I’ve been doing my best to procrastinate taking all of these certification exams, so I finally had to just schedule and go, ready or not. So, a week after the 70-536 .NET exam and feeling a bit rusty with BizTalk 2004, I took 74-135, the BizTalk Server 2004 TS exam. Passing is 700, there are 40 questions and you have two hours max.
Fresh hands-on experience definitely helps with this test, as well as a lot of facts and useless knowledge like the command-line parameters to the management tools. Microsoft’s expert test writers seem to believe that one will not have access to the product documentation to simply LOOK UP command-line parameters!
Having not laid a hand on BizTalk (2004) for at least three months, and having procrastinated studying again, I wasn’t looking forward to test day, but I passed and it’s done, so it was worth the trouble.
So how did I prepare (or not, in this case)? I read the first 300 pages of BizTalk 2004 Unleashed in the three evenings prior as a refresher. Beyond that I relied on my brief experience of 6-8 weeks earlier this year developing with BizTalk messaging and orchestrations, and I have done many BizTalk installs with both 2004 and 2006, not to mention debugging other peoples’ BizTalk solutions.
The test manages to hit almost every aspect of BizTalk, including Messaging, Orchestrations, HWS, BAM, BAS, installation and management. That’s why the hands-on experience is so important.
While the blog has been silent over the last couple of months, I’ve been preparing for and taking more certification exams. That amidst never-ending yard and house work in this unusually dry, hot summer.
A couple of weeks back, I took the 70-536 exam and walked away with a score of 895. Disappointing (yes, all things are relative) because I got 100% on the sections that should have been the hardest for me and missed questions on “easier” sections. However, a lot always depends on how they phrase the questions and how much you read into them. This was no better than any of the past MS exams in that regard.
I’m now certified as an MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications. Could they make these titles any longer? My end goal is MCPD, which requires three more exams (argh).
The majority of the 45-question, 2-hr max test was code questions where you have four or five code samples from which to choose. There were also “choose and order” questions where you have 6-7 actions and you have to pick just the ones you need and put them in the right order.
None of the exam prep books were available when I prepared for this test, and the scope of this exam is so large that I resorted to simply reading the MSDN class library documentation. I went through each class in the exam prep list, looked it up and read the docs. Yes, it was every bit as painful as it sounds. I used the MeasureUp practice test after I had read through everything.
The official MS Press prep book is finally available, with another non-Microsoft book supposedly coming soon. Here’s the exam prep guide.