CIAT Resource Library

Passing Your Certification Exam

Gathering experience and developing specialized skills that will separate you from others in the IT field is the best way to succeed. After choosing which IT path and certifications are right for you, let’s discuss some essential tips for passing certification exams. Certain certification exams are challenging, especially those for expert- and professional-level credentials, and they require a strategic approach and serious preparation. Here are some valuable tips that will improve your chances of success.

1. Understand the Objectives, Exam Questions, and Exam Format

To pass your next certification exam, you will need to research the exam objectives and the format of the exam in order to have a clear target that you want to hit. When you know what to expect, it will give you peace of mind when taking the actual exam. Break the objectives into chunks to structure your learning and cover all the skills you need to. As for the exam format, is it multiple-choice, multiple-answer, performance-based, or something else? What’s the passing score? What is the length of the exam?

2. Importance of Thorough Preparation

Be sure to create your optimal daily schedule to make sure you have enough time to study every day. Choose to study in a calm and distraction-free environment and use effective study methods to retain all the information better. This will ensure better results and increased chances of passing the exam.

3. Use Multiple Resources

Find all the resources available on the subject, but be sure that they are up-to-date and relevant to the latest changes in the technology you are trying to master. If you rely only on one source of information, it may impair your chances of success. In this case, instructor-led training is very beneficial because instructors are people with hands-on experience that can provide up-to-date information in real-time. A combination of formal training and studying from multiple resources will ensure you get a well-rounded training and that you are better prepared for your professional certification exam.

Carefully select your study material and avoid using brain dumps. Brain dumps are reproduced exam content that people memorize and sell online, and using them can have your credentials revoked.

4. Create a Study Plan

Do you already have some experience on the subject, or are you a novice? How much time do you devote to studying in a day? How much study material do you need to go through? To prepare yourself sufficiently, you need the right exam prep strategy. If you work and prepare to take an exam, you should start preparing a few months ahead. Create a daily and weekly schedule. Devote a few hours in the beginning and then gradually increase your study time. If you want to get a Microsoft certification, CompTIA certification, AWS Cloud Practitioner or Architect certification, or a certification from other powerful brands, you can find up-to-date information about the exam requirements online.

5. Practice Makes Perfect

The best preparation for a professional certification exam is hands-on training or practical experience because it’s the most effective way to get an in-depth understanding of IT concepts. Retaining knowledge and recalling it when needed is easy when you understand techniques. Also, you should take practice tests and research the older versions of the exam to see which topics and exam questions are always covered. Taking a practice exam will help you detect any weak points that you can address later. Take your time to become familiar with the testing procedure.

6. Take the Exams the Right Way

When you find yourself in the testing center with the exam in front of you, remember that proper time management is essential. If you spend too much time on some questions, then you won’t have enough time to answer the other questions. Divide the total exam time by the number of questions on the exam, and you will get the average time you have to answer each question. Next, do all the easiest questions first and then go back to review the tougher ones. Don’t spend more than 2-3 minutes on each question. If you cannot answer two or three questions, don’t worry because most certification exams have a certain passing score that’s below 100%.

Some questions can be tricky, so be sure to read each of them carefully to understand the meaning and identify keywords. This will help you avoid spending too much time on certain questions, which may cause you to run out of time. If you have the time at the end of your professional certification exam, go back to double-check your answers.

7. When the Exam Day Arrives

When the testing day comes, make sure you are at the testing center at least half an hour early (if taking the exams remotely, make sure you log in at least half an hour early so you have time to troubleshoot any technical issues if necessary). Have the right identification form with you (it’s typically your passport or driver’s license). Before taking the exam, be sure to clear your mind and relax. Performance anxiety comes when you are worried about whether you will be able to perform at your best. Just remind yourself that your beating heart is a sign that you are ready to tackle the challenge. If you have covered all exam topics, gone through the practice questions, and studied hard – you should be ready to answer most of the questions.

It is OK to miss a question or guess when you need to. Many certifications don’t penalize incorrect answers. Therefore, if you don’t know an answer, think about it hard and try to narrow the options down. Answer the question the way you think and feel is correct and hope for the best. You have nothing to lose by choosing the wrong answer.

Test Prep Workshops Make Everything Easier

Test Prep Workshops are a great way to pass your next certification exam. To pass it successfully, you must put in a lot of work before and after class, and weekend certification training provides in-depth information that will help you. To view our Test Prep exam schedule, click here. Exams rotate every month, so check in regularly to see when your cert test prep is coming up!

Besides certifications and certification training, CIAT Career Services also offers help with job placement – from cover letter and resume writing, LinkedIn Profile optimization, job search skills, networking, interviewing and more. Visit CIAT’s Career Support page or contact Student Services at StudentServicesTeam@ciat.edufor more information.

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