How I passed the Esri ArcGIS Desktop Associate Exam

Back in January, I posted my plan on how I would prepare for the new Esri ArcGIS Desktop Associate exam. I told you guys that I was planning to take the exam in February. My plans were put on hold due to the business of life. I tore my acl/meniscus skiing, juggled a few employment/contract opportunities, and planned a wedding. I ended up taking the exam on 4/21/11, and just received an email today telling me how to check my results online. I passed the exam! Before I tell you how I passed the exam, I would like to start by letting people know that I have agreed (and you will as well when you take the exam) to the ESRI CERTIFICATION NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENT which in essence binds me to the following:You are expressly prohibited from disclosing, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting any exam and any related information including, without limitation, questions and answers; worksheets, computations, drawings, and diagrams; length or number of exam segments or questions; or any communication, including oral communication, regarding or related to the exam (known collectively as "Proprietary Information"), in whole or in part, in any form or by any means—oral, written, electronic, or mechanical—for any purpose. A disclosure of Proprietary Information by any means in violation of this Agreement undermines the integrity and security of the Certification Program. (Direct Quote from the NDA)So, now that this is out of the way, let's talk about my secret weapon: eGIS Associates ArcGIS Desktop Associate Certification Exam Prep online. The course met for a total of 4 x 4 hour sessions (16 total hours) that were spread between a Monday and a Thursday.  Tripp Corbin, the author and instructor for the course uses GoToTraining to conduct the class, which was awesome. I've outlined below what made this prep class so invaluable to my preparation.  Review ExamsThe course included ~7 interactive review exams that were peppered throughout the span of the training. It served as a great way to keep you on target during the training.  While none of the questions in these review exams are copied from the real exams (Tripp is bound by the same Nondisclosure Agreement mentioned above), they do give some idea what to expect and prepare you for the testing environment. The Practice exams are timed the exams as if they were the real thing.  According to Tripp, the review exam questions were developed using the sample questions posted on the Esri website as well review questions used in many of the recommended Esri training classes as a guide.  Tripp also distributes the exams, PDF lectures, and videos of the training to you after the training, which served as a huge study tool for me. Live DemonstrationsThis is not a power point presentation spanning four days. A considerable amount of the training was performed with live demonstrations in ArcGIS Desktop. One facet of the Esri exam is to test your knowledge of the new features in and functionality introduced in the software. Tripp made sure to cover ALL of the new features, menus, functionality and tools in ArcGIS Desktop 10 via live demonstrations.  Progressive Lecture StyleTripp has a lecture style that builds your knowledge progressively on ArcGIS Desktop. This is not a "how to pass an exam class"; instead it is a class that teaches you the best practices, methods, tools, and theory surrounding the latest release of ArcGIS Desktop 10. The class is divided into nine lectures. Tripp spent a considerable amount of time on the new features of the software, including Data Driven Pages, Data Formats, New Toolbars, the new Editing Environment, and Data Validation. Besides covering features of the software, this course provided a whole lecture on Projections and Coordinate systems. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I'm an accuracy snob.  It's due to the fact that I've stood over the shoulders of too many GIS Analyst watching them choose coordinate transformations at the flip of a coin. Tripp, just like me, understands that a true grasp of Projections and Coordinate Systems is vital to the acumen of any aspiring GIS'er. The lecture on Coordinate Systems and Projections covered not only program-specific functions, but general theory as well. I had to write a blurb about the inclusion of this vital lecture from this course. There are not enough people "in the know" evangelizing on this subject, and it was refreshing to learn that this course helps to drive these concepts home.ArcGIS Jeopardy!That's right, ArcGIS Jeopardy. Tripp finishes the course with an all inclusive game of Jeopardy. It's an open forum where you can virtually raise your hand in GoToTraining to answer the questions. This was probably the most fun part of the class. Don't be shy, you are competing with your classmates! Watson eat your heart out.SummaryI can't tell you what's on the test, but I can tell you should be prepared to challenge your knowledge regarding features and functions specific to the latest release of ArcGIS. Button pushers beware, you will also need to embody knowledge on Geospatial concepts and theory to succeed. I passed the exam, and this is how I prepared. Know the software, and comprehend the spatial principles that the software adheres to.  If you are on the fence with certification, take a look at my blog post "10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a GIS Certification".More Information:eGIS Associates Class ScheduleHow I'm Preparing for the ArcGIS Desktop 10 Associate Exam10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a GIS CertificationHappy Mapping,Alex Mahrou