Softpanorama Exam Preparation Strategy
Find the best books. The quality of books
can make the difference between success and failure. Good books can really
increase your chances of passing.
- Use several books, not the only one that is
recommended for the course. different books have different strengths
and weaknesses and what is well explained on one book can be
horribly messed in another. Usage of several book almost guarantee
better score just because the difference between explanations of the
same topics. A poor recommended book can
cost you many frustrating hours spend on figuring out things that are clearly explained
in other books.
- Look carefully at the content
before purchasing either books or courses. See
Softpanorama Bookshelf for
some recommendations, but you need to be critical and check books yourself.
- Do not rely on somebody's else reviews.
- If the exam includes programming
questions, you might want to review your programming skills. It is essential
that you present your answers clearly and logically. And that also require
having a good textbook for the language, for example
- Always use a problem solver supplement to the
textbook if such is available.
- Find out as many details about exam in advance as
possible. Among simple stupid question that are often missed and negatively
influence result one can mention:
- How long is it (one hour in not that same
exam as six hours ;-) ?
- What types of questions are on the exam (multiple-choice,
programming problems, etc.)?
- How many questions?
- How is the exam scored, and what is the minimum
- Can you bring reference materials?
- Can you bring a programming calculator and are
there any limitations on type ?
Knowing details in advance can help to optimize your behaviors
during the exam, and thus improve your chances of success. If calculator
is allowed you should pay special attention to maximizing its utility.
Search the WEB and find all possible uses for particular problem area.
- Plan to work hard. There is not royal way to
mastery. Usually the subject is a pretty difficult and demanding beast. Always
(repeat after me always) try to solve old problems after each chapter in
the textbook. Often they are more important that the text of the chapter.
Get a second computer or second hard drive and practice installation and
other tasks on it. Even if you have job experience, it may not cover
all the test topics adequately.
- Last but not least: read each question carefully!
People often lose points simply because they read the question too
quickly and misunderstand what is being asked. It seems simple,
but people who have sufficient knowledge do sometimes fail examinations for this reason
- Find out what is the procedure used and try to
adapt to it in advance. Take trial tests, if possible.
- Many organizations
will provide either practice examinations or copies of older examinations
for you to study. Get them whatever it cost. You may choose to take a practice
examination even before you begin to prepare for the test. It does not matter
whether you pass the practice exam or not, it will give you a "feel" for
the type of questions that will appear on the real exam that will dramatically
improve your efficiently in preparing for the exam. You will know some of
your blind spots. It can also help you plan your study time more effectively.
Try to simulate the conditions of the real examination (such as time limits)
when you take the practice exam.
- It can be extremely valuable to find somebody who
already took the test and discuss what was the most difficult part
of the test. Please note that you test can be different, especially
if you have different professor in the college. But still such
information is extremely valuable.
- Develop a simple strategy of taking the test.
That should not be something too elaborate. But for written tests you
usually can take advantage of the order of the questions by not
answering them sequentially but using two passes instead.
- During the first pass you can just mark difficult questions
by one of two stars (with most difficult questions getting two stars) and
answer as many easy question correctly as possible.
- During the second pass
try to answer difficult questions starting to easier until you run out of
- Don't forget to bring your watch and calculate an estimate how much
time you want to spend on each of the remaining questions.
- Check your progress
and how much time left for other questions. May be you underestimated the
difficulty of a particular question.
- Don't exhaust yourself the day before the exam.
A good night's rest before the exam will improve your problem solving ability.
If you will spend it preparing you can slow yourself down and fail the exam
that otherwise you would pass.
- Join a group. Finally, if others in your
organization are also planning to take a certification exam, start a study
- A well-organized study group is an excellent way to stay motivated
and to make the most of your limited study time.
- However, it
can be frustrating to find yourself in a group of students who need specific
technical information that you already have.
- On the other hand, some preparation
courses assume that you have the technical background, and focus on test-taking
- This short list of suggestions should help you approach your
certification examination with confidence.
The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by
two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt.
Copyright © 1996-2018 by Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov. www.softpanorama.org
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March 12, 2019