It’s the eve of my 70-433 exam and I’m not feeling terribly confident about my chances of passing the test tomorrow.
I’m sure a portion of my self-doubt is just normal pre-test jitters. It’s been nearly four years since I took a Microsoft exam and I recall being convinced I had failed the last one (70-290 – Windows Server 2003 Administration) until the nice little screen popped up and said that not only had I passed, but I’d only missed two questions!
The other portion of my anxiety is because I really haven’t focused on studying as much as I had hoped – despite setting a clear goal and mapping out time to accomplish it. I’m really good at procrastinating and in the midst of these few weeks of studying I also made a quilt, painted my home study and started playing a few new video games – I’m sure these were in some ways just to avoid studying.
Here are my pre-test thoughts on the test objectives:
Implementing Tables and Views (14 percent)
I feel pretty confident about this objective. I’m strong in creating and altering tables and views and indexing. I’m not quite as confident about spatial data types, partitioning and I’m worried there will be nit picky questions where they put some command in a statement that isn’t compatible because the table doesn’t have a PK and I’ll miss something little like that.
Implementing Programming Objects (16 percent)
Overall, not as confident on this one. I’m good with stored procedures, transactions and error handling. Not quite as confident about CLR and UDFs.
Working with Query Fundamentals (21 percent)
I’m probably the most confident about this section – this is what I do all the time and the new features I learned about (MERGE, OUTPUT, GROUPING SETS, PATINDEX, etc.) are things I could find practical applications for and I really got into trying them out. Unless there’s some nit picky trick questions, I think this section will go well.
Applying Additional Query Techniques (15 percent)
I have medium confidence here. I’m not too worried about subqueries, controling execution plans or the collation stuff but although I’ve done a lot of practicing, CTEs (especially recursive) and the ranking functions might stump me.
Working with Additional SQL Server Components (11 percent)
I could set up Database Mail and get it to work but I didn’t memorize all the ins and outs. Full Text search seems pretty straight-forward but I didn’t spend a lot of time on it and didn’t actually try it out at all. Not feeling great about the Service Broker or the change tracking either. This section probably won’t go well.
Working with XML Data (12 percent)
Ugh. I dread this section. I actually even had a real value use for some of the features of XML with SQL Server but I couldn’t get them to do what I wanted and found the syntax – especially OPENXML and XQUERY to be painful and think it would be easier to write C# code to convert XML data to relational data. I am comfortable with XML in general, the FOR XML portions, basic XPATH and schemas. I doubt that will be enough knowledge though.
Gathering Performance Information (11 percent)
This section is also something I’m pretty familiar with. Although I don’t use them a lot in my current role, I spent several years needing to regularly use Profiler or read execution plans to diagnose issues. I’m not as experienced with the Database Tuning Advisor (but it’s pretty much just a wizard from what I can tell) and I can figure out which DMV or catalog to use when I need it but I certainly don’t have them memorized. Overall, I’m fairly confident with this section though.
The exam is at 10am tomorrow. I’m a fast test taker – either I know it or I don’t – but I’m going to try to go slow and really use all of the time I can to go over things in detail. I should have a verdict by 1pm.