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Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience

bigdelboy Pro
Currently Being Moderated
Was Scheduled to sit the old 1z1-117 sql tuning beta 10:30 today .... bit of a whirlwind revision ut got myself a lot up to speed on the topics.

Anyway got the old bus past the battle of minden to the Test Center on the 2nd floor ... about a mile east of the old dalek city .... though wikipedia doesnt seem to know that!

... Problem: test center seems all locked up.

.... At least there is another dude there also .... he has used it before and he knows its on the 2nd floor.

.... There is a Pearson VUE test center on the 4th floor ... only does car learner driver things or something ... but he gives a Pearson Vue contract number and says 2nd floor nowt to do with him.

.... but he gives a Peason Vue Contact card which is great.

So back to floor 2 ... there is a phone number on the door ... so we rings it .... it says invigulator is sick as exam is rescheduled for 13:30 (thanks for letting me know!).

So I resisted the Wetherspoon's and opted for Becky's Pantry.

Raised incident 2045511662 with Pearson Vue as this really isn't on ( luckily had order number with me!). . Doing a (beta) exam between 13:30 to 16:30 after preping for 10:30 I'm going to be off peak.

......

Anyway gets a call from the guy 11:50 saying he is on way ..... so makes me feel better and that Pearson had contacted him.

.....

Anyway 13:25 arrives, me and other guy at Test Center ... its still locked up. He gives me his number as he wished to goto A.S.D.A.(wal-mart to Yanks) so i'll ring him if it opens .... but he is delayed by lift having a pappy and going doors opening - doors closing .... repeatedly .... and then the nice test center man turns up .....

Anyway man registers us in (worst photocopy of agreement I have ever seen ... I do actually rad these ... only I do) .... takes us to the Test Room, Sits me in front of the camera by the server ... i smiles .... and waits ... and waits.

Well it seems the Stab City Computers 830 server is blue screening. It really doesn't want to boot. It wants to give the blue screen of death. Repeatedly. It wants to Repair the Gates OS ... then blue screens again. Its ecc memory is up and down. The other candidate is called over to assist .... but it aint going to get up even with V------- stuffed in every port. I guess reseating the ram might help .... but i think its a recycling job. Pity this wasn't youtubed.

......

Eventually all is abandoned.

.....

Well given another number of Pearson Vue and rings them ..... says to ring back and reschedule on next working day ... ie monday! I ask to add to incident but he refused and indicates it is necessary to sort on monday. Hmmmm. I could've sat twickers but theres the issue of taxiing Mum to B-ingo ..... etc.

.....

Well I am out fares to the test center plus wasted day. So I am not impressed. Still I am looking forward to arranging a reschedule on monday for my SQL tuning. That said many test centers dont open outside school/college dates, probably becuase support is a little harder.

.....

On the upside revising for the exam topics was useful ... even if i mainly used the book the Lewis picked up off my desk and scummered and actually went over the 11gR2 performance tuning documentation a lot more thoughly.

....

Current moral of Story. Bring 2 x 1GB ECC DDR2 ram to the test center in case their server is unwell!
  • 1. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    matthew_morris Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    Eventually all is abandoned.
    Well, for the life of me I couldn't work out any way to answer the thread question... since you didn't ask any. :)

    I'll note, however that while you didn't give an abandonment time, since the proctor didn't show up until 13:25, it must have been around 14:00 by the time he gave up. Five and a half hours after your initial arrival would not have been a good way to start a beta test that is expected to take 2.5-3 hours. Obviously not taking the test at 14:00 is a worse option than taking it at 10:30 would have been. However, I think putting it off to another day was the best possible course by that point.


    Edit: Forgot the most important part... good luck on the test. :)

    Edited by: matthew_morris on Dec 28, 2012 1:51 PM
  • 2. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    Roger25 Explorer
    Currently Being Moderated
    Well, it's very hard to me to understand what you say, but however..
    What study materials did you use to prepare for 1Z1-117?

    Regards
  • 3. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Matthew,

    Thanx for the support ....

