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MCTS 70-536 ... Self Paced Training Kit HELP!

Discussion in 'MCAD / MCSD / MCPD' started by WhoSaidSitDown, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. WhoSaidSitDown

    WhoSaidSitDown New Member

    Morning All!

    I'm looking at studying for my MCTS 70-536.

    Any advice on which book I should buy?

    I have noticed that there is a 2nd addition on the Self Paced Training Kit available, cheaper on amazon than the first edition ... should I go for this?

    I have been working with the first addition initially (first couple of chapters) from a PDF document of the book, but now I want to purchase the actual book and cd.

    1st Edition:
    ISBN: 0735622779
    MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft® .NET Framework 2.0-Application Development Foundation: Microsoft.NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Pro-Developer) (Hardcover)

    2nd Edition
    ISBN: 0735626197
    MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft® .NET Framework-Application Development Foundation, Second Edition: Microsoft.NET Framework ... Foundation (Self-Paced Training Kits) (Hardcover)

    There's not much difference in the price, but I would rather buy the book which is most relevant to the exam.

    Look forward to hearing from you all !!!

  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    I expect they just took the chance to fix a few things and create a second edition, as far as I know the actual exam was unchanged when they moved from .Net v2 to .Net v3 tracks, the same exam is valid on both tracks. Which track are you planning to take ?
  3. WhoSaidSitDown

    WhoSaidSitDown New Member


    I'm looking to go down the MCTS track ... Framework Exam, then Windows Apps.
  4. DJN

    DJN New Member

    Hi WhoSaidSitDown,

    I'm also studying for 70-536. Like you, I started from a .pdf version of the first edition of the MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536) (the one that was written by a handful of different authors). I found it almost useless, as it's riddled with errors:x. There are four pages of errors listed on the Microsoft support website. Before you get too far into the book, I'd suggest that you check out the errata - in case you learn some things that are just plain incorrect. The first page of the corrections can be found here, and there are further links at the top of that page that will take you to the other three pages.

    As a result of the errors in the first edition, I bought the second edition from Amazon. It is written entirely by one guy (Tony Northrup I think) who was one of the co-authors of the first edition. It is far better written than the first book, but, somewhat worryingly, doesn't cover some of the material to nearly the same depth. e.g. First Edition: Chapter 4: Collections and Generics, 5 lessons = 80 pages, Second Edition: Chapter 4: Collections and Generics, 2 lessons = 32 pages.

    As a result, I'm planning on working from the second edition, but supplement it by dipping into the first edition to cover any areas that the second edition seems to gloss over.

    From what I've read elsewhere on the internet, you need to supplement the study of the book(s) anyway by using the MSDN. I found a page here that provides links to the MSDN articles all together in one place (it's based on Microsoft's own 'Skills Measured' criteria).

    In conclusion, I would recommend the second edition of the book - but wouldn't get rid of the .pdf first edition yet! Just keep all the errors it contains in mind!

    Best of luck with the exam, I'd be interested to hear how you get on.
  5. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    I meant are you taking the .Net 2.0 or .Net 3.0/3.5 track ?

    The book has a fair few errors but I managed to do all the examples and take the exam and pass from it, though I didn't get a great score.

    The book by itself is not enough to pass the exam, I expect this holds for the second edition also.

    I would reccomend the second edition as it most likely has less errors and is more up to date, which is always good ! However make sure you read around the topics unless you are already a .Net Guru.

    Technical books often take a few editions or a lot of peer review to get the errors out. This is a point I have made before on these forums, if MS push for a new cert track on every product release and they have an aggressive product release cycle, then it leaves no time to adequately prepare the exams, courses and other materials.

    I really think development exams should be as version agnostic as possible and teach fundamentals. It seems even they have finally realised this as they have kept the same exam and materials for 70-536 for both tracks.

    The exams just like the software should be modular and reusable.
  6. zardoz

    zardoz Bit Poster

    I am studying for 70-536 and using the second addition and it seems OK. However I am quite new to .net (but a seasoned VB6/SQL Server developer). I would advise doing all the exercises as this really helps you understand the power of various features - theres nothing like getting down and dirty with the code to cement understanding.

    As an aside, I must admit I sometimes question whether I should be studying for the certification now, as MS recommend 2 years .net experience first. However, I find that I am grasping the material fine by studying the book and reading around the topics on BOL where necessary, and as I say doing the practical exercises. I also read an O'Reilly book on starting VB.Net from cover to cover before this one.

    My belief is that MS want to get away from people doing the exams as a way into IT and position them as proof of an IT professionals existing knowledge. My attitude however is that programming is programming and Microsoft is trying to position .net as a more "intellectually challenging" set of technologies than others for marketing reasons. OK there is a jump to be made to OO concepts but its not as big as the OO design evangelists would have us think. My department will be moving to .net soon and I want to get some skills built up before that - and if I am doing that I may as well sit some exams too. If that doesn't fit with Microsofts "roadmap" for certification, thats just tough you know what as far as I am concerned. If I pass the exam (which I am confident I will given sufficient preparation) I am entitled to the certification - end of.

    Anyway, the book seems reasonably error free so far (am only half way through). It comes with a 90-day evaluation of Visual Studio .net (which last for longer if you uninstall it and install it again, although I couldn't possibly endorse such behaviour...) and some fairly good testing software to help your exam prep.

    Good luck with the exam
    Certifications: MCITP Sql Server 2005 (Developer)
    WIP: MCTS .Net

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