I plan on taking the ArcGIS Desktop Associate Exam in early February 2011. Until then, I've devised a plan to prepare for it. I'm sticking to this strict schedule. If everything works out according to plan and I pass, I'll change the title to this post "How to pass the ArcGIS Desktop Associate Exam" :-). First things first, I examined the "Training Resources" tab on the ESRI Technical Certification | ArcGIS Desktop Associate webpage. Under the "Web Training" and "Training Seminars" sections, 'Editing in ArcGIS Desktop 10' and 'Using ArcMap in ArcGIS 10', 'Geocoding in ArcGIS 10', and 'Introduction to ArcGIS Explorer Online' are all FREE of CHARGE. Then, upon some more digging I found some more free seminars and virtual campus courses. Now take heed here, there are 100's of hours of free training online, so try to prioritize your selection.My next step was to download a 60 day evaluation copy of ArcGIS along with the tutorial data DVD. The install includes an ArcEditor license, as well as an evaluation to 10 popular extensions. Third, my ultimate insurance policy, take an online training. I looked around for anyone offering an online training on ArcGIS desktop exam preparation, and I found the eGIS Associates ArcGIS Desktop Exam Prep class. Why do I call this an insurance policy? Well if you read my blog post comparing GIS certifications, you would learn that if you fail an ESRI Certification Course, you can take it up to three times. However, you will be charged for each subsequent test. The Keck & Wood class is led by Trip Corbin, who is a certified ArcGIS Desktop Associate, GISP, and an award-winning ESRI instructor. The cost of signing up for the online training is worth the extra confidence that I will have to pass the test the first time, and get this sought after cert as soon as possible. Summary:Scour the ESRI website for free virtual campus courses and seminarsDownload a 60 Day evaluation of ArcGIS desktopSign up for some online trainingPlease leave comments on how you are preparing or how you have passed any of the ESRI certification tests. Check back with me mid February, and I'll let you know how my plan went!