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January 27, 2017
Obtaining a Skill Certification is as Easy as Taking a Practice Test
January 27, 2017
Awhile back, I said that passing a micro certification exam is ‘so easy a caveman could do it.’ And in a sense that still holds true. However, I know many of us have test anxiety, and for some, obtaining a certification is a matter of job security. That’s a lot of pressure.I’d like to think test taking gets easier the older you get, after all, it’s something you’ve done throughout the course of your educational career, probably more times than you can count.It seems instead, the longer we’re out of school, the worse we become as test takers. Our minds have been conditioned differently, and we process information in a new way. Now, we are often taught to ‘skim’ documents and, in my case, sometimes have difficulty choosing the most important information to focus in on because we simply have information overload.During my college days, I thought I knew all the tips and tricks to be an exam whiz. I made countless notecards, studied in groups, and went to review sessions.But when it came to more extensive tests, like finals, I was usually overwhelmed at the sheer format of the test, despite knowing the content.Cybrary has recognized the pitfalls users fall into as test takers. We truly want you to be as prepared as possible for the micro certification exams, and in doing so, have begun a revision of tests and test questions. In conjunction with that, we’ve recently added practice tests to each micro certification page.You can access each practice test in the location shown at right.If you’re hesitant to accept that practice tests are the key to success, as always, I have some experts to back me up.Margaret K. Snooks of George Washington University, in her paper ‘Using Practice Tests on a Regular Basis to Improve Student Learning’ says, “The pathway to students’ benefiting from practice tests partially relates to self-efficacy theory, or the belief that one can successfully perform behaviors to achieve desired outcomes. The behavior is learning course material; the desired outcome is better grades. If students frequently took practice tests, they would learn more, self-efficacy would increase, test anxiety would be reduced, immune systems might benefit, and grades would improve. This logic also relates to stress-inoculation theory, whereby persons exposed to small doses of a frightening experience eventually experience less fear and anxiety.”Hopefully, you don’t consider micro certification exams a frightening experience. But I believe you see my point nonetheless. Understanding the testing format even when you know the exam material can be very helpful.According to CollegeView.com, “Practice exams also place a microscope on a student’s strengths and weaknesses, demonstrating where a student is strong and where he should apply extra effort. Students can fill the holes in their test preparedness by focusing their prep work on areas where they struggled on practice exams. This bolsters confidence when the spotlight is shining on test day.”From a more content centered perspective, practice tests should guide further study because you now know which areas are lacking.Even in a case where the practice test is relatively short, attention to one question you missed could lead to further investigation on an area that appears frequently on the full form exam.This blog post from Question Mark, ‘10 reasons why practice tests help make perfect exams’ sums it up best. “It’s well understood in psychology that you are more likely to retain something if you learn it spaced (separated) over time. Since practice tests stimulate revision and studying, they encourage earlier learning and to space out learning, which is likely to improve retention.”Spaced out learning is part of the reason micro certifications are formatted in the way that they are. Rather than tackle large exams, you can learn at your own pace and truly drill down on one specific topic area.If you haven’t gotten the chance to take a micro certification exam, we’d love you to give it a shot. Use code FREESCT1 for your first exam FREE.Learning new skills is a great part of self-improvement and can be done regardless what phase you are in your career.For those of you who have had the opportunity to try out an exam, we’d love your feedback. You can take this survey and be entered for a chance to win a $250 Amazon giftcard.Plus, the Network Fundamentals Certification Exam is FREE with code NETWORKFUN until midnight on Sunday, 1/29.Strong comprehension of hardware and protocols used in creating networks is essential to future success, as well as a grasp on concepts such as: routing basics, IP addresses, and the 2 reference models, OSI and TCP/IP. In order to take a structured, layered approach to IT networking, one must first understand subnetting, troubleshooting, the tools used in network monitoring, analyzing network traffic and examining switch/ router configurations.Once you possess knowledge on basic network functions, standards, and protocols, as the Network Fundamentals Skill Certification test prepares you for, you will be ready to tackle advanced networking issues. Completion of the Network Fundamentals Certification course should be supplemented with further knowledge in the topics of: Subnetting, TCP/IP and OSI.Practice makes perfect. Now, let's get practice testing!Olivia Lynch (Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.