Preparing for CSSBB Test
I am currently preparing to take the CSSBB test in the upcoming months. I am curious for those who have already prepared and have taken the exam what are some pointers that you might be willing to share ?
Do you think it was harder then you initially thought it to be or not as bad based on the understanding of the body of knowledge and formulas?
What are some pointers or suggestions that you would like to share that helped you during this process ?
Any information is appreciated, and please feel free to message me or send a friend request if you would like to chat :)
Thank you very much for your time.
17 Replies
Hi Kristina. I am very much interested in hearing pointers also for the CSSBB exam. I am sure the community will be able to provide! I have a question though. I am getting ready to take the CSSGB exam this month. Did you yourself skip the CSSGB exam and just move on the BB exam?

I am beginning to wonder if the CSSGB exam is necessary. Should I just focus on the BB exam as long as prerequisites have been met and approved I am interested in any and all feedback from all members.

David Harry
58 Posts
The ASQ CSSGB and CSSBB Exams are not that much different.  CSSGB never expires and you need to renew CSSBB every 3 years.  Also CSSGB is 100 questions in 4 hours and CSSBB is 150 questions in 4 hours.  Given that, since ASQ's CSSBB Exam is open book, speed of look-up is a big factor.  You absolutely don't want to leave any easy questions at the end unanswered because you spent too much time looking up some answers or struggling with some calculations.  To answer 150 questions in 4 hrs (240 minutes) your Takt time needs to be 1.6 minutes per question -- or less.  Need to get it down to about a minute per question so you have time to review some answers.
If you use the Quality Council of Indiana Black Belt Primer as one of or your only reference, I suggest you make a copy of often looked up or important pages (Index, Tables, Formulas, who's who, etc.) so you don't have to flip to the Index first each time you look something up.  Make copies single sided (so you don't have to flip over) and highlight and make notes on the Index.  Quality Council of Indiana now has a 1,000 question practice exam on a flash drive ($70) that simulates an actual timed exam. If you buy the CSSBB flash drive, don't be afraid to try to take the exam several times without looking anything up just to see how well you guess at correct answers.  You will be surprised that you really don't need to look up most answers.
Remember, you can bring in as many reference books as you want, but at ~1 minute/question, you don't have time to fumble through multiple books so get one or two and reduce your look-up time down to seconds.  That's the best advice I can give.  Good luck!
Thank you so much , that is such wonderful advice. I appreciate all of the pointers, I will definitely get on preparing my book this way.
Kevin,  I did not take the CSSGB test with ASQ.  In our company here, we have internal Lean Yellow and Green belts, which are turning into bronze and silver I believe. This is a recent addition to having a select few employees who qualify, to have the opportunity to take this external certification test. With what David said below it seems almost better to just go right for the CSSBB test, but that is only my own personal opinion. It may be better to even have all of the certification together instead of just having the highest one. Maybe get the CSSBB and go back when you have the opportunity to complete the others, as well.
Thanks for your reply Kristina. Your company has provided you a tremendous opportunity to gain the experience needed for the BB exam. That is such an asset to one's career. To work in a culture that actually values continuous improvement. A culture that truly does believe in refinement of processes as well as people. Take full advantage of it.

As for my path? Too late for me to turn back now. Testing this Saturday. From there I guess I will have some decisions to make. To pursue the BB, or move to CQM/OE. Perhaps even picking up the CSQP along the way. Either path is strong.  ASQ CQE / CSSGB / CQM/OE or CSSBB.

Good luck in your preparation Kristina. -Cheers!
Yes I am very thankful that I was provided with this opportunity and plan to continue using the information and furthering my education.
Good luck with your testing on Saturday and best of luck on your journey to the next certification.
Amanda Foster
653 Posts
Kristina Ingram‍, have you taken the exam yet? What did you think?
I have taken it and unfortunately I didn't pass :( I missed it by 2 or so questions. We were not provided in our training program with the most up to date book edition, sadly and a few of those questions were related to the missing chapters. I highly suggest making sure that you have the most up to date books ex.) The Certified six sigma Black belt handbook 3rd edition by T.m. Kubiak and Donald Benbow. I also suggest taking as many practice exams as you can find mainly focusing on the body of knowledge but still understanding the formulas and when to apply them. The two main books that I used during the test were the one mentioned above as well as, the Indiana BOK.
I am still considering a retake since I got so close.
Will you be taking the test soon?
Amanda Foster
653 Posts
No, I have no knowledge or experience with six sigma. I am working toward my CMQ/OE, but I am not ready to sit for the exam yet. I do have my CQA.
I am sorry you didn't pass the test, but it sounds like you did very well for having insufficient resources! I would definitely encourage you to take another crack at it!
Hello Kristina,

