1 2 Previous Next 18 Replies Latest reply on Dec 13, 2015 8:11 PM by Extensitech

    FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters

    c0nsilience

      I will be sitting for the exam in a little over a week and I sort of have the feeling that my head is going to explode!

       

      In all seriousness, I know it isn't proper to really discuss the Developer Essentials exam, so be vague in your replies, but where you nervous at all?

       

      I've built in FM since version 12 and use it daily, so quite a bit of my learning has been via real life hands-on development experience.  Although, I'm no stranger to the FTS and I've read my fair share of In Depth and Best Practices PDF's, I'm still fairly cloudy on the "rote memorization tech specs that you don't learn through intuition" aspect of it.  In high school and college, I always excelled at Blue Book-style essay exams and did decent at the multiple choice exams, although, they weren't my favorite.

       

      At DevCon 2015, I did attend  Cris Ippolite's Preparing for FileMaker Certification session and have gone though his recommended reading list extensively, but I didn't really knuckle down with studying until a few weeks ago.  I am a little fearful that I haven't given myself enough time to properly digest the sheer amount of information that is available.

       

      Any axioms, thoughts, feelings, opinions on the topic from those of you who've sat through it or will be sitting through it soon?

        • 1. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
          Extensitech

          Sounds like you're doing all the right things to study.

           

          As far as jitters: Every cert exam I've taken so far, I've kept in mind that even if I failed, it'd be worth the time and money. There's no better way to find out if you're ready than to take the test, and even if you fail, you'll have a better idea of what areas you're weak on.

           

          I tell this to my fellow developers/employees, as well. Don't let it stress you out. If you fail, chalk it up to a $150 assessment of what you need to learn more about. Considering the cost of courses and the time it takes to study something because you think you might need to learn more about it, that's a bargain price.

           

          This may not be the conventional "study like a madman" advice, but I find that this attitude makes me much less nervous. Then I'm trying to pass (of course) but I'm not having cold sweats about failing.

           

          Chris Cain

          Extensitech

          FM Certified versions 8-14

          • 2. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
            c0nsilience

            Thanks Chris!

             

            Sage advice, for certain, and I will take it to heart.

             

            When I attended DevCon for my first time, last summer, it did quite a lot to cement the rapport that the overall FM Dev community seems to have.  The FM platform seems to lend itself to those that sufficiently blow out the "right brain/left brain" stereotypes and I've found most developer's to be intelligent, creative, upbeat and extremely helpful/passionate when it comes to their platform of choice.

             

            Your reply affirms this.

            • 3. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
              taylorsharpe

              I would like to talk a lot in specifics about it, but when you take the exam, you sign away the right to discuss specifics.  Yes, the questions come from the FileMaker Training Series, which you know.  I will say past exams seemed trickier in that the questions seemed more like trying to find some weird exception.  The 14 one seemed to have less of those, which was nice.  Regarding the jitters, something is wrong with you if you don't have them.  And it is no big deal to not pass the first time.  I didn't pass the 13 exam my first time.  And while they do mix the questions around, you sure recognize a lot of them the 2nd time around.  So if you don't do well the first time, go home and write down as many things as you can about the exam to note what to study.  I only took the 14 exam just before Thanksgiving and was glad I passed it (didn't say I aced it... but I did pass!).  It is good professionally to get it under your belt because it makes your services more valuable and respected.  Best of luck with it!

              • 4. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                c0nsilience

                Many thanks Taylor!  Always a pleasure getting your insight into things.

                 

                I'm doing better with the jitters than I was, but I do feel like there is a lot of material to absorb!  Fun stuff!

                • 5. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                  taylorsharpe

                  I will tell you that many of us have areas of FM that we don't work in often.  The exam makes us look over all of the areas and it forces me to keep up even on features I rarely use.  I can certainly say it stretches me a bit and it is a good exercise to do.  And, yes, there is a lot of material.  It makes me think back to the old FM days in the 1990s when the feature set was so much simpler.  All of the improvements and growth are great, but it certainly has made FM a lot more challenging. 

                   

                  I will also say that I learn a lot by being involved here in the Discussions area.  Participating here, and even putting my foot in my mouth a few times, has taught me a lot even if it was through the University of Hard Knocks.  I often run into client requests and think back, oh yes, I heard someone comment about that in the Discussions and I go back and read up on it so I can provide better support to my clients. 

                   

                  By the way, Cris Ippolite has some pretty good insight into helping study for the certification.  I still remember him competing in the first Devcon Developer Competition.  Was quite impressive. 

                  • 6. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                    PeterWindle

                    I'm going through the same feelings, in fact, I have not even booked the exam yet! Done the FTS, done the prep course (run by David Head in Sydney, which was very good) - I've even done a revision study session with someone locally and yet... I'm still worried, stressed etc.

                     

                    Worse still, if I fail... I REALLY don't have that sort of money to throw away. Too many bills and not enough work to pay them.

