Schmaga in wonderland – Re-certification of the MCSD for Web through the 70-494 exam

Some time ago, Microsoft started to implement a re-certification policy for certain certifications, resulting in the need to re-certify every two years. The Microsoft Solution Developer for Web Applications is one of these candidates. As I have owned this certification for quite a while now, I was due for a re-certification.

Well, Microsoft was offering a free second shot, so I took them up on that offer and registered without any preparation. What was there to lose? And I was using many of the technologies in my current projects or have been using them in past projects. That knowledge must count for something, right?

But it was not enough. The evil „FAIL“ appeared at the final screen. It was a close call admittedly, as I must have missed only a single questions judging from the score.

„OK“ I told myself. „That was not too bad considering. I did not study for the exam“. Still, some questions had struck me as totally awkward.

Yesterday I took my second attempt at the exam. This time I prepared more thoroughly by reading both exam books and doing additional research into certain topics. It was a rather intensive preparation. It was enough to *drum roll* ……………. hit the spot exactly at the passing threshold. I probably got one more question right compared to my first attempt. Whoa?! And while I recognized some of the questions, I felt kind of screwed over. I probably couldn’t have answered them if I had had the two books at my side. I cannot go into further detail because of exam NDA, but some questions were even riddled with strange mistakes or inconsistencies (even in the supposedly correct answers). I rarely commented so many questions in an exam. And seriously… memorizing configuration file syntax or configuration step sequence is not a thing my mind considers worth doing. Is that what it takes to be a good solution developer? If that’s what it takes, then I do not want to be one.

I conclude: Working through the books only helps with a few of the covered tops. Either you had previously used exactly the classes/methods/properties that were used in the questions, or you were at a loss. I have never before experienced such a poorly designed exam. And it was probably my tenth Microsoft exam I had the honor to do (or simply had to do, depending on how you see it). Maybe Microsoft should implement an „I am feeling lucky “ button into its exams.

4 thoughts on “Schmaga in wonderland – Re-certification of the MCSD for Web through the 70-494 exam”

  1. I agree completely on the configuration questions, this is typically something you look up in a reference so why so many questions (3 or 4) about specific xml configuration for both wcf and worker roles? It’s silly.

    Same with specific steps in visual studio, I have no issue with it if I have visual studio in front of me but memorizing the steps in correct order, NO!

    Sigh, dont really know if I bother trying again at this point.

    1. Hi Gaurav,

      I suggest you order the official Microsoft Exam preparation guides for the three single Exams that make up the Web MCSD. Apart from that, there is not much I can give you except wishing you lots of luck and a good tolerance to frustration 😉


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