    I sometimes will leave something like as question rather than non question to help promote Brandye to a Guru etc.

    My brain was primed for this, to try to answer questions in 45s repeadedly. And I am used to train travel in Britain, so things happen.

    Given I seemed no to read the front of the bus I attemped to take home, and it took me to the Bell and compass instead, I m not sure if I would have been following my old Chemistry teachers advice:

    If all else fails read the question ... in other words answer the question that has been given and not the question you have misread through carelessness.

    But I have learned something new ....

    If all else fails read where your bus is going before you get on it! (especially if it has number 21 on the front and 31 on the back and the driver is circa 5' 3", female, middle-aged, light brunette wavy hair shoulder length , ....).

    I'd really need to settle the Official Pearson Response before I say more .... rescheduling 1z1-117 on monday may be an interesting exercise ....
  • 4. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    matthew_morris Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    Just FYI: Looking at the 1Z1-117 specs... one potential problem is that the beta is scheduled to close on December 29th. Not sure if you'll be allowed to reschedule after then. That would be a major bummer.
  • 5. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    Roger22 wrote:
    Well, it's very hard to me to understand what you say,
    .... if anyone understands me I fears for their sanity ...
    but however..
    What study materials did you use to prepare for 1Z1-117?
    IMHO Probably the key document is the 11gR2 performance tuning guide (E16638).
    The 2-dba performance tuning guide (works more from EM) .... (E10822)
    Oracle Database 11g Release 2 Performance Tuning Tips & Techniques (Oracle Press) also covered some things in other ways.
    I kept to this as it is 11gR2 focused. There may be other books, and better books, but I had it to hand and it said 11gR2 and some of the exams topics related to 11gR2 features.
    Some authorative blog articles help a little sometimes:
    e.g.: https://blogs.oracle.com/optimizer/ ....

    ... Apart from the above, one needs to practice. And practice. Read some old notes and references and make some new ones.

    The resources above also cover topics beynd SQL Tuning ... more database tuning (1z0-054).
    (Equally above might be a little light on the parallel section ... in which case one might look at bits of http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E18283_01/server.112/e16541.pdf for example).

    .... Please bear in mind I have not taken the exam, let alone passed it. So beware of being led by the blind. And about 18 years ago I took an Oracle 7 performance tuning course .... and occasionally dabble since .... though I am much more in the emergency performance tuning category.

    ..... Still referencing the exam topics into the above resources has left me various nuggets and with the ability to know more ways how to spin some Oracle database queries into various performance changing places ......

    Regards
  • 6. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    matthew_morris wrote:
    Just FYI: Looking at the 1Z1-117 specs... one potential problem is that the beta is scheduled to close on December 29th. Not sure if you'll be allowed to reschedule after then.
    Hmmmmm .... yes ..... .... rescheduling 1z1-117 on monday may be an interesting exercise .... however the contact at Pearson VUE I helpdesk contacted said they would do that ...... this seems indeed a performance to be tuned!
    ... That would be a major bummer.
    Major Bum = big target ;-)

    ... to be fair Pearson VUE are in general about as good as you get. My experience on this forum is they usually get most things sorted out satisforily ... though it does take a little time.
  • 7. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    matthew_morris Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    ...however the contact at Pearson VUE I helpdesk contacted said they would do that..
    This strikes me as one of those things that a helpdesk person would say to make an upset customer less upset... without actually verifying that it could be done. I seriously doubt the person even considered the possibility that the test window might be ending, much less checked it. Hopefully you will have no problem. I mentioned it only so that you would have some time to prepare yourself for potential bad news...

