Not a huge score but I'm pleased: I didn't even know the exam existed until last week so I did less than 5 evenings of revision.
My thoughts on the exam:
Broad background knowledge will get you a long way. If you have worked on real projects that use some or all of the syllabus technology then there is a good chance you could pass it right now. I've been working on XML projects using DOM, XSL & FO for several years so I was up-to-date on most of the theory.
My knowledge of Schema and XSL syntax is not that deep. I rely on references and working examples in my day-to-day work. My mark reflects this (my poorest score was in the 'Processing' category). It's probably not good advice but you don't need to memorise all the syntax in order to get a good pass.
The IBM mock is a little soft. I scored 88% in the mock. It was this that prompted me to sit the test so early. I found the ratio of 'strict' technical questions a little higher in the real exam.
Shashank Tanksali's mock is tough. I only scored about 55% on his test. I guess my actual mark falls 1/2 way between the two so perhaps that would be a fair indicator. (I did make sure I understood all of Shashanks questions so I probably picked up a few extra points right there.)
I did buy a book - O'Reillys "XML in a nutshell". Good reference book so I'll be keeping it handy. The author, Elliotte Rusty Harold, also wrote "Processing XML with java" which I used to brush up on my SAX basics.
XML spy is handy for quickly testing ideas regarding XSL and DTD/Schema. If you want to memorise syntax you are better of editing it by hand. Your choice.
The ranch is a great resource. Use it wisely. (I wouldn't have known about the exam had it not been for this forum!)
Many thanks to all the ranch contributors and to Shashank Tanksali for his mock exam.
Can you tell me if the knowledge required for XSL-FO is very technical and much depth needed. I havent got work experience on XSL-FO so I am just reading it from various resources .
how do u compare brainbench XML and JAXP tests to IBM's in toughness . I found them tougher then Shahanks IBM Mock . Do u think IBM mock (the $10 ) is a good yard stick to measure how well I am prepared. Which mocks did u do ? I had scored 58 in Shashanks mock . Thanks Dhiren
Congrats on your success. I am preparing for the exam myself and making my first pass through the Prof XML, XSLT and schemas. I have been working with XSLT and XML for the last one year but, have no practical experience with Formatting Objects & schemas. How technical do questions on these get? Also, the FAQ on thsisite does not post chapter 10 of Prof XML as required. Were there any questions on XLink and XPointers?
I've worked directly with FO in the last few months so I have a feel for the purpose and structure of FO style sheets. I only recall one FO related question and that level of knowledge was sufficient. (I scored 100% on rendering).
Rendering is only 11% of the overall mark: 5 or 6 questions. Those 5 questions also need to cover CSS, multiple target and format issues and data design considerations for rendering. If you get more than one 'deep' technical question on FO then you will be unlucky.
1/3 of the overall marks are given for processing questions - DOM, SAX, XSL, XPath etc. If you want to play safe, focus your attention in these areas.
Yes, I did get an Xpointer question. It was a fairly cheep "define its purpose" type question. I was kicking myself because I had focused on Xlink rather than Xpointer and I had to make an educated guess between one of two similar options.
One good study tip: Write a short summary of the purpose and definition for each of the examinable technologies and memorise them using flash cards. Base the definition on spec documents or reliable text books. You need to know all of this stuff anyway but if the standard terms are fresh in your mind it will probably help.