Has anyone tried using SO/ SF to study for a certification exam?

For example reading all windows 2008 questions to prepare for MCSE.

If so, was it any use?


Having done most of the MS exams, and being an MCT, I can say that using the question on SO to study will not help very much, unless the question is related to the base framework.

The exams are specific to the course material, with the questions drawn out of the theory explained in the courses. Therefore even if there is a better way of doing it as defined by the web, SO or other sources, the answers required in the exam has to be according to the course material.

You can definitly gain knowledge via SO, but it won't have much value in the exams.

  • 6
    And that's the reason why the simple fact of having a certification is pretty much a useless indicator of whether you really know what you're doing: it only tests whether you are able to regurgitate the course material.
    – tvanfosson
    Sep 19 '09 at 12:32
  • It does teach you a lot about the Framework, don't get me wrong, but it is useless if you have no prior working experience. Unfortunately most countries ignore Microsoft's prerequisites for these exams, which is why these certifications have such a bad connotation. I learned more during writing my exams then I ever would have known otherwise, but I already had 10+ working years, 6 of which was .Net. I passed my first 3 (MCAD) not studying at all, but my MCPD was harsh since it is about architecture, not coding skill. To be an MCT you must pass the exams to be able to train the course. Sep 19 '09 at 13:36
  • 2
    My experience with many Oracle certification questions: They describe a task, and give you a choice of four ways to do it, none of which is anything like what you'd use in the real world. All but one have some subtle flaw. The exams encourage knowledge of trivia rather than general competence, since trivia is much easier to test. Sep 19 '09 at 14:35
  • 2
    The newer Microsoft exams have finely started to fix the problem that David mentioned. They give you a problem, and then RDP you into a server to correct the issue or setup the configuration. They don't care how to get to the answer, as long as the correct setting are set in the end. I've taken several of these new exams, and they actually test more knowledge and less what was in the book, as without knowing the platform you can't get the answer right.
    – mrdenny
    Sep 20 '09 at 0:06
  • @mrdenny: When taking these new exams is it possible to use the internet? If so it would seem useless, even if thats what I would do in the real world.
    – Kredns
    Sep 20 '09 at 4:30
  • @Lucas: The ones I have taken, they are in a controlled room with only the test computer, no internet, you can't take anything with you (notes, phone, etc), along with other rules. The only thing on the computer is the test itself and nothing else. At least that is my experience so far.
    – Troggy
    Sep 20 '09 at 6:26
  • @mrdenny I forgot about the new format for the Server and SQL exams, unfortunately the Developer exams don't work the same way because of nature of the exams. The simulation are nice thought. Sep 20 '09 at 8:41

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