How to pass any IT certification



Are you starting a career in Information Technology and are wondering how to conquer certification exams? This article will highlight how you can begin your journey and eventually have a high chance of success in any certification exam. What you must know and how you should prepare to pass the exam.

The common challenge is that many first-timers to IT certification exams may fail – not because they are not smart enough, but rather because they do not understand some helpful tips to ace such exams.

What Are IT Certifications – Why Do You Need Them?

IT Certifications are credentials that prove or validate your knowledge and skill in a particular area of the Information Technology industry. They are awarded by a certifying body which is usually a leading technology vendor (e.g. AWS, Google, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft) or some industry-recognized training Institutions (ISC2, CompTIA, etc)

Unlike university degrees, Certifications usually take a shorter time to complete (a few weeks to a few months) and are very specific to a certain niche. They are also much cheaper than degrees. Some common certifications are CCNA for a Networking career, AWS for a cloud career, CompTIA Security+ for security-related disciplines, Pentest+ for ethical hackers, etc.

Some of the common reasons you may need an IT Certification include;

  1. They are in demand from employers for most IT job roles
  2. They help you gain valuable skills and knowledge and validate them
  3. They increase your opportunity to earn more in salaries and remunerations
  4. They help you change careers easily without the need for lengthy retraining.
  5. They help you stay updated on the latest trends in the IT industry.

Steps/tips Pass Your IT Certifications

IT Certification Exam Tips
IT Certification Exam Tips

1. Get Familiar With Exam

Visit the official page of the certification exam to get a copy of the exam topics and schedule. Take note of when the latest update or review is due. It is common for IT exams to adjust their syllabus fairly frequently. Get an overview of what skills and concepts the certification covers. If there are prerequisites; ensure you cover the foundational skills required.

Stay updated on changes that may occur during your preparation for the exam and adjust accordingly. Be familiar with the exam -tricks and tips.

2. Collect The Best Materials And Study Resources

This is critical to your success in any IT certification. Collect the best study materials based on reviews and recommendations and your personal preferences. There are many free online resources available, many from the official page. It is helpful sometimes to invest in some study materials like books, video courses, (boot camps – although these are very expensive), etc.

For best results, your study materials should include the following ;

  1. A Book (Physical or Digital copy). Most certifications have an Official Certification Guide or other recommended books for the exam. Books usually discuss the exam topics in great depth.
  2. An Online Video Course. This can be from a YouTube training course, Udemy, Coursera, Pluralsight, or other notable platforms.
  3. Practice Exam or Question Bank – From experience, these are invaluable resources to help you pass the exam. A good Practice Exam or Question bank simulates the style and difficulty of the main exam. Boson Exsim is a common example of such a practice exam. They have a collection of practice exam packages for different certifications.
  4. Documentation, Cheat sheets, and flashcards for memory aid and for reviewing the exam concepts

3. Develop Your Plan

Develop a study plan or routine that you can include in your calendar. The study plan should detail how you intend to cover all the topics in the exam. It should specify the hours you will commit to study each day/week.

More importantly, the discipline to stay committed to the study plan. Having all the best study resources and courses at your disposal will do you no good if you are not ready to match it with a strong dedication to your studies.

Some persons prefer to book the exam right from the start, that is a strategy that can help in staying committed to the study plan. Do what works for you but ensure you stick to a study plan.

Also, ensure you complete the entire exam syllabus to increase your chances of passing. Some certification exams such as the CISSP will require you to pass a minimum threshold in every section of the exam to pass the exam. The same is true in practice for many other certification exams.

4. Join A Study Community

Most IT certifications have active study communities on the Official certification websites, Discords, Reddit, or other social media. You learn a lot from such communities, ask questions, seek clarifications on difficult concepts, etc, and additional useful tips to pass the exam. Share ideas with other like-minded individuals, they can enrich your learning experience.

5. Refresh Your Knowledge Through Training And Practicals

IT Certifications should equip you with practical skills and should mirror real-life experiences. Due to increasing demands from recruiters, many certifications (e.g. most Cisco certifications like the CCNA) now include some lab simulations or practicals in the exam. You must practice lab demonstrations if your certifications require such.

You can only get better by practicing lab demonstrations. Ensure you do some hands-on demonstrations, not just read through materials if there are practicals in your exam. It is your best chance at passing practical exams.

6. Brush Up On Less Familiar Tops

It is easy to get hung up on what you already know and ignore other areas. The approach should be to review the entire exam topics, see the topics and concepts you struggle with, and then work to eliminate such weaknesses. A good Practice Exam package should reveal this weakness.

Continue to brush up on the less familiar topics until you are comfortable with them. Asking questions in discussion forums can be very helpful in this regard.

7. Do Exam Simulations

Exam Simulations or Practice Exam Questions give you a foretaste of what the real exam will be like. They have you gauge your level of preparedness and work on your weaknesses. Ensure you do a lot of Practice Exam simulations using a good questions bank.

It also helps you understand the exam style, aid your studies, and practice good time. This also helps you better manage your anxiety during the exams, which are critical to passing any IT certification.


IT certifications are great for your career. To pass an IT certification, you will need to get familiar with the exam and have a good collection of study materials, including a book, training video course, and practice exam questions. You also need to have a study plan and stick to it, join a study community, practice lab demos if your certification requires it, and brush up on less familiar topics.


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