Two days ago I wrote the ISTQB Foundation-level exam, so it's time to wrap up this journal series.
To summarize the series, I first read and wrote notes for the ISTQB foundation-level syllabus, and then worked through a multiple-choice practice exam. Writing everything down to post in this journal took some extra time compared to just reading/thinking, but I suspect it was worthwhile.
There seem to be clear benefits to writing notes about the material I need to learn: I spend more time thinking about the material and thus am more likely to remember it.
It may be less obvious why I took the time to justify my answers in the practice exam (and especially why I explained all of the incorrect options). My idea is that for a time-limited exam like the ISTQB I cannot afford to solve every question from base principles. Instead, I want to combine those base principles in my free time before the exam to come up with conclusions, and quickly reuse those conclusions during the exam.
So when I work through practice questions, my goal isn't really to solve them. My goal is to draw as many useful conclusions as possible, which I can do both by finding right answers, and by explaining wrong answers. This line of thinking could be applied more broadly than just writing exams, but I've philosophized enough for one day.
It's hard to say whether or not my study-method was worthwhile. I did pass the test, but perhaps I would've passed just from reading the syllabus once. For what it's worth, I wrote the test alongside another person who did just read the syllabus, and I finished the exam in less than half their time (though I do not know their results).