Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

I'm a Bad Student

As I mentioned a short while ago, I’m in the process of learning about EMC storage. To that end, I managed to get my hands on a copy of Information Storage and Management: Storing, Managing, and Protecting Digital Information (Wiley, 2009; available on Amazon). While general in nature, the book has a fair number of EMC-specific product examples.

The book, though, isn’t the focus of this post. As I’ve started reading this book and trying to expand or solidify my knowledge of the concepts found in it, I’ve come to a disappointing realization: I’m a bad student.

Yes, that’s right. I’m a bad student. Over the past few years, my studying skills have really deteriorated. In the past, the constant flow of certification tests kept my studying skills reasonably sharp. And while we can all debate the value of IT certifications, I think we can also agree that they do, at least, help sharpen the study skills.

Normally, I wouldn’t be too terribly worried about this, but I have to ask myself: is this a symptom of something more? Is my ability to learn, assimilate, process, and relate new information also deteriorating? I pride myself on being a smart guy that can pick up just any new technology—is that still accurate? What can I do to reverse these trends, if indeed they are occurring?

So I need to ask your help. What studying techniques do you guys (and gals!) find useful? If you were in my situation—specifically, let’s say you need to acquaint yourself with an entirely new set of products from a new vendor—what techniques would you use in the process? Additionally, what techniques are readers using now to help with certification exams? I have at least two very important certification exams looming on the horizon (one much closer than the other, but both very close), so any tips readers can provide are welcome. Help me become a better student!

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