What is the reason for studying? Have you ever thought about that question? Usually when it comes to studying for qualifications – even work-related qualifications, it’s all about just getting the information in your head to be able to pass the exam. The exam is the main goal, so you revise exactly what is needed to get that test out of the way. But is that really the best way to progress? You might have all the knowledge and passed your exam with flying colours, but does that translate into being able to apply that knowledge to the day job?

It’s like learning to drive. During your lessons you are taught the skills and manoeuvres specifically required to pass the test. Once you are in the car on your own having passed successfully, you find that there are a lot of aspects to driving that you have to learn very quickly! It’s the same once you start work – it can be a bit of a shock when things are not as clear cut as the case studies or examples that you may know off by heart. This is why learning practical skills and their application alongside the technical knowledge will help you to become work-ready much faster.

The exams are there to test your understanding of the topic. If you have come to that understanding through really thinking about why the answer is correct rather than just trying hard to remember the answer, this will stand you in good stead for the future. Studying with like-minded peers and discussing the topic with subject experts can lead to a much greater depth of understanding than simply highlighting your way through a revision text or a past paper. It’s always much easier to ask questions to others who are studying for the same exam – it might turn out you are stuck on the same thing!

Just remember, the main goal when studying for qualifications is the acquisition of knowledge – it’s why CPD (Continuous Professional Development) is a necessity in most roles. Learning new aspects of appropriate topics and keeping your knowledge up to date is a fantastic way to progress in your role. Being able to apply the technical knowledge that you have gained from exams is a skill, but one that can be learnt.