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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.

Tarun Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Very True Scott, All that is required is your knowledge about technology, no matter you refer Brain Dumps or Exam Cram.

Can u suggest me some guilines for the exam
"Developing web services and server components"

Looking forward for more such tips.
Lars Haupt-Hansen Tuesday, April 4, 2006
What do you mean: I use System.Security.Cryptography.MagicDecoderRing all the time :-)
scott Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Tarun: The best thing to do is write a lot of code for web services and server components ;)

Lars! I'm sure you are an even bigger fan of System.SuperStringBuilder ;)
John Meyer Tuesday, April 4, 2006
I respectfully disagree. Exam 70-300 is nothing but trick questions, and the only way to pass the test is by memorizing the answers from the brain dumps. The text book for that test was nothing but Micro$oft marketing propaganda.

As for the rest of my tests (MCSD - C#.NET & SQL 2000) I found them very fair tests and don't remember commenting on more than 2 or 3 questions out of the other 4 tests
Scott Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Fair enough, I've never seen 70-300. I can only say I think things are getting better. Some of the prep books out there are rubbish, I agree.
Tobin Titus Tuesday, April 11, 2006
70-300 was written before the exams for MCTS and MCPD were the new hotness. Having worked on the new certification track, I can say that there is not an emphasis "trick" questions in the MCTS exam, at the very least, that make you question typos and the like. The point is to see if you understand the technology. Will syntax issues ever pop up on the exam? Unfortunately, in some instances, yes -- but it's very rare. There are just some issues that you cannot ask questions about without delving into the syntax to make sure they understand the point of the type, member, or pattern.

My advice to anyone is to focus on the technology for the MCTS exams. Don't worry about "when should I use threading instead of the background worker process component?" Instead understand how to use threading and how to use the background worker process component for their intended purposes.
ali khalid Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I am a student of BCS and i will coplete my degree in one year time. I wanted to ask is it better to take the exams right after your bachelors or after 1 or 2 years of work exprience.
How much does the exam count towards securing a good job
scott Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Ali: I think anything you can do out of school to put more credentials on your CV is good. I think the exams will be more meaningful after some experience writing software - but that doesn't mean experience on a job, you can work on a project in school and that would also improve your job chances.
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