Preparing to Pass a Citrix Exam

Recently, I have been receiving many emails asking for advice on how to better prepare for Citrix certification exams. Honestly, there aren't many steps involved, but it will take much time and dedication to do it right.

Through writing dozens of practice exams over the years, I've found that after I write an exam following these steps, I pass it. Here are the steps:

    1. Browse to Citrix Education's site and find the appropriate Exam Enablement Guide. These guides are basically a blueprint that, if used correctly, anyone could pass the real exam without any aids like practice exams and study guides. Am I am shooting myself in the foot with that statement? Not really, because practice exams are a tool that have their own use - which I'll get to later.a. Browse to and on the left side, click on  Certifications and then on Exams.b. You'll see a search submit form. Use the form to find the exam you are planning to take.

      c. When you find the exam's link, click on it and you'll see a link near the bottom that says "AXX Exam Prep Guide"

      d. Download the guide and save it in your study folder.

    2. Now that you have the exam prep guide, the fun begins. Slowly go through it all one time to get a feel for what is in it. After confirming that you have the qualifications and this is the exam that you want to take, focus on the Objectives section. Go through each Objective in each Section. Now it's time to move on to step number three to find out how to use the objectives.


  1. Keep the exam enablement guide open to the exam objectives page. Open a browser and browse to the Citrix eDocs site and in another tab or browser, browse to the Citrix Knowledge Base. Now go through each objective, starting at the first one and search for the information in the eDocs site. If there is a KB article listed in the exam enablement guide  next to that objective, look at it first. If you don't find what you want in the eDocs site and there isn't a KB article listed in the enablement guide, search the KB using keywords from the objective.a. The Advanced Search function in the KB is nice because you can search all of Citrix's documents without getting all of the results from the forum. Sometimes, though, you will find post in the forum that leads you directly to what you've been pulling your hair out looking for.b. Use the Search Scope Filter feature in eDocs to narrow your search down to the exact product(s) that will be on the test. For example, when doing searches for the XenDesktop 5 practice exam, I narrowed it down to XenDesktop 5, XenServer, and Technologies (that's where provisioning services is hiding). If you don't use the search scope, you will waste many valuable hours searching through tons of irrelevant information.

    Eventually you'll find exactly what you want. Take some time to study it and even create some of your own questions or a study guide to help you retain the information.

    Lastly on this subject, if you absolutely can't find what you are looking for, search Google. Sometimes you'll find it on one of the Citrix enthusiasts blogs. And if you still can find it, be sure to follow the next step.

  2. Have access to a test lab. If you don't have access to one, find one or create one. I know a couple of independents who have test labs that you might be able to use for a fee, so contact meif you'd like to get in contact with them.At the same time you are searching eDocs and  the KB, practice the installs, configurations, troubleshooting, etc., on your lab environment. This is arguably the most important step. If you actually have experience configuring a feature in several different ways, you're much more likely to recall it come test time.
  3. Purchase practice exams and study guides. This last step can be, and is, skipped by a lot of people. But using a practice exam can prepare a person in a way that none of the other steps above can. It helps you to find out if you really do have enough knowledge of the product before you go spend $150 or more and 2 or more hours sitting in a testing center, or if you need to go back to step one and redo everything, or at least the parts you have trouble with.To sum up, practice exams will  make you feel comfortable with taking the real exam and will give you the confidence that you can pass it. And that's half the battle.

In the comments, let us know what you think about the study process, and tell us how you go about preparing for not only Citrix, but any certification exam.

Edit: I like what Mark Knouse, @Shanetech on Twitter, added:  1) don't take test just to pass 2) prove why the answers are wrong and not just why they are right 3) Hands on!

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