Why We Shouldn’t Fear Exams

As described in an earlier post, I took my PRINCE2 Foundation exam today and passed! I took multiple practice tests and tried out two different courses to prepare myself. I ended up with an achievement of 68%, with a pass being 55% and above. From the practice tests, I was sure I could score in the high 60s, low 70s range, and that was really important for me to know beforehand.

Growing up, it’s difficult not to get the impression from schools and parents that tests and exams are something to fear. If you do poorly on a test, that somehow reflects poorly on you, rather than the teaching methods or curriculum. There is a lot of pressure for children to keep up with the pace set by the teacher, and they learn that if they can’t keep up then there must be something they’re doing wrong. It took me many years and several insightful books to overcome that mindset, but┬átoday I realised and validated my new beliefs, which is a huge relief!

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I’ve been excited about learning for a long time, but fearful that I might not be learning as much as I needed to and eventually this could translate into me losing interest in the subject. What I really needed were tests to measure where I was coming from and where I had got to since then!

Now, finally, I am starting to get excited about testing. I’ve just completed a Data Analytics test on Pluralsight called Skill IQ and am proud to be able to call myself an expert. With this and my recent PRINCE2 pass, I am even closer to overcoming my fear of failure and feeling like I can prove myself professionally.

Another great part about testing is that it tells you where you need to develop and grow and I’ve definitely found some interesting areas to explore. Don’t make fun now, but here is a short list of what I need to learn more about to become more proficient with Data Analytics, hopefully this list will help someone else who wants to get into it and isn’t sure what they might need to know:

  • Bayes’ Theorem
  • Bonferroni correction
  • ANOVA (ANalysis Of VAriance)
  • Chi-squared test
  • Interquartile range
  • Fisher’s exact test

You may wonder how I got an expert rating without knowing those things, good guesses based on intuition and experience played a large part, but also I was better at the questions that didn’t involve these things.

Thanks to testing, I am more confident in the direction I am going and also better able to focus on what I’m weaker on.

As I said before,┬átesting sure beats the hell out of guessing you’re doing okay!

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