Prepping for exam 70-551

Apparently the boyscout motto is to “always be prepared”. This certainly holds true for Microsoft Certificied Professional (MCP) exams. Last week I took the exam 70–551: UPGRADE: MCAD Skills to MCPD: Web Developer by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework. Here is how you can be prepared.

Know this:

The exam is listed to take 270 (!) minutes, but it actually is one hour less. There are three parts to this exam, mini-versions of all three exams you must take to pass Microsoft Certificied Technology Specialist (MCTS) .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications and Professional Developer (MCPD) Web Developer.

  1. Exam 70–528: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Web-Based Client Development

  2. Exam 70–536: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Application Development Foundation

  3. Exam 70-547: PRO: Designing and Developing Web Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework

Each part consists of about 30 questions. Once you finish a section you cannot return to a previous one. The order is as listed above, presumably orders by exam number. It would have been more logical to do the Application Development Foundation first, as it is a core exam for all three development MCTS certifications.

Your final score is determined by the PRO exam. I assume that missing any of the three exams will make you fail the whole. I think that there is no average taken over all three.

The two TS exams focus mainly on what is new in the .NET Framework 2.0. It is assumed that you are well acquinted with .NET FX 1.0 and 1.1.

Learn this:

Exam 70–528:

  • The new ASP.NET 2.0 controls, especially the Wizard.

  • You should know how to use apply master pages, and use content placeholders and content controls

  • Take a long look at mobile controls and pages. There are a lot of questions on this. Check how to apply device filters and how control adapters work. You must know about these.

  • A working knowledge of the provider model for all of the ASP.NET services and which providers are available out of the box (the .NET FX box that is).

  • The web eventing system and the object model of base classes and concrete event classes that are there.

  • Configuration of ASP.NET, especially the connection strings and API to create new sections (new model (ConfigurationElement) and old model (IConfigurationSectionHandler) and save the config file.

Exam 70–536:

  • Reading and writing to streams from byte arrays or from other types of objects. Don’t forget that there are several new stream classes now, such as SslStream, GzipStream and DeflateStream.

  • Collection classes and the difference between each of the classes (why would you use one or the other), plus the new generic versions. Be familiar with ICollection, IComparer, IEnumerable and IEnumerator.

  • Multithreading using ThreadPool or with ThreadStart delegate. Asynchronous invocation of methods using delegates.

  • Custom (de)serialization of objects using attributes, with XML serializers and soap or binary formatters.

  • Know how to work with files, their security and audit rules and how to change these.

  • Isolated storage for files and how this isolation is retrieved for various scenarios (per user, assembly, e.g.)

  • You should have worked with the encryption and hashing of some of the algorithms. Focus on how a byte array is hashed or encrypted, including the way how you get to a specific provider.

  • Identity and principals and which are available in which scenario (Windows integrated security, custom security).

Exam 70-547:

I have no real clue how to prepare for this exam. A global knowledge of Microsoft technologies, architecture in general and programming is enough to get you through. I found that the questions were the problem rather than the actual problem being tested.

Be prepared. Good luck.

BTW, in case you are wondering: I passed.

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