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What do you do to prepare for Certification Tests?

Everyone wants to do their best on a Certification Test.  So lets share with the community what your best methods to prepare are. 

Do you read Books & Articles? 

Do you make a test environment to practice in and try to guess what scenarios will be asked about? 

Do you drink tea and meditate? 

Do you study by having discussions with other folks?

Lets have a chat about the best ways you've found to prepare for the big day. Share your thoughts in the comments!


Hey Kimberly!

Good idea! Recently passed ACP100 and aiming more this year!

In my case, I've had 5+ years of experience, some with Partners as Consultant, and it was obviously the main source of my knowledge.

I've read Rachel Wright's book to comfort some ideas and networking with other experts have been a great addition as well.

Of course the training exam must be taken to have a first look at what it is, but I'd say that the questions are really "real-life" simulations which requires the candidate to think about the ideal solution, experience in multiple contexts is definitely a must.

You should get there relaxed in my opinion, the time frame is tight and you'll need focus and accuracy.

Best luck for all candidates!

Great insight @miikhy! Good luck on your next cert!

I totally agree with networking with others to discuss real world scenarios and definitely going in relaxed!

I too have read through Rachel's book. Great resource, cert study or not.

You're not going to be able to do your best if your brain can't unlock.

Can't wait to hear other's thoughts!

One of the things that helped a lot was signing up for a free version of Jira Cloud. Only having server experience, having a cloud instance to play around with really helped me see all the differences between the two different hosting options. It also shed some light on what all goes in when you are first installing a new instance. Since I joined our team a couple of years after Jira was already installed, I missed all of that initial configuration.

I agree with Micky, real- world situations are crucial. Our organization is large - over 600 Jira projects, around 15,000 users, on a server. So I really had to stretch my thinking to consider the needs of a 25 employee company on Cloud, as an example.

Hope this helps!

Like Barb O_Connell likes this

Having access to both types of environments is extreamly helpful.  I know some folks have a developer instance for that, and I have a small teams license for Jira, Confluence and Bitbucket.  Its really nice to have a sandbox to create projects based on the study scenarios from the Official Training.

I just replied to a similar question on this page -

In addition to what I noted above I did end up buying 1 book. I needed a stronger re-enforcement of the schema process. I found the O'Reilly "Practical JIRA Administration" gave a great clear picture of schemas that filled in the blanks I had.

I tried to hook up with folks on CUG but had no luck. I could not find anyone near me who was working on it to study with.

For me it was reading, playing, and testing.

And you have to think like an Atlassian. I see too many people get pre-conceived notions of what JIRA is and how it supposed to be used. Keep your mind open to all the possibilities of what JIRA can offer to any team or organization and you will do fine on the exam.

Like Barb O_Connell likes this

Thanks Tom!

I am always on the look out for new book recommendations.  I find that a lot of times I really do learn better with the printed word, and the structured format of books.  I'm especially fond of the format and styles of writing for most of the O'Reilly books.  Good to see they are keeping this one updated, and the price point on Amazon is nice.

..and good luck on your JSD exam!

Atlassian Certified Professional (ACP) certification enhances your credibility, improves your performance, and helps you deliver world-class experiences to teams everywhere, also opens the door to more opportunities and advancements on your career path.

  • Having a Jira certification distinguishes you as an expert.
  • For Jira certification, you need not go to a test center, as the certification is available online.
  • You need to register yourself at  Here to give your Atlassian Certified Professional Exam.

Certification Link...

Atlassian JIRA Training online course is designed to make you expert in working with Atlassian JIRA testing product suite.

Like Barb O_Connell likes this

For both the ACP-100 and ACP-300, I did the following...

I first read the Jira documentation (back-to-front) for versions:

  • 6.4
  • 7.X

Not to mention, I brushed up on my JQL.

Then, I read two books:

Now, I've been using Jira for the last 8 years, so while I was familiar with the interface, it was usually rely on a Google search to figure out the small details, but you can't quite do that during the exam.

So what I did next is set up a local instance of both Jira 6.4 and 7.0. And that's pretty much it.

Best of luck to anyone who's going for their cert!

Like # people like this

@Gerry Claps
Great ideas.  I have read though 

but not

Been pulling together a reading list from other and what is published, with good review, on Amazon.

I do think that having instances to play with is quite important.

Like Gerry Claps likes this

@Gerry Claps thanks a lot for sharing your tips. Would you please more details on installing Jira server on AWS or Azure?


Thank you!

I've taken ACP-100, ACP-200, and ACP-300. 

