guide written by Margaret Bruni of The Detroit Public Library's TIP Service, originally published in Information & Referral: The Journal of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems.
Taxonomy Supplements: How to Keep the AIRS/INFO LINE Taxonomy Updated for Your Resource File: A practical guide written by Georgia Sales of INFO LINE of Los Angeles, originally published in Information & Referral: The Journal of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems.
Setting Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria: Determining the Scope of a Resource File : A series of considerations (with sample policies) written by Dick Manikowski, originally published in Information & Referral: The Journal of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems.
The Taxonomy Library on the AIRS Networker and the library section of 211 LA County's Taxonomy website are both useful sources of information on how to better understand the Taxonomy.
An online CRS Practice Test is available as modules of our online training. Some of the questions are drawn from the AIRS I&R Training Manual while others have been pulled from old exams. Although there are only 50 as opposed to 100 questions, the format and the weighting of subject areas is the same as in the full exams. There is a $13 administration cost.
CRS Job Task Analysis
Information for all Candidates:
Examinations are based on the above recommended materials together with actual I&R experience. Coverage of this material, together with professional experience and self-guided study, is an effective way to prepare for certification examinations. AIRS discourages 'teaching to the test' by any trainer offering I&R workshops, consultations or presentations. AIRS encourages all presenters to base their instruction on the documentation listed above, primarily the AIRS Standards and the AIRS I&R Training Manual.
The AIRS Certification Commission does not endorse any sample exams or sample questions related to the CIRS, the CRS, or the CIRS-A/D tests -- even those produced by AIRS itself. Any sample questions are intended purely for practice purposes and are not an indication of either success or failure in any future examination.