INFORMS Releases Handbook for Analytics Certification Candidates

by   |   December 18, 2012 5:08 pm   |   0 Comments

Candidates for the new Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) credential created by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) now have a handbook to help them prepare for next April’s debut exam.

The 30-page handbook explains to CAP candidates the purpose of the exam—to “advance the use of analytics to transform the world by setting agreed-upon standards for the profession”—and lays out the steps necessary to apply for, schedule and prepare for the three-hour test.

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INFORMS will hold the first CAP test next April 7 at the 2013 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in San Antonio, Texas. The exam will be held on the first day of the three-day event. A second test will be held next October 5 in Minneapolis, one day before the 2013 INFORMS annual meeting from October 6-9.

The new handbook details eligibility requirements (which you can read about here) and, critically, a timeline for applicants. The first hard date for eligible candidates: February 21. That’s when the exam fee ($495 for INFORMS members, $695 for non-members) is due for the April 7 test.

By the way, don’t wait until the last minute to apply: Part of the process includes offering evidence of “soft skills” via comments from a recent supervisor.

INFORMS’ CAP certification exam is a written test comprised of 100 multiple-choice questions with four possible answers.  There are seven sections (or “domains”) in the exam, weighted toward the final score as follows:

  • Business problem (question) framing – 15%
  • Analytics problem framing – 17%
  • Data – 22%
  • Methodology (approach) selection – 15%
  • Model building — 16%
  • Deployment — 9%
  • Life cycle management — 6%

The candidate handbook includes 24 sample questions (none of which will appear in the actual exam). Here are three of them:

Domain I—Business Problem (Question) Framing

In the kickoff meeting with a client for a new project, which of the following is the MOST important information to obtain?

a) Business issue and project goal

b) Timeline and implementation plan

c) Analytical model to use

d) Available budget

Domain III—Data 

When analyzing responses of a survey of why people like a certain restaurant, factor analysis could reduce the dimension in which of the following ways?

a) Collapse several survey questions regarding food taste, health value, ingredients and consistency into one general unobserved “food quality” variable.

b) Condense similar survey respondent answers into clusters of like-minded customers for market segment analysis.

c) Reduce the variability of individual subject ratings by centering each respondent’s ratings around his or her average rating.

d) Decrease variability by analyzing inter-rater reliability on the question items before offering the survey to a wide number of respondents.

Domain VI—Deployment

After building a predictive model and testing it on new data, an under prediction by a forecasting system can be detected by its:

a) BIAS being positive.

b) BIAS being negative.

c) mean absolute deviation being negative.

d) mean squared error being zero.

The correct answer to each of the above answers is “a,” according to the INFORMS handbook.

INFORMS began creating the certification program last year, gathering input from more than 200 analytics professionals in the U.S., Europe and Asia/Pacific. The organization has 10,000 members globally, with about three-quarters belonging to the academic world.

Christopher Nerney ( is a freelance writer in upstate New York. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.


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