Hi, I have been around for a long time, some might even\nsay I qualify for old farthood. I have always been\npassionate about Microsoft technology and have been an\nMSDN Universal Subscriber since 1996. I had played\nwith .Net but mostly my work involved legacy technology.\n\nBack in early April I decided to go for .NET certification.\nI received my gold card in early June. It seems like years\nago now and so much has happened since then, but I thought\nthat I would pen some of my experiences for the benefit of\nlike minded old farts who may be considering certification.\n\nI have always been strongly motivated by saving money\nwhere ever possible and by managing my time to the best\nadvantage. I set myself the task of passing one exam every\nweek for five weeks. I did not want to go on any courses\nsimply because for me they would be both a waste of time\nand money, as a consultant I quite often prepare and give\ncourse though.\n\nI purchased a few books, but in many was I regret doing\nso. These books typically had a few practice exams in the\nback. I then looked at purchasing practice exams. I\ndecided not to purchase Transcender because they were too\nexpensive, but a friend lent me a laptop with one\nTranscender exam on it. Mainly I used the MeasureUp\npractice exams recommended on the MS site and purchased\njust 30 days use. I found these exams did not work very\nwell in timed mode over the internet, so I did not use\nthem this way. In the live exams I found that there was no\nreal time pressure as there is in some professional exams\nsuch as those developed by Actuarial Societies.\n\nI devised a study technique aimed at gaining the necessary\nknowledge in the shortest amount of time and retaining it\nfor the long haul. I not only wanted the gold card, I also\nwanted to be technically stronger than anyone else I\nshould ever have to deal with. My technique was to run a\nsmall batch of exam questions, answer them, and then refer\nto the Microsoft preparation guides. I would then study\neverything in and around the area touched on by a\nquestion. I did a lot of reading from MSDN. I would not\nmove on until I could tick a box saying that I had covered\nthat part of the guide and confined it to long term\nmemory. Sometimes I would build a few example .NET\napplications as part of this learning process.\n\nI would then move on to a new batch of questions not\nincluding any I had taken before. Eventually I would\ncomplete all questions. At this point I would redo all of\nthe questions I got wrong. Invariably I would get them all\nand at this point the practice exam was of no further use.\n\nLike many people who have reported to this NG I failed 70-\n300 on the first attempt. The MeasureUP practice test was\nstill in beta and limited to 50 questions. At home I could\nremember every question and there simply could not been so\nmany I got wrong. I figured that in one of the case\nstudies I had made the wrong choice of technology and this\nhad compromised quite a few questions from that case.\n\nThe following week I sat again but I decided to take\nadvantage of a voucher and switched testing agencies. To\nmy amazement I found that every single case study was\ndifferent. I am therefore skeptical that it is possible to\nbuy the exact questions and answers from a cheats web site\nas suggested by some who frequent this NG.\n\nA hint on 70-300, expect to see at least one question on\nObject Relational Modeling. I found the Microsoft Self-\nPaced Training Kit to be far too theoretical on ORM but I\nfound an article in MSDN that took me through it in a\npractical way. I also practiced using VISIO.\n\nSince qualifying I did some high level consulting work for\nan organization and set up a Win Forms application that\nruns from a Web Site and uses Web Services to interact\nwith a middle tier. This is something that I learned along\nthe way. It is possible to create a URL that points to\na .NET executable; the browser only downloads the software\nwhen the source is newer than the one in its cache. It is\nalso possible to load assemblies from within the\napplication from a URL. Thus you get the benefits of Win\nForm applications without having to worry about client\ninstallation.\n\nbi-ker.