One of my goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to take a Microsoft Certification exam. I eyed the 70-431/2005 exam mainly because I have been working with SQL Server 2005 for several years now and felt comfortable with this version.
In a previous post I discussed what books I used for studying for the exam, they’re all good, but for me the biggest thing was getting my hands dirty. I setup a test machine at home where I could try and work through a lot of the features that I was less familiar with (like End Points and Service Broker). This helped me get a better understanding of those features. For me this is how I learn. If I read it and don’t actually do it, I won’t understand it.
I finally got serious this last month and arranged my exam for July 31st. It was set and there was no turning back. I think that I get a little more serious when there is a deadline or goal to accomplish.
On the test day I slept in and had a nice breakfast. I did some last minute cramming on XML and End Point (yuck), and did a last minute practice test. I shouldn’t have done that. I failed miserably, let the self-doubt begin.
I arrived an hour before scheduled test and spent the time studying in my car. I finally went into the testing site and took the test. You know where all that old computer technology goes, it goes to these testing sites.
I took my time during the test and did not go back and review any answers. Once I hit the next button my answer was stuck in stone. I don’t like going back and reviewing my answers, this causes me more self doubt. I say let it ride.
Got to the last simulation question hit the next button and then the big finish button popped up. I took a deep breath and clicked. It was like an eternity, I could hear the computer grinding and churning. The results came up on the screen, but I didn’t initially see it. I saw the possible score 1000, the passing score 700, and then my eyes finally found my score. Bada Bing! Passed! Felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders.
Walked up to the front desk trying not to show my joy and got my results. Went out to the car and sent a couple of texts to the wife and drove home. To celebrate I took the family to Red Mill Burgers in Ballard. Best burgers EVA! My plug for the community. Also, I like good food.
Next up 70-432/2008. I am initially planning on late October – Mid November to take that test. Over the weekend I wiped my lab computer clean and started a fresh build for my SQL 2008 labs. Let the party begin. Wahoo! I am certifiable.
I just added a new netbook to my arsenal of computers, so I am going to use my big power laptop as my new training machine. It is a couple year old HP DV9543CL that has a nice 17″ display, 4GB Ram, and what I like most about this is it has two hard drives in it, which I put in (2) 7200 rpm drives 160GB & 500GB. I installed a demo version of Windows 2008 R2 ENT, SQL Server 2005 ENT x64, and Office 2010 x64 as well.
I am very happy with the performance, the computer is very snappy. I also like running Windows 2008 R2 on my laptop.
At the start of the year I set a goal to take a Microsoft Certification test. After some hesitation I set my sights on the 70-431 “SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance”. I chose 70-431 because this is the version that I have been primarily working with at work and have more experience with. I have been studying off and on since the beginning of the year, but serious in the last month. After pushing out the test at the start of June, I finally decided to get my butt in gear and set a test date so I have no more excuses. I decided Friday July 30th and will make it official next week when I call and schedule. This will give me just over a month to put the final touches on my study.
My primary books of study are:
Wiley –70-431: SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance (Microsoft Official Academic Course)
MSPRESS – MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-431)
MSPRESS – Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2005: The Storage Engine
MSPRESS – Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2005: Query Tuning and Optimization
My game plan for the next month:
[6/27 – 7/11]
I just finished reading Wiley MOAC and now plan to go back over it the next 2 week and go through each of the labs and go back over several of the areas that I need more work on, like XML, Service Broker, Endpoints, and Replication.
[7/12 – 7/23]
Go through MSPRESS Self-Paced Training Kit, just another angle of information and study.
[7/24 – 7/29]
Go through as many practice tests as possible and research questions; go back over areas of question and concern.
Next on my plate, I am thinking SQL Server 2008 Imp/Mtce 70-432 or the Optimization and Tuning cert for 2005 70-450.
One thing that this process has done for me is gotten me more exposure to other areas in SQL Server that I have not worked with.