Two things happened to me this morning. First, I woke up and took the written test for the SQL Server Microsoft Certified Master. Second, I failed said exam. While that might be a circumstance for pity, we should all be glad.
Where’s the bar?
First off, the exam is tough. Anyone that thought that the changes were going to inappropriately lower the bar for this certification should guess again. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable and I struggle – not too much. But failing definitely means I wasn’t at one with the knowledge required for the exam. Knowing myself, I don’t know how comfortable I would have been with passing the test had I made it first time out.
Cramming versus Knowing
Next, I crammed a lot in this past weekend. How much of that will I retain? It might not matter to all, but it really matters to me whether or not I know what I am being tested on. Will I know what I have been certified as knowing six months from now? I come from the school of thought that you can count on it that I will.
One benefit of taking the exam today is that when I take it next time, I know what to expect. Sure the questions will be different, but the domains and the depth to which the questions go – I know that now. This is a powerful tool because I’ve validated that the things I thought I didn’t know very well – I certainly don’t know those things very well.
I have always given myself permission to fail. If you don’t it’s hard to accept and face risk. At the end of the day it is just a test – pick an answer and move on. Or sometimes at the end of the day – it’s just karaoke.
Now that I know where I need to go, it’s time to really start learning again. I can’t retake the exam for 90 days, but I will be there on February 20, 2011 to take the exam again. Right before the MVP Summit – so if I fail again I am sure to face some level of (deservedly) public humiliation.
I’m excited. I’m jazzed. Hell, I’m watching an MCM video right now. Dang, Paul has a soothing voice. Love the accent.