OdeToCode IC Logo

A Tip for Microsoft Certification Exam Takers

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

When I took my first certification exam years ago, I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for missing semi-colons, counting parenthesis, and studying variable names. I thought the exam might fool me into picking an answer with a syntax error, and I’d get the question wrong.

After working with the Assessment and Certification Exams team, I wish I knew then what I know now:

There are no trick questions on the Microsoft certification exams.

This is something the cert team wants people to know: if a question is asking about decryption using classes in the .NET framework, the question really is trying to test the candidate’s knowledge of the crypto classes. None of the answers will be wrong because of a missing semicolon. None of the answers will use the class System.Security.Cryptography.MagicDecoderRing, because it doesn’t exist. All the classes are real, there is nothing trying to hide in the code.

This isn’t to say you will never run across a typographical error on an exam. Typos can slip through, unfortunately, but they are rare. When people ask me now if I have any advice, I always say to spend your time finding the answers, instead of spending your time finding the tricks.