Zend Certification. Not so scary hell

I would like to share with a reputable community my experience in obtaining the coveted Zend certificate.

It’s not a secret for anyone that to the numerous certifications, and to ZCPE (Zend Certified PHP Engineer) in particular, everyone has a different attitude: someone collects them and hangs them on the walls for narcissism, someone considers it a waste of time and money .

For me, ZCPE is an indicator of a certain level of knowledge, not so much for someone, but for yourself, when you can say: “So, we’ve figured it out, now we’ll learn something else.” And if you, like me, are a resident of a country where your certificates are mostly indifferent to the employer, then only personal motives will be the incentive for you, and nobody canceled the abstract “want” either.

Do not forget that the test is mostly artificial and theoretical, and you can pass it without serious professional experience, and therefore the main value of certification for you personally consists in a thorough and thorough study of theoretical material during preparation.

I was going to pass certification for a long time, but I constantly put off this important event until later, until, at last, I read the note “I am a certified PHP specialist” on “Habr that pushed me to action. Indeed, in fact, the expectation of a suitable moment and permanent preparation “a little bit” can stretch for months and years, and then the desire will disappear. In some ways, I followed the advice of the author of the article, but went a little further in the radical nature of the interpretation of the notorious expression about the “Rubicon”.

If it is difficult for you, like me, to disagree with Socrates, then it is very difficult to determine the border when you feel that you are ready to pass the exam. You can always re-read something on which once, study manuals and practice tests in practice, but still understand that somewhere something is missing and underestimated. Also, when nothing dominates you, it is difficult to force yourself to prepare diligently. And here it was useful for me to apply the harsh approach practiced in educational institutions, namely, to set an exam date for myself even before preparation. On the pearsonvue website, I reserved the time and place of the exam for myself, paid for the voucher without the commission of the test center. I had almost a month to bring my knowledge in order. Unfortunately, this period seemed optimistic to the brain. Almost 2 weeks passed in a strange anticipation and idleness.

But soon it was time to take up the mind. In the conditions of the approaching cherished day, my desire to kill time for useless activities suddenly disappeared, diligence and a thirst for knowledge appeared. The most neglected areas were identified from the vast theoretical material and the main emphasis was placed on them. The main sources for me were:

  1. zend-php.appspot.com/questions_list - known to everyone dump of questions from the test, allows you to quickly identify weaknesses;
  2. PHP Certification Study Guide - albeit a small but useful little book, a brief overview of all topics and a few questions similar to the test questions;
  3. edward-designer.com/web/passing-php-5-3-certification-exam/ is an excellent blog where, according to the guide from the first paragraph, much more theory is presented;
  4. php.net - official documentation.

Why is the main source of PHP data at the end? It's simple - when you already have in your head the whole basic structure of what you need to know, then it is easy to string additional knowledge from an extensive manual onto it, like a thread. Additionally, I can recommend a resource that I discovered, unfortunately, after passing the test - certificationking.com . In a dump of questions from there I met several verbatim coinciding with those that came across to me.

As a result, it took me about 2 weeks to prepare. The total number of pages of the re-read material is about 500, which, in general, is very small, however, for better memorization, I also took an abstract by hand, and also worked out the most interesting points in practice, because this naturally slowed down the process by improving the quality of knowledge .

Before the test, the main question and source of anxiety was the doubt whether there would be enough time allotted. As it turned out, 90 minutes for 70 test questions is more than enough if you do not sit too long on tasks that cause difficulties. It is better to skip them and come back later. After answering all the questions, I had 35 minutes to review and double-check all the tasks again. Thanks to this, several errors were found. The testing program asked twice whether I really want to complete the test, since I still had time, and I was persistent. A second of waiting, when it is better for impressionable people not to look at the screen. We open our eyes, look at the screen and resign ourselves to fate.

Congratulations! You have passed the Zend Certified PHP Engineer.

I want to wish everyone who is going to undergo certification success in this not very difficult matter. Do not worry, be careful - and everything will work out.

PS My training colleague trained on questions from the site onlinetestcentre.com . According to him, approximately 70% of the questions eventually coincided.

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