Mini-review of 1Z0-233: OCP 11i Apps DBA exam

Recently, I had the opportunity to take Oracle certification exam 1Z0-233: Oracle 11i Install, Patch, and Maintain Applications, the final step in the Oracle 11i Applications DBA certification chain. I would have taken this exam a long time ago, but somehow managed to miss the important detail that 9i and 10g DBA OCPs could skip the hands-on course requirement and two other exams. D'oh.

The Oracle community is awash with opinions about the overall value of certification and about the level of expertise implied by the ability to pass the certification exams. I'll defer adding to that discussion for a future post. For now, I'll just relate my experiences with the 1Z0-233 exam itself ... hopefully without violating the Candidate Agreement.

One of the reasons this test held an appeal for me is that I would be taking it cold: no opportunity to "study to the test," no preparation other than my time working with Oracle Apps. With only a few years of Apps experience, I was far from a world-class expert. I was reasonably confident in my ability to operate as an EBS DBA, however, and was curious to see how I measured up to what Oracle thinks I should know.

And how did it go? Well, the exam was fair, without being easy. Mechanically speaking, there were a lot of the infamous "select M true statements from the following list of N items" and "place the following M operational steps in the correct order" types of questions. The effect (no doubt intended) of questions like this was that one definitely needed to know the material pretty well. It didn't seem that "guess to success" would be a viable strategy for this exam. With respect to content, the exam did not offer a lot of outlandish special cases as a proxy for challenging questions. When a question stumped me, it was usually because I hadn't encountered a particular feature very often in my day-to-day work. My reaction was more often, "Oh yeah, I should know more about that," not "Where the heck did that come from?" In other words, no "trick questions" on this exam, just occasionally a tricky one. ;-)

Since there isn't a lot of exam prep material out there for exam 1Z0-233, apart from student guides for the relevant Oracle University courses (to which I did not have access), I can't offer any specific preparation advice. I can, however, offer this observation as a bottom line: If you have a an Oracle 9i OCP certification, and have been working as an Oracle Apps DBA for a few years, you probably have all of the experience you need to pass the exam and get the 11i Apps DBA certification without much (if any) additional preparation.

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