If you’re taking a certification course, you may be experiencing some nerves about taking the exam. Here are some tips to help you study and be prepared!
Up-to-date or advanced level IT certifications are becoming essential to any professional looking to advance their career or excel in their specialism. With so much competition, practical experience is no longer enough to guarantee your next promotion, meaning that gaining relevant IT certifications is of great importance.
However, getting certified can be stressful, particularly for those who graduated high school or university some time ago. There may be a degree of anxiety surrounding exam-centered learning, or even anxieties held since school years.
With this in mind, in this article we’ve put together some top tips to help you get certified the first time around.
Tip 1: Relax!
Taking that first step in gaining certifications can cause some apprehension, but it is important to take a breath and relax. Make sure you choose the method of learning suited to you, be this on campus or remote, and take advantage of package deals on offer if you feel this will help you to focus on your course.
Making sure you choose the right course and setting which will help you to learn is the first step in ensuring exam success and successful certification.
Tip 2: Think About How You Learn Best
Have a think about how you find learning the easiest. Do you prefer watching how-to videos, reading articles, or listening to a presentation? Knowing your preferred style will help you retain information better and adapt your learning approach accordingly.
For example, you may wish to record sections of the course to listen to later, or take written notes, or ask your tutor for related videos you can watch on your own time. Whatever works for you is ok!
Tip 3: Be Ready to Learn
Before your course you should prepare yourself to be ready to learn. Complete unfinished tasks or resolve any mental distractions which may detract from your learning. If you are learning remotely, speak to your boss about having some dedicated time in the work day to go over your notes or exam prep — after all, your certification will benefit your company as well!
In short, try to minimize life stresses as much as possible for the period of your course, so you can focus on getting certified.
Tip 4: Review at the End of the Day
At the end of each day of your course, sit down for a while and reflect on the events of the day, write down important things you remember, and write up any scribbled notes that you took.
Taking time to reflect helps to cement new knowledge in your mind, as well as providing you with some great study notes you can use to study later.
Tip 5: Practice Exams
If the act of taking an exam is what worries you, or you just want to know what to expect, then look up examples of exam questions or even take a practice exam to see how you’re doing.
Microsoft has a variety of resources on their website which may be helpful, and your course tutor should also be able to point you in the right direction. Investigating prior exams is great for those with exam anxiety, as it helps you to become familiar with what to expect.
It also provides a great opportunity to see where your strengths and weaknesses are, allowing you to study and practice in a more targeted way.
Tip 6: Talk with your Peers
Most certification courses are held in a group setting, usually of around 5 or so people. Communicating with your peers can be a great way to help guarantee exam success, because not only will it help you to relax, but you can also share your combined knowledge, as well as support one another.
You may even find it helpful to revise or reflect on the session with one or two of your peers after class — and socializing is a great way to relax and let off some of that studying stress!
Tip 7: If at First you don’t Succeed…
While working hard and doing your best is often more than enough to pass your exams the first time, it’s important not to worry if you don’t quite make the passing grade on your first attempt. Many courses will offer a free exam retake voucher, meaning you can have another attempt at no additional cost. Buoyed with the knowledge you gained from taking the exam the first time, you’re almost certain to be successful the second time around.
It’s important to remember that the tips we’ve listed here are just guidelines, and the most important key to success is to try your best and find what works for you. Whether it’s some of the tips above or something out of the ordinary, if it helps you to succeed then that’s all that matters!