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  1. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #1

    Default SQL 2008 New 70-432 exam too tricky?

    I just went through a weeklong SQL 2008 bootcamp to prepare for the MCITP certification (70-432 and 70-450).

    Of the 10 people in the class only 4 passed 70-432 and only 3 passed 70-450 !! I don't think we had a bunch of newbies or slackers in the class, it just felt that the questions on the exam was more geared towards "tricking" you than testing your knowledge of the subject matter.

    Also a lot of the "there are more than 1 correct answer, choode the 1 that best applies..."

    I also heard that MS has recently made the two exams above harder to pass with more questions and more difficult questions.

    Have they gone too far, or have our class / instructor let us down? (we did plenty of practice tests with Transcender etc, but maybe we should have done more)

    3 out of 10 passing does not seem reasonable to me...


    - Fred
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  3. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #2
    What sort of hands-on, real-world experience do you have with SQL Server?
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  4. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #3

    Default Pretty difficult

    Well, I've tried this one twice (70-432) and got in the upper 400's and lower 500's respectively after studying like crazy, labs and practice tests. The second time I took it, I was actually feeling pretty good about the results while I was taking the thing. The results weren't pretty. It's pretty freaking hard in my opinion.

    I'm headed to a boot camp myself in a few weeks. Best of luck to anyone going for these!
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  5. Senior Member TheShadow's Avatar
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    #4
    Maybe I am cynical but I do not see a boot camp helping much in passing the 432 & 450 exam combination. Only lots of daily immersion work or lots of lab rat work at home will get you there. If work is paying for the boot camp then go for it. If it is coming out of your own pocket the money is probably better spent on a home lab and something like the Trainsignal deluxe video set.

    Anything with the letters SQL in them is just a very wide subject for doing boot camp only work and expect to pass exams. For most people it is slow absorption knowledge over a period of months, not weeks. Microsofts scenario questions seem to be geared for persons with large enterprise experience.
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  6. LCA
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    Technet Junkie LCA's Avatar
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
    Maybe I am cynical but I do not see a boot camp helping much in passing the 432 & 450 exam combination. Only lots of daily immersion work or lots of lab rat work at home will get you there. If work is paying for the boot camp then go for it. If it is coming out of your own pocket the money is probably better spent on a home lab and something like the Trainsignal deluxe video set.

    Anything with the letters SQL in them is just a very wide subject for doing boot camp only work and expect to pass exams. For most people it is slow absorption knowledge over a period of months, not weeks. Microsofts scenario questions seem to be geared for persons with large enterprise experience.
    Amen to those comments.

    I'm passionate about learning SQL Server and am gonna do the 432 exam when the local Prometric center re-opens post the devastating quake that hit us here on February 22nd. I've too have found that it takes a while to learn this stuff.

    A bootcamp would only help me possibly as a kind of top up to much previous study and lab work. I've been reading Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Internals and the in-depth coverage of the topics isn't very easy to digest.
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    #6
    I took 432 and 450 last month and they are tricky. For 432 you need practice and lots of it, no book or class covers it completely. I barely passed it scoring ~770, because I don’t have much experience and most stuff i only tried in lab.
    I used CBT video training, MSPress Self-Paced Training Kit for 70-432 and Real-World Skills for MCITP Certification and Beyond (Exams 70-432 and 70-450), read bunch of online blogs and labed a lot and still there were uncovered questions in exam.
    The 450 is tricky in that way that it normally has 3 good answers of 4 for every question and you must choose the best one. However this exam more questions theory and ability to think. Always keep in mind that MS prefers new technology against your beloved old way of doing things and you'll find the answer. For me this exam was much easier and passed with ~890. Also Knowledge of Windows server 2008 is required for this exam.
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  8. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #7
    For the typical IT guy who is used to picking up a cert guide, a reference, doing some lab work and passing the exam in a few weeks the SQL Server exams can be a shock.

