What do you normally do a few hours before the certification exam?

sks.geeksks.geek Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I've heard of people cramming all the way to not even looking at the material. What is your preference? I find that going over flash cards or reading over acronyms (depending on how well or how little I know the material) is a good refresher.
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  • stryder144stryder144 Posts: 1,592Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I am usually so nervous that I end up conducting deep breathing exercises in my car. Once I have calmed myself down sufficiently enough, I will head into the testing center and use the facilities. No matter how much or how little I consume prior to the exam, my body needs the break. Then I go in, sign for the exam, and start knocking it out. It has worked pretty well for me.

    I do not go over flashcards, notes, or read through any certification specific materials prior to the exam. I find that it causes more self-doubt than I really care to entertain. If I don't understand it enough by 48hrs prior, I reschedule until I do.
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  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,842Mod Mod
    I relax. For me review ends a day or two before the test. Being doing it this way since high school.
  • SteveLavoieSteveLavoie Posts: 662Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    If you rely on your last night to cram as much as you can... then you are not ready or only "brain dumping" your test. Usually the night before, I will review about 1h because usually the last 1-2 weeks before an exam, I studied a lot. It make 1h like an holiday, the idea is to keep your brain fresh, but not getting nervous. The key idea is confidence in you.

    Doing some practice test the last night is a either a hit, so usually, I will review an existing test that I knew many question, just to help with my confidence. It is not the time to test a new practice test. It won't help you. The key idea is confidence in you and in your knowledge.

    I will go to bed a bit earlier to get a full 8h sleep. I schedule my test on late morning because I have to drive 1.5h usually to get to the test center and I dont want to be stressed by the rush hour or by having to wake up at 5 AM.

    At this stage confidence, sleep, and keeping your nervosity level low is the key. Cramming won't help you.
  • ClmClm 5th Raikage (AWS) / Cloud Sec Senpai Posts: 443Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I usually eat a light snack, drop the browns off to the Superbowl hydrate and release, I do some light reading and i always get to the center a hour early stretch
    I find your lack of Cloud Security Disturbing!!!!!!!!!
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  • cdxcdx Posts: 186Member
    I wake up, drink water, review LIGHTLY, chug a 8oz redbull while driving to the test center, at test center i use bathroom(ALWAYS), then take test.
    Bachelor of Science - Information Technology - Security
    Associate of Science - Computer Information Systems
  • blatiniblatini Posts: 285Member
    Day of exam is full **** it let's get it over with mode.
    I will walk the dog, try to recite flash card related stuff in the shower, stretch and briefly go over points I know I am weak on
    But I honestly spend way more time just playing starcraft and hearthstone. Gotta have faith in the time I spent studying and not worry. Stress will get me worse than anything else.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,171Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I try to exercise before I leave the house (treadmill, etc) if it's an exam I'm taking first thing. I might do jumping jacks in the parking lot or the bathroom. Anything to get the blood moving.

    I make sure I am hydrated, even if that means taking a bathroom break in the middle of the exam.

    As far as cramming, I might glance at things like configuration maximums and lists of features/limitations that are different between this version and that version, things that are memorization type items that aren't things that I keep at the forefront of the day to day grind and will be OK if I forget 30 minutes after the exam. In general, I'm not doing much last minute cramming though, but I'm making sure I am physically as prepared/mentally as possible.
    IT guy since 12/00

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  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIPosts: 1,854Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I like to schedule mine for noon. I get up, have a light breakfast, have a coffee on the way to the center. If you don't know it now, you're not going to, so the morning of I just try to relax.
  • tunerXtunerX Posts: 447Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    alan2308 wrote: »
    I like to schedule mine for noon. I get up, have a light breakfast, have a coffee on the way to the center. If you don't know it now, you're not going to, so the morning of I just try to relax.

    That is normally how I do it. The only times I didn't schedule midday were the CCIE R&S lab (8 hour with a set start) and the CISSP (6 hours with a set start)
  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIPosts: 1,854Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I did schedule the CISSP for noon. But I'm normally a fast test taker, and I'm not a morning person. So YMMV. icon_mrgreen.gif
  • JD20JD20 Posts: 65Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    cdx wrote: »
    I wake up, drink water, review LIGHTLY, chug a 8oz redbull while driving to the test center, at test center i use bathroom(ALWAYS), then take test.

    Wow, that's exactly what I do! Although, I like eating a nice healthy breakfast. I usually like taking my test earlier in the day. I've told some of my colleagues that I chug a red bull before the test and they think I'm crazy. I try to explain to them that it gives me laser focus.
  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,556Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Review my notes of the most important topics.
    Alphabet soup: CISSP, CCSP, CISM, CISA, GPEN, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, CEH, etc

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • AverageJoeAverageJoe Posts: 264Member
    No hard core studying for me at that point, but I usually have a 1-page note sheet that I build with some of the things on it that I know in concept but that I confuse easily. Like I used to confuse symmetric versus asymmetric encryption, so I'd want to glance at that right before going in.
  • dontstopdontstop Posts: 578Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I normally schedule my exams for 12:30 pm and normally I'm eating lunch at around 11:30 am. Like cyberguypr I also finish up my study 1-2 days before the test. I accept the fact that once I'm in that "zone" there isn't much I can do (or should do) to pass. For long term retention if you're relying on the days before the exam to cram you won't retain it long term.
  • NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Posts: 1,460Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I always try to book tests first appointment in the morning. Go to bed early the night before, copious amounts of coffee in the morning and then straight to the test center. I have done exams later in the day and find it harder to focus on the exam after being at work for a few hours.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
  • GSXR750K2GSXR750K2 Posts: 325Member
    Nowadays, I personally do nothing. I treat exams like a presentation or packing for a trip...be ready on the day. I've found a few hours reviewing a small list of things can lead to a type tunnel vision (see a post I made earlier today about how I forgot "copy run start" on a couple of CCNA sims once because I was too focused on other, specific items).

