Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Zend PHP 5 Exam: Failed

June 6, 2008. I took the real test for the Zend PHP 5 Certification. My test center was MISNet in Makati, Philippines.

I got to the test center with time to spare which I spent reviewing with my friend who accompanied me to the venue. I took the test which lasted an hour and a half (90 minutes). I was able to review most of my answers, and was confident of all the answers I gave. None was left incomplete.

Still, my best wasn't enough. Some of the questions were very tricky. For example, you are given four possible answers and you have to choose the best one. None of them would be considered "wrong" in terms of code usage, but only one is the best and correct answer. Another example is that there are four correct answers and you have to choose two of the best answers. There's also subtle differences I saw with regard to the choices, and even when looking at code, it seems that they deliberately placed a syntax error in one of them that I overlooked somehow. I will not be disclosing any of the questions here since there's a non-disclosure agreement that I promised to follow.

They don't give you the raw score or even let you know the passing score. But they do print out the areas where you can see your level of strength. I got a high score for Streams and Network Programming, as well as Strings and Patterns. I scored medium in Functions, Arrays, and Web Features. I got a low score in Security, PHP 4/5 Differences, Object-Oriented Programming, PHP Basics, and Databases and SQL.

I read somewhere that the practice tests were harder than the real test. But in this case, I don't find that to be true. I passed two practice tests (via the Vulcan engine) and failed the real test. You can read my previous posts regarding my practice tests.

Zend offered me a discount for a retake. Instead of paying $125, this time I can take the test for $100 only. But I doubt I will be doing that anytime soon. This test has shown me that to pass the exam I need to know PHP inside out, and not just in its practical usage in web development but its architecture and configuration as well. I may need more time to study. And I don't really need that kind of knowledge if I'm just gonna work as a PHP programmer starting out in the industry, at least not in the junior and mid-level. Besides those, PHP 6 is scheduled to come out in August this year, and they might change the exam altogether. So I'll wait and see.

Are you ready to take the test?


Samuel Waithaka said...

Your experience was as exact as mine; I sat for my exam in 'Computer Pride' in Nairobi, Kenya East Africa.
For instance, I had thought that i had really mastered security only to find that my score on that was really poor. I also decided to wait for a while like 2 months or so, but also be on the look out for PHP 6 and see what will be different.


Anonymous said...


when are you planning to retake your exam?

i am now starting to review for the exam. hoping to pass this year.


RadX said...

Hi Jhoy,

Maybe late this year or early next year. I still need to buy the 2nd edition study guide hardcopy and PDF. The exam is hard. You have to get excellent in all areas for the practice test to be confident for the exam.