    The knowledge required to be a good DBA and to be competent with SQL Server is very broad and deep. Not only do you need to really understand the fundamentals of Windows trouble shooting (using perfmon, etc) but there are SQL Server specific tools such as DMVs (I forget how many there are but over 100), Profiler, etc. On top of all that you then have to throw Relational Theory, storage concepts, disaster recover concepts, and performance tuning. Performance tuning in itself could take a year of study for an experienced SQL Server professional to really understand.

    IMO, if you are not working with SQL Server for several hours on a daily basis performing significant tasks, you will not have the required experience to pass these tests with just a few weeks of study. This is not another MS exams for a relatively easy to grasp enterprise application like SharePoint and it is not an exam like the 70-291 where it is complex but the logic of subnetting is easy follow once grasped. These exams are hard because the topic is exceptionally difficult.
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  9. Junior Member Registered Member
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    Post I guess I'm not alone... after all.

    I have to agree. Boot camp is just not going to cut it! In the past few days I have been second guessing my decision to sit for this exam. I have been working with SQL Server on-and-off-again since version 7. I guess you can say I would be considered a Jr DBA, by some (but I’m not officially a database guy, it’s just another task I do at work when needed) for about 3 years now. I feel comfortable working with SQL Server 2k-08 and understand the basics of T-SQL & troubleshooting SQL. I have done countless of SQL Server installations, DB backups, restores, SQL accounts management, and user DB access, and other minor task. I work in IT and know my way around Windows Servers and networks. Now this doesn’t make me ready for the exam but it should certainly help, or so I thought!

    I have taken the 6231A class (5 days) Maintaining a MS SQL Server 2008 database class last year. I have bought many books on SQL and SQL Server 2008 including the ones recommend here on the forums. I have been studying as much as I can (I’ll admit I’m not the best at this task, but I do it at my pace) for the past 3 months. I have the Train Signal videos and the Self Test practice exams purchased with my exam voucher. And after all this I’m still not comfortable with my “MS SQL Server Knowledge” required to take the exam. I guess I thought the all the material I have would be good, the books, videos, practice exam and the occasional SQL Server 2005/2008 Jr DBA duties I perform here at work BUT its still feels like its not enough! I’m failing ALL of my practice test.

    I have taken previous MS and CompTIA exams in the past and never felt like I do today. IMHO – I too feel like the OP: “that the questions on the exam were more geared towards "tricking" you than testing your knowledge of the subject matter.” Or what a typical DBA would know to be honest. I know a few experienced DBA's and they too would have to hit the books, Google, and TechNet for assistance when troubleshooting.

    I’m in a slump in my IT career. I’ve been lucky enough to do this since 1998. I’m an “IT Generalist” this is what I've become over time… A jack of all and a master of nothing. Don't let this happen to you! I like the SQL DBA stuff, but I also enjoy many other areas in IT. I want to move on to the next chapter in my career and this is the reason for coming back to certifications. To help me move ahead. I feel the need to specialize in 1 or 2 areas is important now. I hope for it to be SQL and Project Management. But I'm still researching. I hope to shake off this discouragement and get back to studying and finish this exam soon. I just wanted to share my story as I can see I’m not alone here on the 70-432 exam.
    Last edited by Cito; 04-27-2011 at 04:04 PM.
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  10. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Cito View Post
    I have to agree. Boot camp is just not going to cut it! In the past few days I have been second guessing my decision to sit for this exam. I have been working with SQL Server on-and-off-again since version 7. I guess you can say I would be considered a Jr DBA, by some (but I’m not officially a database guy, it’s just another task I do at work when needed) for about 3 years now. I feel comfortable working with SQL Server 2k-08 and understand the basics of T-SQL & troubleshooting SQL. I have done countless of SQL Server installations, DB backups, restores, SQL accounts management, and user DB access, and other minor task. I work in IT and know my way around Windows Servers and networks. Now this doesn’t make me ready for the exam but it should certainly help, or so I thought!

