Slow slog

Once again, I got distracted by other things and put off studying.

Earlier this week, I enlisted some friends to help me stay on track. I set a goal of taking the 70-461 exam by the end of January.

Considering that I was still on chapter 2 of a 17 chapter book, that might be a bit too ambitious, but I can always reevaluate in a couple weeks.

Microsoft “toolkit” books for certain exams are only sort of prep for the exams. The authors don’t have access to the exams and the exams aren’t written to the books* – like a final exam for a course might be.

The Microsoft exams are aimed at people who have been working with the software for a couple of years. That strikes me as a bit odd – that you’d expect someone to work with something before knowing that they won’t break it.

The books are written in a way that generally meets the goals of the tests, though. The authors seem to work from Microsoft’s list of “skills measured” by the test.

I’m finding that some of the material is very easy for me, and other parts aren’t. That’s good because I can’t get cocky about what I know.

I’m also using Joes2Pros SQL Server 2012 book 1

I’m going to use the blog to put “notes” from what I’m learning.

*All learning materials related to exams, including Microsoft training and Microsoft Press resources, are developed independently of exam content, because the exams are intended to assess competence when using the technology, not the effectiveness of training materials or learning. Qualified candidates must have sufficient experience in working with the technology to pass the exam. Training is a great first step in preparing for a Microsoft Certification exam, but it is not required and does not guarantee that you will pass the exam. Experience is required.

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Focusing on the first test

In my post titled Learning, I talked about beginning to study for the MTA 98-364 test.

I started out trying to take the practice tests on MeasureUp.com without enough preparation. I took them in “study mode” since that I way I could see answers and take notes. I was only scoring 50-60% at first, and I knew it was because I wasn’t really prepared.

I took notes from the test questions and started to get better scores but still didn’t really feel like I have a handle on anything.

I finally actually started going through the main book I’m using and taking notes. I read the reviews for the book, and many say the book doesn’t help much, but I am finding it fairly helpful.

It’s filling in some gaps in my knowledge, especially because I’m such a beginner. But there are some frustrations.  There are questions at the end of each chapter. But I have no way of knowing if my answers are correct. I could not get access to any materials from the publisher because I’m not in school or an instructor.

I found two fairly decent study sources online that have the same questions, but the answers on both sites don’t always agree with each other and on a couple questions, I’m pretty sure they’re just plain wrong.