    I know everyone is different and one size doesn't fit all, so, I'll share some generic advice with an adjusted a quote from 2002's Van Wilder, "Now remember, before any [exam], take a pregame ****."
  • ande0255ande0255 Posts: 1,178Banned
    Panic !
    Back in my day we used to route packets on 56k lines, through the snow, uphill both ways.

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  • sks.geeksks.geek Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I always schedule mine around 12:30PM at least, if not later. I usually make sure I eat something before the exam, but on the day I posted this, I did not. A red bull is generally in my routine for that day (probably a placebo effect but it works lol)
  • SweenMachineSweenMachine MCSA: Office 365, MCSA: Windows 7 (I am old), ITIL Foundations V3 Chicago areaPosts: 300Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you rely on your last night to cram as much as you can... then you are not ready or only "brain dumping" your test.

    At this stage confidence, sleep, and keeping your nervosity level low is the key. Cramming won't help you.

    I don't like your response. Perhaps you should only really talk about your own experience and not projecting that all those who 'cram' aren't successful or because you cram you are just 'brain dumping'

    Everyone is different. I have been a last second crammer my whole life. I also dedicate proper time to study but studying up until the buzzer is how I PERSONALLY prefer to prepare. I appreciate your advice on how YOU study but projecting how others should do so isn't very cool.

    -scott
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,801Mod Mod
    I also have traditionally scheduled my exams for around 12-12:30pm. I used to eat a good lunch because nothing breaks my concentration like hunger. I too would down a Red Bull or Monster Lo-Carb to get laser-like focus. The last exam I did I actually had to schedule for 8:30 due to availability and I may try that again.

    As for study, I don't study the day of unless there's something I need to **** on the paper/sheet like ports or something. I also don't study that night before either. I try to not study at all the day before if I can help it.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
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  • Master YodaMaster Yoda Posts: 21Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Do a small review a couple hours before don't try to cram all the way up to the test I find that to be much to stressful. If you have studied enough and know the material you don't need to cram all the way up to the test. Things like sleep & getting a good meal in before the test will make you more mentally stable.
  • swampratswamprat Posts: 72Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Review the day before. Day of, I tend to schedule them around 10am, when my preferred testing center opens. Leave around 8:30 (it's over an hour drive), and just listen to podcasts on way and relax. I'll generally have a snack in car with me to make sure I"m not hungry during the test. Hit the restroom before going in and go. Depending on the test, I might take a quick review of any formulas I need memorized before heading into test center to make sure they're fresh, but that's it.
  • sillymcnastysillymcnasty Posts: 254Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Get an extreme urge to pee.
  • PC509PC509 CISSP, CEH, CCNA: Security/CyberOps, Sec+, CHFI, A+, Proj+, Server+, MCITP Win7, Vista, MCP Server 2 Oregon, USPosts: 772Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I read over some of my notes "**** sheets" (acronyms, quick facts, 2-3 pages of quick information) while drinking a cup of coffee (used to be energy drink). About 10 minutes before, I listen to calming music and relax. I just calm down and don't study. Go to the bathroom. Then, go into the testing place. I'm calm, relaxed, ready. It works for me.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,475Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Puke then take a Xanex
  • ande0255ande0255 Posts: 1,178Banned
    ^ I am considering that for ROUTE, no matter what tests I take, I am sweating and hands shaking like just completely awful.

    I seriously need some sort of chill pill, not like a relaxing cup of tea or a stroll around the lake, like something to keep my mind from going into meltdown panic mode.

    (I found it funny that script word has been used so much they actually bleep it in the forums) :)
    Back in my day we used to route packets on 56k lines, through the snow, uphill both ways.

    https://loopedback.com
  • Packet2070Packet2070 Posts: 5Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    I normally do a short session of Visualization of general concepts more like in a MindMap. This way during the exam my Mind can see the whole picture and its ready to answer any question faster.
  • shimasenseishimasensei BSc IT, CISSP, CCNP:RS, CCNA:Sec, CCNA:RS, CCENT, Sec+, P+, A+, L+/LPIC-1, CSSS, VCA6-DCV, ITILv3:F Posts: 241Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Meditation & I plan my trip to arrive at the test center an hour early.
    Current: BSc IT + CISSP, CCNP:RS, CCNA:Sec, CCNA:RS, CCENT, Sec+, P+, A+, L+/LPIC-1, CSSS, VCA6-DCV, ITILv3:F, MCSA:Win10
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  • nachodbanachodba USPosts: 194Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I usually just listen to music and get in the zone. I don't stress out because at the end of the day I can always take the exam again if things don't go well.
    2019/2020 Certification Goals - Oracle Database 12c R2 Administration Certified Professional, CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+), Project Management Professional, VMWare Certified Professional 6.5 Data Center Virtualization
  • josephandrejosephandre Posts: 315Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    if i'm being completely honest, my ritual is review notes and prep up to about an hour before, then put my phone on do not disturb, take a shot of jameson and head out lol
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