Are you preparing for the ASQ Six Sigma Black belt certification exam and want to crack the exam on the first attempt then this article is definitely for you. Six Sigma black belt is one of the most popular professional certifications, most working professionals are interested in achieving this certification.
This certification is recognized in all types of industries across the globe. A person with Black belt certification is considered a valuable asset for the company because they lead organization-wide improvement efforts.
And help the organization in increasing revenue as well as reducing cost by using their Six Sigma methodology knowledge and expertise. Having this certification will help you stand out from the crowd and open up a lot of career opportunities in front of you.
In this article, I am going to share with you everything about ASQ Six Sigma black belt certification exam starting with exam details, preparation strategy, and how to apply for the official exam. etc. In the end, you will get complete clarity on how to kick start your exam preparation in the right direction. So let’s begin…
What is ASQ Six Sigma Black belt certification?
Six Sigma black belt certification is level-3 certification in Lean Six Sigma methodology. Certified Black belts are the team leader of the Six Sigma improvement project, they are experts in process improvement and change management. Certification bodies like IASSC, ASQ, CSSC, and TUV provide the Six Sigma black belt certification.
For this article, our focus is on ASQ Black belt certification, before discussing that let’s have a quick walk through on the ASQ certification body. Actually, ASQ doesn’t need an introduction, you already know that ASQ is one of the most recognized and respected Six Sigma certification bodies across the world.
In 1946, the American Society for Quality (ASQ) was established as a knowledge-based global community of quality professionals, and currently, more than 80000 members are dedicated to promoting and advancing quality tools, principles, and practices in their workplace.
This is considered the oldest Lean Six Sigma certification body, which provides training, coaching, and consultancy services across the globe. ASQ provides a total of 18 quality certifications out of which 4 Six Sigma certifications are the popular ones. i.e. Six Sigma Yellow belt, Green belt, Black belt, and Master black belt.
These 4 ASQ certifications are valued by top organizations like TATA, Infosys, Genpact, HCL, and many more. ASQ facilitates process improvement for many organizations worldwide in the Automotive industry, Healthcare sector, Pharma sector, Chemical, and Process industry, etc.
So having this certification in your profile will definitely separate you from the crowd in the job market. ASQ Certified Six Sigma professionals means the professionals who successfully demonstrated their competence in the subject matters as determined by the professional Six Sigma certification exam based on the ASQ body of knowledge.
ASQ Certified black belt is a professional who knows Six Sigma philosophies, principles, and tools, he has an in-depth understanding of all aspects of the DMAIC methodology. He knows how to apply different Six Sigma tools for process improvement and also knows how to lead Six Sigma projects effectively.
In order to achieve, ASQ black belt certification, first you need to fulfill the certification criteria i.e. candidates should have at least 3 years of experience with one complete project signed affidavit and then you have to study as per the Black belt body of knowledge.
After preparation, you have to appear for the open book exam conducted by the ASQ certification body. Your final exam result will decide whether you get this black belt certification or not. We will discuss these things in detail later in this article.
Here I am just giving you a short introduction of what ASQ black belt certification is. Right! See Six Sigma black belt is a project team leader, working full time to solve process-related problems under the direction and support of champion/MBB. Black belts work on a complex project which needs significant focus to resolve.
This is because they have that level of expertise. Most black belts conduct an average of 4 to 6 improvement projects a year, projects that usually have a high financial return for the company. They work full time as process problem solvers by conducting improvement projects.
Their full-time experience of leading, managing, and motivating the six sigma project teams gives them the leadership ability to implement a Six Sigma vision. They are good at managing and driving change. Before moving forward let’s see their responsibilities –
Responsibilities of black belt professionals –
- Work with Process champion, Process owner, and Master black belt for the selection of projects.
- Facilitates DMAIC/Six Sigma project teams in applying Six Sigma methods to solve problems.
- Monitor project progress closely.
- Utilize the resources provided by management effectively.
- Lead and Manage Six Sigma projects.
- Address issues that occurred during the project and consult with the MBB.
- Update and present project progress to management.
- Review completed projects.
- Share all the lessons learned with the project team.
Why become an ASQ certified Six Sigma black belt?
- With black belt certification, you get to understand DMAIC methodology in detail, and this level of certification qualifies you to take the DMAIC approach knowledge to another level providing you the expertise to lead complex improvement projects.
- With black belt certification, you become qualified to lead more advanced Six Sigma projects, serve as a full-time leader and change agent for projects that span the enterprise.
