When you’re in school, taking tests is a part of life. For some of us, it’s a huge source of stress. We can’t wait to finish school and finally be done with tests FOREVER.
But…as it turns out, that’s not the end of the story. In today’s job market, testing has become a part of adult life, too. And just because you’re older and wiser doesn’t mean the stress of test-taking has disappeared.
Luckily, with a little preparation, you can conquer the pre-test jitters and do your best on any certification exam.
Having the right materials is as important as having the right mindset. With 30 Bird courseware and test preps, along with these eight hot tips, you can be sure to do your best.
1. Get the Lay of the Land
Every test is different. What they all have in common is that the more you know about what to expect, the better you’ll do.
Here are some important questions to know the answers to before you begin your test prep. That way, you’ll know that you’re preparing the right way.
- When is the test?
- Where is the test given?
- How much does it cost to take?
- When is the test fee (if there is one) due?
- What is the format of the test?
- How often can you retake it?
- What score do you need to achieve to reach your goal?
- Do you need to bring any supplies?
- What do other test-takers have to say about the test?
- What test prep materials are available?
- What information is covered on the test?
Understanding what you are getting into ahead of time will give you a big advantage when it comes to test day.
2. Stay Current
With many certification exams, it’s common for the content and even the structure of the test to change rapidly. Make sure that your test prep materials include the latest updates and information. You can study as hard as you want, but it won’t make a difference if you’re studying the wrong material.
Staying current is particularly important in the world of tech, as the standards tend to change quickly. Because of the speed with which tech fields move, staying up-to-date is essential to achieving your peak performance.
Similarly, with tests that cover regulations, it’s crucial to make sure that you are learning the most recent materials. These can change from year to year, so old resources can become out of date quickly.
30 Bird’s living courseware and top-of-the-line testing materials are always up to date with the latest information and standards. With 30 Bird, you can be sure that you’re 100% current.
3. Think Practically
One of the biggest mistakes test-takers make is to study for the test. With most certification exams, the information you’re being tested on has daily applications in your job. These are practical, job-ready skills.
The brain makes different types of connections as it learns. Applied knowledge is retained longer than information you simply memorize. So, instead of treating test prep merely as an exercise in memorization, approach it as part of your professional development. As you study, think about how you will use the skills or information from the test in your work. Not only will your scores benefit, but your work will too.
4. Ask Questions
If you don’t know the answer to something, don’t just move on. Find the answer. Whether it’s turning to the exam references or running a simple Google search, you have to fill the gaps in your knowledge.
The process of searching for answers and finding them is a great way to really remember something. It might seem like a pain, but you’ll benefit ultimately.
And, as always, the 30 Bird team is here to help when it comes to answering your questions. Just ask.
5. Use Study Aids
It’s probably been a long time since you studied for a big test. But the same study aids that worked back in school still work today.
Flashcards are a great way to help you memorize facts, terms, or formulas. You can carry them with you and study anywhere. There are even apps that can help you make virtual flashcards. While memorization won’t help with every aspect of a test, it’s a great memory tool for some things.
Another useful study aid is the study guide. When you create a study guide, include all of the key ideas and themes you need to learn. Not only will the study guide help you after it’s made, but just the process of making it will reinforce your understanding of the material and help you to retain it.
Mnemonic devices can help you as well. Whether it’s creating an acrostic, making up a little song, or coming up with a rhyme, anything that allows you to memorize important information will be useful. It might seem silly, but these methods are tried and true.
6. Get a Study Buddy
Test taking is inherently solitary, but preparing for a test doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, the best way to learn is to do it with somebody.
With a study buddy, you can:
- Keep each other accountable. Make sure your study buddy is making the progress necessary to do well on the exam. They can do the same for you.
- Answer each others’ questions. You won’t have all the answers. No one does. But two heads are better than one. If you have a study buddy, you can help each other understand the material.
- Have someone to complain to. Tests are hard and preparing for them can be exhausting. If you’re doing it alone, the fatigue can feel isolating. Having a buddy to vent to is important for self-care.
Having a study buddy can take different forms, depending on what works best for you. From sharing study aids and meeting frequently to simply checking in with each other on occasion, having mutual support can make all the difference in your final test performance.
7. Review Early and Often
Some people think that a review is something that comes at the end of the studying process. Really, reviews should be something that you do throughout studying. At the end of each study session, close out with a review of what you’ve learned. This helps you process the information you’ve taken on board and cements it in your memory.
Opening each study session with a review will remind you of where you are in the process of learning. Each time you review, the information you need will settle deeper into your brain.
When it comes to the final stretch, reviewing everything altogether can be intimidating. It won’t be as scary if you’ve been reviewing all along.
8. Be Ready the Day Of
Congratulations, you’ve made it this far. All of your months of studying come down to this moment. For some of you, that might be a relief. But for others, it will be a cause for dread. The pressure can really pile up. Whether you’re excited, scared, or, more likely, a mix of both, here are some tips that can make test day easier and improve your results.
- Eat well.
You might not particularly feel like eating. You might have butterflies in your stomach or simply not want to take the time. This can be a big mistake. The brain functions better when you’ve given your body enough fuel to run on. It’s best to keep it light and healthy, but no matter what, make sure to eat something.
- Give yourself plenty of time.
The last thing you need in the moments before you take your exam is more stress. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead. Know in advance how long it will take you to get to the test site. Arrive there early so that you have time to get comfy and settled in.
- Double check your materials.
For some exams, you’ll need to bring supplies. Get them all ready to go the night before. Double check them before you leave the house. Bring whatever backup items you might need. The point is to reduce the risk that anything comes up during the exam that will distract you or stop you from doing your best. It’s better to plan ahead so you won’t have to worry.
- Think Positive
This might seem cheesy, but it is probably the most important advice on this list. The power of positive thinking has been well-established. Try to focus on feeling confident about all of the hard work you’ve done in preparation. You’re ready for this. You’re going to do great!