    That said, if you end up being unable to take take the beta, let me know. I plan to create a study guide for this exam. SQL is one of my specialties and really want to create a guide for this exam that is available very soon after the exam becomes production. It's conceivable that I could get you a pre-publication version. Lots of 'ifs' involved, including the major one of me getting it ready in time...
  • 8. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    matthew_morris wrote:
    ...however the contact at Pearson VUE I helpdesk contacted said they would do that..
    This strikes me as one of those things that a helpdesk person would say to make an upset customer less upset... without actually verifying that it could be done. I seriously doubt the person even considered the possibility that the test window might be ending, much less checked it. Hopefully you will have no problem. I mentioned it only so that you would have some time to prepare yourself for potential bad news...
    .... I can't really comment on this until Pearson VUE have resolved. It would not be helpful. Had the helpdesk person opened the incident he was asked to and recorded things then other possibiities might have been open; perhaps a test center on the 29th.
    That said, if you end up being unable to take take the beta, let me know. I plan to create a study guide for this exam. SQL is one of my specialties and really want to create a guide for this exam that is available very soon after the exam becomes production. It's conceivable that I could get you a pre-publication version. Lots of 'ifs' involved, including the major one of me getting it ready in time...
    Thanks for the offer ... would consider it as my note preps for this .... which were a little rushed ... were not up to the standard I'd use for a full priced production exam. I did think however think this exam would be in your zone.
    .... That said within three months 1z1-060 wil be higher priority for me ... if I dont have something that is even higher priority. And 12c undoubtably could possibly change some of the parts the topics on this exam touch .... fascinating.
  • 9. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    Roger25 Explorer
    Currently Being Moderated
    It would be excellent if we will have some exam guide.. the recommended training for this exam are 3 courses from OU, and very expensive. However, the documentation is verr large, it will be useful to have some materials based on exam topics
    Good luck and i'm waiting too for a guide :)
  • 10. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    Well my certification story on this one continues ... the mother is doing a sic-kie today and missing the bing-o ... so could have done twickers ... but its few trains and busses to twickers and i'd have to ring b4 I went and the snoring missus would bisect me as she'd probably now prefer I took my cre-dit card to AS-DAs (W-mart (US)) to buy ear.ings that she wanted but didnt get for C-hrist-mas.

    Certification is about the journey. This one for me is like the BigOne at Black-pool, especially when it gets stuck near the top; rather than a planned trip on the P-leasure B-each E-xpress.
    Roger22 wrote:
    It would be excellent if we will have some exam guide..
    If there is one I'm probably going to use it on a cost/risk/benefit basis.
    the recommended training for this exam are 3 courses from OU, and very expensive.
    IMHO Part of OCP and OCE journeys are to help to practice people to think and explore, not to be led. Companies really expect OCP's and OCE's to be able to work a problem they haven't met before, and practice of looking up topics for themselves really helps hone this skill.

    So lets explore this statement in depth. Because on an OCE journey I might do this.

    Oracle is a sale.s corporation. In my cynical way I think the courses might be there to tempt big bud-get Corporations on new projects and and to directly and indirectly stiff government organisations.

    I observe:
    - The cost of these courses roughly equate to their days duration. I shall use D as the cos.t of a course per day below.
    - This exam has 56 topics. Often exams have 1 question/topic, but thats not guar-enteed.
    - The topics are divided to 3 sections, SQL Statement Tuning, Parallel Queries, Data Warehousing
    - The exam relevance is my personal opinion ... it is my guestimate. It may not be accurate. In fact any I say is an opinion.
    !Section      !Topics!Duration!C@st!Relevance!
    !SQL Tuning   !  42 !   3days ! 3D !  100%   !
    !Parallel     !  10 !   1day  ! 1D !   80%   !
    !DataWarehouse!   4 !   4days ! 4D !   25%   !
    .... Of course their may be for instance 3 questions on each data warehouse topic for all I know ......

    Oracle University sale-speople must almost be rubbing their hands with glee as I'm advertising SQL Tuning (and perhaps parallel queries) for them for nothing!

