August 28, 2013 by Kenneth Fisher
I like practice tests. Once I feel like I’m getting ready to take a certification exam I start taking an appropriate practice exam or two.
Just a point here. When I get a question wrong I review the SUBJECT I get wrong, I don’t just memorize that particular answer. I took a practice test today and got a question wrong on partitioning. I’m now going to create a couple of partitioned tables over and over again until I can do it without referencing the books. Then I’m going to practice switching, merging and splitting until again I can do it without referencing BOL. And yet none of that is the most important thing I work on. It’s a simple skill but vastly important.
Reading the questions and answers carefully!
It’s that simple. Almost 50% of the times I get an answer wrong it’s because I missed something in the question and/or answers. For example in a question about what application to use to start the “SQL Server Agent” I answered “SQL Server Configuration Manager”. Of course I managed to skim over the very first fact in the question. The instance in question is part of a cluster which in this case had a rather significant impact on the answer.
The question wasn’t all that hard, but without that vital piece of information I got it wrong. Even though once I saw the correct answer I immediately knew what I had missed and why I’d gotten the question wrong.
So I guess if I have any piece of advice for getting ready to take a certification exam it’s practice taking tests. Read questions on-line, make sure you read every bit of the question, make sure you read every bit of the answers. It would suck to fail the exam just because you weren’t being careful!