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The development of a valid exam for the CAP® certification process began with a clear and concise definition of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for competent job performance. Using interviews, surveys, observation, and group discussions, ISA worked with automation professionals to delineate critical job components. The knowledge and skill bases for the questions on the exam were derived from the actual practice of the automation professionals as outlined in the 2012 CAP Role Delineation Study.

CAP exam specifications were developed by combining the overall survey evaluations of importance, frequency, and criticality, and converting the results into percentages. Importance, frequency, and criticality ratings were weighted equally in this computation. These percentages are used to determine the number of questions related to each domain and task, as shown in the chart below.

CAP Performance Domains and Exam Specifications % of Test Number of Items on Exam
I. Feasibility Study 11% 19
II. Definition 12% 21
III. System Design 20% 35
IV. Development 19% 33
V. Deployment 16% 28
VI. Operation and Maintenance 22% 39
TOTAL: 100% 175

In addition to the CAP exam specifications based on the Domains, the exam questions are also distributed by knowledge or technical topic categories to ensure broad coverage of technical topics. The distribution of exam questions among these technical topics is particularly important to those preparing for the exam .

CAP Exam Specifications by Technical Topic Category % of Test Number of Items on Exam
I. Basic Continuous Control 14% 24
II. Basic Discrete, Sequencing, and Manufacturing Control 13% 23
III. Advanced Control 9% 16
IV. Reliability, Safety and Electrical 13% 23
V. Integration and Software 21% 37
VI. Deployment and Maintenance 16% 28
VII. Work Structure 14% 24
TOTAL: 100% 175

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