A 'handy' tip for passing the managers/masters exam

One of the most under-rated and little known tips for passing the managers exam has nothing to do with ITIL whatsoever.

It's all about physical stamina and endurance.

Specifically, how long (and fast) you can physically write with a pen for.

This may surprise you - but those of us that have passed already will tell you that this is one of the most over looked areas of exam technique.

Think about it - you have two 3 hour papers to physically hand write, probably over two days. Excluding thinking and reading time - that's probably going to be about 2 to 2.5 hours physical writing per paper!

Points to ponder pre-exam:-

- When was the last time that you wrote for more than 5 minutes let alone 2.5 hours?!

- How legible will your writing be after, say an hour?

- Will an aching hand influence which questions you answer? (For example - will you steer away from an essay type question in favour of one of those 'split / multi-part' questions.

- What can you do to prepare yourself and overcome this often overlooked obstacle?

- Yeah sure you can write for three hours, no problem. But what about the following day when you come to sit the second exam? How's your writing hand feeling now?

OK, I've got to 'hand' it to you...here are some thoughts on what to do...

1. Stating the obvious first - please choose a pen (or several pens) that best matches your preferences. Some people prefer lightweight biros, others heavier gel pens. It's your personal choice - but make sure that you have written with that type of pen previously (for a couple of hours!) and you know it works for you!

2. In the build up to your Managers/Masters - do some writing every day to get those little used tendons moving and exercising again (typings quite a different thing!) Practice writing out some acronyms and set pieces to help you committ key points to memory. Try to build yourself up (like a marathon!) by doing a little more each day. Use your training 'mock' exam questions wisely to also introduce a mock test for your ability to write for long periods. Time how long you can write before needing a 'rest'. Know your own stamina levels.

3. As you begin the exam, make notes on the type of questions you will be answering, in terms of how much 'pen power' you will require. Try to alternate between questions that require a lot of writing and one's that do not - to alleviate the stress on your writing hand.

4. Throughout the exam, do simple hand stretches/flexes during your "thinking" time to help your muscles out.

5. After the exam, warm down occassionally over the next several hours, doing regular flexes to alleviate tension and prevent cramp.

6. If your second exam is the next day - make sure you relax your writing hand. You can buy sprays and ointments etc - whatever works for you.

In summary, you can be an ITIL expert in everything, but unless you can get pen to paper and write the actual words - you won't answer the questions in enough depth - and you will not pass the exam.

Now there's a 'handy' thing to know.

Dr. ITiL.

dritil @ dritil . com