How do you know if you've studied enough to pass?
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I've had a few people ask me about assessment exams lately, so I thought this would make a good blog entry.
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With this checklist, you can track your progress on following the steps required to earn a certification. One of those steps is called Assess. Studying can take a lot of time and energy, and certification exams are usually $200!...so how can you make the most of your time and money?
1) Take an assessment exam for $10 (USD) to find out if you are prepared and if not, where to focus your studying.
2) Use one of the published Certification Study Guides.
DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Study Guide by Roger Sanders
DB2 9 Database Administration Certification Study Guide for Exam 731 by Roger Sanders
DB2 9 Database Administration Certification Study Guide for Exam 732 by Susan Lawson and Daniel Luksetich
DB2 9 Database Administration Upgrade Certification Study Guide for Exam 736 by Roger Sanders
DB2 9 Advanced Database Administration Certification Study Guide for Exam 734 by Roger Sanders and Dwaine Snow.
All five of these certification prep guides were written by members of the exam development team. That is, they created the questions for the certification exam that you are about to take! Also, each chapter of the book corresponds directly to a section on the exam. So, if you take the assessment exam and find out that you are week on a single topic, you simply need to read the chapter that corresponds to the topic where you need improvement. Lastly, the authors created a set of sample questions for the book that provides you with the correct answer to the question as well as an explanation as to why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect ones are not.
For reference and guidance beyond the exam, I suggest the following: DB2 9 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows: DBA Guide, Reference, and Exam Prep (6th Edition)
by George Baklarz and Paul Zikopoulos
All six of these books... and many more, can be read and searched electronically. Safari Online and Books 24x7 are two popular electronic book engines where these books are available. Why would you want to read a book electronically? You might not want to read an entire book electronically, but if you are browsing books to find out which one you should buy in print, searching and reading parts of the book electronically makes sense and may help you make the best choice on your purchase.
Also, if you are mostly prepared for the exam, but just want to do a bit of review before taking the exam, you might consider doing the review electronically. At the very least, I'd suggest reading the summary for each chapter, answering the sample questions that are found in the book, and reading the description for the answers. This can be done quite easily electronically.
Safari Books Online is a great electronic book engine and right now, you can receive a free 15-day trial. With Safari Books Online, you can search for a particular keyword, read the entire book cover to cover, or simply ensure that this is the book you need before you buy the printed version. Hurry! This offer has been held over until the end of 2009.
Books 24x7 is another great electronic book engine. IBMers world-wide can access books via this engine, free of charge. You can reach the site through many internal home pages. Many other companies and schools also have subscriptions to Books 24x7. Check with your company to see if you have a free subscription.
Be prepared for your exam... and good luck!