    I have taken the 6231A class (5 days) Maintaining a MS SQL Server 2008 database class last year. I have bought many books on SQL and SQL Server 2008 including the ones recommend here on the forums. I have been studying as much as I can (I’ll admit I’m not the best at this task, but I do it at my pace) for the past 3 months. I have the Train Signal videos and the Self Test practice exams purchased with my exam voucher. And after all this I’m still not comfortable with my “MS SQL Server Knowledge” required to take the exam. I guess I thought the all the material I have would be good, the books, videos, practice exam and the occasional SQL Server 2005/2008 Jr DBA duties I perform here at work BUT its still feels like its not enough! I’m failing ALL of my practice test.

    I have taken previous MS and CompTIA exams in the past and never felt like I do today. IMHO – I too feel like the OP: “that the questions on the exam were more geared towards "tricking" you than testing your knowledge of the subject matter.” Or what a typical DBA would know to be honest. I know a few experienced DBA's and they too would have to hit the books, Google, and TechNet for assistance when troubleshooting.

    I’m in a slump in my IT career. I’ve been lucky enough to do this since 1998. I’m an “IT Generalist” this is what I've become over time… A jack of all and a master of nothing. Don't let this happen to you! I like the SQL DBA stuff, but I also enjoy many other areas in IT. I want to move on to the next chapter in my career and this is the reason for coming back to certifications. To help me move ahead. I feel the need to specialize in 1 or 2 areas is important now. I hope for it to be SQL and Project Management. But I'm still researching. I hope to shake off this discouragement and get back to studying and finish this exam soon. I just wanted to share my story as I can see I’m not alone here on the 70-432 exam.
    I'm not to sure about the practice exams, but I know these exams are passable. They just are not as easy as some of the other MS certification exams. If a question is asking you which set of DMVs you would use to troubleshoot a certain issue either you know the answer cold, have some experience with it and might be able to get the right answer, or you just don't know the answer. IMO I never saw a question on the 2008 exams that I thought was an attempt at tricking me. But before my exam I was doing flash cards based on this document for a month before I took the test. I was also looking at other SQL professionals' queries using those DMVs. I was working with SQL Server professionally every day and I was labbing my but off. Score? Mid 800s.

    With a typical MS exam if you know the product and have good deductive logic you can pass the exam with minimal study. For example the Windows 7 exam. I took it in beta when there was no study material. I spent a few hours watching videos about the new features and took the test. Scored in the low 700s. Minimal study. But this product, SQL Server, is a monster!

    If you are shown 4 queries (a, b, c, d) based on 3 DMVs one doing an INNER JOIN, the second doing a LEFT JOIN, the third doing a RIGHT JOIN, the fourth doing an INNER JOIN but on different columns and you are asked which is correct you have to know your T-SQL, Relational Theory, and the proper relationships between the DMVs in question to get the answer right. The client OS exams NEVER go into that detail about command line options for NETSH or NTDSUtil. The reason being a desktop admin or server admin does not use those things on a regular basis, but a SQL Server professional probably writes JOINs on a daily basis.

    IMO, the 2005 exams were easier. Especially with the sims. But when I took my first one I scored a flat 700. I studied for more than 9 months but had no real professional experience at the time.

    I know I am going to sound like jerk for saying this but I believe it is true: if you fail an MS certification exam it is not because the questions were tricky (even though they are), it is because you don't know the product as well as you think you do. Some people do have a hard time with the deductive logic required by the questions, but those people usually pass the second try. When you use X regularly on the job and you do your job well it is easy to fool yourself into believeing that means you know X really well. But all it means is that you know X well enough to do your job at a high level. How often do we see this in the Windows XP forum or recently in the Win 7 forum?

    Cito - based on what you have said I would expect you to pass. Just make sure you get a second shot. Don't get psyched out!
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    #10
    Wow. I always believed that Robert could take any MSSQL exam blindfolded and pass it with scoring at least 1001. Then maybe I should be very happy with my result, because I almost don't work with MS SQL and before exams I even started to shiver when coworker from tier1 called me and said "You know, something is wrong with MS SQL server". At least I don't have this fear now. But mine 432 exam was obviously easier - hardly one question with DMV, only 10-15 questions including extremely simple T-SQL queries. No anything like JOIN statements. Maybe you have mistaken with developer exams?

