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How do you stay motivated to study for certification?

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by jk2447, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hi All,

    First new thread from me in a while. I've been busy with work and life in general so when I came to pick up my books for my final MS exam for my MCSE:Security, I've found I keep moving the exam date back, and can't get motivated at all. Quite the opposite to last year in which I sat 3 exams in June and July I think it was.

    How do you stay motivated to study and sit your exams?

    Jimbo
     
    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
  2. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Jimbo,

    I think most people would agree that sometimes (or perhaps most of the time!) there is so much to do and not enough time to do it all - so you are far from alone on this!

    I try to make a planner. Even thou i spend most of my awake life staring at a screen, I try to spend about 1-2 hours per evening when aiming for certification. When you have five minutes, jot down your typical day on a piece of paper. Then work out when is best for you. Perhaps get up an hour earlier, or maybe use your lunch hour, or when the rest of the house go to bed.

    I find this helps to build knowledge (rather than spending the whole weekend once a month) and feels more of a routine.

    All the best!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
    Certifications: MCSA 2003, MCDST, A+, N+, CTT+, MCT
  3. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    Unfortunately, not very well. For me, alot of it depends on how interesting the subject matter is; unfortunatly I dont find the 290 the most stimulatating read as alot of it is stuff i've done for years!

    Like yourself though, I have a very busy working and social life, which is great, but not when it comes to finding time to study. What I try to think about is the pride and finiancial benefits that progressing with certifications can bring, which then evoles into day dreaming about where I want to be in say 5 years time. I usually find that makes me want to study more, and once I get into a routine of studying every night im at home, I find it becomes easier to keep that going.

    I read on here a while back, in one of Craigie's posts I believe; "Do some studying every day, no matter how little". I must say, its spot on. Its easy to fall out of the routine, but by doing a little bit everyday just keeps you in touch with it, even if its only a 20 minute burst at lunch, which is what i've done today! :twisted:
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCSA 2003 (270, 290, 291), MCTS (640, 642), MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    That's a tough one, especially when self studying.
    At least at college or university you know when an assignment has to be done by.

    I think the only way you can do it is to break it into small chunks.
    Focus on getting your next exam out of the way, and try not to think about the three or four that come after it.

    Try to set a date by which you need to be ready for the exam.
    Obviously there's nothing to force you to stick to it, but it helps you measure your progress.

    Like Boycie says, it also helps if you have set times to study, even if it isn't every day.
    When I was with the OU I'd do my reading in my lunch breaks at work, then have a couple of hours on Sat and a couple on Sun for doing assignments, perhaps half an hour in the evenings on certain days.

    Whatever works around your current commitments. The point is, you stick to them and you know you are doing x hours a week.

    As for motivation, well that depends on why you set out on the certification bandwagon in the first place.
    Remind yourself on what the reason was every now and then.

    If you find that the reason has gone away or your circumstances have changed, don't be afraid to stop doing what you're doing and try something else. If your motivation has gone then it may mean that your driving reason has changed.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  5. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I think the easiest way to ensure I stay motivated is to sit an exam and not be ready to do it, do that often enough and you find the motivation to pass that exam the next time. With that in mind I tend to book an exam a couple of weeks in advance, that way I KNOW I have the time to study for it, I don't want to lose the £88 so either I get off my arse and study or I lose the money.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  6. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Easy: I simply don't force it to happen. If I'm ready to be certified, studying for the exam tends to be rather easy. If I have to struggle to study and study and study and force a bunch of knowledge into my head... then I'm probably not ready to hold the certification even if I can pass the exam, typically due to a lack of experience with the technology.

    Jim, it seems that you are very much like me. You push yourself to succeed. You strive for milestone after milestone, checking them off as you go. You enjoy the challenge. But over the years, I've come to discover that it's OK to take the time to grow... to experience... and to relax. And then I've found that studying doesn't become such a chore anymore. I learn new technologies because I enjoy them, and not because I feel that I HAVE to achieve the "next level".
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  7. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Thanks very much gentlemen. Some cracking comments and advice given. I think I'll buck my ideas up, sit 70-294 a week tomorrow then just go with the flow. I'm not in a rush anymore, and if I don't make enough to retire early I could have 35 years left to work!!! So whats the rush. That said I really deserve a kicking for not sitting that one last MS exam.

