Exam-Taking Strategy for Exam STAM

The key to passing STAM (or any exam for that matter) is to correctly answer all questions you know how to answer. This is different from answering as many questions as possible. There are 35 questions on the exam. Because STAM is a new exam, there are no historical pass marks. However, pass marks for the preliminary exams in general have been around 72% at the high end. Using that as an estimate, you will need to answer about 35(0.72) = 25.2 questions correctly in order to pass the exam, or 26 at a minimum. The key is to identify at least 26 questions on your exam that you can answer correctly.

When going through the exam, you must be willing to skip a question. There is no point in spending too much time on a single question, leaving you with insufficient time for easier questions you know you can get right. Keep in mind that every question on the exam has the same weight. Getting an easy question right is worth the same as getting a difficult question right. Remember that your goal on the exam is to answer enough questions correctly to pass. So why spend 15 minutes on a difficult question that you may not get right when you could use those 15 minutes to answer 2 or more easier questions?

So, what does this mean? You should spend the first 30 seconds of every question making an assessment:


  • If you don’t understand the question after the first read, skip it.
  • If you think you may be able to solve the problem but it may take some time, mark it and skip it.
  • If you understand the question and think you can solve it quickly, solve it.


After spending 6 minutes on a question, you need to assess whether skipping is a better option. Apply this strategy to all questions during the first pass through. Then, go back to the marked questions and attempt those during your second pass through. If you still have time after the second pass through, attempt any questions you haven’t answered. There is no penalty for wrong answers, so make sure to select an answer for every question. If you’re comfortable with at least 26 out of 35 questions, you should be able to pass the exam!

Note: When practicing with Adapt exams, your goal should be to get at least 26 questions correct as well. Getting consistent high scores gives you confidence that you are on the right track. It also minimizes the risk of making mistakes. Aim high to raise your odds of passing!

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. We wish you all the best in your studies!