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Exam Strategies for Certification Tests



The Praxis, a test for educators, consists of three individual parts - $90 per section - or $150 for the trifecta. GACE, or Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators, costs anywhere between $128 and $193 for composite tests. Business school hopefuls' exam, the GMAT rings in at $250 - but that's just the tip of the proverbial monetary iceberg.

American nurse practitioners' licensing exam through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners totals $295, United States Certified Public Accountants shell out upwards of $1,500 on fees alone for testing - no review material included for a paltry $1,500-plus.

Place Yourself In A Similar Situation To How You Studied

Psychology has proven the existence of a phenomenon called state-dependent learning:

  • Learning that takes place in one situation or "state" is generally better remembered later in a similar situation or state. Examples include whether someone has had their ritual three cups of coffee at exam time as they did when they were studying, or whether that person is under the influence of alcohol while both studying and testing.

  • Context refers to the physical characteristics of the place a student first learned - or, in psychology lingo, encoded - information for whatever class he was studying for

If at all possible, find out where exactly you'll be taking the exam you're studying for. Some universities - if you live near one, that is - offer testing services, so if you can register for one within an hour or two's drive of your place of living, go inspect the testing facility as soon as possible

In the event you're fortunate enough to live near a university or the library - that is, if the facility is a university or library, respectively - study indoors at whichever one applies to your situation. Also, eat a certain meal or snack before each study session (e.g., two bagels with peanut butter, one egg sunny side up, and three cups of milk). If you're feeling risque, consider drinking an alcoholic drink or two prior to studying, as well as taking the exam.

Place Yourself In A Similar Situation To What You Studied In

Most people purchase study guides for expensive certification exams. Even though they're often made by manufacturers of such exams, you're better off learning from multiple learning sources.

Even if you can't afford to shell out money on study guides, look to Google, Bing, Yahoo, or Duck Duck Go to find free study materials in hopes of acing your upcoming exam.

The idea behind this strategy is that one learning authority might leave out key bits of information, or word their questions in a manner substantially different than your upcoming exam's manufacturer.

It Seems Obvious, But Don't Wait Too Long

Few people are truly go-getters and early birds, taking care of their responsibilities as soon as humanly possible.

However, if you're typically a last-minute type of person, make sure to have nailed all concepts down at least two weeks ahead of time. Why? You don't want to take your certification or graduate admissions exam again, do you? Get started preparing now by checking out our practice exams.