                     

                    So, it's a hurry up and wait situation at the moment. I think it is really a mind game. I am taking a few key notes on things I know I will forget... and I will revise them just prior to the exam (when I eventually book it) hehehe.

                    • 7. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                      taylorsharpe

                      Peter... if you've done the FTS as well as David Head's prep course, you really are well prepared.  Most of the people I talk to who don't pass didn't go through all of the FTS or a prep course and you did both.  But I do understand not wanting to throw away money.  Obviously it is easier if you have some employer who is willing to pay for it, but if it is your own money, there is a little extra urgency.  Keep in mind you don't have to achieve perfection, except for maybe bragging rights.  All you have to do is pass it. 

                       

                      BTW, they charge $150 USD here in America.  What do they charge in Australia? 

                      • 8. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                        robwoof

                        Hi Taylor,

                        The charge in Aus is whatever US$150 is in AU$. When I did the 13 exam a couple of months back, it was AU$208. I'm sure you can do the arithmetic...

                        Cheers,

                        Rob

                        • 9. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                          ibrahim_bittar

                          Hi, I will take the exam next year. FM13 certification was the only I took outside of the beta testing, which had ALL the questions, and I passed it by little I think .


                          From what I've seen so far, I have some suggestions for you:


                           

                          • Before the exam: have a light breakfast, go to the bathroom (I mean it, you don't want "to go" in the middle of the exam) and try to be relaxed.
                          • Take a deep breath and read slowly. You have time enough, don't rush.
                          • Some questions are tricky. If something sounds weird to you, stop, read again.
                          • If you are not sure about an answer and it is taking too much time, mark it and check it later.
                          • Sometimes it is easier to find the right answer by discarding the wrong ones.
                          • Use your logic. Trust your gut.
                          • Read all white papers you can get. Sometimes you'll find answers there.
                          • Many of us are more familiar with one FM product than with others. Take the product you're least familiar with and try to learn all about it. For example, passing a url parameter using the fmp7 protocol.
                          • Use all the time you're given. It's not a competition. If you finished before the time is up, check again your answers without overthinking, just make sure you answered all of them.


                          Finally, I wish you the best luck in your exam and hope to see "FileMaker 14 Certified Developer" in your signature next week.


                          Best regards


                          Ibrahim.

                          • 10. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                            Markus Schneider

                            read every question carefully! If You're not sure if You got it by 100%, mark that question and skip it for now. Sometimes, questions might be somewhat misleading - when reading 'too fast'

                            • 11. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                              Mike_Mitchell

                              Extensitech wrote:

                               

                              I tell this to my fellow developers/employees, as well. Don't let it stress you out. If you fail, chalk it up to a $150 assessment of what you need to learn more about.

                               

                              To build on Chris's point: They do give you a report after the exam that tells you what your overall percentage was in various target areas. They don't tell you which questions you got right or wrong, but the categories will give you an idea where you're weak.

                              • 12. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                                c0nsilience

                                Well guys,

                                 

                                I took the exam today and did not pass it.  Even though I cannot speak about specific questions on the exam, I can definitely allude to a few things, in hindsight, that I did wrong:

                                 

                                • Do not rely just on the FTS advanced.  Yes, you will get take aways from it that will make you a much more well-rounded FM developer, but studying it alone is not enough.
                                • Using FMPA 14 daily and working in the environment is not enough.  The same goes for FMS deployments and FM Go solutions.  Hands-on is great, but it isn't enough.

                                 

                                Not to sound too cynical, but I am not a rockstar in the "esoteric" areas of FM (you know what I'm talking about).  I'm a solid developer and a better UX/UI designer.  Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to get the job done today.

                                 

                                However, I plan to shift my focus and knuckle down on some of the areas that I don't use daily, or at all, and re-take the exam in due time.

                                • 13. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                                  taylorsharpe

                                  Well, bummer, c0nsilience.  It really is a hard test with a lot of nuisances and nitpicking questions and I know the purpose is to set apart those who know those distinctions.  As you have noted, taking the test and failing also lets you know the areas where you are weak and what to study for the next time.  And failing this does not mean you are not a good developer either.  But knowing this little details about FileMaker will help you become a better developer. 


                                  N.B., I find it interesting that you too did not find the FTS all that useful in preparing for the test.  It is not useless and it has a lot of good training in it, but I didn't think I got a lot of test questions directly from it.  Just my 2 cents. 

                                  • 14. Re: FileMaker 14 Certification - exam jitters
                                    c0nsilience

                                    Hi Taylor,

                                     

                                    I think that knowing the format of the test helps, and I would imagine FMI hasn't changed the format that much in the last several versions of the test (I know, I'm assuming a lot).  This was my first time sitting for any FM certification exam, so I literally did not know what to expect.  Now I do.

                                     

                                    I did get a lot of take aways from the FTS and, in reality, I probably only did as good as I did, because I went through the FTS, but I definitely did not feel like it was enough.  However, keep in mind, I only studied hardcore for a few weeks, not several months, and that probably also has a lot to do with it.

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