Click to enlarge to view the results of my first test.
Taking a software certification test on a software you use daily is like taking a Driver’s Ed test all over again. You know you can pass it, but you don’t want to be so arrogant and not prepare.
1. I was smart enough to purchase the official book.
Now this is a stretch for some because the book at the time was expensive, but I felt it was an investment worth doing since I doing this for the long haul. I’m like most people who hate reading textbooks, but I read this one because there was an “end game” associated with it–a test. It gave me a roadmap of how to study and the types of questions that would be on the test.
2. I invested in online training
I create online tutorials weekly, but sometimes you need to invest in your own learning and get trained. I used Jasper Thayer’s Final Cut Pro X.net training series and for $25 you can’t beat the price. He boasts a 100% pass rate on the Pro Level 1 exam and I can see why. Most of his questions on the practice test were on the actual exam. Of course, your exam questions are chosen randomly, but this helped me out tremendously.
3. I took my time and read every question carefully
I know this is pretty obvious, but you are given 90 minutes for this exam so I took as long as I could to finish it and read and re-read questions again. My strategy with standardized tests are simple–answer the easy questions and come back to the more challenging ones later. There was a question about the skimmer in Final Cut Pro X that I had NO clue about because I never use the skimmer, but after reading it a few times I made an educated guess and I choose the correct answer.
4. I remained humble
I realized just because I use the program and teach it doesn’t mean I really know the program. Like any software there are so many hidden features that you may “never” use, but they may come up in a test. I recently did a tutorial on one of these software features.
5. I remained calm
This test wasn’t a deal breaker. If I didn’t pass it, I was out $150 and I still had my job. A friend text me and asked, “How is this going to help you?” Honestly, one test won’t get me more work or a lot of extra pay, it is more about self-development and part of one of my long term goals (can’t reveal everything on my blog). In the end, it is a small piece to a larger puzzle.
In closing, I was confident enough to know the material, wise enough to get a book and google to find practice tests and learn little-know software facts. Standardized tests get many people nervous including me, but with preparation and test-taking skills practice, you can ace any test.
How do you prepare for standardized tests? If you are interested in learning more details on my test routine, please fill out the form on my contact page.