MCITP – I passed the 70-455 “Upgrade: Transition Your MCITP SQL Server 2005 BI Developer to MCITP SQL Server 2008 BI Developer” exam!

Recently I passed the 70-455 exam. This exam upgrades your SQL 2005 MCTS and MCITP certifications to SQL 2008.

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The exam contains 2 sections(basically separate exams), each with 25 questions:
– A part which covers exam 70-448: TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance
– A part which covers exam 70-452: PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

You need to pass on both of the sections with a score that’s at least 700. If you fail one section, you fail on the entire exam.

How did I study

I searched the internet and the conclusion was that there is no preparation material available for the 70-452 exam but fortunately there was a self-paced training kit for the 70-448 exam, which also covers this exam. So I bought the book, scanned it for subjects that needed attention and fortunately that was enough to pass the exam for me.

For the entire list of preparation materials for the 70-448 and 70-452 exams follow the links below:

70-448 preparation materials

70-452 preparation materials 

 

My Current Transcript

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MCTS – I passed the 70-556 “Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007” exam!

My last blog is from a few months ago because I have been quite busy lately. Fortunately I have quite some topics that I want to blog about, starting with this short blog about the latest Microsoft certification I’ve gained.

In March of this year I passed the 70-556 “Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007” exam. This makes me one of the 486(September, 2007) Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists worldwide! (Nr. of MCP’s worldwide)

 

It wasn’t a tough exam compared to the previous exams I took. Time was no problem, and there were only 44 questions that were all of the multiple choice type where only 1 answer is correct. The exam contained almost no focus on PerformancePoint Planning, so make sure you focus on the Monitoring and Analyzing parts of PPS while studying for this exam.

I used the Rational Guides to PPS books to study for the exam. Next to the books I followed a course and together this was enough to complete the exam successfully.

Find more information here:
Microsoft 70-556 Exam – MCTS Performance Point

On the MCTS Exam for PerformancePoint Server 2007

Preparation Guide for Exam 70-556

 

My Microsoft Transcript is now:

Microsoft Certification Status

Credential

Certification / Version

Date Achieved

Microsoft Certified IT Professional

Business Intelligence Developer

Mar 28, 2008

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist

Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, Applications

Jun 19, 2008

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist

Microsoft® SQL ServerTM 2005 Business Intelligence Development

Oct 19, 2007

 

Microsoft Certification Exams Completed Successfully

Exam ID

Description

Date Completed

556

TS: Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, Application Development

Jun 19, 2008

446

PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure by Using Microsoft® SQL ServerTM 2005

Mar 28, 2008

445

TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence-Implementation and Maintenance

Oct 19, 2007

MCITP – I passed the 70-446 “PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005” exam!

Today I passed the Microsoft IT Professional(MCITP) 70-446 “PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005” exam.
This makes me one of the 337(January, 2008) Microsoft Certified IT Professionals worldwide! (
Nr. of MCP’s worldwide
)


MCITP

To try the 70-446 exam its required to gain the 70-445 MCTS certification first. I have passed the 70-445 exam in November last year.

The first conclusion I can make is that, strangely, I found the 70-445 exam more difficult than the 70-446 exam. I scored 70% on the 70-445 exam and managed to score 93% on the 70-446 exam. Partially this is because I gained more work experience in the last months and partially it’s because the 70-446 exam contains easier question types.

The exam topics of exam 70-446 (full list: Microsoft Learning)
The following list includes the topic areas covered on this exam. The percentage indicates the portion of the exam that addresses a particular skill.

·         Planning BI Solutions (15 percent)

 

·         Designing SSIS Solutions (21 percent)

 

·         Designing SSRS Solutions (14 percent)

 

·         Designing SSAS Solutions (22 percent)

 

·         Deploying and Optimizing SSAS Solutions (15 percent)

·         Designing Data Mining Solutions (13 percent)

If we compare this with exam 70-445 we see that data mining is still quite important. Further we see that SSRS gets less attention in exam 70-446.

 

70-445 vs 70-446

 

70-445

70-446

SSIS

27%

21%

SSAS

30%

37%

SSRS

32%

14%

Data mining

12%

13%

Planning BI Solutions

15%

Data mining 
Just like with exam 70-445 data mining is an important topic of the exam! It’s important to know when to use the different algorithms that are shipped with SSAS.

Training Kit
Unfortunately there is no training kit available for this exam. You can find the book on some online bookstores but all with the following message: not available. After some research I found out that this book will never come out. I think MS Press will wait until the 70-446 exam for SQL Server 2008 is available.

Number of questions and completing time
The exam contains 6 case studies with each 9 or 10 questions. You have 30 minutes for each case, any remaining time from a case won’t go to the next case, so just use your 30 minutes. The 30 minutes were enough for me. I did not study the entire case study in detail before I looked at the questions. I think this is the best thing to do; quickly scan the case study, then look at the questions and then scan the case study for required information regarding the question.
Just like the 70-445 exam you will require a minimum score of 70% for the exam to pass.

