By Jung Lee, Head of Certification Test Preparation
Leveraging Kaplan’s Expertise
Yesterday at (ISC)2 Security Congress, a gathering of thousands of cyber security practitioners and leaders across diverse industries, I chatted with an attendee who had taken the CISSP exam three times, and failed all three times. He was a victim of the predominant cybersecurity certification preparation model: “bootcamp” cram sessions that attempt to force hundreds of hours of information into just a few days and don’t leave any time for insight into the exam or test taking.
Informed by decades of learning science by our sister company, Kaplan, we have designed a course that addresses the weak points of the bootcamp approach. One of these improvements includes teaching test preparation and taking strategies.
Test Preparation and Test Taking Strategies
Yesterday I discussed four test preparation tips and four test day tips that are crucial to passing any cyber certification exam. I would like to share those here as well.
Pre Test Day
1.) Accumulate Knowledge
You must build up knowledge around the subject you are being tested on. Cyber exams are foolproof and you can’t get around not studying or not having a grasp of the material you are being tested on.
2.) Mentally Prepare
Preparation begins with a mental mindset. If you’ve committed yourself to passing the exam, you’ve already taken a crucial step in your studies. You can’t just go through the motions when studying; you must adopt a mindset for victory.
3.) Practice and Learn From Your Mistakes
Practice exams are one of the most valuable practice tools for two reasons: a.) seeing how the exam is structured will provide insight into what’s important to study, and; b.) practice exams serve as a diagnostic so you can understand your weak points and which exam topics require more study time.
4.) Learn By Teaching
One of the best ways to study is to teach. Teaching forces you to understand the subject well enough to simplify it for someone who doesn’t understand it at all.
1.) Avoid Panic
The first thing to remember on test day is that no matter how knowledgeable or prepared you are, you will still see things you had not anticipated. When this happens, you must avoid panic and instead use critical thinking skills to arrive at the best answer or make an educated guess.
2.) Think like a Test Maker
Critical thinking includes thinking like a test maker. When you approach a question, ask yourself, ‘What is the test maker testing my knowledge of?’ This will help you digest the question and lead you to the right answer.
3.) Take Time to Review Answers
Returning to questions with a fresh perspective and a little rest will help you catch errors you may have committed earlier when reading questions and answer choices.
4.) Avoid Honeypots
Test makers try to lure you into picking the wrong answers with traps. These traps include answers that are the opposite of the right answer, and answers that sound right but are not the best answer.
At CyberVista we help you prepare, practice, perform, and pass (the first time).