How to Prepare for Oracle Database 11g Certified Master Exam

Jul 17, 2012 / By Yury Velikanov

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Since a third person just asked me how to prepare for OCM exam in last 2 days, I decided to make my answer publicly available. I will leave you to discover the formal path yourself and give you a guideline in terms of the how-to and length of the preparation.

How to build a test environment

First of all you should build your test-sandbox environment. Many folks are asking what versions of software should be installed. The answer is right there on the Oracle Database 11g Certified Master Exam page; see “Exam Environment” section. The next question that I typically hear is: The test environment should consist of how many servers? This is where I will let you to use your imagination and count yourself. I’ll just give you few hints:
1. Check if there is a RAC section in the exam. If it is there, you’ll need at least 2 hosts :).
2. Check if there is a Grid Control related section in the exam. If it is there, you should install it somewhere, right? :)

What exam consists of and what is the best way to prepare

You wouldn’t believe it, but the answer is out there on the same Oracle Database 11g Certified Master Exam page. You just need to go though each category under the “Exam Topics” section and give yourself the most difficult tasks you can think of and practice, practice, practice… And after that, a bit more practice :). For example, consider the “Create the database” task. Think about how to make an Oracle DBA’s life as complex as possible and train yourself for that scenario. You may want to think about several different scenarios as you may not guess the one used in the exam from the first try.

How much time to spend on preparation

I would suggest to plan for 2 months of technical self-training if you have a normal (5 days and 8 hours a day) work week. You would work 1-2h in average during work days and 4-5 hours during the weekends for the preparation. It comes to 80-130 hours of technical preparation work for an Oracle DBA with 3-4 years experience. Well, I would suggest the same time frame for a DBA with 15 years of experience anyway. ;)

What information sources would Yury suggest for preparation?

Well the main source is here :). Would I suggest to use anything else? Yes, I think your imagination is another component. Use it wisely and think about possible scenarios you would use to test other Oracle DBA for a top position in your company. Would I suggest any other sources? Hmmmm… You are free to use anything you want; however, my personal opinion is that you’re better off using the sources I just mentioned.

Do you think that the cost of the OCM exam is unreasonably high?

I do agree that it is expensive. However, it depends what you are comparing it with. Let’s take the popular “Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert” exam. If you compare the pricing, then you will find out that it’s similar to OCM. However, if you read through the prerequisite list, you will find that it is much longer. Our friends from networking world put much more efforts to fulfill the CCIE requirements. In addition you will be surprised to know that the passing rate for CCIE exam is ~30%. Based on my friends’ feedback, passing the CCIE exam on the third attempt is normal. If you pass it on the second attempt, you are lucky. If we compare OCM with CCIE, OCM no longer seems so expensive. Just to mention that I didn’t do anything to fulfill the OCM prerequisites. It just happened that in 2003, I had had all necessary boxes ticked even before considering 9i OCM.

To sum this up, I think that if you follow the advice I just gave you then you have a good chances to pass the OCM exam on the first try. Just get ready for 2 months of hard work, prepare your test environment, and be brave ;). By the way, if you are OCM already, feel free to comment if my assessment is about right and share your experience under the comments’ section of this blog post.

Good luck folks,

Yury

22 Responses to “How to Prepare for Oracle Database 11g Certified Master Exam”

  • [...] people are asking OCMs about how to approach the exam. Yury Velikanov provides his responses in How to prepare to Oracle Database 11g Certified Master Exam. I get similar questions [...]

  • Ronald Rood says:

    My opinion: if you are the type of dba that harvests all blogs to get things done by copying what’s in there: you might get lucky. If you are the type that writes the blogs and your companies manuals on your own, you are likely to succeed.
    Find a way out of every kind of trouble you can think of. If you can, you are likely to become the next OCM.

    The OCM test is fun to do.

  • Adhika says:

    Hi Yury,

    Thanks for sharing that.
    Could you please share the resource you were using to practice for the exam?
    How much memory you required to install the linux OS, databases, grid control, grid infrastructure, RAC?
    How much hard disk space you required for the whole thing?

    Thank you in advance.
    Adhika

  • [...] How to prepare to Oracle Database 11g Certified Master Exam (Yury Velikanov) [...]

  • Murali Krishna says:

    Hi ,

    I am planning to write Oracle 11g OCM exam. Since its huge cost, First I am planning to write exam. Now my doubt is whether we will come to know whether exam is qualified or not ?

    Let us know the status

    Thanks
    Murali

    • Hey Murali,

      What do you mean by “to write exam”?
      I do not understand your question mate. Please make an effort to explain it to me in more details.

      If I am not mistaken you can take the OCM exam even if you don’t fulfill all prerequisites. However they will not give you exam report up until you fulfill all requirements & send the certification team the proof.

      Yury

  • Naga says:

    Hello Yury,

    Thanks for your “advisory” :), I am starting my preparation from today for 11g OCM, but stretch it for 6 months or more in order to get full momentum… Yeah, as you said, source is to fully prepare each bullet in Exam topics section… Hope for the best…

    Naga

  • Shibeika says:

    Is attending OCM preparation workshop class is enough to do exam beside to reduce 80 – 130 hours to 40 hours or what?

    • Hello Shibeika,

      I would ask you if any Oracle University course helps you to be a better DBA or Dev? Most probably answer would be: Yes it does. Question is on price/performance side. There are a lot of parameters kicking in at this stake: teacher, quality of the course, your energy and time etc.
      I don’t know about the new Workshop (learned about it from your post, thank you). However I would expect that OCM team would do a dissent work on the materials.
      However I found Oracle University quite expensive. If you have budget and no time for preparation I would probably would give it a go.

      PS Looking for feedback from someone who took it may be another good idea.

  • @Shibeika,
    AFAIK, OCM Preparation Workshop only gives you an idea of how good you are and how well are you prepared. I does not cover tasks that might appear in real exam. It just *again* goes through all the topics from the same Oracle Database 11g Certified Master Exam page. IMHO It is not possible to reduce or ignore the preparations by attending such course.

    All the best,

    Andrejs.

  • shibeika says:

    Thanks for Yury Velikanov and Andrejs Karpovs and your advices , just I have another question can I go through oracle documentation to meet the topics from same Oracle Database 11g Certified Master Exam page?

  • >> can I go through oracle documentation to meet the topics from same Oracle Database 11g Certified Master Exam page?
    Thanks for the question.
    Have a close look on “What information sources would Yury suggest for preparation?” section. I think I have positively answered your question already :)

    Good luck with your preparation.

    Yury

  • [...] to get their OCM. While this will require some company backing to keep it fair since the OCM is an expensive and time consuming test to take, it definitely has its rewards. It is a great way to encourage professional growth within your team [...]

  • Neeraj says:

    With regards to OCM requirement it says we need to know Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g Grid Control Release 1 (11.1.0.1.0) (32-bit), which unfortunately Oracle has taken off software from it’s web site & they only allow you to download grid 12c … in this scenerio does Oracle expects that the person who wishes to go for OCM exam should have a valid oracle support account so that he can request this old software officially or acc. to you what else are the available options ??

  • Igor says:

    Yury, have you physical or virtual sandbox ?

  • janice says:

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