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How do you stay consistent & focused when you prepare for the exam ?

 
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Hello Jeanne and Scott,

Congratulations on your new book ! As you know, Preparing for a certification is no easy task. Takes months of consistent practice. Even if you start with a plan , reality is that unexpected things come up and sometimes , weeks could go by without being able to prepare. What are some of the strategies you use to stay focused and consistent ? How do you get back when things don't go as planned and you missed a few weeks of study ?
 
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Namith,
I use three strategies personally:
  • Register for the test. Nothing like a due date. (You can change the date until 48 hours before. But having the date ads a sense of priority
  • Outline what I want to do before I take the exam. Add dates. I also include about 25% of buffer at the end. That let's me run late and still finish. But it also tricks me into thinking I'm behind so I don't get too far behind.
  • I read once (I think in K&B's book) to study for 15 mintues every day even if you don't feel like it. This ensures you don't lose momentum. And sometimes by the time you are 15 minutes in, you have enough flow to keep going. I keep to this. Even if it is just flashcards or reading on the train


  • Don't miss a few weeks of study. Seriously, you'll forget everything. Even if it isn't a lot of time, keep on it. It will keep the info in your head.
     
    Namith Kumar
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    Thank you so much Jeanne. Great advice ! I really liked all of these strategies. Especially the one about studying at least 15 minutes even if you don't feel like it. My problem is exactly that - I start with high hopes and stay consistent for few weeks , but then end up missing few weeks because other things comes up and i find myself with no energy for any study at the end of the work day. Then i get back to study a few days later and as you said, everything is forgotten and i am back to the first page trying to relearn things i have learned.

    I'll start with registering for the test and work on a study plan. And most important - target at least 15 minutes of study even if i don't feel like it. Thanks again.



     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Also, look for opportunities. Can you study for 15 minutes before work or during lunch to "bridge" until you have time again? Can you make some flashcards and study them while you have a snack?
     
    Namith Kumar
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    Sure Jeanne. Will do . Thanks again.
     
    Namith Kumar
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    Hi Jeanne, I have been following your recommendations and the prep is going great so far. I have a question about preparing flash cards. How do you go about doing it ? Say for example you are in the middle of preparing and today you read about Loops . Do you buffer in some time at the end of your reading to prepare flash cards on stuff you just completed reading ? Or is this something you do at some logical points and dedicate separate time for it  ? And do you just create manual flash cards or use some software like Anki ? How much details do you put in the flash card ? And how do you go about reviewing them ?

    I started creating flash cards on anki , but it seems to be getting too detailed and i dont want to end up putting the entire book in flash cards . There has got to be a better way.

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Namith,
    I use three strategies personally:

  • Register for the test. Nothing like a due date. (You can change the date until 48 hours before. But having the date ads a sense of priority
  • Outline what I want to do before I take the exam. Add dates. I also include about 25% of buffer at the end. That let's me run late and still finish. But it also tricks me into thinking I'm behind so I don't get too far behind.
  • I read once (I think in K&B's book) to study for 15 mintues every day even if you don't feel like it. This ensures you don't lose momentum. And sometimes by the time you are 15 minutes in, you have enough flow to keep going. I keep to this. Even if it is just flashcards or reading on the train


  • Don't miss a few weeks of study. Seriously, you'll forget everything. Even if it isn't a lot of time, keep on it. It will keep the info in your head.

     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Namith,
    When I was in college, I used paper flashcards. More recently, I used Anki.

    What I do is note what I think I'll need to memorize and put just that in Anki. I don't find myself needing to memorize things like "how to write a loop" because that's something I'm going to practice and learn from code. Whereas I do have to memorize things like class names. In other words, just make flashcards for the stuff you have trouble memorizing.
     
    Namith Kumar
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    Great. Thank you Jeanne. I'll do that.

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Namith,
    When I was in college, I used paper flashcards. More recently, I used Anki.

    What I do is note what I think I'll need to memorize and put just that in Anki. I don't find myself needing to memorize things like "how to write a loop" because that's something I'm going to practice and learn from code. Whereas I do have to memorize things like class names. In other words, just make flashcards for the stuff you have trouble memorizing.

     
    Greenhorn
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    Namith, I still go old school way of writing down the key points into a book chapter wise of course and at the end you have a summary from the book to check whether you missed out on any point or no. One important thing I want to say is for some it many be easy point to memorize and for you it is not then try to challenge yourself that you haven't forgotten any key points from previous chapters.
    Happy Learning
     
    Namith Kumar
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    Thanks Vivz Sharma. Great point about summarizing a chapter.

    Vivz Sharma wrote:Namith, I still go old school way of writing down the key points into a book chapter wise of course and at the end you have a summary from the book to check whether you missed out on any point or no. One important thing I want to say is for some it many be easy point to memorize and for you it is not then try to challenge yourself that you haven't forgotten any key points from previous chapters.
    Happy Learning

     
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    Ankit,

    Best way to prepare for certification is to practice programs and commit them to your private or public repo in github or bitbucket. That way you can have all programs practised at one place and you can refer to them at any point of time.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Suryanarayana Murthy Maganti.

    Namith Kumar wrote:Thanks Vivz Sharma. Great point about summarizing a chapter.

    Vivz Sharma wrote:Namith, I still go old school way of writing down the key points into a book chapter wise of course and at the end you have a summary from the book to check whether you missed out on any point or no. One important thing I want to say is for some it many be easy point to memorize and for you it is not then try to challenge yourself that you haven't forgotten any key points from previous chapters.
    Happy Learning

     
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