A couple weeks back I made my first attempt at the 70-433 SQL 2008 Database Developer exam. I was nervous, it was obvious to me and to those who know me best. It was the unknown that I was really worried about.
I’ve been a database programmer for over a decade. People come to me when they have development questions. I’ve read through the entire MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit for this exam. I’ve taken several practice exams. I felt I was ready.
I was wrong.
I’m going to talk a little about the exam process, since I didn’t know all of this going in. I know I can’t talk about specific exam questions, but I want to help you out by filling in some of the unknown before you make your first attempt.
The security at the test center is no joke. You have to have two forms of ID. Before you go into the testing room, you aren’t given a freedom grope, but you are asked to turn all your pockets inside out, turn around and let the proctor visually inspect you. They’re making sure you aren’t going to cheat, copy exam questions, or worse. (really what’s worse?) Don’t freak out, just come to the test center with as little as possible ( the two forms of ID).
Next, I was expecting like 100 questions, maybe more. My exam was remarkably shorter. It was half that. Meaning every question counts. Oh, and when you begin, they show you the terms of your exam, and guess what, not all of these questions will count toward your final score. I was asked Powershell questions. Too bad I have studied them, since I’m pretty sure those weren’t counted for me.
At least when there are multiple answers they tell you how many they want. That’s something. In my practice exams, they would just say, select all that apply. Too many and you don’t get it. Too few, sorry, you still don’t get it.
There weren’t any build a T-SQL statement. Whew… I hate those, since you have optional keywords in your statements, you never knew if they wanted the optional words. In my test none of these showed up!
You can mark questions you are unsure of. And there were a lot of those. I am a firm believer that you should go with your gut when taking a multiple choice exam. If you feel you have no clue (or stress is making you forget), mark the question and come to it later. Answer the easy ones first.
If you pass on your first attempt, Awesome! If you don’t, don’t sweat it. Just take your results, and learn from them. I’ve got to work on my XML. And I gotta put everything into this. My resolution is to get through these. I’m not giving up. Or to borrow from mcchris in his track “Never Give Up”:You can’t call it quits,
Don’t throw in the towel,
You can take a lot of licks,
So never listen to the owl,
Don’t listen to the pundits,
The haters or the critics, … You can never give up,
You can never surrender,
Fight the good fight
’till the end of the night and,
As for me. I’m studying my XML, popping on my headphones… I’m gonna do this.