This is the test that I was going to breeze through. I knew SSIS front to back, and all I had to learn was the new 2012 stuff. I figured at most a few days of studying, and the majority of that would be Data Quality Services and Master Data Services. And then I took a practice test… and did poorly. So then I took another practice test… and did poorly again.
Now I think, looking back, that the practice tests are not set up properly from the Microsoft Test Prep Kit. It appears they have an equal number of questions from each section of the skills measured, and it appears that they weight each of these as equal, instead of by the percentages that each are worth on the test. Either way, with practice test scores that were right at or below passing I wasn’t willing to take the chance. Even though I had played with them some, I was missing most of the questions on the new elements of SSIS and on the MDS / DQS tools. So, I went ahead and read the book, which I hadn’t planned on doing.
I have not really been all that impressed with the Test Prep Kit books in the past, both from the 2012 versions and the 2008 versions. Some were OK, most were somewhat poor. The book probably isn’t the best book to learn SSIS, and it certainly isn’t the book that covers SSIS the most in depth. It is not my favorite SSIS book.
But, this was a pretty good book. It covered most of if not all of the areas I would consider import. It did so in a logical order. It had a good mix of examples, practice questions, and background knowledge. After reading through the book, I was able to answer the majority of the practice questions without issue (However, I think that is probably because it appears that the pool of test questions was taken from the questions in the book – which I do not like). Overall I would recommend the book.
Then came time to set the test up, and for the first time it wasn’t a pick whatever time you wanted. I’m not sure what was going on, if anything, but I ended up having to set up a time during lunch and hope that I could get through the test relatively quickly to get back to work. When I got to the test center it was not a quick process. I think it took over half an hour for them to get the test started correctly. Very strange, not at all what I’ve experienced before.
I can’t remember how many questions there were, but I think it was about fifty. They had several choose the correct order, Lots of multiple choice and a few choose all that apply. For the most part standard. There were a few that I don’t know if I’ve seen before relating to drag out a component or property to the appropriate place. I would guess this is because SSIS is mostly GUI based so getting to know items like this in a method most similar to what you’d do while developing is a good idea. I don’t remember any questions that were terribly far fetched or that were based on a situation which I would not recommend doing to begin with. Overall I thought that the test taking experience was pretty good and that the test questions did a reasonably good job determining if you knew what you were doing.
And, now I have the MCSA: SQL Server certification. And we all rejoiced :-)