Your study approach?

swish45swish45 Member Posts: 30 ■■□□□□□□□□
Hello all,

I'd like to hear how you guys study for certification exams (Microsoft/CISCO).

I basically go through the entire book page by page, paraphrasing sections and then when i'm finished basically re-writing the whole book, i review what i have written and then apply for the exam.

A very monotonous approach indeed, which takes enormous will power.

how do you guys approach your exams? In your examples assume you have no experience with the technology(i,e MCSA).

Much appreciated.


  • Tommy_DTommy_D Member Posts: 47 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hi there, I can't really comment on the no experience part, as I have extensive Windows server experience over the past 11 years...but I can tell you what I typically do is get a book that covers the exam in question, read that in dept and labbing anything I've not had hands on experience with. Once I complete that process I get some practice tests from either Self-Test or Transcender then work on those until I can achieve a passing score... at that point I go take the test!
  • TheProfTheProf Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 331 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I normally start with the CBT's and follow the labs. Then start working with the books, it usually helps to understand the material better after doing the labs, etc... The notes I make are only things that I find very important to understand, otherwise I don't make a lot of notes. Having experience in the subject also helps accelerate the preparation. I normally don't do certifications that I don't have experience in so it doesn't take me that long to prepare for an exam unless it's an advanced exam like VCAP or EMCCA.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,015 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Now for my CCENT/CCNA, i've been starting w/ the CBTs to get familiarity on the subject and all the different topics tested on the exam.
    Then I proceed to do the same method you mention. It is extremely long, often tedious, and as you mentioned tests my will power at times. I have no problem doing it for an hour at a time... but going any further than that is extremely difficult - and I usually aim to do at least one 2-3 hour session a day (hard to maintain).

    However, going thru the CBTs first makes the reading/note taking process easier. I don't have to write as much and just focus on going deeper into the topics instead of completely learning them outright.

    I don't have a dedicated spot in my study sequence for my labs, but I make sure I do them.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
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  • ITMonkeyITMonkey Member Posts: 200
    I found that Cisco Press publishes books that contain a significant portion of the information one needs to pass their book-specific certification exam. They step it up a notch in that you’ll need to demonstrate your IOS and troubleshooting skills. Therefore practice using a simulator or actual lab hardware is highly suggested.

    Microsoft Press, on the other hand, doesn’t do as well a job in any one single book. I find myself getting a couple reference books, and spending considerable time reading their TechNet library pages, wiki articles written by their user community, and blogs written by product team members. I spend at least half my time doing hands-on labs using software downloaded from their TechNet subscription service. (Yeah, I know it is being discontinued. Don’t know what I’ll do -- although I am leaning toward sharpening my Linux skills and promoting it in my work environment.)

    As of late, I’ve found that I am more efficient at learning and remembering something if I lab it first, and read about it afterwards. I seems contrary to a step-by-step approach. However, I can relate more to the technical feature or product if I have hands-on experience before delving into details. I recall things better, I think, because I can visualize the things I saw or did when I get around to reading more about them.
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