    More seriously, if one intends to do the certification and doesnt have much or any sql tuning experience then the SQL Tuning course is going to be very val-uable. Otherwise be prepared to sweat and toil getting the same knowledge oneself, and while a guide may be useful it is unlikely to be enough on its own.
    However, the documentation is verr large,
    It depends on your viewpoint. The documentation isn't so very large when you know it well enough. When you focus on a topic it can be quite small. Especially if you understand associated concepts. If you're going for OCE don't be scared of the large document .... learn to love it (or perhaps consider switch to a non bloated RDBMS like MySQL ;-) ). Oracle 11g is big. It no longer runs in 2MB ram on msdos like Oracle 5.1 did. In fact I worry 12c will need more than 2GB physical memory in practice.
    it will be useful to have some materials based on exam topics
    And I dont dispute that. I'd love a guide to check for gaps in my knowledge. I get nervous going into an exam wondering if i have misunderstood the totality of what is behind an exam topic.
    Good luck and i'm waiting too for a guide :)
    Another approproach is to learn SQL Tuning by working through a general purpose Oracle Training Book, and look for the guide to cover gaps to exam standard.

    ..........

    Hi Roger, .... I know I've answered you on this one. .... and almost pulled your response to pieces. I feel a little guilty. I've really used it to illustrate a different approach to the certification journey for you and others. And I've used the method of taking an alternative viewpoint to your statements. Hopefully some of the alternatives are of interest to some people.

    Edited by: bigdelboy on 29-Dec-2012 04:00 - This is being editted in in sections due to content not allowed.
  • 11. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    Well monday has come and contcted Pearson VUE to re-arrange my Oracle Database 11g Release 2: SQL Tuning - English - (ENU).

    Unsurprisingly ... after 2 minutes of holding, then 10 to 15 minutes of holding, they came back and said they had cancelled my exam and refunded my money. ( As Matthw indicated would be the case).

    They said they were unable to rebook the exam ..... (Well perhaps they should have done that on Friday ... they should have listened to their own mantra on Friday .....

    http://www.pearson.com/content/dam/pearson-corporate/files/coc/20121026__Pearson-Code-of-Conduct-Sept-2012_English-website-version.pdf

    +4. Customers+
    o The most important thing we can do for our customers is to offer products and services that are consistently
    superior and effective.
    o When customers ask questions or make requests or complaints, we start with the presumption that
    +whatever they say is correct. (LIKE LISTEN WHEN THE CUSTOMERS SAYS ARE YOU SURE YOU CAN RESCHEDULE THE EXAM ON MONDAY?) Our response is always quick, generous, friendly, and it resolves the situation.+
    We never blame problems on the customer or someone else, and we always keep (and use) our sense of
    humour.

    ....

    I asked for the complaints procedure .... they said contact Oracle ( They didnt say how .... ( I presume they dont expect me to get Wurzels' or Scary's Guard train to reading and the bus to TVP and start throwing stones an Oracle Offices ;-) ) ).....

    I have of course raised an SR at Certification Support.

    ....

    If I was advising anyone else at this point, I would be saying to them:
    - Be patient
    - Wait for Oracle's response
    - It seems like the chance of the beta has gone, howver perhaps Oracle will talk to Pearson and try to sort something.
    - I have never sen a case on the forum yet that Pearson VUE didnt do the're utmost to resolve reasonably.

    .... So I shall wait for Oracle's response.

    ..... At this I would asked the relevant person to put the SR number here for Brandye to chase ... I'm more interested to let the SR run it's natural course.
  • 12. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    matthew_morris Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    bigdelboy wrote:
    - It seems like the chance of the beta has gone, howver perhaps Oracle will talk to Pearson and try to sort something.
    Unfortunately, my money (all 2 cents of it) is on Option A unless Oracle decides to extend the beta period for everyone. However, I suspect they do that only when they haven't gotten enough takers during the beta for a representative sample in troubleshooting the test questions. With this particular test, I (once again) suspect that getting a large enough sample wouldn't have been a problem. This is likely to be a popular exam.

