Today I passed my first Microsoft Certification exam, Application Development Foundation with a score of 876. I’d been putting it off for a while, but last week decided I needed to get my act together and booked a test through Pearson Vue.
I have to say I felt the exam was pretty well put together, although I did get a couple of extremely similar questions together about compression streams – one using a GZipStream and the other using a DeflateStream. I have to say I didn’t feel to confident about the test, I think I got bored of a lot of the material having studied it for too long. I prepared for the exam by reading the official book, carrying out the labs in the official book and assessing my ability to pass the exam using the practice questions that come on the CD with the book. Of course, it helps that I do C#.NET as a job also, so half the stuff I already knew. Although the questions provided on the CD are OK, the questions are more like the ones that I saw in the Transcender sample exam for 70-536. I avoided using any third party practice tests because of the Transcender sample, which in my opinion contained at least one dodgy question with an incorrect answer. In hindsight, the best preperation for this exam is to read the book, come up with some nice projects that use what is in the book, and implement those projects. Nothing beats learning hands on.
Which brings me to another hands on way of learning – my blog! I’ve put up a few articles that are a bit specialised, but looking back you can see that most of the articles cover very general information useful for exam 70-536. It comes back to what I was told at school. If you can explain it to someone else then you know it. If you’re studying for a Microsoft exam and have some web space, and you come across a difficult to understand concept, why not make a blog post out of it? Know the material well enough so that you can explain it to someone else. It certainly helped me.
The book I used is called MCTS Self Paced Training Kit: Microsoft.NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation and its ISBN-13 number is 978-0735622777. It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.