“It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.” —Jimmy Dugan, A League of Their Own
OK, I am a sports fan, maybe a little competitive and always up for a challenge. I will also admit that I am in the eighth inning of my career, but by no means ready to retire. I love what I do. I am part of a global team that trains our sales representatives around the world.
A few months ago, I met one of our new, young executives. He asked me how long I had been at the company, and I responded, “Just over 18 years.” He replied, “Eighteen years is a long time.” It made me question if my years of experience were still valued or if I was seen as out-of-touch. Was my knowledge dated?
A few weeks later, on November 1, I received an email from ATD about the APTD credential. It pointed out that because I had Master Trainer credentials, I could test out of that section of the exam; and if I sat for the next exam, the Learning System was included with the exam fee. But the next exam deadline was December 21, only seven weeks away. Over the next two weeks, I thought about what the APTD would mean to me and my perceived value at my age—challenge accepted!
On November 15, I looked at the sample questions to see what I was up against, and then I filled out the application—what was I thinking? December 21 was five weeks away and Thanksgiving was next week. My application was accepted, and within a day I had the online Learning System. I also ordered the hard copy version, as I was going to be traveling some over the next few weeks.
Step 1—I took one of the practice exams to establish my baseline. Needless to say I did not pass, but I had some indication where my weaknesses were. I made an Excel spreadsheet and listed day by day what I needed to accomplish to do this in five weeks.
Step 2—I read the online Learning System program in sections, took notes the old-fashioned way—with a pen and paper—and took the quizzes at the end of each section.
Step 3—I typed my notes, printed them, and created a binder. Now it was time to take another practice exam. This time I was closer to passing, but not where I needed to be.
Step 4—I took copious notes on all the quiz questions and practice exam questions. I printed the practice exams and added those to my binder. I reread all the sections and updated my notes. I studied the binder, highlighting key points; then it was practice exam time again. This time I passed with some room to spare. Phew!
Step 5—Take the exam. I had not sat for an exam in more than 20 years. I was nervous, really nervous. A word of advice: Do it early in the day. Waiting around until 2 p.m. was nerve-racking; by 11 a.m. I just wanted to get it over with.
Step 6—Celebrate! I didn’t tell anybody at work I was doing this for fear of failure. This was personal. It was fun to come back to work in January and hang the certificate in my office.
I am thrilled to be starting 2019 in a “league of our own”—those who hold the APTD credential.
Learn more about how to become an APTD.