How To Prepare For A Certification Exam
People get certified for many reasons, but in the IT industry, it is mainly because employees with certifications are paid way more than those without ones. However, studying and taking an exam is highly stressful, therefore you need to be mentally prepared for what you are about to go through. So, what are the best ways to prepare for a certification exam?
To properly prepare for an exam you would need to have sound knowledge of the objectives covered in it. Along with this, you have to provide the right study materials and design a study plan that works for you. Lastly, you will need to spend long hours practicing and gain confidence for the exam.
In this article, I have provided some useful tips that will help you prepare for a certification exam. As a person who has taken over ten certification exams, I can assure you that these ways are proven to work. A good study plan and the right reasons for taking the exam are the two things that will help your process go smoothly.
Give Your Reasons For Taking The Exam
Before you decide to prepare and take a certain exam, you need to have good reasons for the same. Firstly, due to the fact that these certification exams can cost a lot of money, and secondly because they will take a lot of your time. Therefore, you have to establish the right reasons for deciding to take an examination of particular difficulty.
Most of the IT certifications serve you in order to get a certain position in the IT industry, to get a promotion, or to clear the path in your career. These certifications are designed to improve your skills and make your career escalate. Therefore, before taking an exam you need to establish your end goal.
Once you decide on your end goal, you will know which certification you need. At the same time, you will know for what purposes you are planning to make certain sacrifices. If a certification can help you get a well-paid job, or a big promotion, then it is totally worth it.
Whatever your reasons are, you first need to establish them. Preparing and taking an exam is quite stressful, and it might disrupt your regular way of living for months. Therefore, besides preparing your skills, you would also have to prepare your mental health for the changes that are going to happen.
Certification Exam Resources
Once you decide on the certification you want to obtain, you will need to select the proper exam resources. Usually, the institutions which organize the exam provide all kinds of materials and training, leaving you with a lot of options. Most of them offer ebooks, local courses, online training, instructor-led training, video training, and so on.
Choosing the right study materials is of crucial importance. As I mentioned, leading certification institutions provide all kinds of materials, however, you need to select the ones that will work for you. When you are making the list of resources you are going to use, make sure that you do not miss any skills covered in the materials.
Furthermore, there are resources out of the institutions, i.e. third-party materials. However, not all of them are legitimate, therefore you would have to make a double-check on credibility before using any of them.
Habits To Prepare For A Certification Exam
To make your preparation process functional and beneficial, you would have to create certain habits which you will respect during studying. Designing a well-working study plan is essential to your productivity and readiness for the exam.
Firstly, you need to establish how much time you need before you take the exam. The preparation time usually depends on the level of skills you already possess and your prior knowledge of the objectives covered in the examination. If you are encountering the subject for the first time, or you have a full-time job, then you might consider starting the preparation process months ahead.
You can make your own schedule in which you will dedicate a certain amount of time to studying every day. Try to be disciplined and to respect the schedule.
Plan Multiple Study Sessions
The key to successful results is constant practice. Without it, you are not going to get anywhere. Many people who have taken a lot of exams know that certifications do not get obtained by just taking the exam and using your knowledge that you got through some reading.
Everything you have learned from the books and other resources must be taken into practice. This is the most effective way to see what you have learned, which skills you have acquired, and how far you have come. Practice will allow you to monitor your process and see to what extent you have understood the concepts and principles.
It is convenient to set a lab environment on your computer where you can practice everything you have learned so far. Lab practice is the only way to show you your strengths and weaknesses. Through labs, you can determine which spots you have issues with and brush up on your skills.
What To Expect On The Certification Exam Day
Firstly, you need to learn how to manage your time. You need to anticipate how much time you will spend on each question. You do not want to end up spending too much time on some questions, and then not having enough for the other ones.
Depending on the given time and the number of questions, you can decide how much time you can spend on each question. Following this rule, you can manage your time perfectly, and you will not get stressed or anxious at the time of the exam.
Furthermore, you should read the questions thoroughly and in detail, because a lot of them could be tricky. Understanding the questions clearly is the key to giving the right answers.
Lastly, be calm and confident. If you have prepared in the right way, you probably will not have any problems. Therefore, try to remain relaxed.
Preparing for an exam is, without doubt, a really stressful thing, and you need a well-designed study plan and a lot of practice to get through it. Planning ahead is the key to success, and only then you can achieve results.