So I have begun my journey for SQL Server exam 70-431 exam preparedness with a uCertify prepkit as my only guide. I have to admit that it has been a while since the knowledge that helped me attain my MCDBA in SQL Server 2000 flowed through my brain on a daily basis. And although I have used SQL Server 2005 extensively during development, I haven’t had to do as much work on the administrative side.
When you first open the prepkit after installation you are given a number of different options were to start. Your eye is immediately drawn to the first option to take a diagnostic test of 15 questions. Honestly I wasn’t sure what was even on the exam, so I was a bit hesitant to go that route. I instead chose to click the “Exam objectives”
I was a little surprised that the objectives didn’t jive directly with the objectives listed on the Microsoft web site, although the topics were generally in sync. There was a button to go to a more detailed view with exam notes that looked pretty extensive.
Once I felt comfortable with the topics the exam covered I decided to take the diagnostic test after all. The exam was 15 questions that covered a bunch of different topics on the exam. The questions were decent, but the most surprising thing was that not one of them was a multiple choice question. They were a lot of drag and drop answers in the right order type questions, click on the right place in the image type questions.
I actually think these types of questions are better that the standard multiple choice questions you typically get on a MCP exam. By better I mean I think they better demonstrate you know the material that make a random guess and happen to be right. The one caveat to that is that it might give you the impression that the actual MCP exam will have its questions structured like that, when in my experience at most you got a couple of questions like that with the rest being the standard multiple choice trickery.
I ended up getting 8 out of 15 questions correct. My basic knowledge of SQL Server got me that far and I knew I had some areas I would need to sharpen and deepen my knowledge of. The best part was actually after I finished the test.
The explanations for the correct answers were very detailed. Most all of them included multiple screen shots. A few actually had flash presentations that felt more like a mini training demonstration that a test question explanation.
The test interface gave you the option to tag a question, add notes, give feedback, and discuss the item. I tried to enter feedback for a question and am not really sure what happens to the feedback. I know it saves it, but after it gets sent, who knows. I also thought the discuss feature was pretty interesting. The idea of multiple test takers having discussions about a particular question seemed powerful, but after adding a comment, it was displayed with a note saying it wasn’t approved. None of the 15 questions had any comments tied to them, so I don’t know if this is because no one is commenting or no one is approving them. If it is working and used widely, I can see this being a pretty powerful feature.
Next I’ll be digging a little deeper into the articles, notes and other questions that the prep kit offers.
Stay tuned for more…