Progress tracking with my endeavors is now so important to me, I really cannot imagine life without it. Whether I am trying to run a 15K, gain a certification, or win at online poker, tracking my progress is a necessity. I would suggest you consider this strongly as well.
Specifically, for your pursuit of a certification, I recommend that you start with the study blueprint. In fact, you can even copy and paste the blueprint contents into a program like MS Project or Excel. Now develop a tracking system that works for you as you seek to master each item on your list. I like to assign a number to each item that rates my knowledge. I use the following system:
1 – I have never even heard of the technology, I have no idea what it does.
2 – I have heard of the technology before and I can provide a brief overview of it.
3 – I can describe the technology in great detail and I understand its configuration and verification, but to perform these, I need the assistance of documentation.
4 – I can perform an implementation of the technology with ease and without documentation guidance.
5 – I can troubleshoot the technology effectively.
Notice that for some certification topics – level 3 might be all you need. These blueprint items tend to begin with the word “describe” and then a particular technology. For the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) exams, this is often the level of competence we need for the written exam.
No matter what tracking system you use (and some go as far as to track actual hours of study in Project Management software), doing so can greatly increase your effectiveness and reduce stress.
Until my next tip – study with passion!