Exam Prep

It's probably been 5 years (or 30) since you last wrote a exam. You (or your boss) spent a lot of money on this class, and you need to be certified to keep your job. No pressure, right? 

We understand - truly. We've trained hundreds of students, and we've seen it all. It's stressful for some people. The good news: we are here to help. You still need to do the work, but we will support you along the way with time-tested strategies. 

Is the math hard? What happens if I fail the exam? Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for answers to those questions.

General Tips

1. Relax and do your best to pay attention in class: topics that we spend more time on are more important than topics we spend less time on. There are 18 chapters in the book, but not all topics are covered on a 50-question exam. Hint: there WILL be math. 

2. If we strongly encourage you to highlight a sentence or flag a page, please do it. The text book is 300 pages! We don't expect you to remember everything - it's an open book exam. Use your resources such as the book, notes, etc. 

3. Please let us know (email ahead of time or talk to the instructor on site) if you have a special need or learning disability. We are able to provide accommodation such as reading questions out loud, providing extra time, etc. The one thing we cannot do is read your mind when we just met. 

4. If English is not your first language, please bring a paper dictionary with you - cellphones are not permitted on the exam. There is no shame, we just want you to pass. 

5. Every question is (only!) worth 1 point. Take the time to read the question... completely. Do not jump to conclusions before you read the entire question. Also: do not add conditions to the question: if this was happening, I would do that. Read and answer the question exactly as it is on the paper.

When in doubt, check your resources. Even if you think you know the answer, check the book!

Sample Questions
What follows are sample questions to give you an idea what to expect on the CPO licensing exam. Answers are at the bottom of this page. 


1. How often should you manually test the water chemistry of a swimming pool?
a) Hourly
b) As often as required by local regulation/health authority
c) Daily
d) Every four hours

2. How do you calculate average depth of a sloping pool?
a) (Depth 1 + Depth 2) ÷ 2
b) Depth 1÷2 + Depth 2÷2
c) (Deepest depth ÷ Shallowest depth) ÷ 2
d) (Deepest depth - Shallowest depth) ÷ 2

3. What product increases the total alkalinity (TA) of water?
a) Sodium hypochlorite
b) Sodium bicarbonate
c) Sodium carbonate
d) Sodium chloride

4. What is the range of balance for the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI)?
a) -0.5 to +0.5
b) -0.3 to -0.3
c) -0.2 to +0.2
d) within 0.7

5. Which product does not control (lower) pH in water?
a) Muriatic acid
b) Sodium bisulfate
c) Carbon dioxide
d) Sodium sesquicarbonate

6. What product stabilizes chlorine from degrading in UV sunlight? Sometimes called a conditioner - 
a) Trichlor
b) Sodium sesquicarbonate
c) Cyanuric acid
b) Dichlor

7. What is the name of the equipment that keep objects/debris out of the swimming pool circulation pump?
a) Anti-entrapment cover
b) Hair/lint strainer basket
c) Skimmer
d) Soup pot

8. What is not a type of water test method? 
a) Hydrostatic
b) Electronic
c) Colorimetric
d) Titrimetric

9.What is the formula to calculate the volume of a circular hot tub?
a) Length x width
b) Length x width x height/average depth
c) Diameter x Diameter x 3.14 x height
d) Radius x Radius x 3.14 x height/depth

10. What chemicals should be included in the workplace health & safety documentation (e.g. safety data sheets) of a swimming pool?
a) Pool chemicals
b) Cleaning supplies
c) Water test kit reagents
d) All of the above

11. Pool automation/controller probe maintenance involves -
a) Cleaning the probe tip
b) Calibrating the probe
c) Confirming probe reactivity
d) All of the above

12. What is not a form of entrapment that can occur when a VGB-compliant suction outlet (drain cover) is not installed?
a) Suction
b) Limb
c) Hair
d) Fabric

13. When should you change (replace) all of the water in a pool?
a) Weekly
b) Monthly
c) Annually
d) As often as required when the level of total dissolved solids (TDS) increases approx. 1,500 ppm above start up levels (i.e. tap water)

14. What is biofilm? 
a) The foam/bubbles on top of a hot tub or spa
b) The top layer of media inside a pool filter tank
c) The difficult-to-clean layer of bacteria on wet surfaces
d) The top 12" of  water in a swimming pool

