Saturday, July 30, 2016

Brushing Up on My Study Skills

Before I went in for my surgery last week, I made a split second decision to sign up for my Network+ certification.  I haven't taken a class in 6 years and rusty doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling. I came upon an inspirational UK teen Zoe that I've mentioned before.  She has super neat handwriting, which is how I stumbled upon her in the first place. But she posts on social media and YouTube about her "revision notes," which intrigued me right off the bat.  I had no idea what they were because I'd never heard the term.  I'm not sure if it's because it's a new thing or a European thing or just that I'm that far out of touch with academia. But it became apparent when I first peeked at my course syllabus that I was gonna need to really crack down for this class.

My last certification was the A+ certificate in 2010.  I didn't crack open the book and I didn't watch the videos because they were so dry.  Plus it was a lot of stuff I already knew from my previous career in the IT world.  I crammed on the practice questions and got by rather well. This course is a lot more involved and more unfamiliar terminology if not the actual concepts.  I work with cellular and mobile device technology as my full time job, I just don't need to really teach people the technical jargon so I haven't bothered absorbing it. I understand the concepts, but I'm used to dumbing them down.

To prepare for this course, I invested in a crapload of composition notebooks and G2 Pro pens and lots of refills. Tonight I picked up some new highlighters... I'm not impressed with the pen style see thru tip sharpie highlighters.  My textbook was delayed because my school had the wrong address, but that 900 page sucker arrived today. I'm thinking that my best bet will be reading with a highlighter first, then going back and taking notes on paper of what I've highlighted.  The videos that accompany the course are essentially PowerPoint with a voiceover, so I'm planning to copy those verbatim. I haven't figured out how I'm going to integrate my notes from both sources into one comprehensive study tool.

I go back to work on Friday, and the official start of the class is on the following Monday. I am hoping I can get a good jump start in the beginning of the session and keep the momentum going this time. Last time it was a 6 month course so think and I took so long to take the exam that I couldn't even get in to review the material before the exam. I am in somewhat of a hurry because I would like to take the next course after this one before the end of the year so that I don't have to hit next year's tuition for it.

I'm hoping that working so hard on this endeavor will have several benefits.  For starters, I'm hoping to get my confidence back. I was always smart. I've just gotten used to not needing to think all that hard. And if I can do this as a self paced process, I will have more courage to try other things I've been too afraid to attempt.  Also reading technical stuff makes my brain wake up more than reading my usual smut novels that I love but don't really have to think too hard about. And I'm getting to use all the paper supplies I love to stockpile this time of year. Win-win, right?  Wish me luck!

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