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I was at a user group meeting last night and the topic of certification came up. I mentioned I had a post where I discussed how I approached taking Microsoft certification exams. After the meeting I searched my blog for the post and realized that it wasn’t easy to find as it was part of a post on a specific exam: Certification: Exam # 70-680 - TS: Windows 7, Configuring. I thought it would be useful to republish just the content related to how I approach taking certification tests, so here it is!!!
Following the three steps below, I make a decision quickly on the question then move on, I do not dwell on the question and waste valuable time that could be used on later questions that I might know the answer to. Bottom-line this gets me through all the questions and makes sure I don’t run out of time which will make me rush through the remaining question and potentially make mistakes!!!
The way I take exams is on each question I make one of three decisions:
1. If I DON'T know the answer I DON'T answer the question and I'll come back at the end of the exam and try again, I don’t guess... yet J 2. If I THINK I KNOW the answer but am not 100% sure, I'll answer the question and mark it for review at the end. 3. If I AM 100% CERTAIN I have the right answer, I'll answer it and move on.
1. If I DON'T know the answer I DON'T answer the question and I'll come back at the end of the exam and try again, I don’t guess... yet J
2. If I THINK I KNOW the answer but am not 100% sure, I'll answer the question and mark it for review at the end.
3. If I AM 100% CERTAIN I have the right answer, I'll answer it and move on.
What does this do for me? At the end of the exam I have some RED unanswered questions and YELLOW marked questions. At this point I review the unanswered questions and try to answer them - sometimes a later question triggers something in my mind to help. Bottom-line, I'll answer, even if its a guess!! Again, if I'm not certain I'll mark it. Then I go through all the MARKED questions and see if I feel more confident that they're right or if I want to change them. I'll leave them marked if I still don't feel 100% about them. If any time is left after doing that I usually review all of the questions one more time, and ONLY change them if I really feel the need... in fact I RARELY change answers at this point but I do like to review before I leave the testing centre.
At the end of the exam I take a look at how many I still have marked. If its less than 15% of the questions I feel pretty good that I've passed. More than 15% just makes me ANXIOUSLY await the results on the screen.