Studying for the ACE Exams

Test overview

The ACE examination is "closed book", online, and administered by a proctor who remains in the room during the test. It consists of 150 multiple-choice and true-false questions and should be taken in one sitting of 3-hours or less. Once a date is set for your exam, that should be communicated to Exams for the coming week are scheduled every Thursday and instructions are sent to the proctor at that time, including the username and password to access the exam. The test covers material from the Content Outline.  The exam is rigorous by design. The Certification Board feels that applicants, regardless of how long they have been in the industry, should prepare for the exam with a minimum of 40 hours of self-study prior to attempting the exam. To prepare, ESA suggests studying two books:

  1. IPM for the Urban Professional: A Study Guide for the Associate Certified Entomologist
  2. NPMA Field Guide to Household Pests

General guidelines

The ACE examination is designed to recognize practicing pest management professionals who have a solid grasp of the practical aspects of applied entomology. The major categories of competency covered by the exam include these four areas:

  • Inspection and Identification (45% of the exam)
  • Monitoring (12% of the exam)
  • Selection and Implementation of Control Methods (28% of the exam)
  • Evaluation (15% of the exam)

Content Outline

The content outline is the four Domains broken into a series of Skills and Tasks. It is more detailed information on the types of materials covered in the examination. You can also access a listing of study materials.

Sample Exams

You can take a sample ACE exam. This will give you a better understanding of the types of questions asked and your overall preparedness for the exam. The sample exam can be viewed here:

Study Guides and Courses

Though a person can prepare for the ACE exam by reviewing most industry literature, prospective ACEs are also encouraged to study and read the recommended study materials.  Additionally, you may find review courses offered by many state and national associations or others. Please also consult this blog post that discusses how to study for the ACE exam.

Additionally, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has developed a set of webinars that ACE applicants can use for independent study. Click here for more information.


After the Exam

The exam is scored immediately by the testing software and an unofficial score is sent to the applicant. A final score follows within a few days. Passing score is 75%.

Those who pass will be mailed their ACE materials shortly. Those who did not pass may retake the exam without reapplying to the program by waiting at least 30 days but not more than one year. The retest form is found here and should be submitted as soon as a new test date is scheduled to the certification coordinator at

All applicants must pass the exam within 3 years of their application acceptance date or the application will expire.

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