Two weeks ago now I found out that I failed my SQL Server 2008 MCM lab exam. I’m very disappointed. I walked away from the exam feeling I did as well as I could. There were a couple of questions I knew I didn’t do well on. There was another question which I thought I did complete as required, but on later reflection realised what I did was ridiculous even if it achieved the goal.
There is no doubt that the exam is tough. The questions (or scenarios as they put it in the exam) are often not overly complex. But time is an issue, you don’t have time to think too much, though clearly taking a few minutes to plan at the start of each question is sensible. I thought that the majority of questions were good questions, unlike many of the questions in the MCITP exams. They were as close to possible as mimicking real world scenarios, the only real difference being in the real world is that you would probably have more time to find the best solution and test it.
I passed the written exam on my first attempt, and felt with ease. Based on the score report I got back I didn’t do nearly as well as I expected. In some areas I really struggled. Though in others I seemed to breeze through it. I guess that represents my real world experience. I work primary on the dev side of SQL. I’ve always had a DBA or a team of DBA’s I could call on to setup things like replication & mirroring, and I only provide support on the code side rather than server outages or production issues. Whilst I have an interest in that side of things I’m not using those components on a daily basis which is what I think makes the real difference.
I didn’t study that hard for the exam to be honest. I did watch all of the SQL MCM Readiness videos and read a few blog posts on the recommended list. I thought it would be interesting to see how much I actually know already. I got through the written exam that way too.
I’m in two minds as to retry or not. I’m seriously pissed off with Prometric and Microsoft for the way they treated my during the written exam and lab exam. It took 11 weeks for me to get back my lab result which isn’t on. Prometric call centre staff have no idea about what or how MCM exams work which makes things very hard. I would really love to be a SQL MCM, it means little career wise for me, it’s more of a personal goal. But like I said to Bob Taylor (Microsoft SQL MCM Program Manager) the MCM exam process still feels like a beta. Not the actual exams itself. Just the organisation around it (or lack of it). Bob is new to the job and I sincerely hope he turns it around. I’m not sure how because the biggest stumbling block is Prometric and I doubt he has too much say with them. I can’t see how MS can dump Prometric, even for just the MCM exams. I wish they could.
Had it not been for the Yammer community I really would not have had a clue about what to expect, when I should expect results and just the general workings of these exams. If you are thinking of taking the exam I strongly recommend signing up to the group (contact Jason Strate for an invite).