Decrease the Volume of Study Material
Once I have acquired a suitable book to study from, I set out to accomplish two goals. First, I want to make sure that I really understand the material in the book. Second, I want to figure out what I might be tested on.
One thing that I have learned as an author is that even the thickest books sometimes have surprisingly little real substance. Entire paragraphs can often be summarized with a sentence or two, or even just a simple phrase.
With that in mind, I still read the book from cover to cover. As I do, I take notes on anything that seems important. As I take notes, I try to focus on what’s really important such as concepts, figures, statistics, and Microsoft best practices. These are the types of things that you can be assured of encountering on a Microsoft certification exam. I pay particular attention to Microsoft’s recommended best practices because there are often numerous questions that test whether or not you know the “right way” of doing something.
By the time I am done with the book, I usually have ten to twenty pages of notes (I write really small). My notes consist of very short but meaningful phrases that sum up the most important information in the book.
Obviously, it’s much easier to study twenty pages of material than it is to study a thousand-page book. Even so, I’m a busy guy. I don’t want to have to study twenty pages worth of notes. Instead, I create a second set of notes based on my original notes.
My goal in creating the second set of notes is to eliminate any redundancy or ambiguity. I also omit things that seemed important when I first read them, but that now seem obvious after having read the entire book. By using this method, I am usually able to cut the length of my notes in half without really sacrificing anything.