    I appreciate your comments,
    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
  8. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    What's to stop you from doing something you enjoy for the next 50 years or more? 8)

    The question is... do you do it for the money, or do you do it because you enjoy it?
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  9. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Well . . . . . right now I'm doing things for the money with the hope that I'll settle on something I do for the love of it. . . . . not ideal but thats my honest answer. . . .
     
    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
  10. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    That's the absolute best answer you can give. Too many times people give answers that people want to hear rather than the truth. :)
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  11. Asterix

    Asterix Megabyte Poster

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    Money! :twisted: and this is all im skilled at:blink
     
  12. beaumontdvd

    beaumontdvd Kilobyte Poster

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    I tend to study on and off, maybe an hour then Ps3 for two hours then study again, but I might just be a geek as sometimes I enjoy what I'm studying LOL :eek:

    Dave
     
    Certifications: 070-271, 070-272, (MCDST)Level 1,2,3 NVQ
    WIP: 070-270, A+, N+, S+,MCDST 7 Upgrade
  13. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I need to enjoy what I am studying to be able to do it.

    For my A+ it took me ages because of financial issues, my N+ took longer than I wanted because the subnetting was doing my head in. THe MCDST was easier for me to study for but in the end I was glad I pushed myself to do the N+ as it helped alot.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  14. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Drugs
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  15. Unemployed Diogenes

    Unemployed Diogenes Nibble Poster

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    :biggrin
     
    Certifications: A+, Bachelor IT
    WIP: CCNA
  16. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    I'm with you I don't know and I wish I did! I tend to procrasinate a lot at the moment, the 270 course isn't the most challenging and I think that is where the problem lies, if it was I'd be interested, now I feel I'm just crunch the cogs just to move onto something thats more challenging.

    I've been home from work for nearly 2 hours now, I've had 2 coffees (thankfully the caffeine doesn't affect me), watched Sky News for 30 minutes and spent the rest of the time going through CF from the last 3 days........ the books at sat next to me, the laptop is on and waiting to be virtualised...... just have to find that button to go.
     
    Certifications: MBCS, BSc(Hons), Cert(Maths), A+, Net+, MCDST, ITIL-F v3, MCSA
    WIP: 70-293
  17. VantageIsle

    VantageIsle Kilobyte Poster

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    ^ I'm with you on that Derkit, my brain hurts from problem solving at work. I'm home, coffee in hand, packet tracer loaded and cisco ICND2 book next to me...... just gotta get going, thats the hardest park :)


    Stopping after the icnd1 was fatal!

    I feel like after 2 years of study (MCSA, MCITP, CCENT) I need a break, work have just set me the challenge of passing my ICND2 (to make me CCNA) and becoming MCITP:EA by the end of the year!!! The have offered to pay for the MCITP course but the CCNA is in my own time.

    Ouch, my head hurts just thinking about it. I''l give it a crack though, realistically I doubt I'll get all exams done.






    I agree with Craigie, just do a little when you can and keep on it..
     
    Certifications: A+, ITIL V3, MCSA, MCITP:EST, CCENT, 70-432-SQL, 70-401 SCCM
    WIP: MCSA upgrade MCITP:SA then EA
  18. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    I was trying to find a quote of something I heard on the radio the other day - it was something along the lines of "the hardest thing about starting something is starting it"..... very true!
     
    Certifications: MBCS, BSc(Hons), Cert(Maths), A+, Net+, MCDST, ITIL-F v3, MCSA
    WIP: 70-293
  19. VantageIsle

    VantageIsle Kilobyte Poster

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    Oh, yeah some of the old proverbs do ring true.


    How do you eat and elephant?

    Bit by bit :)










    I prefer to start with the trunk... :)
     
    Certifications: A+, ITIL V3, MCSA, MCITP:EST, CCENT, 70-432-SQL, 70-401 SCCM
    WIP: MCSA upgrade MCITP:SA then EA
  20. AndyVee

    AndyVee Bit Poster

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    I am at the moment fairley motivated as I've only just got my shiny new A+ and Network+ books thru from Amazon - main motivation tho is to get out of a ****ty job and work my way up to doing something i actualy want to do instead of have to
     
    Certifications: None
    WIP: CompTIA A+

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