EMC Proven Professional Exam Study Strategies
EMC offers a wide range of preparation methods for its Proven Professional exams. Furthermore, customers, authorized partners and employees can make good use of Powerlink resources (EMC’s customer and partner portal) to help them prepare for all exams. In fact, EMC does a great job of providing Web-based and instructor-led courses, labs and simulators, as well as practice exams, for all topics. In addition, Powerlink contains other resources, such as tools, product documentation and white papers, to assist students in preparing for their exams. Whether you choose a structured classroom or more self-directed online learning, an organized program of study remains the best approach to tackling any EMC certification exam.
EMC Cert Prep Strategy
The quick version of this strategy is that it relies entirely on EMC materials. This approach works only as soon as objectives and lab descriptions for an exam appear on the EMC Proven Professional Program pages and documents. To its credit, EMC does an excellent job of providing free practice exams for all of its Proven Professional certification exams, in ways that help candidates assess their knowledge bases and exam readiness. The follow-up keys directly into EMC training materials, to aim candidates at what they need to learn and master to remedy missing knowledge, skills or incomplete exam readiness.
In short, this strategy works from EMC’s objectives and practice exams, along with available EMC classroom and online training offerings, to guide study and practice. Normally, at roughly the same time that EMC announces new exams, it also publishes exam objectives and descriptions, so ambitious candidates can start background work right away. Once practice exams are released and training materials are made available, candidates can really get going. The practice exams provide a valuable and necessary check on exam readiness, and training materials provide technical coverage, explanations and details for those who need them. In addition, the company is keen on providing simulators and other hands-on preparation aids for those exams where working knowledge of systems, interfaces and software is essential to achieve the best exam results.
Given these observations, here’s a step-by-step approach that exam candidates can use to guide preparation. The great thing about the practice exams is that EMC provides them at no charge and offers sufficiently large question banks to keep retakes meaningful for at least two (and possibly even three) passes.
Step 1: Review and Analyze Exam Objectives
Exam objectives map out topics, technologies, tools, commands and troubleshooting skills at a high level. These help identify subjects that you need to learn, tools and commands you must explore and understand, and skills you must develop. It’s particularly important to carry through to skills development because that’s what EMC exams seek to test most directly.
Step 2: Take a Practice Exam to Assess Your Knowledge
Once you’ve worked through the exam objectives and other descriptive information from EMC, you’ll have a pretty good idea of whether the subject matter is familiar or otherwise. Even if it’s somewhat familiar, you can still use your first shot at a practice exam to help you identify those topics, tools and technologies where you’re proficient, and those where additional study and practice may be beneficial. Because the EMC practice exams relate missed questions to specific courses (and even training modules or lessons within those courses), this will help you focus your subsequent preparation efforts.
It’s important to observe in this context that EMC recommends scores of 70 percent or higher per assessment area (topics around which practice questions are clustered) as an indication that no additional preparation is needed. This provides a handy benchmark to identify areas where such preparation applies, and a handy subsequent assessment metric to help you decide when you’ve learned and done enough to be ready to tackle the official exam. Only when you exceed that 70 percent metric in all areas should you skip ahead to Step 6 and take the “real thing” at a Prometric testing center.
Step 3: Register for and Complete Relevant EMC Courses
For this and following steps, access to EMC training materials is essential. Of course, the best way to secure these materials is to attend recommended, EMC-sanctioned training courses or e-learning offerings for the exam(s) you wish to take. Those with limited budgets may have to settle for online training if they can’t afford or don’t have the opportunity to attend instructor-led courses. You can use the practice tests and EMC’s various preparation guides to identify relevant training offerings by name, including both e-learning and instructor-led courses. By attending EMC courses, you’ll get access to well-equipped real or virtual labs and simulators for invaluable opportunities to play and practice with systems, as well as to learn about the terms, concepts, principles and best practices that help guide their proper installation, configuration, maintenance and troubleshooting.
Step 4: Take Another Practice Test
With some training and hands-on lab experience under your belt, you should be able to strengthen areas where your initial assessment showed a need for remediation (or any outright lack of knowledge or skill). A second practice test should help you identify those topics to which you must return for further study, or activities you may want to repeat to help develop necessary skills. If you demonstrate 70 percent-plus accuracy in all assessment areas, however, skip ahead to Step 6.
Step 5: Work Through Training Materials and Hands-On Practice
This is where you apply the results of your second (or subsequent) practice tests, as you read about subjects related to assessment topics, then master relevant hands-on activities and skills. This may not sound like much, but it’s the most labor-intensive step. It also requires access to tools, software, systems and networks for experimentation and to garner experience. Once you’ve built up your knowledge, skills and confidence, return to Step 4.
Step 6: Take the Exam
Steps 7 and later apply only if you don’t pass on your first try. Good luck!
Step 7: Analyze and Determine Areas for Further Study
If you didn’t pass, it’s important to recognize topics, tools and technologies on the exam for which you weren’t adequately prepared. If possible, use the “return to question” marker during the exam to mark questions you aren’t sure about, then scan them again just before scoring your exam (time permitting, of course). Strain your memory banks to retain that material and record it after the exam so you can use it to drive further study. If you haven’t used the practice test for your topic more than three times, you can still return to it, as well.
Step 8: Absorb Necessary Material, Perform Hands-On Tasks
Use the list of topics you take away from the exam to repeat Steps 4 and 5 for topics where further study or hands-on experience and experimentation are needed. Keep at it until you’re comfortable with those topics. Then, move on to Step 9.
Step 9: Retake the Exam
If a single retake doesn’t do the trick, you may want to consider repeating your exposure to the underlying EMC training offerings. If you’ve stuck with e-learning up to this point, a switch to instructor-led training may help you get additional support, explanations and information to help you pass the exam on your next try.
Practice Makes Perfect
Even with all the preparation and training in the world, you will still occasionally run into an especially challenging exam. Don’t be afraid to return to the drawing board and renew your studies, or go back to class and spend more time in the lab to improv