Friday, March 29, 2013

1Z0-117 -- This Exam is Rough


I took the Oracle Database 11g Release 2: SQL Tuning exam on Monday.  I passed it, but not with nearly as much cushioning between my score and the passing score as I normally do.  This test had concerned me going in like the SQL Expert exam did not.  SQL is SQL.  There are only so many ways to write it and you either understand SQL syntax and functions or you don't.  If you understand SQL and pay attention, all the tricky wording and badly-formatted statements in the world won't make the question impossible to answer.

By contrast, the topics on the SQL Tuning test offered the Oracle Education test-creation team something that they could have used to make a test so filled with low-level details that it would have been impossible to pass without a reference book in hand.  That is obviously not their intent, nor what they did.  However, when studying for an OCE-level test, the question is just how much depth will you need on any given topic to be able to answer the questions that will be asked.

Take the SQL Tuning Advisor for example. If a test with this topic were for an OCA-level certification, you would likely need to be able to define the SQL Tuning Advisor, differentiate it from the SQL Access Advisor, and know what functions it performs.  An OCP-level test might add to that a requirement that you to know how to make use of it, possibly creating a basic SQL tuning task or reporting on one. For an OCE-level test, almost anything about the Advisor is fair game.  Determining just how deep to get into the minutia of the various APIs and capabilities is the tricky bit.  You can read about it, memorize its capabilities, and practice using it; but have you read, memorized, and practiced enough?

Don't take this test lightly.