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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.