Am I studying "wrong?"

HackNackHackNack Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
First of all let's separate studying into two caregories: Microsoft studying and General studying.

Now, when studying for a Microsoft certification, I just read the book once and do the labs once. I recently tried taking notes after reading each chapter and #1 I figured that I hate taking notes, #2 I'm not very good at taking notes.

When studying for a non-Microsoft exam, I just read the book and highlight what I thikn is important. Sort of like taking notes but I damage the book and lower its resale value.

So far I've been passing my certs without any problems but I recently found that some people have been going the extra mile by taking notes, reading the books up to 3 times, etc. I can see re-reading the books. I've even done it a few times.

I guess this is a two part question.

#1. How do you study?
#2. Do you think I'm doing something wrong in the way I study?


  • leefdaddyleefdaddy Member Posts: 405
    i usually just read the book, and do the excerises in the books and also review the end of chapter questions....

    then i read like technotes from here and other stuff on the web while taking a lot of practice tests... then go take the real exam....

    i deal with the stuff everyday at work so that experience helps in the learning process also.
    Dustin Leefers
  • /usr/usr Member Posts: 1,768
    I can't imagine passing an exam if you don't read a book multiple times.
    I've given up highlighting, as it messes me up when I read back through.

    I usually just read through each book a few times, take some practice exams and go back over my weak areas. The last thing I usually do is download the exam objectives and go over each one and make a note on each one. I'll use this up until I go in to take the exam.
  • eastpeastp Member Posts: 179
    This is possibly (almost for sure) not the best way to study but this is the way I follow

    I don’t re-read a book, what I do is read an other book (e.g.; ms press, sybex).
    Marking can’t be done since I read almost all books online and taking notes is very boring so I don’t do it.
    Then I start with all of the practice tests that I can find, read some technotes and take the exam.
    I recently passed an MS exam this way with 919/1000

    Plus i see that you are passing your exams so why are you thinking you are doing something wrong, there is no correct way, only your way.

    Screwing up several things at once.
  • TeKniquesTeKniques OSCE, OSCP, CISSP, CISA, SSCP, MCSE (03), Security+, Network+, A+, Project+ Member Posts: 1,262 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I usually read the book(s) once and do all the tests/exercises in those books and for A+ OS and Network+ I used Transcender which was very awesome.

    After that I usually come here and read the technotes and take the practice tests and usually about 3 days before the exam I'll retake all my practice exams again to keep it fresh in my head, because what really sucks for me is I don't get to apply the stuff in my real job so I have to keep it fresh in my head all the time.

    Dear God, please help me find an entry level IT job icon_cool.gif
  • WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    I agree with eastp that there isn't a real wrong way. As long as it works for you and you can always try other methods to see if it improves. The most important thing in studying is repetition though. Although you don't have to read the same book from cover to cover twice, it is wise to go through all the chapter summaries and read the details (tables etc) more than once.
  • HackNackHackNack Member Posts: 50 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Well, that's great. I see that I'm not the only one who studies this way. I was just overwhelmed when I saw how a friend of mine studies. The interesting part is that at the end of the day we both pass our exams.

    I recently started highlighting my books again and I find it to work really well for me. What I do is read a chapter once then read it again and highlight the parts which I think are most important. Before I used to have a problem with highlighting too much and making the book almost unreadable but I think I got the hang of it now.

    Anyway, kudos guys.
  • skully93skully93 Member Posts: 323 ■■■□□□□□□□
    This is what I do:

    I read the MS Press (or other official source) book. Then I take a practice exam, usually the one of this site. If it's something I'm less familiar with, then I might read another book. Then I go over the Learnkey, CBT, or whatever other video training I can find. Then I take a transcender or so on it. THEN I go back, do all the labs, review anything I might feel that I have not one darn clue about (subnetting), and then retake some practice tests.

    The only reason I've not taken my first 3 MSCE exams is that we're just about to move state and neither of us have jobs lined up, so I'm waiting to get something going before I max out the CC on test fees.

    So far I think I know as much as possible on the stuff that I haven't had experience with without actually working on it, but it is a longer, more drawn out method.
    I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.

    -- James Thurber
  • DrakonblaydeDrakonblayde Member Posts: 542
    My study cycle depends on how much I already know about the subject. If it's something I'm already familiar with, I read the appropriate book, do what practice modules I can find, and then nab the Transcender and test myself.

    If it's something I'm not very familiar with, I grab *EVERYTHING* I can on the subject, and start reading. I'm pretty good at filtering what material is gonna help me learn and what material is garbage, and I review the stuff I deem as valuable, get as much hands-on practice as I can (because that's what solidifies it) and when I feel I know enough, I try the Transcender. Yes, Transcender is my litmus test. If I can pass it well enough, I'm ready for the real thing. If I struggle, I narrow down the areas I don't know so well and then break my back learning it.

    So far, it's worked well for me. I've passed every exam I've attempted on the first try.
    = Marcus Drakonblayde
    ==[X]===[X]====[ ]=====[ ]====[ ]==
  • ja5983ja5983 Member Posts: 129
    I generally get 2 books, read each book through, usually about 100 pages a day, take notes, when there is something I dont get I just write it down 100x and it just all comes to me lol. I do each practice question in the book, and redo the ones ive missed. While going thru the books I use practice exams to show me what I need to learn. So far it has taken me 1 1/2 weeks to prepare for the A+ and Net+ and i scored 100% on all 3 tests.
    A+, Network+, Server+, Security+, TICSA, CCNA, MCSA, AS Network Engineering
  • BinaryBagboyBinaryBagboy Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I hire someone smarter than myself to impersonate me and take the tests. Once they bring me back a cert, I usually throw them a fifty. icon_wink.gif
  • /usr/usr Member Posts: 1,768
    I hire someone smarter than myself to impersonate me and take the tests. Once they bring me back a cert, I usually throw them a fifty.

    I hope you're joking.
  • BinaryBagboyBinaryBagboy Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    /usr wrote:
    I hire someone smarter than myself to impersonate me and take the tests. Once they bring me back a cert, I usually throw them a fifty.

    I hope you're joking.

    Of course I am :D Next time I'll throw a j/k in it so it doesn't freak anyone out.
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