Failed It, Eh? Post-Test Examination Can Prevent…

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Studying can be tough. Studying and then failing the test you studied for can be equal parts disappointing, frustrating and angering. But if you’ve experienced this less-than-ideal feeling following a certification exam, there are a few steps you can take to avoid a repeat failing performance, none of which involve the simplistic words “study harder.” First, accept that you failed without beating yourself up. You didn’t necessarily fail. You just didn’t pass the first time out the gate. Think of how many people didn’t succeed at something they wanted to accomplish immediately, yet persevered and eventually triumphed.


Author Stephen King comes to mind. King was rejected so many times he finally self-published to get his work out there. Literally dozens of books and movies were made from his books later…you see the point. Take a break, put the experience in perspective, pull what lessons you can, and prepare yourself to move on.


Next, figure out what happened. Why didn’t you pass? Did you attempt to pass an exam outside of your level of experience? Or were you perhaps attempting to pass an exam using the wrong type of study materials? For example, if you’re trying to pass a performance-based exam using a cram book and an online practice exam, you’re damning yourself from the start. The essence of performance-based examination is getting in touch with the equipment. (The most important words in that last sentence are “in touch.”) Did you access all the pre-test information available, including objectives, established goals for the exam, online forums of past test takers, etc? Many vendors and test providers offer a break down of what their particular test will include. This information can offer valuable tips on what, how, and how much of what you need to study.


Third, evaluate your study methods. Did you wait until the last minute, attempting to cram months of learning into a few days, or even worse, a weekend or even one day? If so, be realistic and acknowledge that poor preparation might be the reason you bombed on the exam. Some of us can study with music or the TV blasting or employ photographic memory and shorten the typical study cycle into short, effective bursts, but most of us can’t. Generally, people need quiet to concentrate and a good night’s sleep to help focus. Ingesting food that doesn’t artificially crunch, or come in bright, unnatural colors or a sealed plastic bag also is advisable. Reign in your desire for coffee and have tea instead. The caffeine you crave is there but the jitters won’t be.


Don’t stomp or pout or both when your test results come in less than what you’d hoped. Take the time to assess the damage, because studying harder is not nearly as effective as studying smarter.

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