Test Taking Strategies
by Rick McGuinness, MCSE + I

Standard Format vs Adaptive Format Exams
"Standard format" exams are a fixed length and you can mark questions for later review and possible changes. "Adaptive" exams are not fixed length. Your next question depends on how you answer this one and you cannot go back to review or change your answers. The current Windows 2000 exams are standard format.

How to attack a Standard Format Exam.

Scratch Paper
When you go in to take your exam you will be asked if you need any scratch paper. Take some. After you've been seated and logged in, but before you start the exam, take a couple of minutes to write down everything you can remember about the subject matter that you feel you might need like the layers of the OSI model, etc. This is perfectly acceptable and it keeps you from forgetting information you know in the "heat of battle."

Calm down. Take a deep breath. You can do this. You know this stuff.

Start the Exam.
Read each question carefully. If you know the answer outright, check it. If you aren't sure, make your best guess and mark the question for later review. This is vital. If you run out of time at least you'll have your best guess answer. Don't spend too much time on any one question and don't leave any questions unanswered. Remember, no answer equals a wrong answer.

Think Like Microsoft
This is a Microsoft exam. Remember that there can sometimes be more than one answer to a given question. You have the "right way," the "real-world way," and you have the "Microsoft way." Which answer do you think Microsoft is looking for? Answer accordingly.

Review Your Answers
When you reach the end of the exam you will have the opportunity to review your answers. Revisit each of the questions you marked and read it again. Unless you have a compelling reason to change your answer, i.e. you're absolutely sure the answer is "B" and not "C", don't change your answer. Usually, your first guess is your best guess and you can "think yourself" right out of a passing grade by second-guessing too much.

Using these strategies can help you manage your time and hopefully make you testing experience less stressful.

Good Luck.