Deciding to obtain a license in your field is a big decision. While you may have to enter student mode for the first time in a while, passing an exam will translate into a new professional qualification and more job opportunities. The experience will also give you new and important insight into your particular field of work.
Some industries require a certification to enter the field, while others deem licensure optional. Even if your field does not require you to obtain a license, it might be worthwhile to obtain one regardless. This will help differentiate you in job application processes as well as provide you with more knowledge that you can use in your professional career.
Whether you’re planning to get your contractor’s license in electrical repairs or a social work license, you can employ many of the same strategies to maximize your ability to perform well.
Identify Your Specific Learning Style
Before you even begin diving into study mode, consider how you learn best. Research suggests that there are over 70 different learning styles, and the one you choose to employ could majorly influence how you are able to retain information and perform on the exam. To determine your learning style, think about past experiences in education and what helped or hindered your learning process.
While there are many subcategories and nuances within learning styles, identifying your general preference will be sufficiently helpful in preparing for your licensing exam. Some main styles are visual learning, reading and writing learners, social learners, kinesthetic learners, and auditory learners. For each of these, you can incorporate specific study techniques to improve your chances of doing well on the exam.
For example, if you are a visual learner, you might want to prepare for the exam by drawing sketches, watching videos, and creating flowcharts. Having information in visual form will help you tremendously. Similarly, if you are a social learner, you might want to form a study group before the big exam so that you can work collaboratively and benefit from a group setting. For each learning style, there are concrete steps you can take to improve your study process.
Create A Study Schedule And Routine
As you prepare for your licensing exam, you might have many other commitments at the same time. Perhaps you are working full-time, or have other obligations consuming your time. If this is the case, you can still absolutely succeed on your exam. You will, however, need to build a constructive routine and plan a schedule to keep you on track with your preparation.
In arranging a healthy study routine, you should be careful not to overbook yourself with commitments. It’s very important to remember to take time for yourself and spend time with family and friends so that you don’t burn out from studying and can continue to preserve your own wellbeing. You should also make sure to give yourself a time frame each day in which you will focus on studying for your licensing exam. This way, you will be motivated to work hard within that frame of time but also able to relax once the time is up.
It might also help to study at the same place each time for continuity purposes. If you are used to leaning into productivity somewhere, it could be beneficial to plan on working there consistently. Just like people have vastly different learning styles, people also have vastly different preferences when it comes to study spaces.
While some thrive with the background noise and chatter of a coffee shop, others prefer the still silence of the library. No matter what you prefer, finding a location where you find it easy to focus is key to successful studying.
Always Ask For Help
If you’re studying for an exam all alone, it might be difficult to find answers to your questions and sources of advice. While your certification program most likely offers resources, it could help to speak with someone who has taken the exam before to ask for suggestions and specific study tips. Because of this, you might want to network and build relationships with professionals in your field to receive advice about how you can best prepare.
In addition to receiving help from professionals, you should also lean on your support system during this time. When you are caught up in stress or frustrated with a topic, it’s a great idea to call a friend or enjoy a night without the books. Balance is key when studying for a big exam.
Take Practice Exams
Taking one exam is stressful enough, so the idea of having to take multiple for practice is likely unappealing. However, practice exams can be some of the most helpful tools in preparing for the real thing. It will help you identify your weaknesses, whether that is time management or a content area, so that you can improve on them before the actual exam.
When you take the practice exams, try your best to simulate the environment you will be in. This means turning off your phone, not talking to friends, family, or roommates during the exam, and seeing how long you take. If you do not simulate the exam conditions, the results of your practice tests will be less accurate and it will not serve its purpose to the fullest extent.
Test anxiety is a very real phenomenon, and doubting yourself once you get to an exam is extremely common. You might ask yourself if you studied enough, if you could have done more, or if you are qualified to be in your field. Before you get to the testing center, do your best to make sure your head is in the best place. Remind yourself of how hard you have worked and how capable you are of succeeding. With a positive frame of mind, you will be less likely to second guess yourself on exam day and slow yourself down.
With these study tips, you will be on your way to getting your certification or license in no time. It may get frustrating at many points along the way, but keep in mind that this license will hold great value to you as a professional. It’s important to think positively, pace yourself, and ask for help when you need it throughout this process. Once you pass, it will all have been worth it.