Yesterday, I took and passed exam 70-431. I am now a Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist in SQL Server 2005.
Since my last post, I reviewed the detailed notes for the test, which were in my opinion not too deep. The covered all of the topics, but not very deep and organized in a haphazard manor.
I also took 3 lengthy practice exams, and one 40 question final exam. The questions on these test were high quality and indicative of the kinds of questions I saw on the exam. The explanations on the answers were good, but no where near the quality of the answers to the diagnostic exam I detailed in a previous post.
Some of the questions were somewhat interactive but no where near the interactivity of the simulations that were on the actual exam. This was actually the first exam I took that had simulations and they were pretty detailed and I definitely hope they expand on this approach in other tests.
After each practice exam, my score went up a little. I actually did well on the third practice exam. The prep kit had a nice little feature where it took all the questions I got wrong on previous tests, mixed it with a few I got right to keep me honest and let me retake everything. I kept taking this type of exam until I had successfully answered each question.
In the end, I didn't feel very good when I went into the exam. Normally I feel really prepared when going in. But then, I couldn't shake this fear that I hadn't been prepared enough, that I had really only prepared for the specific questions on the practice exam.
As I took the exam, many of the questions were pretty topical, given the material , but there were a few I wasn't prepared for. After I answered all the questions, I wasn't extremely confident that I had passed.
I declined to comment on any of the questions and held my breath for the two-three second eternity it took to calculate my score. I passed with a 741 out of 1000. Not a great score, but since 700 is passing, it would have to do.
After going through this process, I am still pretty happy about the uCertify prep kit, However I would not recommend it as the sole source of information when preparing for the exam. I think by taking a balanced approach of reading a detailed book, and using the uCertify prepKit practice questions would be a good formula for results.