Preparing for A Professional Certification Exam: Everything You Need to Do to Pass

As you begin to prepare for your certification exam, there are some common-yet-powerful techniques that can make sure you’re not overlooking anything in your preparation. So many professionals prepare for a certification by reading a book and then they’re disappointed if they don’t pass the exam. The reality is, knowing the source information is only a small part of the preparation most people need to go through in order to take their certification exams.

Obviously, at Skillset we offer certification practice questions and study tests for hundreds of skills in a variety of fields, from Cryptography to Project Management — that’s because we believe taking practice tests is the very most valuable thing a professional can do when preparing for a certification exam (in the IT certification field or otherwise). But even taking practice questions is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of exam prep.

Today, we are sharing tips and tricks that will allow you to pass your certification exam regardless of which type of certification you are aiming for.


Review the Exam Blueprint

The first thing you want to make sure that you have is your exam blue print, which is also known as a text plan. Consider your exam blueprint as an outline to the exam. With the blue print, you will know which topics hold the most weight on the exam and plan to study accordingly. Reviewing the exam blueprint is what you do first, to maximize your study time.


Review the Exam References

In your exam handbook, you will find exam references, also known as a bibliography. This is where you will see the references used by the writers to determine the correct answers to the exam questions. You can go to each of the references yourself to help you better understand the type of questions to expect on your exam.


The Importance of Reviewing the Exam References

By reviewing the exam references, you will have gained additional insights as to how the exam questions were composed and the text that they are based off.


Take as Many Exam Practice Questions as You Can

Certification exam practice questions are the most valuable resources many studiers ever find. The will help you refresh all of the information that you have learned during the duration of your courses. This is very important if you want to pass. Some of the things you learned in the beginning of the course may have slipped your mind. Additionally, by doing the practice questions, you can see what areas are your strongest and which ones you need to focus on more before the exam day.


Practice Makes Perfect

The practice questions are similar to the actual exam and practice makes perfect. You will become faster at answering the questions correctly, and be prepared for anything that comes your way. If you do not take any of the other advice from this article, make sure you do the practice questions. Additionally, make sure you do as many practice questions as possible.


Take a Self – Assessment Exam

After you have mastered the practice questions go ahead and take a self-assessment exam. While practice makes perfect, there still might be a few things that you do not quite comprehend. The self-assessment exam will allow you to identify your weaknesses again because they pick up where the books leave off. Many online sites have demo versions available too. This way you can test out the quality before you commit to purchasing.

At Skillset, we have a predictive practice test engine that actually tracks your progress and lets you know when you’re ready to take the actual certification exam. It can point out where you need more study, and in which other areas you should feel confident. This can cut your study time to a fraction of what you’d otherwise need.


Take an Exam Review Course

If you are still worried about passing your exam after completing the previous steps, consider taking an exam review course. This is going to cost you more money but it could be a guaranteed way to ensure that you pass your exam. These courses are usually available by online instructors or if you have a training center in your area, you could contact them to see when their next exam review course will take place.


Make Sure the Exam Course is Accredited

Keep in mind when taking an exam review course it is best to go with an accredited facility. You can search the web for reviews or if you have friends who have already obtained their certification, you can ask them for recommendations.


Create a Study Group

Having a small exam study group can be a great way to make sure that you are prepared for the exam. Everyone will put their resources together and help build up the others confidence about exam day. You can do all of the studying together, including the exam course, and when testing day comes, go in a group, so everyone has support the entire way.


Talk With Someone Who Has Passed the Test

Do you know someone who has already obtained his or her certification and is doing well? If so, contact them to see what study tips they can suggest. When you get insight from others who have passed the exam, it can help calm your nerves down about your exam day. They can share their personal experience and then you can decide whether you are studying for the exam the correct way or want to try an alternative route.


Utilize Free Sources

While paid sources are a good way to prepare to pass your exam, free sources can be good as well. Some people think that free sources are inaccurate since they are readily accessible to anyone but that is not true. For example, look at these free resources for those preparing to take the PMP exam.


Take Time for You

You may think that studying for weeks on end leading up to the exam, is a surefire way to pass, but this is a myth. You have to take breaks to take your mind completely off the exam, or you will suffer from information overload. Now, we are not saying go out to the bar every day and drink. Nevertheless, do something such as taking a run or yoga to help your mind relax.


The Benefit of Taking Time for You

When it is time to take the exam you will have retained all of the information needed in addition to having it separated to avoid a bunch of information running throughout your mind all at once.


Closing Thoughts

Preparing to take a certification exam does not have to be hard if you prepare to prepare. It is highly recommended that you start by reviewing the blueprint and form a study group so you have support the entire time. Obviously, you have already made it to the final stretch since you passed the initial course. Therefore, you know the information to pass, you just have to make sure that you make your weaknesses into strengths and then you are guaranteed to pass your exam.


Have you ever taken a certification exam before? Share your comments in the section below.


Victoria Heckstall

Victoria Heckstall is a professional writer who has written on various educational topics over the past 4 years. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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