How to Pass the SQL MCM Exam
The number one question I hear from prospective Microsoft Certified Masters in the Yammer study group is, “How deep do I need to go on each topic?”
The MCM is a relatively new certification program (as opposed to the MCITP) so there’s no boot camps or braindumps. This makes it tough for candidates to feel confident that they know enough to splurge on the written test. After all, this is a hell of a tough test, and at $500 per take, it’s not cheap either.
Or is it?
What if, out of paranoia, you spend the next three months of your life studying furiously, trying to cover every base before you take the test? You read every book you can find, digest every whitepaper, run every demo script, and sleep with our book under your pillow, all in the hopes that you’ll pass the $500 test on your first try.
To hell with that.
I’d pay $500 not to go through that ridiculous work. Instead, pull up your resume. Look at the first date when you started working with SQL Server. If it was 8 years ago, get your credit card out, and register for the exam. (If you haven’t taken both the MCITP DB Dev and MCITP DBA tests, do those first, of course.) Don’t cram the night before, don’t consider it your first attempt, and don’t even dream that you’ll pass. This is your sanity check about which topics you know well and which topics you need to study.
See, the MCM is different because there’s no structured study program, no simple 1-week course to take. You have to make tough decisions about where you want to invest your prep time. Make the best decision possible by taking the test and understanding your comfort level with the questions. As soon as the exam is over, get a pen out and start writing down the areas where you weren’t comfortable, and spend the next couple/few months studying those areas.
After you pass the written exam, you still have to tackle the lab exam – no small feat. I don’t recommend this same course of action on the $2,000 lab exam. When it’s time to take the lab, read my thoughts on the MCM labs, and plan your attack.
You can do this. I did.