Studying for and passing oDesk Qualification Tests is what every oDesk worker should be working on when they are not working on contracts or applying for jobs.  There are 344 tests available to challenge and while some require serious programing skill there are lots of tests that just require some online study before attempting them.

Topics You All Ready Know About

A high score is a lot more impressive than a midrange score, so before tackling any oDesk test brush up on the subject vocabulary and concepts.  The public speaking test, for example, was not hard for me to pass because I took the course in University but had I reviewed some vocabulary first my score could have been perfect.  

oDesk does allow contractors to retake tests, but there is a 30 day waiting period. Low test scores can be hidden so there is no real serious consequences to failing a test other then the waste of time and need to wait.  Of course while you wait to retest you could be losing out on good jobs.  

New Topics

Expanding your knowledge base and skill set should be a lifetime effort.  Look through the list of available Qualification Tests and choose one that looks interesting.  By viewing the topic list you can see what the test will cover.  Now Google each of the topics on the list and read two or three articles that comprehensively cover each topic.  Most of the time a good Wikipedia article will tell you much of what you need to know, at least for the less technical topics.  Once you have mastered the vocabulary and the main concepts, you are ready to write the test.

Remember, like all standardized tests, the oDesk Qualification Tests are not based on one particular text-book or teacher's work. To work as a testing instrument they have to focus on the most fundamental concepts and vocabulary in the field.   Therefore don't worry about all the nuances of everything you read. Just go for concepts and vocabulary required to improve your score.

Topics In Other Secondary Areas

While you may focus on writing, for example, why not go after tests like the Internet Marketing Test, SEO Skills Test and anything in the Office Skills area.  Can you pass tests in MS Word, Excel, and other Office Products?   With a little reading up on these programs most of computer users can.

To a point, the more qualified you prove yourself, the more application quota you receive.  When employers see you have other, possibly related secondary skills validated they will be more likely to select you over another candidate that has not proven they have a secondary skill sets to offer like you have demonstrated.  How about a test in email handling or spelling?  Do you know another language?  If so test in the appropriate translation area. 

For Technical Topics

If you plan to expand your skill set into more technical and programing areas, these too can be self taught by watching YouTube videos and reading what you can find on the net.  Grabbing a used textbook of Amazon is another way to get all the information you need.

Someone, somewhere has put up all the information online you need to learn any skill sought out on oDesk.  The questions are:  

  • Can you learn the skills?
  • Will you learn the skills?   

A Word of Caution

With some vocabulary, concepts and application of logic it is possible to bluff your way through some of the oDesk tests without actually knowing how to do the work normally required in that field.  While this can be a good intellectual exercise, don't let your success at passing a oDesk Qualification Test cloud your good judgement.  Be very careful applying for jobs that are not truly qualified to do, even if you happened to get through the Qualification Test.  Falsely representing yourself as an expert is against the oDesk TOS and will only lead to trouble.  You don't need the negative feedback that will more then wipe out the benefit of a test pass on your profile.

What to Emphasize

On oDesk provider profiles it is possible to emphasize the skills you feel are most marketable and profitable uses of your time, while not displaying all the other Qualification Tests you have passed. Take advantage of the option to selectively display which tests you passed to ensure that employers see the most important skills.  You still get the extra quota and satisfaction of passing other tests.  

For example, it may not be helpful to show you passed 6 English tests when your specialty is actually logo design jobs and you are a native English speaker anyway. Focus your profile on the most important qualifications, leaving the other secondary skills to the bottom of the list or off the list completely.

Other Ways to Complete Your Profile

Add a photo.  Verify your identity.  Fill in more skills.  Fill in more information on your resume like past employers and education you have completed.  The more detailed and thorough you are the better your profile will look to potential employers.  

Also, getting that first job is the hardest because you are an oDesk unknown.  Consider bidding very low on something to get completed job feedback, although not all oDeskers think this is a good idea.  

Not on oDesk Yet?

People that are not yet on oDesk can join free and either find work, find others to work for them, or do both from the same free account. oDesk takes 10% (viewed from the employer side) or 11.11% (viewed from the provider side). - it is exactly the same amount of money, the percent just depends on your perspective.  For this cut the site covers all the technology to make the freelance market place work.  They provide the "hour worked, hour paid" guarantee.  They cover the fees taken by the credit card companies (3% avg) when employers pay by charge card.  They also maintain the integrity of the workplace and deal with any rule breakers to keep everyone safer.  That's a pretty fair cut for all this support.