There are numerous articles on how to prepare for a computer certification examination. However, there are also things you can do to improve your chances of passing the exam during the most crucial part of the entire process: when you are actually taking the exam.
Over the years, I’ve taken numerous certification exams and helped many others prepare for theirs.
Here are the five things you must do to maximize your efforts on exam day.
1. Arrive on time.
I’m aware that everyone says this. The testing facility requests that you arrive 30 minutes early. So why do so many candidates arrive late or hurriedly? If you have a morning exam appointment, you should consider the traffic. If it’s an area of town you don’t typically drive in during rush hour, you may be surprised by the amount of traffic you must navigate. Plan in advance.
2. Employ the headphones.
The majority of candidates in the room understand that silence is required. Sadly, not everyone does. In an already stressful situation, gum-smacking, mumbling (loudly enough for you to hear), and other small noises can really grate on your nerves. In one testing facility I use, the testing room door has only one setting: “Slam.”
Fortunately, each testing station in this facility has a headset attached. Check in advance to see if yours does. Some centers have them, but they are not left at testing stations. Putting on headphones during the exam is an excellent way to improve concentration. They allow you to block out all noise and distractions so that you can do what you came to do: pass the exam.
3. Prepare for the question “WHAT?”
No matter how well-prepared you are, there will always be one question on an exam that completely catches you off guard. It may be off-topic, according to you. It could be a question that requires 20 of your remaining 25 minutes to respond to. It may be a question for which you have no idea where to begin answering. Regardless of the reason, the question makes you wonder, “What? I’ve spoken with candidates who were obviously so thrown off by such a question that they performed poorly on the remaining questions as well.
There is only one option in this circumstance: to shrug it off. Compare yourself to a pitcher in the major leagues. If he allows a home run, he cannot dwell on the fact. He must now face a new batter. Football cornerbacks face the same issue. If they give up a long touchdown pass, they cannot dwell on it for the next 20 minutes. They must brush it off and prepare for the next act.
Don’t stress over achieving a perfect score on the exam. Your concern is temporary. If you receive a question that seems absurd, unanswerable, or out of place, ignore it. It is complete. Proceed to the subsequent question and ace it.
4. conclude with a flourish With ten questions remaining on the exam, take a 15- to 30-second break.
You are not permitted to leave the testing room, but you may stand and stretch. By this point in the examination, candidates are typically mentally exhausted. Perhaps you are still considering the “WHAT?” query. Do not worry about the questions you have already answered; they are complete. Take a deep breath, remember why you’re here — to pass this exam — and then return to your seat to answer the remaining ten questions.