5 Techniques for Passing your Exams - for the Real Desperate!!

By: Georgia Stath

If you are sitting for an exam and find yourself struggling, take a deep breath and relax because when you are relaxed, the study material you have been slaving over all this time will start coming back to you. Of course there are techniques we can use to bring that flow of information back into our minds. There are things to do and things to remember...

1. Remember there is a passing mark.

Understand that you can get some wrong. So don't put too much strain on yourself. Concentrate on passing the exam. If you pass with a high score, great. If you just pass, then great also. So long as you don't have to do the whole thing again (go back to study the material, book the exam again, attend the examination room) - just concentrate on passing - nothing else.

2. The test actually gives you some of the answers.

I've sat through plenty of certification exams in my time and still do. To date, I've never sat an exam that didn't give me some of the answers to the questions I have been struggling with. Some are so obvious, others are well hidden.

The trick to finding them is leaving the questions you are having difficulty with and just going through the rest of the exam answering what you can. Then come back and do the more difficult ones. You will find that some you can answer now because you saw the answer to them further down the exam.

3. It's multiple choice so relax abit.

Imaging having to sit through an exam which was not multiple choice and you had to provide the answer without been given any clue!!! Now that would be difficult!!!

Now that you have seen that things could be worse, understand that multiple choice makes things a little easier on you. And here is the trick to the multiple choice format:

One answer is correct
One is close to the correct answer
One is totally unacceptable
One is totally unacceptable but sounds acceptable

Start the process of elimination. For example. Lets try to answer a question that we are unsure of at first...

Question - Which access method does the 802.11 architecture use?

A. CSMA/CD
B. CMSA
C. CMSA/DC
D. CSMA/CA

We don't know the answer off the top of our heads so let's begin the elimination process:

First what is the 802.11? we remember it has something to do with wireless networking.

Now lets see which of the answers given can we eliminate?

A. CSMA/CD [we know this means, Carrier Sense Multiple Access / Collision Detection - so we keep this one]
B. CMSA [One is totally unacceptable - we eliminate]
C. CMSA/DC[One is totally unacceptable but sounds acceptable - we eliminate]
D. CSMA/CA [Carrier Sense Multiple Access With Collision Avoidance - we keep this one]

So here we have:

One answer is correct
One is close to the correct answer
One is totally unacceptable
One is totally unacceptable but sounds acceptable

We still don't know off the top of our heads which access method does the 802.11 architecture use so lets look at both our answers that are acceptable:

A. CSMA/CD [Carrier Sense Multiple Access / Collision Detection]

D. CSMA/CA [Carrier Sense Multiple Access / Collision Avoidance]

What do we remember from our studies?

CSMA/CD - this is the prefered access method used if the network can support it. Ethernet networks use it to physically monitor the traffic on the line at participating stations. With this method, a particular station transmits. If two stations try to transmit at the same time, there is a collision. After a random time, the stations that collided try to transmit again.

CSMA/CA - this method is used where CSMA/CD cannot be used. 802.11 wireless LANs use this because its not possible to listen while sending so collision detection isn't possible. With the 802.11 wireless LAN networks a node A, in range of the receiver R, is not in range of the sender S, and therefore cannot know that S is transmitting to R.

So if we have studied and know these things about the CSMA/CD and the CSMA/CA access methods we know our answer to be CSMA/CA to the above question.

4. Pay attention to trick questions.

It has been noted that in our anxiety to pass the test, we make the simplest mistakes. Dumb mistakes that we should avoid at all costs. One of the major mistakes we make is not paying attention to the full question. A high number of mistakes are made when the word 'not' is included in a question but we oversee it. Example:

The OSI model does not consists of 7 layers (pay attention to the 'not')

The OSI model does NOT consists of 7 layers (the 'not' is more visible now)

5. Are some questions true-or-false?

Your exam will certainly include these types of questions. And by their nature they are 'easy' because there is only one response. You can guess these so exam providers tend to make their true-or-false questions a bit difficult. So, if a question appears easy, then give it some more thought. Example:

QUESTION: The 10Base185 network transmission medium can support cable segments up to a maximum of 185 meters. True or false?

False because there is no such thing as 10Base185. The correct answer is:

The 10Base2 network transmission medium can support cable segments up to a maximum of 185 meters.

See how this was a trick questions? Be wary of these.

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