Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Certification Exams Tips, Tricks and Trials

This was on the wall in the classrooms at triOS College where I did my college diploma in IT. I asked a teacher for a copy and have one up in my den at home and one up above my desk at work. It is a great tool to help you in preparing for certification exams, if it is your first or 21st exam, I still find it helpful to review regularly while preparing for certs.

Certification Exam Preparation Guide

The following are concepts and ideas that will help the student prepare for a certification exam. This is to be used in conjunction with hard work and studying, not as a replacement.

1. Read the questions and answer it if possible before reading the answers supplied. Most exam questions are designed to confuse the student who does not know the answer. The problem with this technique is that it also confuses students who are nervous or who have low self-esteem, even though they know the answer they will quite often select the wrong answer.

2. While answering
the questions, be sure to identify why the answer is correct or incorrect. This makes each question valuable as a learning tool. It may be time consuming when you first start but it will be worth the investment. You will turn each selection into a learning experience.

3. Some questions are essay format or provide extra information that is irrelevant. This is meant to confuse the student who does not know the answer but again this technique tends to confuse students who are nervous or who have low self-esteem. One way to approach this type of question (this works with any question) is to pick out key words. Sometimes one word can change the answer. Examples are:

NOT
BEST
ALL

SHOULD / SHOULD NOT

4. When answering scenario questions, read each "Required" choice and d
etermine in a word or two what is needed to meet this requirement. Repeat this with the "Optional" statements. As you read the "Proposed Solution", identify the required and optional statements that are met or not met.

5. With large questions, always read the statement with the "?" first. Determine what is being asked and then read the rest of the question and pick out the relevant information. This avoids re-
reading the question numerous times, which can be time consuming and confusing in the long run.

6. The exams are timed, so if you come across a question that you are unsure of, mark it and come back at the end. Quite often there are questions further on that may answer the one you were not sure of.

7. Never change your answer. Students tend to select the correct answer, doubt themselves and change the
answer to an incorrect answer. If you choose it to start with, even if it was subconscious, there was a reason for the choice.

8. If you are unsure of the answer, most times you can narrow it down to two through the process of elimination.

9. If the question is asking about commands that can be run from the command prompt and you are
unsure, the commands never exceed the DOS naming convention of 8.3.

10. Do not be afraid to write things down, even simple things can be forgotten under pressure. Draw the question as it is being described, visual representations always help.

(This came from one of my instructors Jason Eckert, posted with permission. Thanks for sharing the knowledge.)

On a disappointing note Nexient Learning Center Kitchener just canceled all exams for the next 5 weeks. With no notice, I was scheduled to write an exam tomorrow but received a call from Prometric stating the testing center is closed without notice, the closest testing center is over an hour away. Nexient had already closed Fridays for the last 2 months, and had a week shut down. I hope this is temporary and not the death throws of Nexient in Kitchener. triOS had closed their local testing center over 18 months ago to turn the space into classrooms.

On a positive note, I recently won a voucher for any Microsoft exam from the IT Career JumpStart blog. I am one of 6 IT Professionals being profiled. It should be a great series, the other 2 posted so far were interesting and informative. (My profile.)

3 Comments:

SRMcEvoy said...

After posting this I found out that Nexient had filed for protection from creditors about 3 weeks prior to my experiences and this post. Yet the two were unrelated. Last week I showed up to write an exam and Nexient still had no testing center active. They said that they had informed Prometric the week before but after speaking with Prometric there was no ticket on their end to that effect. Today I received notice that Nexient had merged with Global Knowledge. We shall see if this brings any change to there exam service or the number of courses that are offered and then canceled because of enrollment issues.

zak said...

Point 9 can confuse some novices, because Powershell supports longer name for cmdlets.

Steven R. McEvoy said...

Zak that is true but this is also years old.