Nathan Burn, Web Developer at Creative Jar, recently took and passed, the MCTS 70-536 – Microsoft .NET 3.5 Framework – Application Development Foundation. His journey to the result was a tough, yet fruitful one and he has prepared some advice to anyone considering taking the exam.
Prepare for the test
Unless you have several years of experience as a .NET developer you need to prepare carefully for the MCTS 70-536 test. There are a few good options to get you started.
The Self-Paced Training Kit book provides you with about 40-50% of the knowledge required to pass the exam; Nathan suggests "reading the book from start to finish, then spending extra time on the areas where you have the least knowledge by re-reading the relevant chapters, doing the examples, exploring intelliSense and doing further reading on MSDN about anything you don’t understand or haven’t encountered before".
When revising, try to match the amount of time you spend on each section with the percentages in the headings on Skills Measured tab.
MSDN Library is your best friend when trying to gain the extra knowledge required to pass the exam. The MSDN Library includes how-to and reference documentation, sample code, technical articles, and more. To find the content you need, browse the table of contents or use search. Nathan commented, "Every time I came across a structure, type, class, method or property I didn’t understand or hadn’t used before I looked it up to find out more."
For those who need extra guidance there are classroom courses and even a few MCTS boot camps. Training in a classroom can help students grasp complex technical concepts more easily, and can cater to individual student learning style
- 2957B: Advanced Foundations of Microsoft .NET 2.0 Development (3 Days)
- 2956B: Core Foundations of Microsoft .NET 2.0 Development (3 Days)
E-learning offers a flexible learning experience for those who lack the time for classes. Users will still get the benefit of expert instructors, as well as developing real hands-on experience.
- 5161AE: Advanced development with the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Foundation (16 Hours)
- 5160AE: Core development with the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Foundation (14 Hours)
Microsoft Press Books
Thanks to Microsoft Press Books you can work at your own pace through a series of lessons and reviews that fully cover each exam objective; maximise your performance by putting what you have learnt into practice.
- MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Foundation
- MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework–Application Development Foundation, Second Edition
3rd Party Practice Exams:
If you think you need more practice you should consider trying tools like MeasureUp or Self Test Software.
MeasureUp produces the practice exams which come with the Self-Paced Training Kit, these practice exams are helpful initially, but the pool of questions could be considered too small. However, if you purchase the MeasureUp online software package, users will receive a higher level of question (closer to the real exam) as well as a larger pool of questions.
Self Test Software offers further practice tests to determine where further study is needed. They can clearly show you what areas you are weak in before taking the actual exam.
When you feel you are ready, choose a local test centre and book with Prometric.
The exam consist of 40-60 multiple choice questions. With only 150 minutes to take the exam, you must get at least 700 marks, out of a possible 1000, to pass. Each question has its own mark based on its complexity. Your test will get marked automatically at the end of the exam, be prepared for an instant message stating a Pass or Fail.
Below is a list of areas that Nathan found where extensively tested (at least 4-5 questions) and some less extensively tested (at most one question):
- Code Access Security
- User and Data Security
- Threading / Input and Output
- Application Domains
- Types, Collections and Generics
Not Extensively Tested:
- Regular Expressions
The Future – After Passing the Exam
The benefits of taking this exam are numerous; not only will you achieve an increased knowledge of the .NET Framework, and everyday programming, but you will be learning topic areas that may not be covered in your day job. Once the exam has been passed, why not aim for the MCPD Enterprise certification for .NET 3.5. Plus the extra bonus that it looks good on your CV and you can add Microsoft Certified Professional to your status and signature!
Nathan said; "I would definitely recommend this exam and I hope this information will help you pass first time too!"