Unless you’re fresh out school, it may have been awhile since you’ve last had to study for a test. Getting back into gear can be quite difficult. Please use the tips below to help you get the most out of your studying to help you pass that test!
Set a Goal
Besides just having a goal of passing the exam, set a goal of when you want to take the test, so that you have an actual deadline. Also set out when and how long you will study. For example, set a goal to study an hour a day every day. Realistically determine how much time you can dedicate toward studying in a set time period (day, week, etc.).
Write it Down
Research has shown that people retain more information when they write things down. This doesn’t mean that you remember more because you can reference your written notes later. The physical act of writing things down helps to solidify the information in our brains. The better notes you take, the more likely you are to remember the information. Interestingly, even typing out notes is not as effective as physically writing your notes with a pen and paper.
If you’d like to try out this study method of writing out your notes, but you don’t want to kill trees, I’d suggest using a reusable notebook, like a Rocket book that either wipes clean with a damp cloth or gets erased when you pop it into the microwave.
But if you want to keep the information to refer to in the future, you can use regular notebooks. Erasable pens are awesome for this task. It’s invenvitable that you’ll make a mistake somewhere as you furiously take notes. Take comfort in the fact that you can erase what you’ve done.
Reference the Objectives
If the exam provider offers objectives, use them! The Comptia tests definitely provide objectives for each exam. By reviewing the objectives, you’ll know which subjects to concentrate on. If you are not familiar with an objective, learn everything you can about it.
When you think you’re about ready to take the test, go over the objectives again and see if you can describe every single one of the topics listed in the objectives. If you have a bored friend, see if you can teach your friend each of the topics listed. If you aren’t able to explain a topic to someone else, then note what that topic is and go back and learn more about it.
Use a Variety of Study Styles
The general consensus is that there are four different types of learners: visual learners, auditory learners, reading/writing learners, and kinesthetic learners that learn best by actually doing things hands on and experimenting.
There are training materials that come in each of the methods of learning styles. For example, for visual learners there are many training videos. If you’re a visual learner, you may also want to try out concept maps. The gist of concept maps is that you begin with a concept and then branch out with topics related to that main concept. This can help you to visualize how each of the topics are related to each other.
I’ve provided a bunch for you in the resources page for each test. If you’re an auditory learner, see if there are podcasts available for your test subject. Podcasts are great because you can listen to them on your commute to work.
If you’re a reading/writing learner, I don’t have to tell you to go grab a book and write some notes. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, many of the resources provide lab exercises, so actually do the labs. For example, if you’re learning about command line scripts, go on your computer and actually perform the command to see how it runs.
Even if you know you’re a particular type of learner, I encourage you to still check out resources for each type of learner group to keep things different and interesting. Always study from 2-3 different sources because they may explain things differently, one of which may resonate more to you, and they may cover topics that another one missed. For the different sources, you may want to take different approaches. For example, just read through your first source to get a general understanding of the concepts. For the second source, start taking notes to commit the information to memory. For the third source, continue taking notes to fill in the gaps from your second source.
Find a Community
You don’t know what you don’t know. If you surround yourself with mentors and people with familiar with your exam subject, the better off you’ll be. You can utilize meetup.com to find a community of likeminded people to help you out. But if you’re introverted like I am, this doesn’t mean that you have to go out and socialize, you can also participate in forums such as reddit.com. For example, subscribing to channels like r/buildapc, r/sysadmin, r/talesfromtechsupport, and of course r/Comptia, are great for expanding your knowledge versus just straight studying from a book or video.
Take Practice Tests
When you feel like you know the information, begin taking practice tests. There may also be mobile apps that test your knowledge. Check out our reference pages for some practice test and apps you can try. Once you consistently score above 80% on multiple tests, then you can feel confident in taking your test. These tests aren’t cheap so you want to be sure you pass it on the first try.