So today I finally took the first test on the path to getting my MCTS Cert. This was the 70-536 test which is the first test in their new series for .net developers. Yea, I passed the first one, that SUCKED.
I, along with the others on my team have been studying for this test for the past 2+ months. Today was the day we find out if it was in vein. In order to 'pass' the test you need to score a 700 out of a 1000. There are a total of 45 questions on the test. It sounds like it should be 'ok' to get a 70% on test right, I mean you only have to get 32 out of the 45 questions right to pass. WRONG. Each question is individually weighted. So, one person could be able to miss 10 questions and another could miss 8. Also, some questions are multi-part so you get partial credit (which is really, really cool).
The test was much harder and more stressful then I (and the others in my group) had expected. It became very evident to me that not only did you need to pretty much memorize the book, but you also need to be able to pull reference points from your coding experience in order to pass. There were many questions (about half or so) where I did not know the answer outright. I was only able to answer the questions with any degree of confidence because you can throw out at least one or two answers if you read the book. Then you can use your experience to figure out the right answer.
- How I studied
I studied for this test mostly by doing 2 things.
1) Reading the book cover to cover.
2) Taking the practice tests over and over till I about memorized the answers.
After reading the book the first time and taking the tests, I would then go re-read sections of the book that I did not fair so well on during the practice test. I really think this is the best way to study.
- How I took the test
My goal for the test was to iterate over the questions over and over again until I finished.
How did I plan to do this: Well, I was to skip any question where I did not immediately know the answer. When I would do this, I would NOT mark any answers so to not 'lead' me down the wrong direction when I went back.
Next if I was not sure on the actual answer I would mark it for review. Afterwards I went back to each of these and re-read the question to make sure I had answered it correctly.
By the end of the test I had iterated over some of the questions 3+ times before I would answer them. I believe this allowed me to answer more questions with a high degree of confidence as well as allow me to not get stressed out if I did not immediately know the answer.
- Overall rating/thoughts on the actual test
Like I said above, it was much hard then I thought it would be. We used both the measure up and ascender practice tests, and they were both easier then the actual test. The test itself was ok, the software is a little slow, but for the most part it was ok. You do get to choose your language of preference (C#, VB or C++) so that was nice.
I was disappointed because there were areas/topics in the book that were not on MY test. I guess i am only disappointed because they happened to be topics i was stronger in :(.
- One final rant about the book/study materials
What really pissed me off (along with my co-workers) is the amount of errors both in the book and the practice tests. The book has so many typo's and errors the there is 2 (yea TWO) Knowledgeable articles for the errata. About 15% of the practice test questions (out of 300+) were just WRONG. Either the answers were not correct, or there were no correct answers.
Now on to the next one.... The 70-526 test for Windows-Based client development.
Till next time,
09-02-2007 9:28 AM