how to study for the mcsd.net exams
the first step
i'd have to say that, if you're wanting to begin to study for these tests, figure out the order in which you want to take them. that's first. i'm an aspx developer by trade, i guess, so i started with the aspx exam. then, i moved on to windows (i passed it today). the second step
first off, go to tim's huge resource
to get started with a good list of things to learn. this cat's gone through each thing you need to know and compiled a huge list, of everything that microsoft says you'll be tested on. excellent, excellent, excellent. start there...the third step
whatever you do, get the transcender
tests. these guys have just about the single best practice tests on the face of the planet. order your tests as in step 1, then start going through each test. you can do test a, test b, and test c, and then start performing random tests. once you get a perfect score on a random test more than a few times - once it gets boring because you know it - you're totally ready.
these tests provide links to explain each and every question. you get it wrong, you get pointed to the right place. during the second test's round of studying, i found the "enable grade button" option. this option places a "grade item" button right there on the test. you can supply your answer, then grade it. whether you get it right or wrong, you'll get links explaining that particular answer. this feature rocks - without it, i have no idea if i would have been able to learn the stuff. my big secret
if you read about something you don't know about, implement it. create a project and start doing every single thing you're asked. build a case study for yourself that, when you're done and its been deployed somewhere (say on another machine or a friend's machine), you'll be rock solid. you'll literally triple your knowledge. the best part - you'll end up learning a ton of shortcuts for stuff you've coded already. you'll end up thinking stuff like "i wish i'd have known that last week!" do this, and you're sure
to at least improve your scope of understanding and experience, but you'll be a veritable shoe-in for the certification. universal topics
what do i mean by this? all three of the main tests (remember, you only need the three subject-specific tests for an MCAD, which is good enough for 99% of the dev's i know) - by virtue of need - must test you in some of the same areas. they all test you heavily on ado.net. they also all have questions related to deployment. additionally, know all about role-based security (System.Security.Principal namespace, especially - my favorite!) and code-access security. the windows test, obviously, will be slightly more specific on enterprise and policy-related topics. yet, a deep understanding of security, deployment, your chosen language's syntax, OOP, and ado.net is absolutely required by all 3 tests. so be solid on those topics, and you're pretty sure to do well right off the bat. oh yeah - be really knowlegeable about culture-specific issues and satellite assemblies. all of the tests cover that as well.most importantly
do not take these tests if you aren't serious about being good at .net. i've been working with the framework for over 2 years, and i've learned a lot. i couldn't - not in a million years - just study and then take the tests. these tests, i hear (this is my first certification track), are far
more appropriate in terms of the fact that you are tested on stuff you would need to know out there in the real world.
these tests do an excellent job of measuring - and transcender does almost as good a job as teaching you - your true skills with .net. they are intense, they are totally and completely legit. i have not only been challenged by some of the questions, i've found them very interesting.
don't forget this, too - think good thoughts and eat hard candy while you're taking the test. researchers have proven you'll have better memory recall if you've got hard candy in your mouth.
good luck everyone!
if i can do it anyone can! i've had test anxiety since i was in grade school. i had an "A" brain with "C" tests. seriously - i panicked before tests in every single subject. this has been hard for me from a personal perpective because i don't test well and never have. if you've done well on tests your whole life, you'll have a leg up on me because you're an experienced tester.