Studying and passing the Base SAS Certification can seem extremely daunting at the beginning. There's a ton of information to memorize, the preparation materials are expensive, and it costs $180 to take (and possibly retake) the exam.
I managed to pass the Base SAS Certification after 3 months of studying, and I'll let you in on a few tips that helped me crack the test on my first try.
1) Repetition is the key
The SAS Certification Prep Guide for the Base exam is a total of 794 pages (21 chapters of information), and I managed to read this book two times completely through. The first time, I read the book straight through to get a gauge on what I really needed to focus on. The second time, I read the material but zeroed in on the difficult parts and tricky details that might be on the Base SAS Certification exam.
For more detailed examples of how to effectively read and study for the Base SAS exam, feel free to check out my latest blog post that carefully lays out how you should prepare. Hope it helps!
2) Buy the SAS practice test
SAS offers a practice test that is 50 questions as opposed to the 70 questions on the real test. This test is a great barometer of where you are in your studying and what you should focus on. I took this test about halfway through my studying (once I had read the book completely through) and looked up each problem that I missed. Later on, I re-took the test (even though I remembered the answers), which gave me a better sense of the types of problems and tricks that would be on the certification exam.
The link for the practice exam is below:
3) Create your own cliffnotes
I studied with the SAS Certification Prep Guide, Base Programming for SAS 9, Third Edition book, which has a total of 21 chapters. For each chapter, I made my own cliffnotes summarizing the key points. These are a great reference to have the closer you get to exam day.
***Leave me a message if you'd like me to scan and email you some of my notes. Having these could save you a lot of precious study time...
4) Make a schedule and stick to it
The Base SAS Certification tests a ton of information and a lot of the questions on the exam cover really small details that are buried in the book. The only way to get through everything is to lay out a schedule before you start studying and make sure that you stick to it. This way you won't run out of time a week before the exam and have to scramble to get through all the information.
5) Focus on learning, not memorizing
Remember...even though it's nice to have an extra certification listed on your resume, the skills you learn while studying for the Base SAS exam will help you all throughout your career. You may be able to memorize your way to the certification, but ultimately this won't help you if you can't remember any of the information the next day.
I hope this was helpful to everyone. For those of you who have passed any of the SAS certifications, did you find these rules to be true? Let me know in a comment below or feel free to post any other questions or comments that you have.