ISA Certified Arborist Practice Test

The Certified Arborist Exam is administered by the International Society of Arborists (ISA) to assess your knowledge and skills in the field of arboriculture.

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Eligibility

In order to apply to become a Certified Arborist, you must fulfill at least one of the following requirements:

Experience
You must have at least three years of full-time experience in arboriculture. Some of the many eligible duties include cabling and bracing, fertilization, pruning, and the diagnosis and treatment of tree problems. Example employers include municipalities, landscape companies, tree care companies, and nurseries.

You can submit supervised volunteer work, as long as you can provide documentation providing the hours worked and responsibilities. To validate work experience, you must submit a letter of reference from previous or current employers. If you are self-employed, you must submit three letters of reference.

Education
You may fulfill the eligibility requirements by completing a university-accredited degree program with additional practical experience in arboriculture or by completing an assessment-based certificate program.

Exam Outline Review

The contents of the Informatics Nursing exam are changing, effective December 19, 2022. Click the button below to see the contents of the upcoming version of the exam:

The Certified Arborist exam contains 200 multiple-choice questions, and you will have 3.5 hours to complete the exam.

The questions are split into ten domains:

  1. Tree Biology (11%)
  2. Identification and Selection (9%)
  3. Soil Management (7%)
  4. Installation and Establishment (9%)
  5. Pruning (14%)
  6. Diagnosis and Treatment (9%)
  7. Trees and Construction (9%)
  8. Tree Risk (11%)
  9. Safe Work Practices (15%)
  10. Urban Forestry (6%)

 
The Certified Arborist exam contains 200 multiple-choice questions, and you will have 3.5 hours to complete the exam.

The questions are split into ten domains:

  1. Soil Management (12%)
  2. Identification and Selection (8%)
  3. Installation and Selection (5%)
  4. Safe Work Practices (15%)
  5. Tree Biology (8%)
  6. Pruning (16%)
  7. Diagnosis and Treatment (12%)
  8. Urban Forestry (7%)
  9. Tree Protection (4%)
  10. Tree Risk Management (13%)

exam outline for the ISA Certified Arborist exam, which contains 200 multiple-choice questions and has a time limit of 3.5 hours

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Registration

You may apply for the Certified Arborist Exam on the ISA website, through the “My ISA Dashboard.” After submission, you will receive an approval or denial email from ISA. In the approval email, there will be a link to sign up for the exam.

After enrollment, candidates who requested a pen and paper exam will receive a confirmation packet with the location, date, and time of the exam, as well as a contact person. Applicants who requested a computer-based exam will receive an email with a link to schedule the test.

Exam Fees

Members of ISA, an ISA chapter, or an affiliated organization pay $170 for the exam. The fee for nonmembers is $280 USD. If you request the computer-based exam, there is an additional $125 administration fee.

If you need an additional 90-day authorization period to reschedule the exam, there will be a $50 fee.

Test Day

Testing location depends on whether candidates are taking the exam through an ISA chapter, affiliate organization, or separately. Some of the common procedures and tips are listed below.

  • Please arrive at the testing center 30 minutes before the start of the exam.
  • Bring two forms of identification. One ID must have a photograph, while the other ID must have your signature.
  • You are allowed to take bathroom breaks, but that time is considered your exam time.
  • Food, beverages, reference materials, books, papers, cell phones, and other mobile devices are prohibited.

If you are taking the computer-based exam, you will receive your test results immediately after the exam. Applicants taking the paper-based exam will receive their results in six weeks.

If you pass the test, you will receive a certificate, score sheet, congratulatory letter, identification card, patch, and hard-hat decal. If you do not pass the exam, you have one year from the original test day to retake the exam. The first retake is free, and any retake after that is $75. If you retake the test after the one-year window, you are required to pay the full amount, including the $125 administration fee, if taking the computer-based exam.

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How to Study for the Certified Arborist Exam

How to Study Effectively

Your success on Certified Arborist test day depends not only on how many hours you put into preparing but also on whether you prepared the right way. It’s good to check along the way to see whether your studying is paying off. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking Certified Arborist practice tests to evaluate your progress. Practice tests are useful because they show exactly where you need to improve. Every time you take a free Certified Arborist exam practice test, pay special attention to these three groups of questions:

  • The questions you got wrong
  • The ones you had to guess on, even if you guessed right
  • The ones you found difficult or slow to work through

This will show you exactly what your weak areas are and where you need to devote more study time. Ask yourself why each of these questions gave you trouble. Was it because you didn’t understand the material? Was it because you didn’t remember the vocabulary? Do you need more repetitions on this type of question to build speed and confidence? Dig into those questions and figure out how you can strengthen your weak areas as you go back to review the material.

Answer Explanations

Additionally, many Certified Arborist practice tests have a section explaining the answer choices. It can be tempting to read the explanation and think that you now have a good understanding of the concept. However, an explanation likely only covers part of the question’s broader context. Even if the explanation makes sense, go back and investigate every concept related to the question until you’re positive you have a thorough understanding.

Comprehend Each Topic

As you go along, keep in mind that the Certified Arborist practice test is just that: practice. Memorizing these questions and answers will not be very helpful on the actual test because it is unlikely to have any of the same exact questions. If you only know the right answers to the sample questions, you won’t be prepared for the real thing. Study the concepts until you understand them fully, and then you’ll be able to answer any question that shows up on the test.

Strategy for Certified Arborist Practice

When you’re ready to start taking practice tests, follow this strategy:

  • Remove Limitations. Take the first test with no time constraints and with your notes and Certified Arborist study guide handy. Take your time and focus on applying the strategies you’ve learned.
  • Time Yourself. Take the second practice test “open book” as well, but set a timer and practice pacing yourself to finish in time.
  • Simulate Test Day. Take any other practice tests as if it were test day. Set a timer and put away your study materials. Sit at a table or desk in a quiet room, imagine yourself at the testing center, and answer questions as quickly and accurately as possible.
  • Keep Practicing. Keep taking practice tests on a regular basis until you run out of practice tests or it’s time for the actual test. Your mind will be ready for the schedule and stress of test day, and you’ll be able to focus on recalling the material you’ve learned.

FAQs

How hard is the Certified Arborist exam?

The exam is not considered to be a difficult exam, especially if you study adequately before you take it.

How many questions are on the Certified Arborist exam?

The exam contains 200 multiple-choice questions.

How long is the Certified Arborist exam?

The time limit for the exam is 3.5 hours.

What is a passing score for the Certified Arborist exam?

You need to score 76% to pass the exam. You need to respond correctly to 152 questions to maintain a 76%.

How much does the Certified Arborist exam cost?

For ISA members, the exam costs $170. The general admission cost is $280.


By Peter Rench

Peter Rench joined Mometrix in 2009 and serves as Vice President of Product Development, responsible for overseeing all new product development and quality improvements. Mr. Rench, a National Merit Scholar, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in mathematics from Texas A&M University.


 

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: January 13, 2023