70-431 exam tips, and congrats to Jos Verbaken - MCTS
Jos Verbaken was a student of mine a few weeks ago. He lives in Ballarat, and is known around the Melbourne SQL Server User Group circles. He did the 5-day course 2780 - Maintaining a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Database. During the course, I encouraged the students to sit the exam 70-431, which the exam I wrote simulation questions for, and the exam which is half covered by the content in Course 2780 (the other half being from the 'Implementing' course 2779).
I did my standard trick of telling the students to take a chance on the exam without studying - just to find out what to expect from the exam, and to see which areas you feel you need to learn. Without the stress of feeling you have to pass, people are often more likely to get through it. Also, as the exams are designed to test your ability in the area, not just your ability to learn to pass the exam, you shouldn't have to study much. Most of all, the Microsoft certification exams are not like exams at university or high-school - you can try multiple times.
With 70-431, there are many simulation questions. The only real way you can learn about these is to use them. It's the best argument for doing a course as part of your study, because you get to use labs which cover lots of the GUI ways of doing things. I suppose maybe it helps being taught by someone who wrote the content, although I'm not about to give any hints about what you might need to know about to pass the exam. My biggest hint really is to just try it. Worst case you spend A$180 / US$125 and come out with a bunch of ideas about what you should spend time learning.
Of course, Jos didn't need to worry at all. He tried the exam recently and passed. That makes him a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist in the area of SQL Server 2005. Well done, mate!
My good friend Mitch Wheat (in Perth) passed some exams recently too, and is now an MCPD at least twice over. Thoroughly deserved, Mitch!