Testing exams 70-553 and 70-554

This morning I took the beta exams for 70-553 and 70-554 (71-* when they’re in beta). Both exams are pretty big, but I took it as the challenge to take both at the same time. Well, not exactly of course, first 553 and then 554, but on the same day. I had not anticipated the total number of questions though, about 150!

553 dealt more with C# (in my case, you can also pick VB.NET) language constructs, a bit of Windows Forms. I should have taken more interest in the BackgroundWorker component, but in all the questions were not extremely difficult. That’s no guarantee for success on my part. After about 70 questions, I experienced a lapse of concentration.

The 554 is more focused on ‘enterprise’ development. That’s probably why about every question in the first part of the exam starts with ‘you are an enterprise developer…’. The second part was very much on Web Services Enhancements 3.0 and bit of .NET remoting. These were some tough questions. Partly due to my lack of experience with WSE 3.0.

The lack of experience is mostly what makes the exams difficult. Since both exams are targeted at .NET certified developers, the focus is primarily on new features. And given the limited time .NET 2.0 has really been on the market, only few of us really have indepth experience with WSE 3.0, ClickOnce deployment, Providers, mobile devices, new asynchronous capabilities. At the same time and on the same level, that is.

The exams themselves are divided in three and two parts respectively, so don’t be fooled when you enter the exam and see 30 questions and 1 hour remaining when you start. If I remember correctly when upgrading my MCSE on NT4 to Win2000 certification, that was a question marathon as well.

I’ll get the result in a couple of weeks, but I’m not keeping my fingers crossed until then. I have some preparing to do for my session at the Dutch DevDays tomorrow.