Review the Exam Objectives and make sure that you are familiar with them. As you study pay special attention to the subject matter and how it maps to the exam objectives. You want to concentrate your studies on the tasks related to administration of SQL Server. It is easy to veer off into areas that are more applicable to the developer tracks. Stick to installation, configuration, maintenance, troubleshooting, and management of SQL Server.
As is common with vendor specific certifications, you should also pay attention to the new features of the technology presented in the exam and specifically new enterprise-class features. MCP’s are Microsoft’s’ evangelists, and they are expected to be aware of the compelling reasons to upgrade to the newest version of their respective technologies. SQL Server 2008 has several new features relevant to administration, maintenance, management, and troubleshooting. Policy-Based Management enables consolidated, efficient management of enterprise wide SQL Server instances from a single location. New row level and page level data compression will reduce storage costs and lower I/O costs. Transparent Data Encryption offers a way to encrypt an entire database without affecting clients that consume the data. It is highly recommended to spend some time exploring Microsoft’s view of the important new features available in SQL Server 2008.
If you do not have access to an instance of SQL Server 2008, you should download a free copy from Microsoft. Hands-on experience with SQL Server will greatly enhance your chances for success on this exam. There are two free versions of SQL Server available to prepare for this exam. In addition to steeply discounted exams, students may get a copy of SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition from Microsoft’s DreamSpark program. All candidates are eligible for the free SQL Server 2008 Trial Software Evaluation Edition. The Trial edition of SQL Server is active for 180 days and should allow plenty of time to prepare for this exam and 70-450. Microsoft also offers sample SQL databases.
On examination day, you will need to provide two forms of identification. If you registered for a student discount (exam version 72-432) you will be required to provide the test proctor proof of your status as a student. The proctor should secure your personal belongings such as purses and cell phones. The only material you will be allowed access to during the exam are usually a laminated piece of paper and wax pencil provided by the proctor.
Even certification veterans can feel the effects of test anxiety. The pre-exam survey is a nice break to settle your nerves and get into a rhythm of answering questions. This survey will not count against your exam time limit and is an opportunity to get comfortable with the testing environment and collect your thoughts.
Once you begin the exam, take your time and read each question thoroughly. Microsoft is has a reputation for lengthy exam questions. The body of the questions may contain irrelevant information. One technique I recommend to help zero in on the information needed to find the correct answer is to read the end of the question and the answers before reading the entire question. You will have three hours to complete the exam, so do not rush. Read each question carefully and be sure you understand which answer is the Microsoft appropriate answer.