I had a goal to get MCPD by the end of this month. I knew it was going to be tough given I had a 40hr/wk job to go to, but since my wife+baby where going to be out of town for a couple of weeks, I thought that this would be the ideal time block to get this done.
Two weeks ago I booked an exam time for today and bought the MCPD Training Kit from Borders and started reading. I was studying for the 70-551 which is the upgrade from MCAD to MCPD WebDev exam, but the kit is for the three individual exams that actually make up the 70-551.
It was a stretch, but I managed to read all three books cover to cover; well, sort of. I skipped the reviews and exercises. I also installed the training programs and went through the entire lesson review quiz type dealie. Last night I was going to go through that again and I thought to try the 'certification mode' on the training program. I didn't bother before because I thought it was the same stuff, just timed and only 45 random questions, and I thought it better to be thorough. Well, no, the questions were completely different. Some seemed to ask about stuff I never heard of. Panic. I stayed up nearly all night to race through the random certification mode a couple of times and find what they were talking about a study for it. Had I seen this the day before, I would have rescheduled the test for sure. I found out today that you can customize certmode to show everything like lesson review mode. (I thought selecting the customize tab was taking me back to the lesson review content.)
Anyway, I managed to get pretty comfy with the MCTS content, but just didn't have much time spent with the MPCD part. It was also the case that I rushed the MCPD content during the main study, as it was the last book and I basically read it Sunday afternoon to evening.
Result? FAIL! 4 hours gone.
Yep, I failed, but just barely. Apparently, the 70-551 is independently scored in three sections. You're given over an hour for each section and they are timed independently, but fail any section and you fail the whole thing. In trying to read the sheet with bars on it for the individual sections, it looks like I got 3 wrong out of 30 on the 70-528 part, 3 out of 28 wrong on the 70-536 but I must have gotten 10 wrong out of 30 on the 70-547 part since my score was 670. Ouch. Dang. Had I just gotten one more right, I would have squeaked by. Glad I registered for the free "second shot". What's odd is that in flipping through the 70-547 book, little in it looked familiar, as in, I don't remember that stuff on the test. There was several completely novel bits on the test, like how to use SetAccessRuleProtection. Stuff I searched the book for but didn't find. I might stumble upon it if I run the certmode a few more times. Another oddity is that the bar for the 70-547 looks more like 730 - yes, I measured it.
For those of you thinking about taking any of these tests, I would still say don't wuss out and shape test your way through it, but make sure you try the custom 'certification mode' before you take your test!
This is not the same experience that I had with the older MCAD related ones. They matched up pretty good with the topics discussed in the MCSD/MCAD training kit.
By the way, the comment period, where you can give feedback about questions, is 15 minutes total for all three sections -- and it takes about three minutes to advance to the next section. It said it would pause the timer between sections, but I'm not so sure. I didn't get a chance to comment any of the last section. Twice during the 70-547 part, advancing to the next question took a minute; literally 60 seconds. I should get a freebie question for that. :)
Anyway, I will spend my free retake soon.