Posted by: peterhact | April 14, 2010

The Importance of Training and Exams

I am the first to admit that I was a bad student when I was in school. I didn’t understand concepts like calculus, I never thought I was an A-Grade student, and I really couldn’t wait to start an apprenticeship in Jewelery. My year 10 certificate was a bare pass, my Year 12 certificate was a distinct failure. Now, that isn’t a bad thing. I just wasn’t a good student.

In the ICT Industry, technology changes every day. Products are made End Of Life (EOL) all the time. New Applications are released, new hardware is released, and everyone who works in the industry is touched by these changes in some small way. For a salesperson, these changes mean that the way they sold a particular product, suggested a particular solution have now to be re-evaluated and re-addressed, the salesperson needs to learn about the new business product or solution.

For most of the time, this is a simplistic occurrence that involves reading a whitepaper, a datasheet or talking to the vendor. For the new methodologies, however, complete changes of focus or understanding require in-depth training, and in some cases, exams.

And herein lies my problem. I don’t do exams too well. My prior exam taking experience has been little or none over the past 25 years – the last major exam I completed was in yr 12, and the stress that I had about that one was monumental. (for the record, I Failed the exam. My god, I failed that exam well)

Flash forward to yesterday. I had been studying for days, I had been thinking the Q&A involved for the exam, second guessing it, suffering miserably. Why was I so stressed about this particular exam? Well, I was aware that there were several people in the company taking it, there was a lot of pressure to pass, not from management, but from my peers – you don’t want to fail an exam like this one, no-one does, and to be singled out for failure…. well, it just wasn’t going to happen for me.

So. Here I am. at the testing site. waiting for my test. stressed, I am trying to remember the courseware, I am trying to remember concepts, technology, topology, model numbers, series etc. A bit anti climactic, but I passed. The score I got wasn’t fantastic, but I passed. For all the stress, the nightmares, the worry, I passed.

When i got back to work, the stress, the worry and the nightmares still had one surprise for me. I was shattered. I was tired, I had a headache, stiff neck, and I was having trouble concentrating. Then, after work, after I had driven home, the tired part hit me. walked in the door at 6.00pm, slept until 8.00pm, and now, this morning, I feel fine…

Not bad for someone with the exam experience of FAIL.

Now, with the exam experience of PASS.

I like this new state far better than the old one.


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