Many moons ago I decided to study for a part time law degree. I was working full time in the police so it was a big commitment but I wanted to better myself and a part of me always regretted never having gone to university so I went ahead.
A couple of years into the degree I became eligible to sit promotion exams at work. It would mean a big pay raise and more responsibility so I decided to make a start. The only issue was that it required 2 hours study per day for three months. This was in addition to working full time and doing the part time law degree.
Then a rare chance opened up to become a detective. I’d always wanted to spend time as a police detective investigating serious crimes but vacancies rarely opened. The only issue was that you had to pass tough entrance exams which required 2 hours study per day for around three months!
Now I was working full time and studying for a law degree, promotion exams and detective exams. It was pretty stressful as you can imagine but the timing was out of my control. My life suddenly consisted of work, study, sleep, study, work with little or no rest. All fun activities were put on hold for a few months as I prepared for all the exams I had to pass.
As you can imagine, there were times when I couldn’t hit the books. Illness, overtime, family emergencies etc. For instances when this stuff happened I created some fall-back study tools so I could continue learning. Here are a few which might help you if you are tight for time.
Create Your Own Cram Guide
Note down the most important learning points. This will be the essence of the subject broken down into a few words or commands. Generally, it will be all the bits from your study guide you have highlighted.
Make Some Q and A Cards
I used the almost exclusively when I was studying for some exams. It’s a bit like the cram guide but instead, on a plain card you write a question such as ‘What are the first 5 primary numbers?’ and on the back will be the answer which you need to guess. As time goes on you remove the cards you already know by heart. When there are no cards left you will be exam ready.
I’ve actually seen somebody create a very successful business selling Q and A cards printed and packed into boxes for legal exams.
Record an Audio Guide
You can either read the entire book, parts of it or just your written cram guide. Most PC’s will allow you to record from a built-in microphone and save as an MP3 file. I used to play audio books when I was driving to work each day.
Remote Access Study
This depends on your job and your boss. For one of my support roles I was free to study in between calls. Because I worked at a higher level of support I was only required if there was a serious network issue and this rarely happened.
I set up remote access to Cisco equipment when I worked for an IT support company and did hands-on labs. When I was in the police I used to park up in a remote area during my lunch break and used my Q and A cards to study. I’d eat my lunch in the car. When I worked at Cisco I used to sit in my car in the car park and read. It was an hour of quality study time.
There are a ton of IT exam sites out there. Don’t just use them to get exam ready, use them to study as well. Who cares if you only get 10% right? I had a friend pass the Cisco CCDA exam by only taking practice exams. I don’t recommend this method of course but as a study tool they are very useful, essential in fact.
The good think is that you can dip into them whenever you have free time (unless they are timed).
If you have any tips drop a comment below. If you want to check out my awesome ‘Ace Your IT Exams‘ video training course packed full of expert tips and tricks then be my guest. It will shave months of your study time and increase your chances of passing exponentially.