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The most important skill to practice when preparing for any certification exam!

I like practice tests. Once I feel like I’m getting ready to take a certification exam I start taking an appropriate practice exam or two.

Just a point here. When I get a question wrong I review the SUBJECT I get wrong, I don’t just memorize that particular answer. I took a practice test today and got a question wrong on partitioning. I’m now going to create a couple of partitioned tables over and over again until I can do it without referencing the books. Then I’m going to practice switching, merging and splitting until again I can do it without referencing BOL. And yet none of that is the most important thing I work on. It’s a simple skill but vastly important.

Reading the questions and answers carefully!

It’s that simple. Almost 50% of the times I get an answer wrong it’s because I missed something in the question and/or answers. For example in a question about what application to use to start the “SQL Server Agent” I answered “SQL Server Configuration Manager”. Of course I managed to skim over the very first fact in the question. The instance in question is part of a cluster which in this case had a rather significant impact on the answer.

The question wasn’t all that hard, but without that vital piece of information I got it wrong. Even though once I saw the correct answer I immediately knew what I had missed and why I’d gotten the question wrong.

So I guess if I have any piece of advice for getting ready to take a certification exam it’s practice taking tests. Read questions on-line, make sure you read every bit of the question, make sure you read every bit of the answers. It would suck to fail the exam just because you weren’t being careful!

Filed under: Certification, Microsoft SQL Server, Problem Resolution, SQLServerPedia Syndication Tagged: certification, problem resolution


My name is Kenneth Fisher and I am Senior DBA for a large (multi-national) insurance company. I have been working with databases for over 20 years starting with Clarion and Foxpro. I’ve been working with SQL Server for 12 years but have only really started “studying” the subject for the last 3. I don’t have any real "specialities" but I enjoy trouble shooting and teaching. Thus far I’ve earned by MCITP Database Administrator 2008, MCTS Database Administrator 2005, and MCTS Database Developer 2008. I’m currently studying for my MCITP Database Developer 2008 and should start in on the 2012 exams next year. My blog is at www.sqlstudies.com.


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