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Certifications in your own time with a full time job - study advice wanted

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by MrZiGrishenko, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. MrZiGrishenko

    MrZiGrishenko Bit Poster

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    Hi all,

    I've had the A+ book now for 3 years and in that time i've stopped and started loads of times. I'm now ready to commit to studying and want to get the A+, N+ and 70-680.

    I'm easily distracted, but i've just got to be disciplined.

    Are there any of you who did these certs without a training provider whilst in a full time job? Could you give me ideas of how you broke the studying down into days/weekends?

    Did you have weekly goals or monthly?

    thanks
     
  2. ade1982

    ade1982 Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Aim for as much as you can per day, as many times as you can per week. If you have 10 hours of spare time per week, and you can manage two hours per day, then that's the goal to aim for. Be prepared to step it up as you get to the exam.

    Don't overegg it and say I am going to do 5 hours a night, every day, as that isn't possible to keep up, but do it sensibly.
     
  3. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    All of my certs I've done are from self studying, personally, unless its an advanced class, I tend to go at a faster pace then the instructor teaches so I am better off on my own.

    In terms of study time, you have to figure out a way that works best for you. I use public transportation to travel to work, I have 90 minutes of commute a day, so I use that time to study... that's 7.5 hours of study a week just from the commute alone, not including the study time at home.

    Weekend days, like a Sunday are also a good day to study. One thing to remember, its not a race, even if you can only study for 30 min, its better than nothing, the trick is to keep a momentum going. Eventually, it gets easier once you get into the routine, kind of like going to the gym, its tough at first but gets easier every week.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
    WIP: VCAP5-DCA/DCD | EMCCA
  4. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Steady and often is my advice. We're all up to our eyes in family commitments and work. Figure out how you can devote 1 solid hour every day. I've always boosted that with a few hours on a Saturday and Sunday. It's really hard work but I liken it to training for a fight. You have to work hard if you want to beat your opponent (the exam ha ha). Train every day and over a few weeks you'll be surprised how much is sinking in. Some people have an amazing memory but for the majority of us, this is how we hone our craft. Good luck, Jim
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  5. reverb

    reverb Byte Poster

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    How long is your commute to work and form of transport? A long commute on the train would be a great time to hit the books! Although I personally don't have the discipline to study whilst commuting as I easily get distracted with my surroundings but it make work for you:D.

    When I was studying my MCDST I set a target of an hour a day during the week. I'd get home, eat etc.. then study which became a routine that I would beat myself up if I had slacked and missed a day. I would get home very tired at times (I work early shifts, up about 4:30-5am) but wanting to get an IT job so much - so I could get out of my soul destroying job - gave me that extra motivation.

    In short set a goal and stick to it...perhaps 40mins a day? Like previously mentioned, it's not a race so there is no point trying to cram everything when you are tired or or your mind is just elsewhere.

    Also do you have tablet or something? You can perhaps load your A+ pdf on there which would help reading whilst commuting?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
  6. Jellyman_4eva

    Jellyman_4eva Byte Poster

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    Hi,

    I have not been on this forum since 2006/7 I think... anyways I was just perusing for something else and saw your message and I know I had similar questions in the past so...

    Here is my opinion - which I know differs with the above...

    First let me back this up by saying I have quite a few certifications via self study whilst working so I have been there and done it...!

    First thing... which is most important... plan out when you want to do the exam... take a good look at a calendar and think about anything outside of IT that can get in the way... holidays, job pressure times etc...

    Now when you have a rough date in mind, actually go ahead and book the exam... By doing this you stop falling into the trap of just putting it off because you can... Now you have booked it you have to take it as you have a deadline...

    Now in terms of actually knuckling down and doing/passing an exam... keep it simple... unless you have a very little amount of external committment and social activity, or are extremely determined you will have trouble sticking to a rigid routine... So don't try to! Keep it flexible... e.g. I will finish reading these three chapters by the end of this week for example... not 2 hours a day etc... (What if you have a bad day, or a bad few days!)

    The first thing you need to do is work out how best you study... some people can swallow a book in half a day. Some people get bored after an hour... some people prefer a physical book, some people a PDF or eBook...

    You mention you are easily distracted, this may indicate you are better off trying to get these things done quickly!

    Get the materials in as many formats as you can (By this I do not mean multiple A+ books, I mean the same book in different formats) and see how you feel about it... read a chapter in different ways and see how much you can remember about it...

    Essentially I booked an exam 1 or 2 months away and then read the associated book within 2-3 weeks... As an example I read some at home, some at work on a lunchbreak, and even some whilst sat on the bog...

    After doing that if the exam had a practical slant, such as the Microsoft exams where they expect you to be able to "do" the tasks, I would then use the next few weeks with virtual machines actually practising the tasks again part at home, part at work etc... I personally find reading a book and just being able to do it quite difficult and hard to remember whereas doing the tasks generally hammers the point home and can sometimes raise more questions or create new knowledge which may help in the exam (Some books just do not cover everything)...

    You clearly want it otherwise you would not be posting here in the first place... start your A+ one more time and finish it!
     
    Certifications: MCDST, MCITP-EDST/EDA/EA/SA/ MCSA 2K3/2K8, MCSE+M 2K3/2K8, ISA/TMG, VCP3/4, CCNA, Exchange, SQL, Citrix, A+, N+, L+, Sec+, Ser+, JNCIA-SSL, JNCIS-SSL
    WIP: Lots
  7. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I'm an advocate of small chunks, frequently.

    So, I aim for around 45mins a day, as many days as possible...

    It's just the right time, I find, for one whole chapter or a video of a whole subject.
     
    Certifications: B.Sc.(Hons), MBCS. MCP (271,272), MCDST, MCTS (680), MCITP:EDST7, MCSA:WIN7, MCPS, MCNPS
    WIP: 70-686, then onto MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure via MCSA: Server 2012...

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