    The problem in your case is that what went wrong wasn't something that Oracle is responsible for. What is required to fix it isn't something that is under Pearson Vue's power. In other words, Oracle would have to decide to make an exception to their rules in order to fix PV's screwup. I seriously doubt that will happen. The absolute best possible option that I can see is you getting a discount of some sort on the production test once it becomes available. That said, you're well aware just how much 'authority' is vested in my opinions.
  • 13. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    matthew_morris wrote:
    bigdelboy wrote:
    - It seems like the chance of the beta has gone, howver perhaps Oracle will talk to Pearson and try to sort something.
    Unfortunately, my money (all 2 cents of it) is on Option A unless Oracle decides to extend the beta period for everyone. However, I suspect they do that only when they haven't gotten enough takers during the beta for a representative sample in troubleshooting the test questions. With this particular test, I (once again) suspect that getting a large enough sample wouldn't have been a problem. This is likely to be a popular exam.
    Totally agree there is no way to extend and delay a beta for one result.
    The problem in your case is that what went wrong wasn't something that Oracle is responsible for.
    Yes certainly not Oracle's problem. To some extent Pearson's VUE not fully responsible either, at least up to the point they said I could reschedule on Monday, even when pressed. Then they take a lot of responsbility. The correct solution was to seek a test center open on Saturdays ... that would have been an option. there might have been one near Twickenham. That would have caused me some logistic problems and extra cost but might have been do-able, the the missus might have scummered me and my mum missed her bingo. There again with the messing around on that day, flooding, unknown rail works not sure I would have been in a good mental state and up for it.

    To some extent the test center was a shambles with re-arranging the appointment (and not contacting me or apparently Pearson VUE; and then having their server blow up). In mitigation at least they did at least spend some effort in getting someone to site.
    What is required to fix it isn't something that is under Pearson Vue's power. In other words, Oracle would have to decide to make an exception to their rules in order to fix PV's screwup. I seriously doubt that will happen.
    Yes. Pearson can't fix it.

    Pearson VUE make i perfectly clear they are only responsible for the exam cost in the event of non delivery ... not for the travel (6.00 GBP south hants stagecoach busrider); nor lost wages (0) or lost time (invaluable) not for my dish and chips, tea and capaccino at Beccy's Pantry. 4.50+1.00+1.40 GBP. I have no dispute with the exam non delivery .... issues happen sometimes in pairs .... but Pearson VUE should perhaps have got on the ball a bit quicker rather than the response they did.
    The absolute best possible option that I can see is you getting a discount of some sort on the production test once it becomes available. That said, you're well aware just how much 'authority' is vested in my opinions.
    Interesting thought there, and probably appropriate. Pearson could ask Oracle to help. ( I have a suspiscion the like may have happened before, and I have a suspiscion the one or people who it happened to had an NDA gag. But this is a feeling not a knowledge).

    ..............

    ... And as a final ironic twist at the bottom of their cancellation email they has the audacity to put ....

    Thank you for selecting Pearson VUE for your exam, and we look forward to serving you again. Please feel free to contact us with your comments or questions.
    Sincerely,
    Pearson VUE

    ..........

    Anyway I am nevous no email confirmation has come back wrt my SR ( which either means IMHO : [1] I typed my email address wrong. [2] I am blocking Oracle's emails. [3] Oracle's Certificaiton SR system is broken [4] Oracle's emails from SR system is blockaged [5] something else ). Certainly it took a lot to get the SR accepted and I had to cut my message a lot to stop it being rejected.

    ..........

    Anyway I am now fairly certain I ain't SQL tuning for a bit .... so i've turned back to linux and have booked myself to have a go at the 1z1-460 which is low priority for me but has some synergy with the LPIC-2 I need to take soon or my LPIC-1 expires. I'd installed ol6.0 but it was next to useless ... ol6.3 however seems must better as it seems to be able to run an Oracle database ... i've been on solaris for too long recently.

    ........

    Anyway Thanks for your support, Matthew .... you've earned at least one helpful.
  • 14. Re: Keystone Kops at the Test Center ..... Real World Test Candidate experience
    matthew_morris Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    bigdelboy wrote:
    ...not for my dish and chips, tea and capaccino at Beccy's Pantry. 4.50+1.00+1.40 GBP.
    What. No tip? :)
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