Sunday, January 18, 2015

Passing the 70-480 HTML5 Exam

This week I finished up the long journey of passing the Microsoft 70-480 HTML5 and CSS3 exam. I had been studying pretty steady since late September for this one. During that time, I referred to a number of resources, and I wanted to mention them here in case they could be of use to someone else.

First, I attended the live live HTML5 class. My employer was generous enough to foot the bill for this. If you are an experienced web developer, you may not need this, but it was really nice for me to be fully immersed in the new features of HTML5 to kick off my studying efforts.

Next, I read the HTML5 Training Guide. The HTML5 Exam Ref had also just been released, but it hadn't been reviewed yet. The Training Guide had been out for a while and had very good reviews, so I decided that it was the way to go. I felt like it was a good investment of time and money, as it had a lot of hands on exercises and covered a broad range of topics.

Third, I used the Measure Up Practice Test. I have mixed feelings about this item. It was somewhat helpful, but in the end, I'm not convinced that it helped me as much as I would have liked. There were a couple of questions that were quite similar to questions on the test, so I give them props on that, but I felt like I still was surprised by some of the questions that were on the final exam. Also, the interface for this is quite clunky. If they could clean up the scrolling functionality within the question presenter, it would be much easier to use.

Fourth, I leveraged Anki to create my own flash cards. I feel like this was quite helpful to me, and I ended up looking at the flash cards every other day. Anki remembers which items you got wrong and it presents them more frequently.

Fifth, I watched the course videos on Microsoft Virtual Academy. I had already reviewed a lot at this point, so this was mostly just a good refresher, although there were a few tidbits here and there that I was unaware of.

In some ways, it may seem like I over-prepared for the exam. Mostly, thanks to this, I felt confident when I went to take the test that I had a good command of the material. However, I was still surprised as I started to look at the actual exam questions, as there was some material on there that I did not study as well as I should have. Thankfully, I did get a passing score in the end, but it would have been nice if I would have felt more confident of passing while I took the test. In the end, it was a long journey, and I'm glad that I did it, but I'm also glad that it's over. I definitely won't miss studying for a while.

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