5-Steps to Prepare and Pass Any Certification Exam
Venturing to take and pass a technical certification exam is not an easy feat.
Just thinking of the massive content that you need to go through, it would seem a bit impossible to successfully complete it.
But with the right plan, coupled with a good study guide and the availability of an expert that you can ask; the light at the end of the tunnel is not far reaching. It can be done.
On this post, I'll share the 5 steps that you can use to prepare and study for any certification exam. The steps will be grouped into M3 Pillars.
STEP 1: Set a Clear Goal and Start Early
Passing a certification exam is one thing. How you go about it is another.
First, you should set a clear goal and a proper mindset.
Ask yourself, why do you want to pass that certification exam?
- Is it for promotion? Why do you want to be promoted?
- Is it for salary increase? Why do you want to have a salary increase?
- Is it for your family?
Really dig and search for that deeper why.
Once you found it, think and visualize that you already have it everyday and be thankful for it.
Importantly, start now. Don't delay.
STEP 2: Set a Definite Timeline and Study Time THEN Follow It
Firstly, schedule the date of your certification exam. Mark it on your calendar.
Secondly, develop a timeline along with a definite study time. My recommendation is, for every 1-hour that you learn and know about a topic(s), spend 3-hours to master it.
Thus, if you are attending a 2-hour class per week, you need to spend a minimum of 6-hours per week to really understand and master it.
That 6-hours can be distributed based on your availability. It could be 1-hour per day, or 2-hours every other day. It's up to you. The important element is, you stick to it and follow it diligently.
For me, here is my study time:
- 2-hours on weekdays (4am-6am)
- 12-hours on Saturdays (4am-12pm and 1pm-5pm)
- rest on Sundays.
I'm a morning person, so this is very effective for me. You just need to decide which time you are keen to learn.
Here is how my weekly schedule looks like when preparing for a certification.
A copy of this spreadsheet is available here. Just sign-in using your Google account and make a copy.
STEP 3: Find a Quality Material and Track your Progress
Once you goals and mindset are set and you have a definite time and study schedule. It's time to look for a good and quality study.
Use your senses and wisdom to decide which materials are right for you and your needs. Look and ask around and for sure you'll find one.
Once you have the materials, it's time to setup how you would track your progress. You would not want to be in a situation that you study and study and you don't know how far you have achieve.
So visually track it.
An example of how I tracked my CCIE written exam prep before is as below.
STEP 4: utilize practice labs and quizzes
Ensure that the materials that you find allows you to access your understanding of the technology that you are learning.
For technical certifications, access to practice labs or simulations, and practice quizzes are mandatory.
Learn, practice, learn, and practice.
This is how you develop your confidence on any technical certifications.
STEP 5: find a mentor and ask
The journey to achieving and passing a technical certifications is somehow a lonely one. If you try to do it alone, it could be even harder.
So, find a mentor who is willing to guide you and share their expertise and experience.
Someone who you can directly talk to if you have any doubts and questions.
There you go, I hope that you learn something.
Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.
Let's all have a great day ahead.