SQLGeordie's Blog

Helping the SQL Server community……where i can!

Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases (70-464) – My Thoughts — October 30, 2012

Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases (70-464) – My Thoughts

I finally pulled my finger out and took the last exam of the MCSE SQL Server 2012 – Data Platform certification last week and passed with a score of 876 which is pretty respectable in my opinion 😉

The exam consisted of 3 sections:

  • 1 – 6 Scenario based questions
  • 2 – 7 Scenario based questions
  • 3 – 32 Generic questions
  • So those of you who are clever enough to work out that’s a grand total of 45 questions. I’m pleased to say that once again the quality of the questioning was to Microsoft’s usual standard, not in terms of difficulty but more in terms of complete irrelevance!

    I’m bound by NDA so can’t go into specifics but I’ll try and provide and example of this complete and utter irrelevance without giving the game away:

    Q: What is your favourite holiday destination?

    A (Select one of the following):

  • Green
  • Green with a bit of Yellow
  • Green with a bit of Blue
  • Sky Blue with Pink dots
  • Hmmmm, bit of a tricky one here. From what I can tell, none of the answers bear any relevance whatsoever to the question…….hmmmmm……..suppose I’ll have to take a random guess and hope that the answer I select is the one they’ve set as being correct!!!

    It was just a good job i wasn’t on the threshold of pass/fail as this could potentially have been the difference. From the actual question, it was to be a simple answer but I suppose I’ll never know whether or not my random guess worked out or not :(. I just hope the comments I left regarding this issue are taken up and fixed so others don’t have the same issue.

    All in all I felt comfortable throughout the exam but do know for a fact that my knowledge of Assemblies / CLR’s has slipped significantly and I need a refresher.

    So that’s it. SQL Server 2012 MCSE done and dusted and no more exams……well for the next 3 years at least. So whats next? Not sure, there is the MCSM exams but I have to be honest, I’ve got no formal certifications in SQL Server 2005/2008 but I know for a fact that I have far more knowledge and experience of its features than I do for SQL Server 2012 so I suppose I kind of backed up my original issue I have with these exams. Yes I studied and yes I did learn a lot from doing so but in no way shape or form would I class myself as an “Expert” in SQL Server 2012 – I don’t believe anyone could!

    As per usual, any thoughts or comments are welcome.

    Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 exam (70-463) – My Thoughts — September 13, 2012

    Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 exam (70-463) – My Thoughts

    Well I finally got around to completing the MCSA aspect of the SQL Server 2012 Certification and I’m pleased to say i passed with flying colours. As some of you may be aware I managed to nab and pass 3 of the Beta exams (70-461, 70-462 and 70-465) back in April and decided to see the MCSE through.

    I really wasn’t sure how this exam was going to go as I’ve been working a lot recently with MDS 2012 and SSIS 2008 and revised the new 2012 features but went in with no real expectations. The exam consisted of 55 questions, again ranging from multiple guess, select the 3 things you’d do in order to a new feature i’ve not seen before and that is a drag n drop facility of a SSIS control flow which I thought was nifty. 

    The area I thought I’d struggle on was DQS but in fact found that aspect relatively simple, the difficult area for me was the “select the 3 things you’d do in order” relating to the new Project Deployment area of SSIS 2012. I’ve done a fair bit of “tinkering” with this over the last few months but its obvious I’m not as prolific as I thought as I found certain questions difficult to get my head around what it was suggesting in the answers. I obviously did ok in this area (according to the score sheet) but at the time i was sweating a bit.

    Anyone wanting hints and tips, I obviously can’t go into detail but I’d definitely brush up on the new features of SSIS 2012!!! 

    Oh, and anyone wanting to know, the pass mark is 700 – none of the Beta exams told you this and I know some have said it was actually 800……

    Now onto 70-464 – Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases, to complete the SQL Server 2012 MCSE certification!!!!

    And the results are in…..SQL Server 2012 beta exams — June 25, 2012

    And the results are in…..SQL Server 2012 beta exams

    Well after being a bit late in trying to book the beta exams I managed to get three of the five I needed for the MCSE data platform booked, taken and I’m pleased to say passed!

    Unfortunately due to the fact I did 461, 462 and 465 means I don’t actually come away with any certification as I need 463 for the MCSA and then the 464 to complete the MCSE.

    From what others in the field have said about 463, it’s very SSIS orientated which as it happens works out well for me as the project I’m currently working on is primarily SSIS so when things quieter down a bit I’ll look to get it booked. As for 464, I may very well look to batter that one out around the same time so it’s done n dusted.

    I’ve never really been a big fan of Microsoft certification and my mindset hasn’t changed much. The questioning is still vague at times and in my opinion done in such a way that it’s a test of whether you can read a question and do what Microsoft believe is the best way to do things but I still don’t feel the questions always give enough information for you to give the best solution. In the real world there are a hell of a lot more questions I’d be asking in some of the scenarios before I could make a correct decision.

