My thoughts and feelings going into the Alteryx Core Certification exam

by Henry Mak

Ahh yes, the Alteryx Core Certification Exam. A milestone. A certification that everyone in The Data School goes through.

After an intense day of preparation, the exam is now just under a day away and here I’ll be briefly writing some of my thoughts and feelings running up to the exam.


To prepare for this exam, we had a whole day of learning and revising the tools required for the Core exam. We were firstly assigned 3-4 tools/areas of Alteryx and we each had to come up with a presentation where we had to teach others in our cohort.

Do I feel prepared? Sort of. I feel like I’m almost at that sweet spot of over-preparedness and under-preparedness. I think I’ll use tomorrow morning to brush up on my weaknesses and the syllabus before diving into the exam.


Am I nervous for the exam? Yes.

The thing that I’m nervous about is that it’s my first time taking the test. At school and at university there was always a way to get a proper ‘feel’ for exams by taking mocks or past papers. This isn’t my case for this exam (admittedly I haven't gone looking for any).

There’s also an air of nervousness in that I don’t really know how I’ll do when it comes to tomorrow. I could ace it, I could bomb it (I hope not), or anything in between.

As I write this down, I remember something that a sports psychologist said to me:

Control the controllable.

One example would be to disregard the fact that I can’t control what comes up on the exam. I can only control how I react to it.

Fear of failure

Am I scared? Not really.

What I mean by not being scared is that I’m not scared to fail. The good thing about the exam is that it’s free and you can retake it every seven days. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’d be nice for it to be a one-and-done. But if not, then that’s cool too.

It’s kind of a weird feeling, for the past few years I’ve sat quite high-stakes exams and tests but this one doesn’t feel like it in comparison. I don’t feel a (negative) weight or pressure to succeed. I suppose kudo’s to the company and my colleagues for instilling this belief.

When I think about failure, I think back to something that I’ve read in a book before. They talk about how a bird can sit on a branch and is never worried about the branch snapping. Because even if it does, it trusts its own ability to adapt and to fly. Although I won’t understand every question or get everything right, I trust in my ability and I trust the teaching of the trainers at the DS.

Whatever happens tomorrow whether pass or fail, only good can come from it in the end.

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