Using Practice Exams for Study and Preparation
Several years ago, we had the opportunity to lead a formal Project Management Professional (PMP) certification study group composed solely of IT professionals seeking a career move from the development side of the software industry into IT project management. After the first few sessions, it was clear that despite their collectively vast years of experience and advanced levels of education, many study group members suffered from severe test anxiety. For some group members, their phobia was so pronounced that this subgroup failed to utilize an important study aid that could have alleviated some of their test anxiety and self-imposed pressure[md]namely, practice exams.
Regardless of what type of IT certification you seeking, working with practice exams is more than just beneficial. Such exams are a powerful and essential study aid that should be an integral part of any test preparation plan. Practice exams provide numerous benefits to certification seekers, such as desensitization to the testing process, instant feedback on content mastery, and progress assessment. Practice exams can also assist in developing and adjusting a certification study plan.
Feedback and Information Gathering
Practice exams may be best viewed simply as an information-gathering tool that provides you feedback on what you know, what you still need to learn, and how much progress you’ve made towards mastering the key concepts, skills, and technologies being tested. Taking several practice exams at the beginning of your preparation activities will help you establish your baseline of skills, knowledge, and comfort with the material.
Initially, practice exams help you identify areas you’ve already mastered that require minimal future preparation. They also enable you to quickly identify areas where key skills have not yet been mastered. By identifying strengths and weaknesses, you can quickly and easily adjust your study plan to address gaps or weaknesses in content coverage.
Interim practice exams are also a great way to assess your skills and track your progress as you work through your study plan. Look for patterns in your examination responses. These patterns are a key that enables you to adjust your study plan to match recent progress and learning.
Plan to take several practice exams in the week preceding the actual certification exam. This provides you with feedback regarding any areas that might require additional study or practice before the actual certification exam.