Friday, April 2, 2010

Zend PHP 5 Certification Exam - review

This time it's about the Zend PHP5 exam itself, not about PHP. I have taken the exam today and singing loudly in my car on the way back home I thought: the guys who are about to take it might want to know how it goes. And this is the story about what happens when you decide to go into the lion's cave armed with your brain and that only.

Well, it's not that bad. People I met in the exam centre were very friendly. I was taking my exam in Feltham, in the test center run by TSM Consultants UK Ltd. Poor folks were working even though it was bank holiday. They said it was all right, though.

They are serving as a test spot for some insane number of vendors, one of them being Zend. It is all very professional. When I booked the exam, I was asked to turn up about 15 minutes before the exam starts. I was also told to have two forms of identification on me, at least one with a picture of my lovely face. I complied, of course, and I am glad I did. It is not just talks - they take it really seriously. No id? Then they wave you goodbye and invite you some other time when you can be bothered to read the instruction before coming.

I was being checked in by a nice lady who asked me to read the terms and conditions. I learned I was not allowed to take anything with me to the examination room - mobile, jacket, rack sack even my beloved coffee had to be left behind. They gave me a locker for my valuables, though, so I put there my coffee. I am joking, my jailbroken iPhone of course. And I had to use the toilet beforehand because if you leave the room once the exam has started there is no coming back.

When I was ready we entered the exam room. It was poket-size with about 5 computers standing around the walls. There was also proper Big Brother equipment. That's right. You are being watched, listened in and recorded during the exam. Who cares after all? If you know you are not going to make it you can always smash a few monitors and hope for becoming famous on YouTube after they release you from custody.

Speaking of the monitors - they were nice biggies, so I had no trouble reading the questions. If the chairs were a bit more comfy I would not complain, though. That's because the room was equipped with budget low-end office chairs. On the other hand the exam lasts for 90 minutes only, so being brave fellow I gritted my teeth and took my seat. The countdown timer started after I accepted the terms and condition and when the first question appeared on the screen.

After a few questions I realised the exam was not very different from the Zend PHP 5 Certification Mock Exam. It is similar type of questions and if you succeeded with a few of these mock exams you should be fine. The whole exam consists of 70 questions served in random order. For each question you may add a comment or mark it for later review. That last feature turned out quite handy when I gave all answers and wanted to come back to those which I was not entirely sure about. Review screen showed me links to all the questions and indicated the marked ones. Finally I decided I was ready and after answering zillion times 'yes' to a question going like: 'are you sure you want to finished the exam?' I saw big, beautiful and smiling at me from the screen:

You have passed Zend PHP 5 Certification Exam.