In order to prepare for the Sitecore 9.0 Certified Platform Associate Developer Exam I took the Sitecore Platform Essentials for Developers 9.0 Curriculum. This consists of 8 modules dedicated to each of the key aspects you need to learn about Sitecore in order to pass the exam successfully. There are also other ways to prepare for the Sitecore exam, for example taking online courses with a tutor, or going on site. Since I only have experience with eLearning and the proctored exam I’ll share what I learned during this two week process.
What to expect before taking the test:
1) Start with Sitecore Developer Foundations 9.0
If you start taking the Sitecore Platform Essentials for Developers 9.0
Curriculum and find yourself struggling with some of the basic concepts you can start learning with the Sitecore® Developer Foundations 9.0 . This is a free eLearning course, where you will learn the basics of Sitecore XP. This course gives students a complete overview of the different elements in the process of building a website with Sitecore.
One of the more important aspects of getting ready for the exam is to organize properly. Make sure you start on time. My recommendation is to start at least two weeks before you planned exam date. Start slowly, and do one module a day. Since there are only 8 modules, this should take a little more than a week to complete. Use the remaining time to go over the exam materials one more time and devote more time to areas you find especially difficult.
3) Don’t skip Questions
After each of module you will have a quick test. Don’t skip these questions! They are an excellent way of testing your understanding of the material and they closely resemble questions on the actual test.
4) Talk to other Developer that passed the Certification
Try connecting with people in the Sitecore community. Join the slack channel, the sub-reddit or the Sitecore stack exchange. Talking to people who already went to through the exam can share their knowledge and experiences and help you with questions you have.
What to expect on the exam itself:
1) Trick Questions
Be prepared for these. There are going to be a few questions where you will be torn between two answers. Both of them will seem equally plausible. My tip for these type of questions is to mark them for review, and after you finish the rest of the test go back to them. In my case after going through the rest of the test it actually helped me, since I ran into a few questions that helped me better understand the intent behind the questions I had doubts about.
2) “Hypothetical situation ” – type questions
While most of the questions are pretty straight forward and answers can be found in the material, I did run into some questions that did require a little bit of thinking. These are “hypothetical situation” questions for example – The Content Editor in Experience Editor – Designing mode can’t select the header. Why is this?. This is also a select one from multiple possibilities type of questions.
3) Prepare your environment in advance
Since my local test center didn’t have any available dates for the next few weeks I chose to take my exam online in the form of an proctored exam. Before you start taking your exam you need to install a client named Sentinal. It’s a pretty quick setup but I recommend to install it in advance, just to avoid any last minute surprises. For this exam I used an external webcam since the proctor needs to be able to see your hands, keyboard, torso and head, so make sure your webcame has a long enough cord!
4) Proctored Exam
Once you launch the exam the Sentinel client will start and it ask to use your webcam. The proctor might start chat with you asking you a few questions. For example I was asked to remove my glasses and show them to the camera. Once the proctor makes sure everything is in order, the exam will start but if the proctor notices any suspicious activity during the exam he can interrupt it.