When you are preparing for a certification test, one of the hardest parts is locating information sources. Many of the exams have third-party preparation materials targeted at the exams, such as the Oracle Press series and the Transcender self tests, among others. However, the majority of the exams offered by Oracle have no third-party materials available targeted at the exams. For practically every exam, there is Oracle Education instructor-led training available. However, the cost of that training is beyond what most candidates are willing to pay.
One answer is to make use of the Oracle documentation, of course. Every single manual for every Oracle product is freely available online. You can download the PDF versions to your PC, use the HTML versions through a Web browser, or for many, download the MOBI or ePub version for your e-reader. The Oracle documentation is always my first choice for study materials even when there are other options. Not only do I know that the information is correct, but using it as my source makes me more familiar with what information can be located in each manual. Knowing what manual to reference for a particular problem has proven very useful on the job long after the study process is done and the test has been passed. The biggest problem with using the documentation is that the information you need, even for a single exam topic, is often dispersed through a large number of pages, or even through several different books.
I have found that normally (although certainly not always) when a topic that Oracle has considered important enough to make an exam objective is not covered well in the documentation, there is generally at least one white paper or article written on it. Locating these articles is not always easy, though. If you put the exam number into any search engine, any useful results will be completely buried in hits for brain dumps. Even if brain dumps did not risk your certification status, they make terrible study resources. When using a search engine to locate study materials for a certification, use keywords from the exam topic itself. A Google search for "SQL Injection Attacks oracle" will produce several useful links, whereas a Google search for "1Z0-146" will result in primarily garbage hits.
You can also go directly to several sites and look for material. The Oracle Learning Library has hundreds of documents, demonstrations, and labs. The Oracle Technology Network (OTN) is also a source of a large (and constantly growing) set of articles on subjects relevant to certification tests. If you are not making use of these sites, then you are missing out on a valuable (and free) resource.
Adding certifications to your resume makes you more visible to recruiters. Learning the knowledge those certifications are testing for makes you more valuable to employers. Doing both without spending a lot of money just makes sense.
Matthew is an experienced DBA and developer. He holds Oracle DBA Certifications for releases 7, 8i, 9i, 10G and 11G; Oracle Expert Certifications for SQL and Application Express; and is an Oracle Advanced PL/SQL Developer Certified Professional. He is the author of several Oracle certification guides and his Web site, www.oraclecertificationprep.com, is dedicated to providing links to resources for Oracle certification preparation.
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