I'm so sorry you didn't pass!  I hope you will try again and succeed.
I myself recently took the CSSBB exam and passed, thankfully, but it was a great deal more difficult than I had anticipated.  I have been a practicing LSS Master Black Belt for around 10 years, but never received any accredited certifications.  I want to get recognition for the knowledge and skills that I have gained using this methodology to constantly improve the business in which I'm working, so I decided to go through ASQ's certification process - get the best of the best!  I also used the 3rd edition handbook, and the online practice tests from ASQ.  Even after studying the materials, practicing the test questions, and racking my brain over all of the subject matter, it was still a very rigorous test!  I also noticed that not all of the questions were covered by the handbook.  One or two of them seemed to have come out of left field - perhaps I would have caught them if my training had been provided by ASQ?

Best of luck to you!
Those questions that came from "left field" as you described may have been the questions that aren't scored. Meaning that in some exams there are a certain number that are "beta" questions potentially used on future exams. They are built within the exam and you won't know which are scored and which aren't. I experienced this on the CQE exam. I am not sure if the BB exam is the same way or not. Congrats!
David Harry
58 Posts
Hi Kristina,
Here's more advice.  ASQ has come a long way to prepare CSSBB candidates to pass the CSSBB exam.  The ASQ Training website offers some fine online (web-based and virtual) training.  There are now over 40 web-based and 3 virtual ASQ training courses for Six Sigma certification. For example, the "Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Preparation" virtual course is just under $1,000 and includes multiple choice practice exam questions. It also includes a e-edition of  "The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook".  Remember you can not access e-books in the actual ASQ CSSBB Exam.
Here's a link:
Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Preparation | ASQ . . .

If you choose the purely web-based route, the courses include "Lean Six Sigma" and are designed for particular industries (healthcare) and around SPS software (Minitab). I have taken a similar offering (from Moresteam) and it is very thorough. There is also CSSBB Exam Prep that is very realistic. It was a long (45 hr course) and wasn't easy but I passed my CSSBB on the first try. 
There are a lot of deep dice training courses useful to prepare for the CSSBB.  These include "Design for Six Sigma", "Regression Analysis", "Process Capability", and "Mistake-Proof" training.
Good luck!
I agree with David, the web-based training is VERY helpful. I have purchased the web-based course and have been plowing through since Jan 1.  It is a lot of material. They say 45 hours, but if you add it up it is over 73 hours of reading and watching. I would definately tab your book so it makes sense to you. Mine is tabbed out, but I can find most stuff. I also reviewed the test questions I got wrong and retab/highlight as needed to make sure I capture what I missed. I also have the study guide as well as the handbook.  I take my exam on 3/8.  
Hello Margaret,
How was your test?
Is preparing from ASQ site (web based) "Certified Six Sigma Black belt Certification Preparation" is enough to pass the test?
Thanks for asking Tauseef.  I did pass!  I have recently submitted my MBB portfolio and been approved to take the MBB test in July. Studying hard for that one. 

I studied/read the text book, The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook, Third Edition  (and tabbed it out), did the web-based learning you mentioned and took many practice tests.  I don't think I would have passed without doing the web-based instruction because I never had formal statistics training in school. I studied from January to March when I took the test.  Devoting a couple of full days per week to the material.  It is very intensive!  Hope that helps!
Hi Everyone,

I am currently preparing for the ASQ-SSBB and wondering if there are any tips on tabbing your books out?

Appreciate the advice. Thanks in advance
Hello Margaret,

Congrats on passing! Any advice on the tabbing of the books? I would highly appreciate it.