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486 tips

 
Marc Peabody
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I've been meaning to post but keep forgetting... :roll:
The other week I passed the 486 with a 76. It was easier than I expected. I had nearly an hour left at the end. I tend to not have the patience to review the entire test unless I am very worried about passing.
I do not recommend picking out the exhibit or non-exhibit questions to start with. Just answer the questions one by one. I tried to make 6 iterations (to use the term loosely) of 20 minutes per 10 questions. This will give you over a half hour for review if you need it. If you are getting behind in any 20 minute section you are spending too much time on your questions. If one is confusing you, do your best to answer it and mark it for later review. Expect to have the first 15 minutes gone before you start - it happened to me and I've seen other complaints about this as well.
I found it strange that many exhibit questions had 2 exhibits to choose from even though only one exhibit helps to answer the question. For example, the question might ask which class can call a certain method on another class, with Exhibit 1 as a Use Case [description, not diagram] and Exhibit 2 as a Class Diagram. Obviously, the Class Diagram is going to be very useful and the use case probably isn't. Much time could be wasted looking at the unhelpful exhibit. If the exhibit you first select doesn't give you a rough idea of the answer in 5-10 seconds it can be safe to say you're looking at the wrong one for your answer. Close it, open the other one.
I've had a weird testing experience of having the first 3-5 questions be the most difficult of the entire test. This has been true for every certification. By the time I reached question 15 I felt much more confident and for the first time I did not fear what my score would be at the end.
Materials for study:
Larman is a must - The first 6 or 7 chapters especially. I don't think I made it past 9 or 10 though. There are some good notes from another user. Just Google "Larman's notes" and I'm sure you'll find it. The notes could have left many things out, but spend a couple hours reading them the night before your test. It will help. I recommend underlining your book and writing in the margins. You will feel more confident reading those "Larman's notes" when you can say to yourself, "I remember underlining that in my book".
Fowler is a must - It's one thing to understand what the various association symbols MEAN but it does you little good if you don't remember which way the arrows/diamonds should point. Also understand what each style of diagram is best for. For example, which one for multi-threading issues.
Any hands-on experience with the topics on the test (real-world) will improve a score by a minimum of 10%. It's easier to know WHO should be at any given meeting if you sit in enough meetings to see how frustrating it is to miss someone important or to have someone that does not belong send the meeting's objectives into tangents.
The test focused more on class diagrams than I expected. I don't recall even seeing any other kind of diagram, only questions about which one is best for a given situation.
Oh, I studied off and on since late November. I really didn't study with focus until 2 weeks before the test and averaged maybe 2 hours a night... or less than that... discipline can be difficult... darn that Rise of Nations!
 
Serge Adzinets
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Congrats, Marc!
Agree with you in that it doesn't make sense to answer questions without diagrams first.
For me it was not the problem to choose the diagram when you have two of them. What I would like to underline is that one should first read the question and only then look at the diagram. There's no time to investigate diagrams completely.
 
Marcelo Sousa Ancelmo
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Congrats Marc
Regards,
 
Hari Vignesh Padmanaban
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Congrats
 
Marc Peabody
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Good point, Serge. One should definitely read the question well enough to know WHAT to look for before opening an exhibit. I remember reading the question and EXPECTING to find a certain kind of exhibit. If you're thinking "Boy, a class diagram would be nice for this question" and the first exhibit you open is a Data Glossary/Dictionary (which often is the case on this test) you know that the other exhibit is probably the class diagram you are looking for.
 
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