Pass exams like a pro!
Do you struggle getting certified? been told by the boss to pass an exam?
First Congratulations! I’m a firm believer that becoming certified separates the wannabies from the real professionals and demonstrates a real commitment to your career. Learning new technology should be a fun and positive experience but passing exams can be a challenge.
Get into the right frame of mind.
- Know you are going to pass your exam have no doubt in your mind
- Accept you are going to spend 1-2 hours a day of your own time learning and revising
- Imagine how great its going to be to pass, visualise your success
- You get out of the office and away from distractions
- You get taught by an expert in their field
- You get to mingle with like minded people
- You get lots of time for hands on practice
- You get to ask questions to clarify things you don’t understand
Whenever possible get yourself on some classroom based training and if your lucky your employer will pay. Its good for them but even better for you. The next best option is to self study using online videos and books. There are a number of great training sites out there and we have a team subscription to www.cbtnuggets.com. This means anyone in the company can take part in an online training course of their choosing. It even includes practice exams from one of the best vendors on the market.
Learn the things you don’t know
Once you have completed your coursework and read a book its time to start the revision and exam practice stage. www.transcender.com are one of the leading vendors of practice exams on the market. They have exams for a huge variety of vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA, VM Ware and more.
I am always surprised by how much I don’t know, even after completing a training course and reading an official training book and the practice exams are vital for filling the gaps in your knowledge.
- During the revision stage take a 25-50 question practice exam every day.
- Screen shot or write down on a notepad every wrong question you get at the end of the exam. Include the correct answer as this will form part of your revision.
- Spend half an hour every day reading all of the wrong questions and learn the correct answers. This is what I mean by ‘Learn the things you don’t know and not the things you do’ which sounds odd but just means don’t waste time revising the things you are comfortable with but rather concentrate on improving the big gaps in your knowledge.
I’ve seen lots of people do the first bullet point above but most people don’t bother with the second two. They just go round in circles doing practice exams but never actually learn anything, they don’t improve. Simply doing practice exam after practice exam is not going to work!
So there you go, this is what works for me and hopefully will work for you too. Remember the following and you wont go too far wrong
- Get in to the right mindset
- Invest in a good quality training course (classroom based is best)
- Do a 25-50 question practice exam every day
- Write down or screen grab and print out all of the wrong questions and include the correct answer
- Go through all of your wrong answers and learn and understand the correct answers every day
- Continue the last three steps until you reach 90-100% success rate