This is a public service announcement to all students that are serious about being successful in the LearnKey Veteran Services program. There are a multitude of steps that are required if one expects to be successful, not only from a program, but a test-by-test perspective as well. Unless you have an extensive background in the IT field, each one of these exams will be uniquely challenging, particularly if this information is fairly new to you. It would be a very bold assumption that 20 hours of OnlineExpert and CertMaster alone will be enough to have you as prepared as you can possibly be. Ironically it’s the exact opposite. You will have to be as resourceful as you possibly can if you expect to be adequately prepared.
Our team has put together a really great Student Resource Center to provide you with the resources to help you succeed. We have two weekly study group sessions every Tuesday from 11am – 12pm MST and every Thursday from 3:30pm – 4:30pm MST. There are also monthly newsletters, certification guides, workbooks, and practice labs. For most people (including me) it’s going to take a combination of making use of the above-listed resources mixed with a bit of determination and tenacity to make it through, but it’s up you to seek out and find your individual blueprint for preparing. Myself, along with David and Ed, have been in the same boat that you are in now, and we can help guide you through, but the effort has to be there if you expect to succeed.
Your number one source of information should be the forum/Student Resource page. That is where all of the resources that we provide are located. Outside of CertMaster and OnlineExpert.com, if there are any resources that I have used, heard good things about, or found to help me prepare for an exam, that is where it can be found.
Recent additions to the forum include:
- A link to the practical labs on our Student Resource Page (Net+)
- Subnetting/CIDR Video (Net+)
- CompTIA Blacklisted training link (CompTIA)
- Accommodation of disabilities application link (CompTIA)
- Student recaps of recently taken exams
This is not an easy program to complete. I stumbled along my path and I expect others to do the same, but I’m also proof that there is a finish line, and that it is accessible if you are willing to maintain the focus and put in the work. There is a countless amount of helpful information sitting not only in the forum, but on the Internet as well, readily available 24/7. You only have to apply yourself and seek it out. I strongly warn against making the mistake of taking this program lightly, because there is a good chance that you will become overwhelmed pretty quickly if you do.
My name is Tristan Roberts. I’m a veteran who obtained my IT certifications through LearnKey and I’m writing to share my experience with LearnKey’s Blue Ocean Program with those who might be considering taking on the challenge. I spent about nine months working through the program. During that time I acquired the A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications as well as Microsoft Office’s Word, Excel, and Outlook certifications, and I’m going to talk about some of the successes I had, as well as some of the failures during my journey.
I believe that most of the success I had was due to having the right attitude going into the program. I spoke with my advisor (Seth Boyak) and he gave me a good idea of what to expect out of the program, provided me with a demo to sample, provided me with an estimated timeline, and let me know that it wouldn’t be easy. That is a point I want to reiterate…this is not a program that you can expect to skate through, which is a rude awakening I had when I went in for my first A+ exam after months of studying. It’s going to take a good mix of motivation, focus, drive, resourcefulness, and patience to make it through, but it is doable.
I had to find specific traits within myself that helped me be successful in this program.
Motivation– You should have a genuine desire to learn the information that you strive for or it is likely that you will lose interest very quickly.
Focus– You have to set aside the time to learn and eliminate as many distractions as possible to give yourself a better chance to retain the information.
Drive– There has to be an end goal, or something you are striving for to keep you going during the difficult times or it is easy to consider giving up when it gets difficult.
Resourcefulness– The IT world is full of unlimited information and is constantly changing. Portions you already know, portions you will learn, portions that will change, portions that have already changed. Sometimes the information will be easy to find, and sometimes it will be difficult, but it’s important to know that there is an answer, you just have to seek it out a little harder periodically.
Patience – Some of these certifications are difficult to obtain and you will need to take a one step at a time approach to prepare yourself to be as ready as possible. It’s a good idea to explore all of the resources that are provided (and sometimes find your own) if you expect to be complete the program and pass your certification exams.
LearnKey has great employees who are willing to go above and beyond to help us veterans in any way possible, and that is a big part of the reason that I accepted a job with LearnKey, when they offered me a job once I completed the Blue Ocean program. I wanted to help other veterans going through the program avoid some of the barriers that impeded my progress.
Overall I am grateful that I came across the Blue Ocean program and that I was able to complete this difficult challenge and not let it defeat me. Even after I failed my first exam, I just took a couple days off and attacked it again from another angle, and that is the approach you must bring with you entering this program. If you can do that, I’m proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As some of you know our Veteran Services team has started a tutoring session every Tuesday. We have been doing it for about a month and are having more and more success each week.
Tutor Tuesday started slow with no one showing up for the first session. The next session hosted one attendee and lasted about an hour. We went over some of the issues that he was having with OLE, and I also gave him a demonstration of how to navigate through CramMaster. The next couple of weeks hosted at least two attendees each session, and we discussed many topics such as study tactics, how to approach exams, and how to use GMetrix, CramMaster, OLE, and other outside resources more efficiently. We discussed common issues, test taking strategies, and the certification guides as well.
This past week hosted potentially six attendees (three showed up), the most to this point. It is starting to grow and I think it is beneficial for all parties (including myself). The best thing about Tutor Tuesday is the vets get to meet and interact with other vets going through the same program, and in most cases the same certifications. Most of them have the same issues and questions so it puts their mind at ease that they are not alone. At the end of each session I ask every veteran if they are comfortable with exchanging contact information with the others on the call so they can be a resource to each other. I think as word gets out and we all figure out the mechanics of virtual tutoring sessions it will do nothing but grow.
Our next step is to create a share site where the vets can interact virtually and share notes and resources between each other. Coming up in 2015 we will also begin producing online videos that discuss the issues that were covered in each tutoring session.
We meet every Tuesday from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm MST. If you are interested in participating in our call, contact your LearnKey Veteran Services representative for call info.