5 Tips for Certification Preparation

This week I wish to outline 5 things to do during your exam preparation. Last week we discussed certifications and exams – this can be found here.

To start off, make sure you are looking in the right places, as there are lots of “wrong” places out there. Beware of websites making themselves look like a source for legitimate study guides. I don’t think I have come across any legitimate sites for this purpose, so I just stick to the info from course-ware, labs, and instructor from AEPs.

With that said, here are 5 tips on being successful in your next computer based multi-choice certification exam:

1) Look at the requirements for the exam before you book it. There may be additional items you need to look at on top of course-ware and other preparations you have done. These include bugs, updates, white papers, or knowledge base articles specific to the version of the product you are dealing with.

2) Understand rather than memorize. For example, where does NAT take place in the flow logic? Think like a packet!

3) If the exam you do doesn’t permit you to go back once a question is completed, make sure you read and re-read the question and answers before moving on. Most exams I’ve sat allowed me to go back and review at the end of the exam. In this case, go through all the questions, answer all the ones you know for sure. Note you can flag questions to review for later.

4) Then do a second pass, this time paying attention to the ones you think you know. Finally, do a third pass, completing all questions, and by now you very likely have remembered the little things you needed to answer most, if not all questions.

5) Time management. Skills, physical and mental state comes in to play as well. But for longer exams, give yourself at least 6 months of preparation before attempting this. If you are preparing for a lab exam, knowledge and skill aren’t the only thing that you need to work on.

For candidates facing the preparation process for the Check Point CCSA or CCSE, or Palo Alto Networks the PCNSE in Australia or New Zealand, if you choose to sit in an instructor let course through Red Education, I look forward to perhaps training you, and sharing my experience with you all.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and look forward to hearing your thoughts on your experience.