Test your SQL Server Readiness

Ready for the Implementing SQL Server exam? Be sure with this book.

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 ones.

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.

About the Author

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.


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