We gave another 200 exams on our third day. This brings the total number of exams given this week to over 600! We've been giving free exams to the attendees of this conference for more that 7 years now, so the attendees look forward to this offer.
Our exams normally cost $150 per try, so many conference attendees use this savings as a way to justify their conference fees. There are attendees who have taken and PASSED more than 5 exams this week. That is a significant savings for their companies, just in terms of the exam fees.
Also because our free testing is an annual event, people are coming prepared. I find that our first day pass rate for exams is extremely high largely due to the fact that people are preparing to take the exams before they come. We also run pre-conference exam crammer courses on the Sunday before the exams begin and I find that these people usually do well on the exams. This year we had Susan Lawson, Roger Sanders, and Bob Snell teach the crammer courses and those who attended them found them to be very useful.
The passing rate seems to fall as the week progresses though. I think this is due to the fact that people have passed the exams that they really wanted to pass and begin trying exams that they aren't fully prepared for. This is fine since each exam can be taken twice while at the conference and the score reports help people pin point the areas where they need to do more studying.
I had a few people comment that they aren't fans of certification exams because they know others who have passed an exam simply by reading a book. Although I'm sure it happens that a person passes an exam by reading a book, I find that our exams are experience-based and tend to be very difficult to pass simply by reading a book. In fact I have found that there are people who have worked on DB2 products for years but their focus is so narrow that they need to broaden their understanding of the product by reading books or taking classes before they are able to pass the exam.
The class we ran for the CM exam seems to have been successful. We had 40 people attend a three hour session after the conference ended for the day. Most of these people came to take Exam 443 as it was a very busy day for us!
The bookstore closed at the end of yesterday with not a single z/OS book remaining! Perhaps this means that the adoption rate for DB2 z/OS V8 is increasing! Susan Lawson's certification guide, Craig Mullins' Developer Guide, and Susan Sloan's Official Guide were the three top sellers at the conference. All three titles sold out of the copies the publisher brought to the conference and many orders were placed for books to be shipped directly to the reader.
That's it for today. Only half a day left at CMTC and a day and a half at the Information Management Technical Conference.