Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Simulation Questions in 70-431

There's an interesting discussion of the 70-431 here that confirms that there are simulation questions in the exam. This means that you really do have to know how to configure settings and carry out tasks with Management Studio in addition to knowing the Transact-SQL commands.

The 2779 and 2780 MOC courses I attended had a lot of practical labs and exercises; but because we were covering the material in five days (rather than six) we only did about half of the hands-on material. I have a lot of practical exercises in the course notes I could do (or repeat) that should cover a lot of what could come up in simulation questions. There are also some practical exercises in The MS Self-Training kit. I've already started working on the course module on security. Incidentally, I've also noticed that the course material often goes a fair bit deeper than the MS Self-Training Kit.

One notable exception from the 2779 and 2780 MOC material is that full-text indexing is not mentioned at all in either course despite being very definately listed in the official prep guide. There does not appear to be a single "perfect" training rescource that covers every topic to the required depth. The MS Training Kit plus Books Online (and preferably the 2779 and 2780 MOC courses) comes pretty close. I think that ticking off the various topics and sub-topics in the official prep guide is a must to make sure that you have covered all the bases.

I'm also getting that impression that this exam is not a push-over, especially if you are relatively inexperienced at SQL Server. I think this is easily the hardest exam I have attempted yet. I'd better fire-up my virtual machine ...