This particular piece of advice was taught/given to me by my former mentor Kris Roadruck. This is a skills test. There’s only so much you can pick up from forums and reading blogs. Eventually a day or a situation will arise when you are forced to put what you learned into practice.
This is a good thing. What doesn’t kill you does make you stronger.
Go to Google and disable personalization and local filters. Type in your full name. Rank for it.
Own the first 20 pages of Google’s search results for your name. Every single result must be owned by you. Your name.com should rank #1. Then go to Bing and Yahoo! and repeat.
Bonus points if you replicate your success on international search engines like Yandex, Baidu or Nihongu.
You are now an Intermediate SEO.
Some final thoughts:
If you were diligent about your studies, you succeeded. If you were persistent, you tried again when you failed. If you were smart, you approached the problem from a different standpoint to avoid running into a wall.
In the end, your success as an SEO is largely determined by you and the quality of your efforts.