How I study for my certifications

Jordan Lee
Jordan Lee
How I study for my certifications

If you are getting ready for certification or are thinking about taking one. This article can provide you with some good sources of study material, practice exams and methods of how to do so.

I want to start out by saying that I'm by no means a straight A student or that I find taking test or exams easy. I also don't have the end all be all answers for you when it comes to studying or test taking. But what I can do is share how I go about this. First things first I read up on the certification and look through some free practice questions online to get a baseline of the exam.  I do this so I can gauge how much time I think I will need to study before taking my exam. Because based off of that time, I schedule my exam for said date "x" weeks away. This works well with AWS because I can schedule with Pearson Vue, and if I were to need to reschedule I could. I do this because if I don't, I wont every get around to studying or getting ready for the test at all. I set this date and spend the money so it forces me to study and gives me a deadline.

After my exam is scheduled I go straight to Udemy and ExamPro. Udemy is for the practice exams and ExamPro is for the lectures and course material. ExamPro also comes with flashcards and practice test as well. If your looking to study for other non cloud certs Udemy is still a good option but ExamPro only has Azure, AWS, and Oracle Study Material. To substitute for that I would recommend A Cloud Guru, CBT Nuggets, or Cloud Academy. Before moving on I want to note that the same lectures you get on ExamPro you can find on youtube for free here.  Now with that out of the way, I get to studying. I pretty much start by skimming through the lectures. Figuring out what I really need to study and what I already know. When doing this I tend to watch content at 1.25x the speed. It just allows me to get through the content faster, some however may not be able to retain well when doing this.

After I've went through an entire lecture I then start my practice exams, I hit these pretty hard. I take sometimes 2-3 a day, 4-5 days a week for around 3-4 weeks. I do these until my scores are well over 85-90 per test. I pair this along with note cards related to missed questions and watching other in-depth videos on those topics or reading related articles, a good set of videos for this is amazons re:invent videos on youtube. They go in DEEEEEP, and you will come out with a great understanding and best practice knowledge for the services they go over in those. I was able to study and pass my AWS CCP this way with only around a month of studying. I really could have done this in less time looking back but it took me a while to dial in this studying process. Half way through studying for that test I realized that taking notes and hand writing flash cards was not only to slow, It just wasn't working for me. So I watched some videos on studying and I found one by a guy I already followed linked here. I found that it really just justified what I was starting to conclude myself. Where if I just made studying more repetitive, In a way that I felt was working then I would retain the information better. And repetitiveness was the key for me, going through practice exam after practice exam. Allowing myself to master what I already knew and studying in a more focused way on what I don't know.

For AWS I also have used Qwiklabs, They also have google cloud and a few others. Its a good lab environment alternative to setting up a free account and just playing around. Its more structured, but some of them do cost. For AWS you'll hear people throw around the whitepapers and those are good as well for reference or in depth reading on certain topics. I'm sure through your journey of studying/learning you will stumble across resources and techniques that fit you. Along with ways to study that fall into the best suited way allowing you to retain the information well. I hope that this article can assist some with that you now have a better idea on how to crunch down and get those certs! Thanks for the read and Have a good day!

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