    Seriously, I think 432 is worth to take for every modern Windows Server administrator. It really helps when you have to deal with software developers that tries to convince that your server is no good and then you can take profiler or activity monitor and show that server working fine and all queries are executed in no time. Or at least prevent meltdowns when you take full backup aside of schedule and then delete. It may corrupt whole backup policy if you wouldn't use WITH COPY_ONLY. Or why you shouldn't install SQL server under System local account.
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  12. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #11
    But before my exam I was doing flash cards based on this document for a month before I took the test. I was also looking at other SQL professionals' queries using those DMVs. I was working with SQL Server professionally every day and I was labbing my but off. Score? Mid 800s.
    This is where I need to improve. This is what I need to do to get beyond this point. Robert you hit the nail on the head here. Thank you… I know I still have quite a bit to learn, I guess I thought that using the variety of tools I would at least do better on the Self Test and get a warm fuzzy feeling that I’m retaining the material and progressing. Tricky may be the wrong word to use, but I did find questions that the books may simply gloss over. I printed out the “Skills being measured” and going to focus on one area at a time. Back to square one for me. I want to learn and understand the material better. Maybe I thought I did and to my surprise… Your post got me thinking and I hope to return one day and post my exam success. Thank you once again.
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  13. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #12
    Just put focus on where your are doing the worst on your practice exams and then keep hammering that area. Then move on to the next one. I fully expect to see a pass post within the next few months!
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  14. Junior Member Registered Member
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    Default Feel better - still think Q's were tricky

    OK, I feel better now after reading all the replies, BUT, I do use SQL in my work (mostly 2005 though) and I thought that after sitting through the bootcamp I would be able to pass... kinda what they promise in their blurb.

    The instructor also led us to believe that based on our questions in class, we were on the right track and should pass. After only 4 out of 10 did pass and 6 failed, he said that in his experience everybody that immediately re-take the exam passes later that week will pass.

    Well... 4 out of the 6 of us that failed the 1st exam for 432 then re-took the exam two days later and ... 3 out of that 4 failed again !
    ;-(

    So much for listening to his hype !

    I agree that lots of labs, studying, practice exams and use of the software will allow me to pass, I just feel that there were no questions on that exam that i would not have been able to answer with my trusty Management Studio and Books Online open.

    Which DBA knows all DMVs by heart anyway? You might know the ones that you frequently use, but I still think that an exam that uses that type of question (with maybe a deprecated parameter that is correct but not the answer they want thrown in just to further muddy the water) is just trying to trip you up.

    That type of thing is never going to happen in the real world. Either you understand the scenario that they sketch in the essay question and you know how to go about fixing it (with a peek at BOL if you want to make sure about the syntax), or you don't.

    No need to throw in similar answers that are also correct, just not the lates thing for SQL 2008 etc.

    OK, back to the books for me - I hope to report a pass in a few weeks.
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  15. PMP-Wannabe! erpadmin's Avatar
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    #14
    First of all, I am sorry you failed. I'm sure with proper study, you will be able to pass.

    After I'm done with MCITP:EA/SA, I plan on taking the SQL Server 2008 exams for the DBA but I want to knock out the WGU stuff first.

    I am curious to know what bootcamp you used. I think it might help anyone who would consider them and maybe they should stay away from that one.
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  16. Senior Member TheShadow's Avatar
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by fredscuba View Post
    No need to throw in similar answers that are also correct, just not the lates thing for SQL 2008 etc.

    OK, back to the books for me - I hope to report a pass in a few weeks.
    You might want to download this free ebook, june 2010, by three well known SQL MVP's. The beginning gives some insight (reading between the lines) of the rational for Microsoft being so picky. I think it is simply them wanting to kill deprecated methods.

    Red Gate Software - SQL Monitor and "SQL Server Tacklebox"

    The SQL Server DMV Starter Pack is a free eBook (84 pages) that describes 28 different ways that DMVs can be used with SQL Server. Not only is each way described in detail, but sample code is included so you can begin using the DMVs immediately. The book covers these uses of DMVs.

    This link is also a nice backup
    DMV (Dynamic Management View) Library | SQL Server | Database Management Community | Quest Software

    Good luck with your studies
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