Test your SQL Server Readiness
Ready for the Implementing SQL Server exam? Be sure with this book.
- By Paul G. Brown
Instead of hesitantly thinking, "Am I ready?" the morning
of your exam, wouldn't you rather be saying, "I'm ready!"
with confidence? Boost your confidence with MCSE Readiness
Review Exam 70-029: Designing and Implementing Databases
with Microsoft SQL Server 7.0.
The Readiness Review series are not learning tools; instead,
they're assessment tools for experienced candidates to
determine the areas they need to cover with their studies.
A typical package will consist of a book and CD, which
are primarily practice exams. The CD is similar to other
practice exams in that it imitates the style and feel
of a Microsoft test.
This particular book is organized around the areas of
study as laid out in the Microsoft Preparation Guidelines.
The first thing you'll notice flipping through it is that
one page contains the question and the next page contains
the answer. Rarely is there more than one question per
page. While it's a little odd at first, the format really
works when you're trying to find those weak spots. Instead
of bouncing around, you get several questions on that
topic for thorough coverage. The format will also have
you reading each answer. This is critical when taking
any certification test and a great habit to learn. I managed
to get through about three chapters while driving on a
short trip (OK, my wife was driving). At the end I knew
that I had read most of the possible answers and was comfortable
with the material.
When you find an area that needs some work, you'll have
to look to another source. Fortunately, the author includes
several links where these resources can be downloaded
for free. For example, Chapter 3.7 sites MS SQL Server
Transact-SQL and Utilities Reference with a link to the
site where you can download this information. Still, the
answers could have been somewhat more detailed increasing
the value of the book.
A big downside to this book is that once you pass the
test, its useful life is over. The only possible reason
you'd hang onto it would be to use it to brush up before
a technical interview. Beefing up the answers would have
increased the lifespan somewhat. Another problem is that
you'll quickly memorize the answers, especially the easier
One possible plan for getting the most use out of this
book would be to hit all of the Further Reading sections
of each chapter and download all the materials. Second,
go through the Key Terms portion of each chapter and make
a list, adding your own definitions so that they sink
in. Then hit each chapter, reading the resource material
for each answer you miss or are unsure of. After you've
finished with the book, pull out the CD and give it a
couple of tries.
If you want to know the answer to that first question,
this is the tool. Experienced developers will be able
to polish the rough spots, review some areas not recently
worked on and just be ready. Novices should look on this
as the last step in the process-it will let you know when
you are done with all the other materials.
Paul G. Brown, MCSD, a developer, speaker, and a frequent contributor to MCPmag.com, lives in New Berlin, Illinois. When not in front of the computer, he can be found chasing Jerry, Wesley, Jordan and Dillon for Mom.