It is okay to fail sometimes…I think

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It is not the best feeling in the world to fail a certification exam, but at least it humbles you a little bit. As a Solutions Architect working for a value added reseller, we do not get to specialize on a single product that we can focus all our time and attention to. You think you know some of the most popular products that you pitch/demo/sell until those unusual questions that you do not run into all the time come up. For example, certain commands that you do not use often, equipment measurements and weight, hardware compatibility, physical port layout and so on. You know, the things that you can always look up immediately if necessary, but does not require to be memorized.

Anyway, that is exactly what happened to me last week. I went through the certification requirements document, practice questions and was able to answer 90% of them correctly. I then proceeded to book the exam for the following day without reviewing any more content and guess what happened? Yup, you guessed it right, I completely flunked it. No excuses on my end, I just simply did not spend the time necessary to properly prepare for it, therefore I failed. There was a lot of guessing going on, and even some of the questions that I thought I 100% knew the answer to, I was no longer sure if those were correct since I had lost some of my confidence along the way.

Now that I had a better idea where my knowledge level was, and some of the content that needed to be reviewed if I wanted to have a standing chance of passing this exam, I started from square one. I started looking up content that could help me prepare better for a second try, and immediately started going through it all. Luckily it did not take me a lot of time to prepare since I was already very familiar with the product, and I just needed to brush up on some of the questions I was not able to confidently answer before.

Five days later I felt like I was ready to take the exam again, and turns out there was availability for me to take it that same day while all the material was still fresh in my mind too. This time is was a completely different experience…I was not guessing quite as much, and I was just flying through some of the questions. What was supposed to take 120 minutes to complete, took me only 35 so that was definitely a good sign. I was still a bit worried to press that submit button at the end since I did not want to see another “fail” with red letters in the screen.

Luckily this time around I passed the exam, felt a huge relief, was stoked that the work/time I invested over the weekend paid off and got my confidence back. Always remember that “You Can’t Always Control What Happens, But You Can Control How You React” and that is exactly how you can always try to come out on top. Sit back, think about what went wrong, what you could have done better and learn from every one of your mistakes. If you never fail, you are simply not challenging yourself enough…

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