MCTS in ASP .NET – exam 70-562


I'm a new Microsoft Technology Specialist (MCTS) in .NET Framework 3.5 ASP.NET Applications! Yesterday I’ve become Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) in .NET Framework 3.5 ASP.NET Applications by passing the 70-562 exam!

First, I want to share with you my web development background:

  • I have around 4 years of ASP .Net experience. Mainly, my experience is on .Net 1.1 and 2.0. I developed for mobile devices when there weren’t yet smart phones around us. I’ve worked on a solution that connected an Asus Palm to Nokia phones, first providing the interface, second providing the connectivity to a collection of webservices who provided encrypted and authentication for data exchanged.
  • Then I’ve worked on a governmental website, creating features and maintaining it.
  • Later on, I’ve managed the entire lifecycle of a website, from hosting, Windows Server / IIS maintenance to development and deployment of the website.

Let’s get to my experience in this exam…

My other  Microsoft Technology Specialist certifications Why .Net 3.5?

Almost all blog posts claim that the .Net 3.5 is just an extension of .Net 2.0, but when getting deeper, you realize that those developers who worked on it really produced a good quality product with many improvements and many added features over the previous version. Mainly, you’ll understand here the point of having a .Net 3.5 certification.

Comparing .Net 2.0 to 3.5 we’ll find a big difference. For example:

  • New ListView and DataPager Controls
  • LINQ
  • WCF Support for RSS, JSON, POX and Partial Trust
  • JavaScript Debugging and Intellisense
  • Multi-targeting Support

.. and more on this you can read on Microsoft Official Statement.

Preparing the Exam

I first took a very good first look at the Self Paced Book. Considering my experience (but I believe I was too confident in it), I proposed myself that I will need a half month to prepare for this one. I’ve thoroughly read the book, I’ve read all the stuff and did the exercises in the Labs and also thought and implement the use cases. This was very helpful, but frankly not enough applied information, as the theoretical part was predominant. My goal was to learn and apply it, not just pass the exam.

So I used both the official preparation guide and a few other complementary good books to cover some of the aspects the training kit did not cover well enough, as follows:

The most important piece - Microsoft Self Paced Learning Kit MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-562): Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
ASP.NET Application Development

Your 2-in-1 SELF-PACED TRAINING KIT features official exam prep and practice for Exam 70-562.
Ace your preparation for the skills measured by MCTS Exam 70-562—and on the job. Work at your own pace through a series of lessons and reviews that fully cover each exam objective. Then, reinforce and apply what you’ve learned through real-world case scenarios and practice exercises.

ASP .Net is presented really good in this book Pro ASP.NET 3.5 in C#

Seasoned .NET professionals Matthew MacDonald and Mario Szpuszta explain how you can get the most from this groundbreaking new technology. They cover ASP.NET 3.5 as a whole, illustrating both the brand-new features and the functionality carried over from previous versions of ASP. This book will give you the knowledge you need to code real ASP.NET 3.5 applications in the best possible style.

Understanding LINQ might make the difference in Exam 70-562 Pro LINQ: Language Integrated Query in C# 2008

Rather than obscure the relevant LINQ principles in code examples by focusing on a demonstration application you have no interest in writing, Pro LINQ: Language Integrated Query in C# 2008 cuts right to the chase of each LINQ operator, method, or class. However, where complexity is necessary to truly demonstrate an issue, the examples are right there in the thick of it. For example, code samples demonstrating how to handle concurrency conflicts actually create concurrency conflicts so you can step through the code and see them unfold.

Microsoft AJAX is a very known yet not so well presented technology in SelfPaced manual for 70-562 exam Pro ASP.NET 3.5 Server Controls and AJAX Components

Pro ASP.NET 3.5 Server Controls and AJAX Components is a reference for the serious ASP.NET developer who understands the benefits of object-oriented development and wants to apply those principles to ASP.NET 3.5, ASP.NET AJAX, and server control development. This book also covers SharePoint and targets the latest version of Visual Studio (2008) and the .NET Framework (3.5).

As I proceeded with my learning, I end up to the conclusion that I have to do the following steps in order to get it right:

  1. Read a chapter
  2. Reflect on it
  3. Find another good book if there were still questions on the theoretical part
  4. Do the labs
  5. Take the practice tests
  6. Find good solutions for the test cases – this is important because that gives you “company-like” training. They represent the best source of understanding the underlying technology better.

Taking the Exam

First of all, you should find a testing site on Prometric. Then you might want to call them to enroll for a test or just register at a test site that you’ve find on the website. They have a lot of 0-800 no-charge lines here. Beware that there are some very busy periods in the year, when a lot of people schedule their 2nd shot. I was in the position of searching all test sites in a city to find that 1 out of 10 had free seats.

Duration: 3 hours (but in the exam registration confirmation they say 4 hours)

Passing score: 700 / 1000

The required score to pass this exam is 700/1000. At the end of exam, you’ll get  the score and note that there is only the pass or fail grade as the end result; beyond that the actual score you get does not have any importance.

During the exam, the best approach that I found was getting through the full set of questions once, set my responses and then going back for review each of them. Some questions body might be the answer for others if you are lucky enough(I suppose they have a huge database with questions for each exam, so the chance of two people having same questions is slim)

In the process of navigation from one question to the next there is a slight delay (in order of 4-8 seconds). You might want to consider these as well when setting up your time for your questions review. I only needed 2 hours for my exam so I finished really early.

My Points and Suggestions

  1. Use the training kit as a guide only. The questions in exam, even if they resemble with the ones from kit, are really deeper, tougher and trickier. You can get a deeper knowledge by practicing and reading the details on the documentation (MSDN).
  2. During the exam, you have to rely also on your feeling on technology – there are questions that can’t be found in the Training kit. Educated guessing and luck is the key for these. In my personal example, the mobile section needs further reading.
  3. A good idea is to have with you a bottle of water and some Mars or Snickers – the exam will be very brain intensive so you might need more fuel along the ride
  4. Don’t forget the two different papers required for your admission. They don’t mess with Identity.

That’s all, folks! Good luck with your certification!