Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Post Exam Thoughts

Well, it's been a little more than a month since I passed the exam.

I received my certificate, scanned my certificate so I always have an electronic copy, notified my employer and updated my resume (certainly can't forget that part!)

ASQ posts the names of all those who passed
in a .pdf on their website. Unfortunately, I could only identify about 11 of the 26 people in my class who made it. That's a pretty low percentage, about 43%.

A couple key tactics that were instrumental on pulling this off:

1) Come up with a study plan and work your plan. One chapter per week seems to be a pretty common tactic. Reserve time, minimally an hour per day for your CSQE activities. I was spending several hours per week on this. Be sure to take a day off during the week as well.

2) Form a study group. I had the class, and less formally Bruce and Jim to ask questions and generally discuss different topics. Most importantly, having this formal or informal mechanism kept me "on track" and focused on the material. Based on past experience with the PMP certification, I would start with good intentions and eventually drop off with the initiative.

3) Use a study guide such as the Quality Council of Indiana's (identified earlier in this blog). Research the information that doesn't make sense or is too vague to be of value.

A technique contributing to finishing this certification, for me anyways, was the use of audio recordings. The repetition of hearing this material over and over again, for 2 hours per day made a huge difference.

Don't rely on being able to look up answers during the exam. There's just not enough time and you may not have brought the right reference material. You need to know as much of this information as possible before walking into the exam.

There will be a new version of the exam beginning on December 6, 2008. Based on what I've seen posted on the ASQ site, much of the earlier material will still be in use.

I'm going to continue on with some other certifications, probably more technical in nature, such as linux or web. I think that Microsoft certs are horrible in that they become obsolete and useless every three years or so when a new version of the operating system comes out.

I'm pretty comfortable with this methodology for attaining a certification and will be repeating it. Who knows, maybe another blog will be appearing in the future ...