Testing Tips for Collegiate DECA Competitive Success

Feb 16, 2024

Contributed by Abby Simon | University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI

Collegiate DECA competitive testing can be difficult. With so many questions in so little time, here are some tips and tricks to approach exam practice and CDECA ICDC testing.

1. Get Familiar with your Career Cluster Test

The event you are in determines which test you will take and what kind of content you will see on your exam. There are five different cluster tests that you may encounter in individual competitions:

  • Business Management and Administration: Human Resource Management and Retail Management
  • Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship Operations
  • Finance: Corporate Finance and Financial Accounting
  • Hospitality and Tourism: Hotel and Lodging, Restaurant & Food Service Management and Travel & Tourism.
  • Marketing: Fashion Merchandising and Marketing, Marketing Management and Sales Management and Leadership

Take the time to find out which test corresponds to your event and look at what questions might look like.

2. Take Practice Exams

Practice exams are available on DECA.org and can give you a great sense of what to work on. Here are some best practices while you take the practice test:

  • Take notes on things you don’t understand and research them (they might appear again)
  • When you get a question wrong, read through the explanation of why that answer is incorrect.
  • Set a timer to feel what it is like to have time pressure. It doesn’t have to be the whole exam, maybe half the questions and half the time.

3. Use Study Aids

Study aids such as flashcards, Quizlet and note-taking can help you learn the key terminology for your cluster test. Focus on things you may not have learned in your classes or are unfamiliar with.

4. Take Care of Yourself

Be sure you are also attending to your needs before an exam.

  • Eat something beforehand
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Dress in clothes that make you feel confident
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Practice affirmations or do a power pose
  • Bring a calculator and scrap paper

5. During the Exam

It is easy to get nervous during the exam if you don’t know or understand a question. Here are a few tips for exam-taking:

  • Read each question thoroughly and carefully
  • Underline or write down important information
  • Eliminate unreasonable answers or ones that don’t make sense in the context of the question
  • If you are stuck, flag the question and move on to the next (but be sure to return to it!)
  • Keep an eye on the time, but don’t let it worry you too much
  • Go with your gut. If you are questioning an answer or need to guess, go with the most reasonable one.


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Classroom Connection

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