- With black belt certification, you become an expert at utilizing statistical analysis software (like Minitab) to draw valid conclusions, depict the relationship, analyze measurement systems and statistical process control, and also be able to test the hypothesis, Design of the experiment. etc.
- With ASQ black belt certification, you become a valuable asset to the company as well as the strong link between the project team and upper management to work things smoothly and it also shows your ability to improve any business process using powerful tools.
- Along with the benefits to the company, having this certification provides you an ample amount of new career opportunities and leadership roles, it helps you in career advancement, getting the promotion, and excellent salary. This certification makes you a powerful problem solver at the workplace.
Format of ASQ Six Sigma Black belt-
ASQ Six Sigma black belt exam is based on 5 topics like Organization-wide planning and deployment, Organization process management and measures, Team management, DMAIC methodology, Design for Six Sigma. Each topic carries a different weightage and number of questions.
- Organization-wide planning and deployment (12 questions)
- Organization process management and measures (10 questions)
- Team management (18 questions)
- Define phase (20 questions)
- Measure phase (25 questions)
- Analyze phase (22 questions)
- Improve phase (21 questions)
- Control phase (15 questions)
- Design for Six Sigma (7 questions)
This is 165 questions, an open-book exam with 4hr 18 min allotted time. In order to pass the exam candidate needs to prepare as per BOK and score a minimum of 78% in the final exam.
To appear for this certification exam, you need to have 3 years of experience in one or more areas of black belt Bok as well as the signed affidavit of one completed project.
You can join the membership of ASQ which is useful if you are interested in quality or Lean Six Sigma because this membership provides you a lot of networking opportunities with experts and access to unlimited knowledge/case studies that help you in your career.
Read more – ASQ membership
ASQ membership will also give you concession in all 18 certifications costs, If I talk about ASQ BB certification, for that, the cost for ASQ members is 438$ and for non-members is 538$, you can see the difference of 100$. ASQ members can save 100$ for this certification exam.
One more thing I want to add here, if you fail the exam on the first attempt then you can retake the exam by paying 338$ for an exam voucher. See, you should make sure that you attempt exams only when you are confident about your preparation.
ASQ also have a recertification policy for 13 certification out of 18, Six Sigma Black belt certification is also there in the list of those 13 certifications. ASQ Six Sigma black belt certification has a validity of 3 years after every three years candidates need to go for a recertification exam.
ASQ has this policy in order to ensure that candidates maintain the same level of knowledge demonstrated in the first exam. For more details about recertification please check out the link given below.
Read more – ASQ recertification policy.
After this, the next important thing is how to apply for this exam? It’s a simple 4 steps process you have to follow, initially, you have to submit the application, then the ASQ team will review that application. You will get the approval message by email within 1 to 2 days.
Then you have to choose between two testing options computer-based testing and paper-based testing, once you finalize this then schedule your exam and appear for the exam following all ASQ exam guidelines. For more details please check the below link.
If you pass the computer-based testing exam you will get the final result immediately after submitting the exam. You will receive the final test result by mail within 3 to 5 days and a hardcopy certificate within a 1 to 2 week time period. For the paper pencil-based exams, this process will be slightly delayed.
If you fail the computer-based exam you will receive the performance result via mail within 3 to 5 days and then you have to go for the retake certification option after some time period which is given by ASQ.
With this information, I hope you understood the format of the ASQ Six Sigma black belt certification exam. In the below table, I have summarized all the important details about the exam. Now we discuss how to prepare for this exam so that you can crack it at the first attempt.
|Body of knowledge||Organization-wide planning and deployment, Organization process management and measures, Team management, DMAIC methodology, Design for Six Sigma|
|Allotted time for exam||4hr 18 min|
|No of questions||165 questions (150 are scored and 15 are unscored)|
|Exam voucher cost||ASQ members – 438$, Non-members – 538$, Retakes – 338$|
|Validity period||3 years|
|Exam format||Open book with two options (Computer-based or paper-based)|
One completed project with signed affidavit and 3 years of experience in one or more areas of black belt BOK
How to prepare for the exam?
In order to prepare for the ASQ Six Sigma Black belt certification, you need to focus on three important aspects. Six Sigma black belt level training, Study Materials, and Practice questions. With the right preparation strategy, you can pass this exam on the first attempt.
Black belt level training –
When it comes to training you have two options online training and classroom training. Both training options are good, it’s up to you to select which one is best suitable for you. The most important thing you should consider while selecting the Six Sigma training platform is whether they cover the ASQ BB body of knowledge or not.
