Derik Whittaker

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Studying for MCTS 70-536, 10 Days In: My Initial thoughts

In a previous post I mentioned that my new company is having all their developers get certified.  The goal is to have each developer take and pass both 70-536 and 70-526 by the end of the year.  What sucks for me is that the week I started the team was reviewing chapter 9.  In order to 'catch up' I have been trying to read as many chapters as I can in the past 10 days.  I have read 6 of them, and let me tell you, NOT FUN.  One thing that has been helpful is that the company has given us 2 hours a week to meet during the day (with lunch provided) to conduct a study group.  Allowing the study group time is great, it allows us to discuss the topics and gain more feedback or clarification.

My first impression of the book we are using as a study (MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation - here on Amazon.com) is that is 'OK', not good, not bad, just OK. 

What I like

  • Chapters are well organized
    The chapters of the book are fairly well organized by content and make sense.  What is nice is that for the most part you can skip from chapter to chapter if you would like and not be lost.  There is really no carry over between chapters

  • Study CD is sufficient
    The CD has a application to allow you to take practice tests.  This application allows you to take an actual test with up to 303 questions or you can practice on topics.  I like how this is laid out. 

    One thing that is bad is the setup UI for the practice application.  it is a little kludgey.

What I dislike

  • Inconsistency in content layout
    I said above that the chapters are well organized, but what I did not say is that they are consistent.  Most chapters have paragraphs explaining the topic along with decent code examples.  They will also throw in API style docs from time to time (listings of method names, properties, etc).

    However, you can tell when the authors were struggling to find content to put into chapter.  When they would struggle, there would be pages upon pages of API style docs with very little content.  A ton of fluff, not much substance.

  • Not enough practice questions for each 'lesson'
    At the end of every lesson (all chapters are broken into lessons) there are practice questions.  However, they are not consistent on the number of these questions.  Sometimes there is 2, sometimes 3, other times 4.  I would have been nice if there were always 4.  The more questions the better.

That pretty much wraps up my thoughts on my first 10 days of studying.  I will post an update when I get further along. 

 

 

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Posted 06-26-2007 6:00 AM by Derik Whittaker
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Comments

VinK wrote re: Studying for MCTS 70-536, 10 Days In: My Initial thoughts
on 08-20-2007 2:35 AM

The book is full of mistakes. The errata issued by the publishers for this book is the longest errata i have ever seen.

Its difficult to have confidence in a book full of errors.

Tameem Bahri wrote re: Studying for MCTS 70-536, 10 Days In: My Initial thoughts
on 09-25-2007 9:53 PM

that book is FULL of errors ... I cant belive that they didnt simply make a review for it.

tip : if you are going to take that exam ... then do yourself a favour and buy a TestKing practice exam (or something like it)

Janice Lagundi wrote re: Studying for MCTS 70-536, 10 Days In: My Initial thoughts
on 03-12-2008 2:10 AM

Yes I agree, there are errors in the book specially in some snippet, but still it is useful. We just need to use other reference to check/ validate what we are reading.

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