Are you taking an IT certification test soon? Are you currently panicking about how you should go about preparing for the exam?
Any test can be nerve-wracking, especially if your career relies on it. With IT certifications , professionals can prove that they are skilled enough in one area. This can make them more attractive to employers. IT professionals can take more than one certification, and upon observation, people who have more certifications tend to earn higher salaries.
Do you want to pass your next certification exam with flying colors? Here are some tips to help you:
1. Do your research
Whether you are taking a CompTIA Security + practice test or a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) certification, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into. Before you sign up, here’s what you need to know:
- The application process for the certification
- Education or experience qualifications, if applicable
- Prerequisite certifications, if applicable
- Time since the last exam version was released
- Possible upcoming changes about the exam
If you know someone who already has this certification, ask them questions about the exam to gain genuine insight into the process and the test itself.
2. Study, study, study
Even if you graduated from an IT course by cramming 90% of your study material, don’t think it’s going to be the same for a certification exam. Very few test-takers pass the exam with little to no preparation, and it’s not worth risking your certification to find out if you’re one of these people.
Start preparing as early as you can before the exam. Write down a study plan and exhaust all possible ways of learning that are effective for you. You can enrol in classroom sessions, buy books and audio books, take online courses, and try practice tests online. It also helps to collaborate with other people who are also taking the exam or ask for help from people who are already certified.
The earlier you start to prepare, the less stress you will feel as your exam day approaches. Stick to your study plan, and don’t let distractions cut down on your prep time. If you feel burned out, don’t hesitate to take a break, but make sure you bounce back to your rhythm right after.
3. Learn test-taking techniques for each exam
Not all IT certification exams can be answered the same way. Here are some specific tips for each certification test:
- CompTIA. Answer every question; there are no penalties for wrong answers
- ITIL. Consider each option on the multiple-choice and cross out the wrong ones to help you narrow down the choices.
- AWS. Answer the easy questions first then spend more time on the hard ones.
- Microsoft. Manage your time well. Find out how much time you can spend on each question before the test.
- PMP. Read all the options before answering. You will have to choose the “most correct” choice.
And finally, refresh yourself on the classic test-taking tips for any exam:
- Arrive early
- Bring all of the requirements
- Take a deep breath and relax
- Don’t read or answer things too quickly
- Trust yourself
- Double-check your answers