For each test a hands on approach was beneficial. I administrate instances for clients on a daily basis, but to supplement areas that I don't interact with as much I would take a chunk of documentation to understand the purpose of an area and then go try and experiment with a testing instance. I made use of the Atlassian development instances and the amps-standalone testing instances to play with cloud and server. 

I read a bit of documentation outside of that, but I never found that to be as useful for me as getting into the instance and playing with the functionality. As Micky mentioned, I think experience is pretty important. I really found I could lean back on that quite a bit for process of elimination if I didn't quite know an answer. 

Yup!  Process of Elimination is a great test taking strategy. Some times it's easier to figure out what isn't the answer. Thanks for the great reminder!

I'm trying to really dig into different ideas and scenarios.  I've been talking to some of my PM and BA friends, and asking them about projects they use or have set up.  So it's giving me some hands on work, that is different from what I encounter in my day to day work.


        I`ve recently took and passed the ACP-100. I have +4 years using Jira as an admin (also with Confluence and Crowd integration). Before taking the exam i bought the Jira Administration Certification Prep, a mini course that introduces you to the style of questions that you can expect to be asked on the exam, topics, labs and case studies to practice with.  This alone was very useful to focus on certain topics that i didnt handle or take into consideration the impact of several configuration scenarios regarding performance, for example.  It is not an easy exam, the questions usually describes a real life  like company, and a requeriment to be fulfilled.  Working with test OOTB instances and reading the online docuemntation is useful, you have to know every option on the tool, even if it is not a core one. 

@Pablo da Silva _ACP-JA_

Congratulations on passing your Cert!

I don't think any of us can stress enough, the importance of having a sandbox to work on different scenarios.  Especially with things that may not be use to what you work with on a daily basis.  There are also a lot of things that you set once and are done, so it's nice to get refreshers on those items too.

Thanks Kimberly :) 


You are totally right, a safe environment to play with product features is a most, specially with Jira, that has a very  fast and steady development cycle, new minor versions are released almost on a 2 week basis :)

I agree with many of the responses here. I have more than 2 years of experience using JIRA as an admin, and when I started configuring JIRA to meet the needs of our team I wasn't very knowledgeable of best practices.  The list of topics for the exam gave me direction and structure on how to focus my study. E.g., I would spend a day focusing on "Configuring the Layout, Design, and User Communications" and another day working on "User and Group Management". The JIRA Certification Prep (On demand) training from the Atlassian University took it to the next level: not only gave me direction but also illustrated the learning process with tips and examples.  After I failed the exam (the first time I took it),  I read "Practical JIRA Administration" by Matthew Doar which helped me understand better intricacies of JIRA, and dove into the JIRA documentation.  I tried to fix the JIRA configuration that we used at my company by applying Atlassian guidelines and the best practices I learned from the community. This hands-on exercise helped me  confirm if I had really understood.  Sometimes you think you know something well until you try, and then the questions come.  Every time I had doubts I would reach the community or other administrators. I work for a big company now where there are other teams that use JIRA, so I looked for them and became part of the internal community of Atlassian experts where I work.  Some times facing a problem or brainstorming solutions together expedites finding what you're looking for.

I’ll chime in here as best I can from mobile.


i took ACP-500 around April this year. The best things that helped was experience setting up all the products both in a test and production environment. I had been server admin for Atlassian products for the last 5 years and system administrator for our other systems for the last 20. 

Atlassians online documentation does a very good job as well as if the link is still active they had a full tutorial setup for both JIRA/Confluence instances something about slaying dragons.

Understanding the basics of tomcat structure and as well as writing simple plugins (sample/tutorials) help as well as least in my case to get how each application lifecycle works. 

How to know which Jira version of the exam? is it the latest?

It's based on JIRA 7.x and JIRA 6.x. It does not get into specific features that come out in minor releases, more the general use of the 6.x and 7.x versions. You can use any 7.x version you wish and you will be fine.

I'm about to embark on my ACP-200 (Confluence Admin) journey.


I've taken the ACP-200 Certification Prep, which was a good tone-setter for what I should expect (however I was hopeful for some more comprehensive resources accompanying it; I'll probably brief people in my firm directly than recommend they sign up for that course).


My plan of action is essentially to read through all the Atlassian documentation, while compiling my own executive summary of the content (part so I have study notes, part that this is quite a practical thing to have in my firm). 


That, and subscribe to more of the Atlassian Community updates to further my awareness of the typical problems and solutions encountered.


Hopefully in a few weeks I'll have my answer for how well this strategy worked!

This is one of our more popular blog posts Rachel wrote about how to study for certification based on her early experience.  She boiled it down to 7 steps assuming you have the 2-3 years of experience.


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