Take a Small Step Each Day

One of the most difficult challenges you face when preparing for an exam is finding time each day to research and study the subject you're learning about. In school, your instructors set the dates for your exams, and you then set your schedule accordingly. But now, you're on your own—you set your own exam dates. Undoubtedly, you'll find yourself thinking, "I'm really busy today, so I'll read that chapter tomorrow." Often, "tomorrow" becomes the next day, which invariably becomes the weekend. With all the chores you leave for the weekend, you'll quickly find yourself back at Monday without having read a word of anything. Before you know it, you're rescheduling that exam.

What you must do is get into the habit of doing at least one thing—even if it's a small thing—every day to prepare for the exam. One way to establish such a habit is to try to answer a related question each day. On each of the first four working days of each week, we post a question (the Question of the Day) for the core Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exams in the CertTutor.net Live! forums. These questions—many of which are more difficult than those you're likely to see on an actual exam—give you the opportunity to do something each day to prepare. As the sensei says in nearly every bad martial arts film, "Grasshopper, each journey progresses with single steps."

The Question of the Day not only forces you to take your step for the day but also gives you a chance to meet and interact with other students who are studying for the same exam. We don't post the answers and explanations for a few days so that students can discuss the possible solutions. We encourage participants to support their arguments with references such as relevant URLs and to explain how they arrived at an answer before we post the official answer. By reading the Question of the Day and the ensuing discussions, you gain a sense of camaraderie with other students and develop a great list of bookmarks and other resources that will help you prepare. You can find the CertTutor.net Question of the Day postings at the following Web sites:

Exam 70-270: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional; and Exam 70-210: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

Exam 70-215: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

Exam 70-216: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure

Exam 70-217: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure

Exam 640-607: Cisco Certified Network Associate Exam

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