MCSD Test taking routine Guidance.

Discussion in 'MCAD / MCSD / MCPD' started by Dim me As New Geek, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. Dim me As New Geek

    Dim me As New Geek New Member

    Hope that title makes sense.
    Anyhow real quickly, I'm taking the Cert tests for MCSD soon. I'm going to a school that says they are a certified training center. Certified by who I'm not sure. This is all through workers comp insurance but I'll get into that later. The instructor at the school is not certified and has never taken any of the tests himself. He has a degree in Computer Science and owns his own consulting business. I am his first student and he will be taking the exams right along side me... He is really knowledgeable and knows "realworld stuff" which I need and enjoy. He really likes my programming and has already given me some work to do for his business, but I hear alot of: "but in the realworld". I mean thats more than okay, it's what I really need but as I have told him numerous times: I HAVE TO pass this test to even get into the realworld! The schooling is six weeks long and I have the instructor three days a week, and I'm the only student.

    My questions:
    Do "Certified" trainers know any inside information that would point me in the right direction of study? I would guess they do.

    Do the MCSD books from Microsoft build apon each other? What I mean is this: I am training from the Developing Web Applications book right now, next week I start the Developing Windows Applications (I think that's the name). Should I take the 305 exam next week while the overload of knowledge is in my head or will the the Developing Windows Applications help reinforce what I know for the web test? I have asked my instructor and he doesnt know either.

    Okay that's all the time I have so I hope someone can answer these questions in at least a general rule kind of way. I have more but I gotta go..
    Anyone have any good study tips I could use?

    Oh yeah the big question:

    Should I SCREAM for a Certified Instructor?

    Take care,
  2. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    The most important thing is that this guy can teach well and that you understand him.
    I've known people who were certified instructors or real boffins and I couldn't understand a word they said.

    When you say certified instructor, I guess you mean an MCT. To be an MCT they must have passed the exams they are going to teach, must have a 'higher' certification rather than a couple of MCPs and have demonstrated to Microsoft that they have teaching ability. This used to be done by submitting a video but is more commonly done by passing a 'train the trainer' course.

    MCTs have access to Microsoft 'official' training materials, but there are plenty of other ways of getting hold of it.

    The only other thing to consider is how he is supposed to prepare you for exams when he doesn't know what's in them?
    Maybe that's a good thing as you'll get a more rounded training rather than a week of braindumps.

    Microsoft MCP modules do not 'build' upon each other, although you can argue that an understanding of one can help you with another.
    As far as the Microsoft Press books go, I found doing 306 was 75% repeating what I had done in 305 more or less word for word.

    Usually I would say do one MCP at a time. 305/306 is a possible exception to this as they are so similar it might not hurt to do both at the same time. You're head is going to hurt anyway!

    Does this training camp offer any guarantees in getting you certified etc? Is it good value?
    There's nothing wrong with going with someone new, you often get a better deal that way because they haven't had chance to get cynical.

    Good luck!
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  3. Chris Winter

    Chris Winter New Member

    I passed 315 a couple of weeks ago and my study advice is as follows. (1) Spend as long as you need to get the core information in the Microsoft book into your head, so that you feel confident you have grasped the whole subject area reasonably well. (2) Spend as much time as possible working with practice questions from at least two sources.

    Step 2 is critical in my opinion. No matter how well you think you know the subject area of the exam you will have little chance of passing unless you are intimately acquainted with the specific types of questions that you are likely to get asked in the exam. Quite simply, the books do not cover everything you will be asked about in the exams and the level of detail of many exam questions is just too low for anyone to know the whole subject at that level of detail. For example, there are literally questions that require you to know what combination of properties of a specific class need to be set to what values to have a particular efffect!

    I'm not suggesting you cheat by using braindumps - there are loads of Microsoft approved providers of practice exams. These exams are passable - I passed my first exam first time with a good score, but would not have come close if I hadn't spent a good few days working with practice questions - even though I had spent 2 months digesting the contents of the book.

    ADO.NET accounts for at least 40% of the exam questions - know that area well!!

    Do you feel you are benefitting from an instructor? I have not personally found that instructors add much to what I learn from the books.

    Great to hear that 305 and 306 are so similar - I hope the same is true of 315 and 316

    Hope that helps. Good luck.

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