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June 12, 2013

Quick tip: How to use certification practice exams the right way

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Think practice tests are a waste of time? Maybe you should reconsider. In a new TrainSignal survey of 300 IT pros who are taking the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) exams, 70 percent said taking practice exams are “very important” for successfully passing the MCSA.

In a webinar about MCSA study tips Wednesday, TrainSignal instructor and Microsoft MVP, Ed Liberman said that simply using practice tests isn’t enough. The key, he says, is using them the right way:

Regardless of what you’re using, whether it’s MeasureUp or SelfTest or Transcender, I don’t care who it is. If you’re using it properly–meaning you’re not just trying to see what score you get on a practice test and say, ‘Oh, I’m ready’–but you actually use it as as a supplement to your learning, you use it so that they guide you to the things you need to go out there and learn more about, you should be successful.

Ed Tittel, who wrote the Ultimate Guide to Preparing for IT Certification Exams for TrainSignal and has written more than 100 computing books in his 30-plus-years IT career, echoed the same idea. In the Ultimate Guide, he gave this guideline for the number of practice exams necessary:

Three or four complete exams for practice should be enough to get most cert candidates ready to take their exams.

During the webinar, one attendee noted that he heard you can feel confident you’re ready to sit for a real exam once you achieve a practice exam score of 90 percent or more. What’s your take? Tell us how you approach practice exams in the comments below!

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