Posted by Kamran Agayev A. on August 16th, 2013
This is it! Finally I’ve successfully passed OCM exam. It was almost more than 1 year that I’ve been preparing for this.
It’s almost impossible to find additional information about the exam online, so I decided to make my own preparation plan as I’ve done it for OCP exams before. And I would like to share my preparation tips with you and hope it will motivate you to start thinking about OCM.
“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” - Napoleon Hill
Please note that this document has already been checked and approved by Oracle Certification Team.
- In parallel to working as a production DBA at a leading mobile operator company in Azerbaijan (Azercell Telecom LLC), I decided to make a preparation plan for 9 months. I printed exam topics from this link and put it on my desktop. I planned to spend a month on each section for preparation (there are total 8 sections)
- For each section and topic I went through the documentation, checked blog posts, studied metalink notes and created my own practices. I installed VirtualBox on my laptop and used it for all type of practices including RAC and Data Guard. I created different practices for each topic of each session, assigned a time frame for each practice and tried to solve them in a very limited time. I tried to not use GUI in all kind of scenarios. I was able to install Oracle Software and create a database both in silent mode using almost all parameters in a few minutes (with closed eyes ) . I learned all commands by heart; I was able to create a Data Guard using command line without looking to the documentation. I created RAC for several times, added and deleted nodes, went through all configuration and management issues. If you’re preparing for OCM exam, you have to forget GUI at all!
EM is a very important tool which has to be used on your production system and which helps you to administer all your databases from one window. You have to know every single link and page on EM, however you shouldn’t rely only on EM, because there may be some tasks which should be performed without EM. And don’t forget to master EM, as the second Section is all about Grid Control
- You have to be prepared for any type of corruption at any time during the exam. You have to test all kind of failure scenarios and recover from any type of error. If you are not able to recover your database during the exam, you will have to return home earlier. I created all kind of corruption and failure scenarios, and prepared and tested all “How to recover if …” cases.
- Each time I studied everything related to any topic and solved all practices, I removed that line from the paper. My aim was to have a paper with everything removed out like this :)
- I sensed that I would have to fight against the time during the exam, so I decided to improve my typing speed. For the last 7 years I’ve been typing without looking at the keyboard, but it wasn’t enough for me. I decided to improve my typing speed and accuracy, thus registered at www.typeracer.com and competed every day. As a result my typing accuracy improved further.
- After 8 months I finished my research almost for every section and topic of an OCM exam. For the 3 weeks of the last month I performed all practices that I had made for myself (all practices per week!). For the last week I did all practices per DAY! Every time it took me a few hours to finish all tasks. In the last week I realized that my fingers type faster than my brain process It was very hard to devote some hours per day for all practices, so I was preparing over the lunch breaks, after work, and mostly on weekends.
Finally, registration day arrived. Actually, I had planned that date before the preparation and started the registration 2 months before the exam. When you register for the exam try to check the nearest country, book the nearest hotel to the exam center, get a document to have a VISA from the embassy and book flight tickets. Don’t forget to contact OCM exam center 1-2 weeks before an exam to make sure that the exam will proceed and make sure you’ve received a confirmation letter from Oracle.
Before taking an OCM exam, you have to earn OCP certification and take 2 Oracle University (OU) courses. You can check this link for more information. If you haven’t taken the required courses before, it would be better to take the topic that you don’t feel at ease. After taking the required courses, you should submit them at Course Submission Form using course Enrollment ID
Also don’t forget to print addresses of the hotel and the exam center. On the first day I could not explain where to go unless I showed the printed address to the taxi driver. Don’t forget to take your ID to the exam center. In my case, I forgot it, came back to the hotel 1 hour before the exam started, was stuck in a traffic jam and finally got to the exam center 10 minutes ago
Although I had not a chance to relax (slept only 3 hours before the exam), but I would strongly advise you to have a rest a day before the exam.
About the exam
Exam starts at 9.00 and finishes at 18.00. You should arrive 1 hour before the exam. Don’t forget to bring your Oracle Testing ID with you
You will not get any bug during the exam. The proctor is responsible for the discipline, provides information in the beginning of each section and doesn’t answer to any technical question. You can use nonsearchable documentation.
You need to find syntax of any command in a second, you have to know which book, which chapter and which section you need to look for specific topic or question. During preparation days, don’t use documentation search and google AT ALL! In some cases, you don’t have the second chance to correct the mistake you’ve made. You don’t have any chance to learn something during the exam. If you don’t know any topic or haven’t done it or practiced it before, or even don’t know where to find the information in the documentation just go to the next question. I’m sure you’ve already done the same at OCP exam
As I’ve signed NDA, I can’t provide more information about the exam. In a nutshell, you’ll struggle against the time during the whole exam. I want to repeat again – If you come across a question that you haven’t prepared for and seen any time before, that can be a big problem. Theoretical knowledge is not enough; you have to have a practical experience.
In order to avoid feeling nervous during the exam, you are supposed to have gone through the same experience during your DBA life. If you’ve faced such critical issues and solved them in time, then the exam will be less excited.
In conclusion …
It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, it is still very challenging to use only command line interface to perform any requirement, to solve data corruption and recover the database from any data loss, create and manage RAC and Data Guard in a very limited timeline, tune the database and perform different kind of administrative tasks one by one without any mistake.
I hope my preparation method will help you start the preparation for the OCM exam. If you have any question, please do not hesitate to post your comment.
First and foremost I would like to thank The Alimighty God. He has given me the power to believe in my passion and pursue my dreams. I could never have done this without the faith I have. Sincere thanks to my family, especially to my father who motivated me every day. I would also like to thank to my collegues, my friends and all my students for supporting me. Thank you for being genuinely happy for my success and good fortune, as if it were your own
And last but not least, I would like to share some motivation quotes which can help you to be motivated during the preparation and also in your entire life
- If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it. – Muhammad Ali
- “Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.” -Bobby Knight
- You’re never a loser until you quit trying. -Mike Ditka”
- Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up
- He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
- Accept challenges in life, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.
- “The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss it, but we aim too low and reach it.” – Michelangelo
- Edison failed 10,000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times. – Napoleon Hil