Saturday, May 10, 2014

Road to Certification: Pre-exam Jitters for 70-461

About a month ago I took the MCT exam for database fundamentals (98-364). I signed up a day in advance and blew through the test in less than 30 minutes and got a high passing score. For me (as for any database administrator), the exam was simple. For anyone who doesn't have a lot of experience with databases and querying, the exam would have been difficult to pass. But that's the point of these certification exams, right? To basically make sure you're at the level you say you are.

Today, in about 2 hours in fact, I'm going to take the first test in the MCSA exam series, the 70-461. I'm a bit nervous, I admit it. However, I'm not that nervous for two reasons. First, I managed to score a retake voucher -- if I fail, I get to take the exam again before May 31st. Therefore, I fully expect to fail and it's okay because I get a redo. Second, I studied -- a lot. I read the 70-461 prep book and took the practice exams. I also watched all the videos and took the practice exams on Microsoft Virtual Academy. Finally, I read through this synopsis of an actual exam taker's experiences with the exam.

What scares me a little bit is that I've found a couple of exam questions and exam review topics that point to information that I have never even heard of before today. But, as I said earlier, I'm not that worried. I get a redo. After the last exam, I got a scoring sheet that told me what areas I need to work on. So, if I fail the exam the first time (and I hear it's a fairly common occurrence), then I'll bone up on my weak areas and take it again in two weeks.

One other thing that kinda bothers me -- it's supposedly a 3 hour exam! Yikes. I'm glad I didn't schedule my post-exam, stress-relieving massage until 4 hours afterwards!

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