Get a Good Book
The first thing that I do when I am preparing for an exam is to find a good book on the topics that the exam covers. I’m not looking so much for a study guide as a book that does a thorough job of explaining the information in plain English.
I look for such a book because I want to make sure that I really understand the topic, not just memorize a bunch of facts and figures so that I can pass an exam. I will be the first to admit that there may be times when you need to get certified on a topic that you care nothing about. In those types of situations, it is a lot easier to just get a basic study guide and memorize the bullet points. However, even though I have used this method to pass exams on server products that I have never even laid eyes on, I have to tell you that it is a lot easier to pass an exam if you actually understand the material that you are being tested on.
You might have noticed that I named the subhead for this section of the article “Get a Good Book.” There is actually a very good reason for this. If you end up using my study method then it is critical for the book that you choose to be thorough and reliable.
Many years ago I purchased a book so that I could study for one of the Windows Server exams. I studied diligently, yet I still failed the exam. Assuming that I must have missed something in my studies, I studied the book some more and took the exam again. Not only did I fail the exam a second time, my score was no better than when I first took the exam.
The second time I took the exam I had studied harder than I ever had for another Microsoft certification exam. When I failed the exam for the second time, I began to think that maybe the book that I was using wasn’t reliable.
On my way home from the testing center I stopped by a book store and bought a different book. As I read through the book I was horrified to discover how much material my original book had omitted. Worse yet, my new book contradicted some rather important points that were made in my first book.
To make a long story short, the first book that I used was filled with errors and omissions. I won’t tell you who the publisher was (it wasn’t Pearson), but I will tell you that it was one of the major players, and I’m sure that most of you would recognize the publisher’s name.
Since that time I always make it a point to read the customer reviews before I purchase a book that I plan to use as a study guide.