Good preparation is essential for success in your certification exam. By the time you sit for the actual test you need a detailed understanding of the topic including memorization of key facts and concepts. You also need to understand the format of the test thoroughly and be ready for the pressure and time constraints that come with an exam environment.
We’ve put together these important tips to help you get the most out of your study preparation so you’ll be ready to ace your test come exam time.
Balancing Study and Parenting
It can be difficult to juggle the demands of test preparation with the demands of parenting, but it can be done. Here are a few tips to help you make it work:
Use a study timetable
Creating a clear study timetable (and keeping it somewhere your kids and partner can see it) will help you stay on track and help them understand when it’s time to leave you alone to work.
Utilise online learning
Find out if you can access recordings of lectures online for those times when getting to class doesn’t quite work out.
Synchronise with your kids
If your children are in school line up your study time with their homework time. This will help you get stay focused and will probably boost your kids' productivity too.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family to help out with babysitting or taking the kids for the day so you can study. They will probably be happy for the chance to help you achieve your goals.
Study when you can
While it’s important to use your free time for rest and relaxation you can achieve a surprising amount in 15-30 minutes. So, if you find yourself with a spare 15 minutes take the chance to revise. If you have a whole evening off consider doing 20-30 minutes of study before settling in with a movie.
1. Leave enough time
This is the most important tip, because if you don’t leave enough time to study you won’t be able to put any of the great advice below into practice: you’ll just have to cram. As soon as you have the date of your test in the calendar, create a study timetable and start preparing. By giving yourself adequate time you can learn in a more structured way and revise properly, giving your brain a chance to consolidate the new information - most of what you ‘learn’ when cramming at the last minute will be forgotten soon after entering your head.
2. Do lots of practice tests
Taking a lot of practice tests will really help you get ready. Working on practice tests will help you determine which areas you need to brush up on, as well as getting you familiar with the actual test format. Try doing your practice tests in a variety of different settings, including ones where you aren’t totally comfortable, so you’ll be ready for anything
3. Time Yourself
It’s important to time yourself while taking practice tests. There is always a time limit on certification tests and you want to be able to comfortably take the test within that timeframe. Find out how long your test should take – if it is supposed to be finished in two hours and you’re taking four, you’re probably not ready for the test.
4. Undertake Formal Training
The most foolproof way to prepare for your certification tests is to train for them with an accredited training provider. By studying formally in this way you’ll get all the information and skills you need delivered in a structured way by trained and dedicated staff. Training courses can also get you ready for multiple certifications at once, something that is much harder to do alone.
Studying in a more formal setting also ensures you get the support you need and offers ready-made opportunities for networking and forming study groups with your peers. You’ll also have feedback from qualified instructors who can assess your progress. This will take the guesswork out of knowing whether you’re ready to sit your exam or need to do more work first, as well as providing guidance as to which areas you are strong in and where you need to focus your energies.
5. Form or Join a Study Group
Studying alone can be boring and it is far easier to get distracted. Try and find people who are studying for the same exam and put together a study group where you can all encourage each other to stay on track. Some benefits of studying in a group include avoiding procrastination, faster learning by combining knowledge and experience, breaking the monotony of solo study, and augmenting the benefits of formal study by creating your own ‘classroom’ outside of official classes.