My "process" for ASQ CQE Preparation


Brian Myers

A few people asked for pointers in preparing for the CQE, so here is what I did (Your Mileage May Vary):)

First, I Purchased the ASQ Certified Quality Engineer Foundations in Quality Learning Series Set. This is a good resource for the BOK and has a nice CD with Test Questions. I used this during my studies. I also Purchased the following Books and Standards:

The Certified Quality Engineer Handbook by Benbow, Berger,
Elshennawy, and Walker.
Quality Engineering Hanbook by Pyzdek
ANSI/ASQ Z1.4 and 1.9 Standards
Dodge & Romig Sampling Inspection Tables

I borrowed an older copy (1991) of the Quality Council of Indiana CQE Primer (look in any Quality Progress Magazine for an ad).

I then took an online course in Basic Stats to brush up (an old weak spot).

I used the CQE Primer Sample Test Questions/Solutions as my Guide. I would take each section (all questions) using only the knowledge in my head. I would score that section and go back and study the questions I missed. Every time I missed a question I would make notes on the subject in a notebook I kept. I would not write the question, but would include enough information on the subject so that I felt I could answer any reasonble question on the subject using my notes.

I did this every weekend (usually Saturdays) for about 3 months. I would read and study during the weekday evenings in between. I found this schedule allowed me to study as needed without a great deal of "family issues".

In the last 2 weeks before the test I started using the ASQ provided Sample Exam Questions and Simulated Exams (I found 3 different versions). Each of these was a set of questions that covered the entire BOK and allowed me to simulate actual test conditions. I set a timer and took each version as if I were taking the test. By this time I was finding I could take the test in about 2/3 the allotted time and score about 80% correct. I would then score these tests and go back and review the questions I missed and make the appropriate notes as before.

When I took the test I found that I used the Standards just a few times, the Pyzdek Book quite a bit, and my notes a lot. The Benbow book was used only as a cross reference and I did not even take the Foundations in Quality Series to the test. A fancy, Graphing, Statistical Calculator is not necessary. I took the test with an old Casio 12+1 display, solar powered calculator from the EARLY 90's. (I own two of them and they got me through college as an ME!) All of the calculation based questions are "small" enough to write out (including tables) and solve in just a few minutes.

I also developed a system for reviewing questions. During my practice tests I would mark every question with one or more of the following notes:

Hand, CQE, Notes, ?, --

These were indicators as to where the answer came from, and whether I was confident in the answer or felt I needed further review. I used this same technique for the test and found that once I had gone through the test once and answered all the questions I could without more than 30 seconds of lookup or calculation, I had time to go back, run the calculation questions, and review in detail any question that I either didn't answer ont he first pass, or had marked either as ? (not sure of my answer) or -- (pulled the answer out of my head). Made for a really easy way to manage my time and still fully review everything I felt needed it.

Again, your mileage may vary, but this is how I did it!:yes:

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Jim Wynne

Great advice, Brian. The point that keeps coming up regarding ASQ exams from those who have taken them is preparation. My own experience is that some exposure to ASQ questions (as in sample exams) is invaluable.



I used very much the same method as Brian, although I used different source materials. I had taken the CQT (and passed) as a warm-up and found that much of what I needed to know for the CQE (which I took 3 months after CQT) was similar material or just an extension of what I already knew. My main source for both exams were the QCI Primers.

There were two things that I feel lead to my success:

1. Practice questions on the CDs
2. Bringing the right resources to the exam

Over the course of 3 months, I studied all weekend, every weekend. I live alone so this didn't bring up any family issues. :) I did every single question on the Primer CDs. I started by just doing sample exams on the section I was studying, then later would set up a test to answer every question in that section. I really think that there is something to be said for being very familiar with the style of questions asked.

Most of the answers I needed were found in the Primers, but in addition I brought the Quality Engineering Handbook by Pyzdek (which I hadn't really used in studying), Jurans Quality Handbook (I borrowed a copy), and the CQE Quick Reference notes by Dodsun, Nutt and Johnson. Those were great for looking up formulas quickly and leave plenty of room for notes. There were a couple of questions that I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, and my resources allowed me to answer all of them quickly with a good level of confidence in my answer.

My big downfall was time management. There are 160 questions in 5 hours... that works out to less than two minutes per question!! Honestly, I barely made it through the test. I didn't have time to go back and check anything, and when there were 10 minutes left, I went back, read the questions I'd skipped and went with my first reaction based on the hundreds of practice questions I'd been through.

I was stunned (and thrilled - I was jumping up and down in my office, laughing - LOL) when I learned that I passed the exam.
Last edited by a moderator:

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
Hi folks,

Sorry it has been so long since I visited...I have been verrrrry busy. I feel guilty...

Anyway, I took a new job (old comapny was going under) in aerospace and am finding it VERY challenging. The boss wants all QE's to have alphabet soup after their names regardless of actual job performance, and CQE is the first thing he wants. So...I find this thread helpful -- or will next year.

A question to the group: I have a long ride to and from work, and would like to use that time to prepare if possible (I am the driver). So, are there any good audio (CD) training programs out there that would be helpful in CQE prep? I'd love to hear about it if there are.

Thanks, and may all fellow Cove members have a joyous holiday and blessed new year!

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
One of our Cove moderators, Govind, is also a moderator of a public ASQ Forum on ASQ certifications. You might want to make the effort to look through the various threads in that forum (
I think you will find it more active and to the specific point than any here in the Cove on the topic of ASQ certifications.

As you may or may not be aware, Govind holds a number of ASQ certifications in addition to being a Master Black Belt for a major international corporation.

As I monitor those threads, I find the answers by Govind and Wesley Richardson (of Quality Council of Indiana to be especially helpful to experienced and inexperienced practitioners alike. Our own Bill Pflanz also makes some valuable contributions there.

Good luck in the new position. Many of my ASQ colleagues will be interested in hearing of an employer who considers the certifications as valuable indicators for employees.


Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Wes, Thanks for the kind words.
The only source that I know of audio version in this subject is

I have not used this option. I am more of visual person.

You may notice the subjects identified in the tapes cover significant portion of Body of knowledge for CQE, CSSBB, CQT, CSSGB, and CPQA.I think you may have to concurrently use a hardcopy while listening to the tapes. Certain topics are difficult to verbally describe.

Friendly caution:
I think listening to these subject matter contents while driving is not a good idea from driving safety point of view.
(I am even concerned while people using cell phone in one hand while driving).

Another point: CQE body of knowledge is not a casual read. It is a tough subject and requires close attention while reading/ reviewing.
I think a focused 30 minutes read at your home is more effective than playing the tape while driving. Please feel free send me mail if you have further questions.

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