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Free tips on how to prepare for the Atlassian ACP exam

If you are thinking about preparing for the Atlassian ACP exam, this article should help you get started. In my previous article I have listed all the free preparation materials that I know of, which can help you get prepared to find the correct exam questions. In this article you can learn from me about a few strategies you can use during the preparations for the Atlassian ACP exam.

What is the ACP Exam again?

Atlassian in year 2020 is truly a global software company and so is the ACP certificate. By passing this internationally recognized exam, you can say that you have proven your knowledge of Jira (or Confluence) configuration and/or administration on an advanced level (depending on the type ACP exam). In my opinion however, the true value of the ACP exam is not the certificate itself but the practical knowledge you need to expand and organise in order to pass it.

Before we go further, keep in mind these two important aspects about the ACP exam:

  1. It is not a THEORY test of the knowledge contained in the Atlassian documentation. You cannot simply read the documentation and pass the exam.
  2. You cannot rely ONLY on your administration PRACTICAL experience. There are quite a few administration and configuration aspects about which you did not know (eg. do you really know how the CSV importer in Jira works?)

Ok, now is time to share my recommended strategies before the exam.

Strategy #1 - Prepare a study plan

  • Even if you have been in Jira administration roles for 2 or 3 years, you will be surprised how much you did not know. During our everyday practice we do not visit every configuration corner of Jira (eg. how much do you actually know about Universal Plugin Manager?). My first piece of advice to you is, read the Exam Details (like this one for ACP-100) and prepare a detailed study plan. Decide how many hours a week you want to study and specifically what will you study during each week, for example:
  • what course lessons will you view,
  • what will you read in Atlassian documentation
  • what exercises will you do in your Jira sandbox server (see below)

Have a look at the example plan below to get you started.

01.study plan.png

(!) Please note that this plan has a target day of your exam. Setting up the exam date at the beginning of your study journey is very important to get you more motivated.

Strategy #2 - Install your own Jira Server

You may ask a question: why do I need my own server? Trust me on this one. You need it to study all these less known configuration elements IN PRACTICE. For example, you need to set up at least one Issue Collector in practice to see what it does, when it works and when it does not work.

Installing a Jira Server should not be too difficult for you. If you do not have your own Linux server available or you do not know how to set up mySQL database, it is not a problem. Just install Jira server locally on your computer. To be on the safe side, install the latest Enterprise version (today it is version 8.5) because the exam questions are based on this Jira version (check the exam topics here) Of course if you want to prepare for ACP-200, you will need to install Confluence Server instead.

02.jira version.png

Strategy #3 - Do not study alone

This strategy is more of a psychological nature. Sometimes it is hard to find motivation to study for an exam (not just ACP). We all are busy people, we work every day and it is hard to find this one hour during a day to really switch off from every day duties and switch on to study.

My strategy to be and stay motivated is to find someone who wants to prepare for the exam with me. If there are two or three persons, you form a team, you prepare your study plan together, you prepare weekly meetings schedule, you study and motivate each other. Then, regularly once or twice a week you meet (eg. on Google Meet or Zoom) to discuss what you have learnt, what you found interesting, what was new to you, what problems you found in configuring something. This brings a lot of value and motivation to continue. And where is the psychology in it? Well, in a team you cannot just say 'I do not feel like studying this week'. You know that your study-buddy has been studying to get prepared for this week’s meeting with you, so you cannot fail this person. He was just as busy at work as you were. So, you must get your a$$ to study (pardon my French) and get prepared for the study group meeting. No 'buts' not 'ifs'. Trust me, it really works and you will thank me for this tip later.

Now is your turn

I hope this article will help you start your ACP Exam preparations and soon you will be signing up for your first ACP Exam in your professional exams portfolio. Get someone to study with you and prepare your own study plan.

Additionally, you can watch my short ACP preparation series on YouTube.

03.Teaser.png

1 comment

That's a great guideline, @Bogdan Gorka

From my experience I can add that contributing to this Community helps a great deal with your study. When you answer questions you're not only helping others (which is quite a lot), but also deepening your knowledge, exploring configuration corners, and getting yourself more familiar with the products.

I can say that half of my Atlassian knowledge I received trying to answer questions or reading the answers to the ones I couldn't crack myself.

So my piece of advice - get involved and boost your learning. 

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