15. Why is it important to develop a maintenance plan?
a) To plan how to spend the maintenance budget
b) To prevent unexpected facility closures
c) To schedule facility repairs around your vacation
d) To predict when more bathers will start using the facility

16. What equipment would typically not be found in a swimming pool filter room?
a) Circulation pump
b) Filter
c) Fire extinguisher or suppression system
d) Chiller

17. What is not a recreational water illness (RWI) in a swimming pool? 
a) Norovirus
b) Escherichia Coli (E. Coli)
c) Legionnaires' Disease
d) Algae

18. Hot tubs or spas are considered higher risk amenities because -  
a) The customers who use them are often older/elderly
b) The hot water breeds bacteria and results in higher levels of user waste
c) Water chemistry, including disinfectant levels, are more difficult to manage
d) All of the above

19. Which is not an important safety item in a residential pool?
a) Tall fence with self-latching gate
b) Emergency pump shutoff
c) Pool cover
d) Cooler

20. Pool circulation pumps should operate -
a) 24 hours per day
b) Only when the pool is in use
c) At 4-6 hour intervals
d) According to the manufacturer's specifications

21. How do you reduce the level of total dissolved solids (TDS) in swimming pool water?
a) Dilute the pool by adding fresh (makeup) water
b) Calcium chloride
c) Breakpoint chlorination
d) Clarifying agent (clarifier)

22. The correct product to lower chlorine (Cl2) is -
a) Sodium bisulfite
b) Sodium thiosulfate
c) Calcium carbide
d) Fresh water

23. What is the advantage of pool automation, i.e. automated chemical monitoring and dosing?

a) Efficient use of chemicals
b) Continuous service delivery (facility operation)
c) Operator safety 
d) All of the above

24. What does the term Breakpoint Chlorination (BPC) mean?
a) To add a lot of chlorine to water all at once
b) To raise the free available chlorine (FAC) to 10 ppm or mg/L
c) To raise the free available chlorine (FAC) to 10x the level of combined chlorine (CC)
d) To neutralize the chlorine in the water and start over

25. When should sand filters not be backwashed on a swimming pool? 
a) When the water appears cloudy
b) When there is a large difference between influent (in) and effluent (out) filter pressure
c) When it's most convenient for the pool operator
d) When there is a decrease in the flow of water through the circulation system

26. A high level of combined chlorine (CC) or airborne chloramines can result in -
a) Bather discomfort, including irritated/red eyes
b) Strong chlorine smell in the pool area
c) Cloudy water
d) All of the above

27. Which of the following is not the sign of a pool leak?
a) Increased water bill
b) Robust vegetation around an outdoor pool
c) Challenges maintaining proper pool chemistry
d) Bather splash out

28. What factor has an impact on the pH of water?
a) aeration (jets/spray features)
b) bathers
c) addition of other pool chemicals
d) all of the above

29. What is the "water factor" to calculate how much water is in a cubic meter of space?

a) Multiply by 8.5
b) Multiply by 1000
c) Multiply by known factor of water in that space (provided)
d) Multiply by 10

30. Which type of filter cannot be backwashed?
a) High rate sand
b) Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
c) Cartridge
d) Alternative sand media (e.g. Zeolite, Multisorp, glass grains, etc.)

31. What is not a way that people contract a Recreational Water Illness (RWI)?
a) Ingestion
b) Contact
c) Absorbtion
d) Inhalation (mist/spray)

32. What is not a type of chlorine?
a) Sodium hypochlorite
b) Chlorout
c) Dichlor
d) Lithium hypochlorite

33. Colored water is not an indication of -
a) metals
b) algae
c) high bather load
d) backwashing

34. When does a swimming pool not require closure? 
a) Electrical sources are not bonded and grounded
b) Water is so dirty the bottom of the pool is not visible
c) Lifeguards are absent
d) Low pH (below 7.0)

35. Where does 75% of pool water leave the swimming pool to circulate to the filter room?
a) Return inlets
b) Surface skimmers
c) Floor drains
d) All of the above
 

Answers
1B - 2A - 3B - 4B - 5D - 6C - 7B - 8A - 9D - 10D - 11D - 12D - 13D - 14C - 15B - 16D - 17D - 18D - 19D - 20A - 21A - 22B - 23D - 24C - 25C - 26D - 27D - 28D - 29B - 30C - 31C - 32B - 33C - 34D - 35B