Monday, July 22, 2013

It's time to study.

The day after my wife and I got home from our anniversary, my study materials for the Comptia A+ certification exam were delivered by FedEx. (hence the lack of make-up post) They actually tried to deliver them the day we arrived, but as usual, they tried to deliver when nobody was home so I just got a 'sorry we missed you' slip.  I'll skip that particular rant for now...

In any case, I've spent much of my free time since then studying for the Comptia A+, and I've come to a number of conclusions.

  1. I know the majority of this stuff already, so passing the exam should be relatively painless.
  2. I'm still a terrible, impatient, easily bored student.
  3. Buying some cheap study materials and studying on my own was definitely the right choice.
One of the guys I work with is planning to do pretty much the same thing as me as far as certifications and his career.  When I found out he was getting ready to start down the same path, I asked him what he was planning to do in terms of studying for the certification exams.  His plan was to spend $2,500.00 for a 5-day seminar where they essentially give you a 5 day, instructor lead, cram session that is teaching specifically towards the test.  

For all that money, you might expect some guarantees, like the ability to re-take the seminar free or at a greatly reduced price if you don't pass the exam.  You'd probably expect all study materials to be included.  You'd think that might include the $183 it costs to take the test.

You'd be wrong on all counts.

For what some of these place charge for study materials and/or test prep, you'd think they were jacking into your brain Matrix style and pumping the knowledge and skill in directly.



Instead, you get cheap coffee, stale doughnuts, and extra fees for textbooks and exam vouchers.

The moral of the story is to know what you're paying for.  If you're capable of studying on your own, you can buy self study materials for these exams for a tiny fraction of what these testing centers would charge.  I paid about $130 versus $2,500.00

Better yet, if you're the incredibly self directed and focused type, you can pay nothing because the information is all out there online.  Personally, I decided that wasn't the best option for me, since my usual study pattern looks something like this:
  1. Read a chapter, watching lecture videos on youtube when the textbook recommends.
  2. Read and answer the review questions.  
  3. Check my answers, and do some extra reading on anything I get wrong.
  4. Watch half a movie.
  5. Read a chapter, watching lecture videos on youtube when the textbook recommends.
  6. Read and answer the review questions.  
  7. Check my answers, and do some extra reading on anything I get wrong.
  8. Play Skyrim for half an hour.
  9. Read a chapter, watching lecture videos on youtube when the textbook recommends.
  10. Read and answer the review questions.  
  11. Check my answers, and do some extra reading on anything I get wrong.
  12. Write a blog post.
  13. Repeat.
Well, since that's the study pattern and I just wrote a blog post, time to go read another chapter.  See you next Monday.