There are a lot of training providers available in the market now, but not all the platforms cover the ASQ BOK so before enrolling in any training platform check student’s feedback, course content quality, instructor profile, what type of study material they are providing? etc.
After evaluating all these things then only make the final decision about enrollment. Let me suggest to you some of the best training platforms as per my experience, which covers the ASQ Six Sigma black belt certification body of knowledge in detail.
- ASQ black belt training program. (Online/ Classroom)
- MSI Six Sigma
- Grey campus, etc.
Select any of these platforms and go for training, use all the training resources and revise concepts multiple times. Especially the Measure and Analyze phase. All the platforms provide recorded concept videos so go through that multiple times to improve your conceptual understanding.
Study materials –
All the training platform provides some kind of study or reference material. As a candidate, these materials are really useful for exam preparation. Along with these training platform’s study material, you can also think about these 4 amazing books to make your ASQ Six Sigma black belt exam preparation easy.
The Six Sigma black belt handbook (3rd edition) –
This 3rd edition of the Black belt handbook has been fully updated and revised to reflect the most recent Six Sigma techniques, and to match the ASQ Certified Six Sigma black belt BOK. The primary audience for this handbook is all the professionals who are preparing for the black belt certification exam.
And the secondary audience is all quality and Six Sigma professionals who want a complete reference book on Six Sigma DMAIC methodology. This handbook covers in detail all about DMAIC methodology. Make sure you should read this at least 2 times before the final exam.
Certified Six Sigma black belt primer from QCI –
Six Sigma black belt primer and solution book offered by Quality Council of Indiana (QCI), are great reference books to supplement the black belt handbook during your studies. The best thing about primer is it offers around 500 to 600 practice questions with a detailed explanation of answers in the solution book.
The level of these practice questions will help you know the quality of questions during the official exam. Along with the ASQ BB handbook, this primer will help you improve your conceptual understanding even more. It offers a real-world explanation of DMAIC concepts to help reinforce what you learned even more.
The ASQ CSSBB study guide –
This guide is another set of useful practice questions with a detailed explanation of answers. Once you complete reading all the reference books, after that attempting these practice questions will improve your understanding to the next level.
The practice questions of this study guide are a little bit simple as compared to QCI primer but still, it will boost your ASQ Six Sigma Black belt exam preparation. This study guide is one of the recommendations by the professionals who appeared for the black belt exam.
Statistics for Six Sigma made easy –
Statistics is one of the most important parts of the ASQ Six Sigma black belt exam. This book is useful for professionals who are preparing for this exam. This book explains the statistical methodology and different techniques used in Six Sigma in an easy-to-understand language.
All the concepts are explained using real-world examples. This book makes it easy to understand the statistics concepts for all those who are preparing for the Green belt, Black belt, and Master black belt certification exam.
Practice questions –
Practicing multiple questions is the best way to strengthen your Six Sigma conceptual understanding for the black belt exam. The QCI primer and ASQ CSSBB study guide are the two best practice question books that cover the variety of questions on ASQ Six Sigma black belt BOK.
Along with that, you can check out the ASQ question bank course for more practice, this course will help you identify your strengths and weakness areas of ASQ BOK. This question bank course includes 3 mock exam sets of 150 questions each with 365 days of access.
This course will help you complete your preparation by practicing exam-level questions. The questions in this course are created by ASQ subject matter experts that’s the reason practicing these questions will help you a lot during the exam.
Check out now – ASQ certified Six Sigma Black belt question bank
Follow these preparation guidelines and I am sure you will get the success in exam at first attempt. Because all these things I shared with you after discussing with many professionals who cracked their exam at the first attempt.
Revise the study material like ASQ handbook at least 2 times before the exam, work on your conceptual understanding. Practice as many questions as possible and understand the explanation of answers.
With proper self study of 4 to 6 months you can crack this exam by at least dedicating 1 to 2 hrs everyday. Don’t worry if you need more time, go as per your schedule. ASQ Six Sigma black belt exam is easy when you understand the application and concept of all the tools. right!
Cracking any exam is easy if you know the right strategy to prepare for it. In this article, I tried my best to provide all the important information you need to know in order to pass the ASQ Six Sigma black belt certification exam.
We discussed the entire exam format as well as how to prepare for the exam in detail. With this article, hope you got the idea on how to start your ASQ Six Sigma black belt exam preparation in the right direction. If you need more details then please check out the ASQ official site.
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