Earning a Six Sigma Black Belt (SSBB) certification is a significant and exciting milestone for your career. To complete the certification exam, you must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the entire Six Sigma Body of Knowledge, Six Sigma philosophies, and principles. Electing to take the SSBB exam requires careful consideration and extensive preparation, as preparation will require self-motivation and planning, especially if you are already working a full-time job.
Six Sigma Online offers a wealth of resources essential to becoming an SSBB. In the following sections, you will learn about Six Sigma Black Belt certification preparation.
On this page:
- Prerequisites for SSBB Certification
- How to Prepare for the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Exam
- Preparation Tips for the Day of the Exam
Prerequisites for SSBB Certification
While there are no official prerequisites to take the certification exam, several factors will determine your success. Above all, you must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the entire Six Sigma Body of Knowledge, as well as its philosophies and principles. Additionally, passing the SSBB exam and obtaining a Black Belt certification requires leadership skills and the expertise to assign team members roles and responsibilities successfully. Finally, to become a certified Black Belt, you will exhibit a high-level understanding of the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) model following the Six Sigma principles, basic knowledge of lean enterprise concepts, and skills to quickly identify “non-value-added” activities.
Any aspiring Black Belt should undergo some level of training before sitting for the certification exam. Gaining experience working on Six Sigma projects as a Green Belt or Black Belt is an excellent first step, though not required. Neither is it required to obtain a Green Belt certification before taking the SSBB exam, but completing Green Belt training will endow you with enhanced problem-solving skills, with an emphasis on the DMAIC model.
Below are the two routes you can pursue to achieve the SSBB certification. Completing either of these paths will earn you our official Black Belt certification.
- First, if you have already completed training and are confident in understanding the material included in the SSBB certification “Body of Knowledge,” you can sit for the standard comprehensive examination.
- You can complete several short exams progressing through the different sections rather than sit for the more extensive comprehensive exam. Completing the shorter exams is an excellent option if you have chosen to train using our free Self-Study Guides, independently or in conjunction with an approved training provider. This path also introduced the extra benefit of obtaining the different levels of our standard certifications (White Belt, Yellow Belt, Green Belt, and Black Belt) without incurring any additional examination fees.
Overall, we consider the multiple exams option the best choice if you are newer to Six Sigma methodology, are refreshing your Six Sigma proficiency, or seek a less expensive certification option.
How to Prepare for the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Exam
1. Understand the Six Sigma Black Belt Exam Format
To pass the SSBB exam, you will need to familiarize yourself with the types of questions on the exam. The official SSBB certification exam consists of over 150 questions that you will have three hours to complete. These questions are multiple-choice and true-false questions based on the material in the primary sections of the CSSC Black Belt “Body of Knowledge.” The exam is open-book, and we encourage the use of the free Training Manual issued by the Six Sigma Online while taking the exam. You can take the exam online or at designated testing centers.
2. Consider Pursuing a Green Belt First
While there is no requirement to obtain the Green Belt before taking the Black Belt exam, many candidates find it beneficial. The Green Belt certification is designed to give you a solid foundational knowledge of the DMAIC methodology. Becoming a Green Belt ensures you know the necessary information to serve as a trained team member within your function-specific area of the organization. Although a Green Belt certification is not mandatory, it will allow you to build skills instrumental to your career and pursuit of becoming an SSBB.
3. Study and Practice for the SSBB Certification Exam
The most effective way to prepare for the SSBB exam is to familiarize yourself with the Six Sigma Black Belt methodology. Completing training through a qualified provider or studying from our free Six Sigma Training Manuals will equip you to gain the knowledge and skills to succeed. You can further your comprehension of the material through various study techniques, including making flashcards and completing practice tests.
If you are interested in additional reading materials to prepare for the exam, we recommend the following titles:
● Statistics for Six Sigma Made Easy! Revised and Expanded Second Edition by Warren Brussee
● Six Sigma: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide (covers all the belts)
● Six Sigma Demystified, 2nd Edition by Paul Keller
● A Guide to Six Sigma and Process Improvement for Practitioners and Students: Foundations, DMAIC, Tools, Cases, and Certification (2nd Edition)
● Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Training Manual by Six Sigma Online
● The Cartoon Guide to Statistics
● Six Sigma and Minilab: A Complete Toolbox Guide for All Six Sigma Practitioners
● The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook, Third Edition by T.M. Kubiak And Donald W. Benbow
● The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Primer by Bill Wortman (Quality Council of Indiana)
● The Six Sigma Handbook by Thomas Pyzdek (McGraw – Hill)
4. Stay Motivated Throughout Your Preparation Process
One of the toughest challenges facing professionals studying for the exam is maintaining the momentum necessary to complete the process. Reading books and study guides and taking practice tests while working is a challenge no matter your job. Keep focused, give yourself pep talks, and remain mindful of how this certification will serve your career.
Preparation Tips for the Day of the Exam
It’s hard work preparing for the test, and it’s normal to have exam-day jitters. We recommend the following tips to maximize your chance of success:
- Arrive at the testing site or log on early on test day so you have ample time to get comfortable, focus, and relax before the exam begins.
- The night before, get plenty of rest and eat healthy foods to stay focused and energized during the exam.
- Breathe deeply and stay calm and focused during the exam
- Give yourself time to check your work carefully for any potential mistakes.
While there may be daunting moments as you study and prepare for the Six Sigma Black Belt certification exam, obtaining a thorough knowledge of the material is vital. Black Belts are the leaders within a Six Sigma team, responsible for overseeing other team members and ensuring the entire project is a success. They bear much of the accountability and must undergo adequate training, earn sufficient experience, and gain Six Sigma expertise. SSBBs are highly desired professionals because they add value to an enterprise.
Six Sigma Online is a CSSC-accredited training provider for the Six Sigma industry. Learn more about our traditional and industry-specific Six Sigma Black Belt Courses, and download our free training resources.