Submission By:  Gustavo Leon - Community Guest Blogger



Two years ago, I was preparing for the Project Management Professional Certification exam.  During that time, I came up with five strategies that helped me pass my exam.  I have now adapted them for my Cisco Certification Journey and I would like to share them with you:


1.    Be honest with yourself, when answering these questions: “Why do I want to pursue this certification?  Am I moving toward this certification to fill a knowledge gap, career change, etc.?  Is my passion to learn more about this networking technology? What’s in it for me?”  Don’t pursue a certification only for money.   Find out what your passion is and enjoy learning it, day in and day out. 


As Buddha once quoted: “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it”.



2.    Prepare a study plan:  An important study aid we have is:  “The Exam Topics” page.  In the Cisco Certification Exams, you will find broken down the content with a percentage assigned, indicating how the topics are weighted on the exam.  Create a study plan based on the exam topics and the time you will be assigning to each exam topic.  Write down in your calendar realistic study times taking into consideration work and personal life.  Most importantly stick to your study plan. 


       Jim Rohn once quoted:  "Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment." 



3.   Respect your pace:   The best way to prepare for your Certification Exam is to learn the material day-to-day.    Don’t rush on learning.  Your brain doesn’t have the processing power to memorize and think effectively when there is too much input and not enough time for processing.  Remember that each one of us is unique and we all have different approaches to learning.  Don’t think that a time frame provided by someone else will be the same for you.  Pace yourself to your learning style and study plan. 


        As Ralph Waldo Emerson quoted: "Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.”



4.    Practice, Practice and the Cisco Learning Network:  A certification exam is based on performance.  As with any performance, you need to practice to perform well in the exam. Studying helps you learn what you need, but you still need to practice in order to master all exam topics.   This can be accomplished by purchasing real network equipment or a good network simulator, if you have budget constraints. 


Also the Cisco Learning Network community is a great place to ask your questions and share your knowledge, view videos and learn from live or recorded webinars.    


Haile Gebrselassie once quoted:   "Once you have commitment, you need discipline and hard work to get there."



5.    Prepare for exam day:  Make sure you eat well and give yourself plenty of rest at least the night before your exam.   Your brain will need to be in top thinking and performance conditions on exam day.   On exam day, build your own confidence.  Remind yourself how much you’ve studied and learned.  Tell yourself:  “I’ve studied and prepared well, I have nothing to worry about.”  Finally for exam anxiety consider a time management strategy that will allow you to pace yourself during the exam. 


As Gail Devers quoted:   “Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication.



Patience, persistence and perseverance should guide you thru your Cisco Certification exam preparation.  Set your goals high, and don't stop until you reach them.. You can do it! 


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Always remember to pace yourself for…Certification Success.  Enjoy your Cisco studies!