I passed this exam on Friday. This was a hard one. Having taken it just over 2 months ago, and failing it, I changed the way I prepared for exams.
Previously, I’d been reading the material on the MS Learning Plan for the exam, and any associated books. For the 70-451 exam I did 6 weeks or so back, I did alot of reading of blog articles, MSDN and Books Online. For this exam however, I didn’t find the Learning plan overly helpful, and there are a huge amount of blog articles on Database Administration (some of which is contradictory).
So, having failed the exam, which isn’t a bad thing, as it proves that the exams aren’t so straightforward that everyone can pass first time, I made notes on the areas I was weakest. Then looked for relevant articles in those areas. The difficult part was finding blog articles by people who knew what they were talking about. A couple of the most useful were John Sansom (particularly the Something for the Weekend: SQL Server Links posts), and the articles from Jonathan Kehayias from SQLSkills (particularly those on Extended Events and Clustering). Thanks to you both!!
I did also find a useful book, and even better, it was one I already had. SQL Server 2008 Administrator’s Pocket Consultant (2nd Edition) by William Stanek was a great help, and while I’d read bits and pieces before, going through it from cover to cover was really helpful.
Having completed this exam, I’ve now completed the prerequisites for the SQL Master Certification, and I’ll be looking to take the Knowledge exam before Christmas.
First though, I’m going to have a break from studying for SQL Server exams. Just for a couple of days. Something different for a change, PowerShell or C++. We’ll see… Just for a couple of days though…