 

Question types
I already mentioned that the 70-446 exam question types were easier than the 70-445 question types. In this exam I only found the question type below, where just one answer can be selected. 70-445 had another 3 question types that were a lot harder then the one below.

QType

Some useful tips

·         Make sure you know exactly how many cube processing types there are and how they work.

·         You need to be able to read database schemes.

·         The different OLAP types, check this blog of me for more information.

·         Data mining is important!

What should you study
The lack of a training kit and other study materials designed for this exam makes your studying difficult. What should you study and where should you start?

 

Microsoft does have a preparation guide for this exam on the Microsoft learning website. On this page you’ll find the following interesting topics:

 

Preparation tools and resources
This section contains links to classroom courses, Microsoft E-learning resources, Microsoft Press books and practice tests.
I did all the classroom courses and they helped me prepare for the exam! If you have the possibility to take those courses you definitely should!
I personally don’t advise you to buy all the Microsoft Press books to study. It’s just too much information and it will cost a lot of study time.
Practice tests are very useful as preparation, I would advice everybody to purchase a set of preparation questions.

Skills being measured
This list contains all the possible exam topics. If you want to prepare yourself efficiently you should just study every item on this list. Search on Google and books online and you will find enough information! I think this way of preparing for the exam is the best way!

How did I study
I studied all the topics of the Skills being measured list that you will find in the preparation guide. Next to studying the Skills being measured, I followed all Microsoft Official Courses that are recommended as preparation for this exam:

Course 2794: Designing a Business Intelligence Solution Architecture for the Enterprise Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (two days)

Course 2795: Designing an ETL Solution Architecture Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services (two days)

Course 2796: Designing an Analysis Solution Architecture Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services (three days)

Course 2797: Designing a Reporting Solution Architecture Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (two days)

Links
Below some links to other useful sites/weblogs about the 70-446 exam:

If you have any questions, leave them as a comment and I will answer them, if I can. Also, if you have any information regarding the 70-446 MCITP exam, please leave a comment.

Good Luck!

MCTS – I passed the 70-445 exam!

Last month I passed the MCTS 70-445 BI exam.
This makes me one of the 338(October, 2007) Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists worldwide! (
Nr. of MCP’s worldwide)

The 70-445 exam is the first Microsoft exam I tried. After some research on the internet I only found reactions from people that concluded that this exam was a very hard one.
So why is this exam difficult? I think it’s because of the amount of detail in the questions. You can expect very detailed questions about, for example, properties of SSIS, SSAS and SSRS.

Let’s look at the exam topics of exam 70-445: (full list:

Microsoft Learning)
The following list includes the topic areas covered on this exam. The percentage indicates the portion of the exam that addresses a particular skill.
• Managing SSAS (12 percent)
• Developing SSAS Solutions by Using BIDS (18 percent)
• Implementing data mining by Using BIDs (12 percent)
• Managing SSRS (13 percent)
• Developing Reporting Solutions by Using SSRS (19 percent)
• Developing Business Intelligence Solutions by Using SSIS (16 percent)
• Administering SSIS Packages (11 percent)

Datamining
Notice that data mining is an important topic of this exam. I know that a lot of people score poor on the data mining questions so take your time to master enough knowledge!
A lot of the questions have focus on deployment and maintenance. This exam is not about, for example, SSIS tasks and transformations but it is about the deployment of SSIS packages and the working and use of transactions.

Training Kit
I used the 70-445 Training Kit from Microsoft Press to prepare for the exam:

Amazon
This book will help you a lot while preparing for the exam! It is full of effective information and contains a lot of hands-on labs and test questions. A must have, if you ask me!

Number of questions and completing time
As last I can tell you that the exam contains 53 questions and you have 150 minutes to complete it. You will have time enough, so don’t worry about it. You need to score 700 points out of 1000 to pass.

Question types
The 70-445 exam is multiple choice, there are no questions that you need to answer by typing text.
There are 3 types of questions:

1.

This type of question is the easiest one. One answer can be selected only. I think 60% of the questions are of this type.

2.

This type of question is harder then type 1. More answers can be selected. In this example only 2 answers should be selected, this can vary. I remember questions with 3 answers that should be selected and also questions where you will be asked to pick 1 or more good answers. I think 25% of the questions are of this type.

3.

Question type 3 is the hardest. You need to slide 1 or more good answers to the right and arrange them in the right order. I think 15% of the questions are of this type.Please not that if you answer 1 of more possible good answers right(with question types 2 and 3) you get 0 points. So no partial correct answers possible!

Links
Below some links to other useful sites/weblogs about the 70-445 exam:

If you have any questions, leave them as a comment and I will answer them, if I can. Also, if you have any information regarding the 70-446 MCITP exam, please leave a comment.
Good Luck!

Update: I recently passed the 70-446 Microsoft IT Professional(MCITP) 70-446 “PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005” exam and wrote a blog about it. Read it here.