1Z0-117: Oracle Database 11g Release 2: SQL Tuning is one of the newest Oracle certification exams currently available. This exam is part of the Oracle Expert series, and passing it will make the candidate an Oracle Certified Expert, Oracle Database 11g Release 2 SQL Tuning. The ability to maximize the performance of SQL in a database is an incredibly valuable skill. Being acknowledged as an expert will provide a boost to the marketability of any Oracle professional. However, I will note that I have been taking Oracle certification exams for many years, and this test was probably the most difficult of any of them. This article is intended to provide some insight about what will be expected from you on the test to help guide your preparation.
Your first stop in preparing for this or any Oracle certification test should be the exam topics page on the Oracle Education website. Every subject that will be covered in the 1Z0-117 exam will be listed there. The SQL Tuning Expert exam has forty-seven topics in eighteen broad categories. The most important of these are the following:
- Interpreting Execution Plans
- Application Tracing
- Optimizer Operations, Statistics, and Hints
- Star Transformation
- Bind Variables
- SQL Tuning and SQL Access Advisors
- SQL Plan Management
- Parallel Processing
None of these topics is simple. Each of them contains enough details to allow Oracle Education to create questions that require candidates to have a thorough understanding of the subject in order to provide the correct answer. Because this is an OCE-level rather than an OCA or even an OCP-level exam, most of the questions will require in-depth knowledge of the subject.
On the SQL Tuning exam itself, there will be 80 multiple-choice or multiple-answer questions with a time limit of 150 minutes and a passing score of 66 percent. The majority of the questions in the exam I took were multiple-answer rather than multiple-choice. With multiple-answer questions, you will have to pick the correct two, or three, or even four answers rather than just one. Since Oracle certification exams do not have partial credit, multiple-answer questions will always increase the difficulty. Providing no answer to a question counts against your score as much as answering one incorrectly, so you don’t want to leave any questions blank — even if that means simply picking a random answer. One bright spot of the 1Z0-117 exam is that the time limit is large and the number of exhibits is reasonably small in comparison to others like the SQL Expert exam. You can (and should) take your time when reading the questions so you are clear what is being asked. Be sure to look carefully though all of the answers. Often you can find at least one with an obvious flaw that rules it out as a correct answer. Eliminating one or two of the answers in this fashion will allow you to concentrate your efforts on the remaining possibilities.
Like all of the Expert series, 1Z0-117 is intended to pass only those people who have a thorough understanding of the topics covered by the exam. I definitely found this to be very challenging and I think that it is one that is going to fail a significant number of the people who take it. If you do not want to be one of those, be sure to spend a sufficient amount of time preparing. You should be comfortable with all forty-seven topics before scheduling the exam. Good luck on the test.