Registered: Feb 2003
Passed exam with 91%
These are notes on my experiences preparing for and taking the UML/OOAD certification exam.
You get results immediately. Your score is broken down by category, but you do not find out how you did on individual questions. For example, I missed one question in Development Practices, one in Static Modeling, and three in Requirements, and I got all the questions in Architecture, Dynamic Modeling, and Design/Implementation. I passed with 91%.
Opinion of Test:
I thought it was a better constructed test than the practice test. (I got 82% and 86% the two times I took the ICE practice). Most of questions were less ambiguous and I was able to figure out what piece of knowledge I was expected to apply to answer a given question. Many of the questions revolved around the design of a ticket processing system, which was well explained and designed. I understand that the particular questions and examples can vary from test to test. There is a short tutorial which walks you through the steps of a typical exam. Go ahead and take the tutorial even if you think you know it - it will help get you acclimated to the facilities. The GUI for the test is reasonable and gives you adequate opportunity to review earlier questions. I did spend some time jumping back an forth between question windows and one or more exhibit windows, but it was not that bad. One detail: for a question with several answers, you will be warned if you try to give more answers than requested, but you will not be warned if you give too few answers.
Took it at Caspian in Columbus, OH. Signup and facilities were good (17" monitors!) with two exceptions. 1) The print out that the host had said I would have 2:30 hours for the test - it is actually 2:15. 2) The monitors were set on 60hz refresh in a room with fluorescent lighting, so there was pronounced flicker which was very distracting. I asked about that afterwords and
the host said that they were aware of it but that the hardware setup was specified by Prometrics and they could not change it. I did send a note to Prometrics about that.
Reading (50hrs) - Fowler (UML Distilled) twice, Larman twice, Sams UML in 24 Hours skimmed
Practice Tests (18hrs) - ICE twice, CFW twice and BParanj twice
Ran a study group (8hrs) - with others at work, highly recommended
General review (20 hrs)
Previous Related Experience:
Reading - Surviving OO Projects by Cockburn, Java Objects by Barker, Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML by Rosenberg&Scott, Refactoring by Fowler, Unified SW Dev Proc. by 3 amigos, Several Pattern books (GoF, Patterns in Java, Core J2EE Patterns), Numerous C++, Java, and J2EE books.
On the job - C++ since 1985 (back when it was called "C with Classes"), Java since 1996 (v1.0), Server side Java since 1998, CRC cards and Use Cases on occasional projects since 1992.
Don't expect to pass by winging it - set up a study plan.
Read Fowler and Larman twice each - Fowler first
Take all three practice tests twice - once fairly early (maybe after first read of Fowler) - don't take questions too seriously as many are ambiguous or even logically impossible, just treat the tests as study aids and they will be of value. Retake the practice tests a few days before the real thing.
If you can arrange it, set up study sessions with others. I organized ours around discussion the questions in the CFW and Bparanj practice tests.
Get plenty of sleep the night before.
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