One of the best ways to prepare for the CMA exam is to use a test preparation package. A good one will allow you to quickly answer questions and understand the material so that you can pass the test the first time you attempt it. To do my Microsoft certification online, I used a test prep software that allows me to choose tests that I need to know more about. This way, I could choose tests that will help me learn about database design or programming.
My test plan was prepared by a company called Queried Dot Com. They have several different packages available that will prepare you for the CMA exam. I actually tried several before I found the one that worked the best. You can get a free demo, download the test package, and get started right away. It is very easy to use.
First I downloaded the program and installed it on my computer. Then I loaded my test plan into the Queried Dot Com database. Then I began to import my data into it. The test plan walked me through the steps of importing my data and how to prepare it for the actual exam. The Queried Dot Com tutorial that I read helped me put my data in the right places.
Once my test data was imported, I also ran a quick query to see how many queries my database would need to perform. It did not take long to get the numbers I needed. Now I knew my software was ready for the CMA test. Only one more thing was needed. I clicked “Run” and my test code was immediately executed.
The time it took for my test code to execute was less than one second. I knew my software was ready for the CMA exam, but it was good to know what questions I would be asked. Now I just needed to wait for my time to expire so I could go over my answers and refresh my memory.
I tested my database was I prepared my questions properly. I was able to determine which questions would give me the answers I needed in order to pass my CMA exam. Now I knew my next step.
I contacted the company that created the software to find out if they had a trainer. They did not. This is when I decided to purchase my own copy. I now have the luxury of being able to learn how to properly test my database software from the experts.
Once I learned the shortcuts and functions to use in TSQL statements I was able to do more then just create a simple text file containing data. I was able to create a report from my reports. I was even able to apply filters to my data. I no longer had to rely on Microsoft Excel or other VBA programs to prepare my reports.
With TSQL I now have the luxury of having all my data ready to run through my queries in a few minutes. If I knew how to prepare my queries before going through them in my test lab I could save precious time. I did not know I would be surprised at how fast my queries performed in my exam.
My test group was only four people; I thought this would make it easier to focus my practice questions on each candidate and further my knowledge of the material. As it turns out, my lucky group was not a good representation of the average exam group. In order to keep track of which candidate ran the fastest queries I turned to an external database that showed the times each candidate ran their queries. This enabled me to eliminate the slower candidates and concentrate my attention on those that understood the material well. With these results in hand I was able to focus my practice exams on those candidates who passed the first test.
In my next article we will look at what questions are on the exam that will challenge the SQL Server professionals. My experience running a series of queries on the same data showed me how easy it is to prepare for the exam. It also showed me how easy it is to learn how to use the tooling provided by the database tools. Running quick queries on your data can eliminate a lot of the data entry that will be needed when you are answering questions on the material. You do not want to have to guess at how to do something if you do not know the SQL commands. And most importantly you do not want to spend hours answering SQL questions that can be eliminated in your preparation.