    Anyway, enough whinging. Time to do some proper work 🙂

    Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Beta exam (70-461 / 71-461) – My Thoughts — April 13, 2012

    Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Beta exam (70-461 / 71-461) – My Thoughts

    Well I’ve now done the final SQL Server 2012 exam I managed to get a slot booked for. The Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 exam wasn’t going to be my strongest subject as I’m more of a DBA than Developer but i felt it went quite well.
    The exam consisted of 55 questions, varying in structure from multiple guess to drag n drop. There were only about 5 or 6 questions i left comments about relating to the content not being clear, typo’s or in one instance an actual mistake in the question so all in all a better setup than the Administrator exam I took first off (70-462 / 71-462).

    The biggest issue I found was down to my own fault. I didn’t revise on the syntax of the new 2012 T-SQL functionality. Don’t get me wrong, I know i’ve got a lot of them right but with some, although I knew the answer was down to 2 of the 4, I didn’t know it well enough to be 100% certain as there was only 1 word different in the syntax which I’m a bit disappointed with……..but no-one to blame but myself 🙂

    I’m still not sure whether the pass mark is 70% or 80% and hoping I’ve answered enough of the non-2012 questions correctly to scrape through.

    As always, I’d be interesting to hear other peoples thoughts on any of the 2012 exams they’ve taken so far…..

    Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Beta exam (70-465 / 71-465) – My Thoughts — April 6, 2012

    Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Beta exam (70-465 / 71-465) – My Thoughts

    After sitting the Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases Beta exam (71-462) on Monday, I was still a little disappointed with Microsofts approach to questioning for these exams. So I went into this exam with pretty much the same mindset that the questions were going to be vague and in some cases completely wrong.

    Much to my surprise, I found the questions in this exam far far better. The exam itself was split into sections. There were 44 in total, 26 the standard multiple choice and 5 further scenario based sections, each with either 3 or 4 questions. Section one was much the same as the 71-462 exam but I felt the questions were in the majority, more concise and in my opinion gave enough information to make a valid judgement when answering. I did leave a few comments as there were a few of the questions that could do with a bit more work and had a couple of typo’s.

    The scenario sections again provided enough information to select the relevant answers, the only criticism of these sections were on question 2 of my second scenario, there was a major typo on the answers of question which didn’t pry me away from the answer but requires sorting.

    Now, the main thing that really got me with this exam was the amount of SQL Azure questions in section one. Is was not mentioned as a skill measured so needs looking into in my opinion, either add it as a skill measured or remove it from the exam.

    A much more enjoyable exam than the administrator, mainly due to the higher level of quality in the questioning resulting in far fewer comments being left and for me, I love the scenario based questions!!

    As always, I’d be interesting to hear other peoples thoughts on any of the 2012 exams they’ve taken so far…..

    Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases Beta (70-462 / 71-462) – My Thoughts… — April 4, 2012

    Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases Beta (70-462 / 71-462) – My Thoughts…

    On Monday I did my first Microsoft SQL Server exam since I did my SQL Server 2000 exams many moons ago and I can’t believe the quality of questioning hasn’t changed one bit! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all plain sailing but for me, what made it difficult was the vagueness of the questions and in some cases, blatant mistakes! I understand the SQL Server 2012 exams are still in Beta but some of these errors are not simple spelling mistakes – although there were in fact quite a few typo’s in my exam.

    As an example (without giving the game away), one question refers to SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2000, but the answers did not refer to SQL Server 2000 at all. I re-read the question over and over to see if I was missing something but I’m confident that it was a mistake in the question.

    The exam itself consisted of 56 questions and I felt the allotted time was sufficient for this but what I didn’t find sufficient was the time allocated for leaving comments which from speaking to others in the field they’ve felt the same. During the exam I wrote comments down for around 25 of the questions in prep for leaving comments at the end but you’re only given 10 (or was it 15?) minutes to actually enter the comments into the system and with the machine (or could have been the application) being as slow as it was, this meant I had to type quicker than I’ve ever typed in my life :).

    I didn’t get through all the comments so picked out the ones I felt needed highlighting the most and got those done first and managed to get through about 12 of them before the time ran out. I was a little disappointed with this as for me that time should be sufficient for examinees to relay their comments fully so Microsoft can take the points / mistakes on board and rectify them before they launch the live exams in June.

    I was also a little surprised that I wasn’t given the test score there and then (have to wait until they actually go live), not quite sure why Microsoft have chosen to do it that way but I’m sure they have their reasons. I’m guessing its so people can’t relay an answers to others who are taking the exam but no reason was given so I can only speculate.

    So, all in all a good test of your administrative knowledge but in my opinion there’s a lot of work to be done to rectify the issues before they go live. It would be interesting to hear other peoples thoughts on any of the 2012 exams they’ve taken so far…..