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Posted Saturday, February 2, 2013 11:39 PM


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Vedran Kesegic (12/15/2012)
SQLCharger (12/14/2012)
I've interviewed people with high scores in MCTS/MCITP exams and was unimpressed with their actual knowledge (I hope we understand what the real issue is)

Only two reasons come to my mind: you are a "hard to impress" person (perfectionist) or they cheated on exams :)
Maybe you are expecting MCM's knowledge from non-MCMs, comparing everybody to yourself ?
It's like you have a person with Ph.D. which doesn't have a clue about his/hers thesis - it can happen, but very unlikely (if we rule-out the cheating).
I believe there is a statistical correlation between scores/certificates and the knowledge (doesn't mean that uncertified people don't have a knowledge, it's just probability stuff). Otherwise certificate would not have real purpose or value, and Microsoft could turn off the certificate programs with peace. As in every statistics, there are cases dissipating from the main curve of expectancy.
(Un)fortunately I had to learn for my certificates and scores, spent many hours, months and years reading various articles and documentation, had over a decade (11 years precisely) of experience in "real life", teaching others, and then finally decided to certificate that knowledge. Not very easy path, but I'm naturally very curious, like to learn, learn deep and in detail (hence my addin is called sqlxdetails.com) and I would not do that if it is not joy for me. The real value for me is knowledge, not a certificate. I see certificates as a mean to give myself a new learning goal and to test my knowledge. Now the goal is very very high - MCM.
Takes a lot of courage just to try. :)


I've run into the same problem MANY times. I'll add a 3rd possible reason... unlike you, they don't have any real experience (even if they have time on the job)... they only know what they've been taught by the course material to pass the exam.

That's the real problem with some (NOT all) folks that have certs. Even the MS Press Books say that you should have experience before you take a cert exam. It IS possible, however, to pass the exams with only the "experience" that book has to offer and is one of the reasons why I generally cover up any alphabet soup after a person's name whether it be for MS certs or degrees. I'll find out what I want to know about someone during an interview (or casual conversation) or two. Heh... like I found out the Phd in Mathematics that my boss hired as a Technical Lead didn't know how to solve for "X" in the simple conversion 1416 = X10 without having to work it out on paper.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
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Post #1414984
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 3:22 AM
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Jeff,

Maybe you're right - purely memorising stuff from prep books can give an artificially-high score that won't translate to hands-on abilities.

At least the Knowledge exam is less prone to such a book-bias. If you haven't had real-life experience you are unlikely to pass (still theoretically possible though, since it is multiple-choice).


Cheers,

JohnA

MCM: SQL2008
Post #1415001
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 3:58 AM
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Prometric are no longer involved in the lab exams, you have to sit them from home using a Lync client and remote proctoring. Thats a signiificant change (for the better exam experience wise, for the worse cost wise!)
Worth mentioning here in case not everyone is aware.
Best wishes
Post #1415006
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 7:25 AM


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Paul Brewer (2/3/2013)Thats a signiificant change (for the better exam experience wise, for the worse cost wise!)

Hi Paul,

that's correct in partial! You are right, Prometric will never do the lab tests and you have to do it with your own equipment at home. The costs are "moderate".

I have to retake it because I failed with 55% at my first try!
I will retake it at 20th of February at home.

Microsoft has charged 1.950,00 US$ but a few days ago i got the following mail from Microsoft:

Hello Uwe,

We will be issuing a refund for your recent purchase in the amount of $500. The refund is being issued as a result of lower pricing due to the recent move of exams from Prometric to Microsoft.

Please allow 1 to 2 billing cycles for the credit to appear on your statement. Please let us know if you have any questions/concerns.


From my point of view the "doing the exam at home" has GREAT benefits for freelancers and consultants (especially in Europe):

- the exam starts at 5:30 pm (i can work for 8 hrs for the customers and don't loose money!)
- the exam ends at 11:30 pm (so I can sleep for another 6 hrs before I start working)
- the "real" costs are.1.450,00 US$ for the lab which is much less expensive as the lab test with prometric (I had payed 1.450,00 €!). I got all my money back from Prometric because of the technical desasters while the tests took place.
- Maybe it's like a "feel good situation" to do the lab at home where - just my opinion - you don't feel stressed because you know your hardware, coffee is available, some fruits and you don't have to have a break.

For me the real benefit is that the 1.950,00 US$ seems to be much cheaper than 1.450,00 € because of no missing income AND no travel costs and hotel costs!

I hope that now at 20th of February I will pass. I like challenges but now it's my second try and now I really WANT to pass :). I did my recertification for MCSA and MCSE for training and hope that my knowledge is deep enough to pass the MCM Lab test; I believe it is. I do my "personal" training by writting my blog and answering as much as possible in the msdn-forums - this gave me a real boost because I have to take a much deeper dive into the problem than before - seems to be a good recommendation for "learning".

Best to all candidates which are in the same situation as me. As soon as - and IF - i've passed I will share my experiences here with all others (as I did up to 88-970).


Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008
my blog: http://db-berater.blogspot.de (german only!)
Post #1415014
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 7:36 AM


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Wonderful, so not only do I have to fly to Europe when/if I need to write another lab, I need to take a laptop that can handle the Lync client and is easy to work on for hours at a time, and I potentially have to pay for internet access. :-(


Gail Shaw
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SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

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Post #1415015
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 8:23 AM


Old Hand

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Hallo Gail,

I do not understand your resentment. You can do the LAB from whatever location you want.
Why do you have to travel to Europe :)

The lab will be organized (start / end) by pacific time zone.
For me - located in Germany - it is o.k. so the lab test will start at 5:30 pm and will take 5:30 hrs.


Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008
my blog: http://db-berater.blogspot.de (german only!)
Post #1415020
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 8:51 AM


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Uwe Ricken (2/3/2013)
I do not understand your resentment. You can do the LAB from whatever location you want.
Why do you have to travel to Europe :)


Bandwidth. Latency.

Imagine writing the lab exam you did, just add half a second latency to each and every single thing that you do. If we add in the Lync client, imagine the video cutting in and out and the VM freezing intermittently. Want to write the lab like that?



Gail Shaw
Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008, MVP
SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

We walk in the dark places no others will enter
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Post #1415021
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 10:42 AM


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It's only temporary until they roll out the new exam. One of the reasons the new exams have been delayed so much is they are moving them to a new platform that should be more reliable and more stable. Prometric is not able to continue hosting the current lab exam on the current platform and make the necessary conversions to support the new platform at the same time.



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Post #1415033
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 11:38 AM


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Hi Gail,

your words frighten me ;)
I was so confident that problems will not occur when I have my own infrastructure (6 Mbit).
But when I read your lines i get really doubtful!
I hope all problems will be fixed when I start my LAB at 20th of February.

I get fingers crossed - the first try was a technical desaster
The second shot failed with 55%...
I think Microsoft has enough MCM's :)

Thank you for sharing your doubts - I really appreciate it.
I will post my experiences directly at 21st of February after the Lab.


Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008
my blog: http://db-berater.blogspot.de (german only!)
Post #1415039
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 11:55 AM


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Uwe Ricken (2/3/2013)
Hi Gail,

your words frighten me ;)
I was so confident that problems will not occur when I have my own infrastructure (6 Mbit).


Well that's about 3 times the best that I could buy.

The latency is what I had to deal with when I wrote mine. The additional load that the Lync video requires would overwhelm even what I have at home (there's a reason when I present remotely it's audio and slides only)



Gail Shaw
Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008, MVP
SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

We walk in the dark places no others will enter
We stand on the bridge and no one may pass

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