Anthony’s IT Certification Tips – 9 of 10 – Prepare for Setbacks

June 8, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Are you like me? Did you excel in academics in school as a youngster, never failing a single exam, and always having plenty of study time? Well, get ready, my certification-questing friends, because all of that might change now — and very quickly.

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While you do not want to approach your certification pursuit thinking that you are going to fail, you do want to prepare yourself, your timelines, and trackers for potential setbacks. Think about it: You might have some life event occur that keeps you from studying as much as you had planned one week, thus pushing your completion date out further. Or you might have a first attempt at an exam not go well, and to make matters worse, it could be your first time failing a test in your life!

Be ready for these setbacks. Factor them in. It’s OK. It happens to ALL of us. I personally sat and took the CCIE R&S practical lab exam many times before passing it. And that exam cost $1,500 each attempt, and was placed on my wife’s credit card. Talk about pressure!

When you have a setback, let it be a very temporary one. Regroup and immediately start back on your journey. If it is a failed exam, then you will have an excellent idea of what areas you need to improve upon.

I like to remember this Winston Churchill quote:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Study with passion my friends!

Anthony’s IT Certification Tips – 8 of 10 – Time Can Be Your Best Friend

June 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I can’t stress enough the importance of being realistic about how much time you need to study and prepare for an exam.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Give yourself plenty of time.

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How much time will vary by exam. For example, it could take someone 700 hours to study for the CCIE exam. That same person could need just 40 hours for the CCNA. What’s tricky is that everyone learns differently, and at his/her own pace. The key thing is to allow yourself enough (or more than enough) time to really understand the content.

Not having enough time is why most students inevitably complain about boot-camp-style classes. They just cannot possibly retain all the information they are being taught or expected to know in a week. Again, the goal isn’t just to pass the exam, it’s to master the content. This can take a lot longer than you might think.

So use a tracker, as we discussed in a previous blog post, and ensure your mastery! Overall, this is much more important than merely passing an exam by a certain date —it’s about making sure you can apply your knowledge and skills to gain experience, land an interview, or get a job.

Until the next tip, study with passion and take your time!

Anthony’s IT Certification Tips – 7 of 10 – If It is Broken – Fix It!

May 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Sometimes in certification, you can encounter a resource that is just not working for you. Perhaps it is an instructor that just really rubs you the wrong way, perhaps it is a book that reads like a dishwasher repair manual, perhaps it is a simulator that is so buggy it does not feel like the actual device at all. These problematic resources might cause you to lose your passion for studying the topic and could potentially derail your goal achievement. Remember, if this happens, or is starting to happen – do something about it!

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One post that you see many times in Certification Support forums is something along the lines of  – “Is there another way to practice XYZ technology other than using this product?” I love these posts. It demonstrates the student is not having the best time with a particular training resource and they are ready to ask their peers for another.

Do not settle for anything but the very best resources that work for you as you look to take your career to that next level.

Anthony’s IT Certification Tips – 6 of 10 – Find the Mix of Right Resources for YOU

May 13, 2014 at 11:49 am

In this tip, let us discuss another key to certification success that many students might not pause to think about. Before you dive into a new professional certification pursuit, you might want to take some time and really plan the resources that you are going to use. This includes deciding on the right mix for you. For example, I am a big reader, so when I am planning a new certification journey, I like to load up on texts that cover the material.

For others, this might not be a big part of the plan at all. Many are simply “viewers”, they master the certification material by watching CBT Nugget videos on the topics many times over. They might really dislike trying to learn from text reading. Videos are their key.

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Everyone is different. Some really enjoy the pursuit by mixing it up. Reading about a topic for an hour or so. Watching the 20 minute Nugget on the topic, and then labbing it up to practice. You have to really self examine and determine just what the right mix is for you. This is so important because you want to enjoy the study process as much as possible. Enjoying it and learning with a passion makes the mastery process so much more effective and efficient.

So, survey the mix of materials that are available to you, and plan your attack today.

Anthony’s IT Certification Tips – 5 of 10 – Ask Questions

May 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm

“The only stupid question is the one you do not ask!” I am not really sure who originally said this, but it sure is true. You do not just want to learn to the basic level – if you really want to succeed in the world of IT you have to dig deeper. Asking questions incessantly can be a big part of this process.

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But wait! You are addicted to CBT Nuggets and I do not blame you for that, but the instructor is not there live in front of you…how will you get all of those questions answered? Did you realize we have added a Comments tab to each course in our offering??? This is a wonderful place to post a question about the course content. Chances are one of your peers will have an answer and respond. As one of the instructors at CBT Nuggets, I love to hang out there and answer questions. I also answer every single question here at the blog. Is Cisco your thing? Check out the Cisco Learning Network. Notice the top two responders there are Keith Barker and Scott Morris of CBT Nuggets.

Dig deeper, ask those questions. Perhaps we should change our motto to Watch, Learn, Ask, Conquer. OK – that does not sound nearly as good.

Thank you for reading. Remember to study with passion.