I often receive lots of questions regarding how to pass SQL Server Certification exams. I have previously written about the road map over SQL SERVER – Roadmap of Microsoft Certifications – SQL Server Certifications. I have tremendous respect for Microsoft Certification and I enjoy the preparation phase as well as attending the real exam. The real value is after passing the exams as I am always sure that during the whole process, I have learned something new and my knowledge has been updated.
Prometric Testing Center Experience:
I had a Prometric voucher for one free exam, which was expiring on June 30. It has been with me for more than a year now. I wanted to take the Microsoft Certification Exam, but kept procrastinating because of various reasons. Finally, as the deadline was nearing, I was feeling more pressurised to get ready for the exam as I have not taken this exam earlier. If you know me, I currently stay in Gandhinagar, a very small town; however, the adjacent town Ahmedabad is the seventh largest economy in India and only 20 km away from my place. I checked in my city and there was no Prometric center for the exam, and in fact, I had already expected this. However, Ahmedabad has the most number of Prometric centers in India; so I decided to drive to Ahmedabad. Overall, this travel added one hour to my testing process – staying in a small city has some drawbacks like this.
I registered for the exam earlier this month, but I have been traveling like crazy recently; you can read my experience of the recent travels at SQLAuthority News – Training and Consultancy and Travel – Story of Last 30 Days. Due to the same reason, I could not find sufficient time to prepare for this exam. On the day of test, I woke up early, checked my emails and blog comments and left for the exam right away.
The security at the exam was very strict and I was asked to produce passport size photographs along with two identity proofs. I was asked to agree and sign few documents at the testing location. Once that was done, I given a computer, where once again I had to accept few terms and begin the exam. The exam duration was four hours and the questions were quite good. There were a few good questions. I have only one complaint about some of the “Best Practices” type of questions. Best Practices are usually guidelines, and the opinions can vary across different configurations. I have left my comments on those questions in the exams. Overall, I like how it was set, and the time provided for attendees to come up with the answers is more than enough. I finished the exam two hour earlier than the given time; as I mentioned before, the time was plenty and in case of the questions, the situation is either we know the answer or we do not know the answer. There were no design-level questions or questions with calculations. I was even provided the notepad, but I did not use it.
I can boast that I did not prepare for the exam and just walked in the center and passed it easily. Let me be honest here; I did not prepare specifically for the exam, but I have been working with SQL Server for a long time. I have helped and trained many developers, and moreover, I work as consultant in the field. I have hands on experience of writing codes, and this has made me capable to handle difficult codes. I also went over the course outline a week before. The outline for the course is listed here. I also looked up on Internet for some of the keywords from the outline which I was not familiar with. When I have to search any SQL-related matter on the Internet, I usually search in my blog first as I find it convenient to read something that I have written myself. You can search in this blog at http://search.sqlauthority.com.
I passed the exam with good grades and I was given the result right away. If you have taken the certifications, you know that it is very instant process, and also, the result provides good description of how one fared in the exams. I always find it interesting to go through the scorecard.
If one has the real-world experience of the subject, there is no need to do any additional preparation for the exams. I did learn something new from the exam, and I believe that attending this exam has indeed sharpened my skills.
Question to you:
What is your opinion about Microsoft Certification Exam? Does your organization require it, encourage it and reward you for taking the exams? How much personal gain do you get when you are preparing for exam and attempting the exam?
Reference: Pinal Dave (http://www.SQLAuthority.com)