1Z0-144 is one of the PL/SQL exams that will satisfy the requirement for the Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate certification. It is the updated version of the test 1Z0-147: Program with PL/SQL which was created for version 9i of the Oracle database and has not been updated since. The Oracle developer certification is popular and so the Program with PL/SQL tests are two of the more common Oracle exams taken. PL/SQL programming skills are extremely useful in the IT industry and the certification is a valuable addition to the resume of an Oracle developer. I found the Oracle Database 11g: Program with PL/SQL exam to be one of the more difficult Oracle certification tests. It is one that you can easily fail if you take it without being fully prepared. This article is intended to give you some insight into the test to assist in your study efforts.
All of the topics that will be covered in the 1Z0-144 exam are listed on the Oracle Education website. There are any number of PL/SQL capabilities that are not listed there, but they will not show up on the test. The topic lists from Oracle Education are always complete. The 11G Program with PL/SQL exam has sixty-nine topics in twenty-one subject areas. The test itself will have eighty multiple-choice or multiple-answer questions and you’ll have ninety minutes to complete it. The passing score is sixty-five percent. For the multiple-answer questions, there is no partial credit. Not answering a question counts against your score as much as answering one incorrectly, so you don’t want to leave any question unanswered — even if that means simply picking a letter at random. I will repeat one thing for those who did not do a double-take: eighty questions in ninety minutes. You will have less than sixty-eight seconds per question. Time is your enemy on this test. You must know the information well enough to be able to answer questions quickly.
It should come as no surprise that the majority of questions in 1Z0-144 will contain one or more blocks of PL/SQL. To do well on the test you must have a good grasp of PL/SQL syntax. A significant number of the test questions will ask you to look at one or more subprograms and then answer a question about whether they will work, what they will do, or if they will generate an error. You must have the ability to parse through PL/SQL code and ‘run’ the results in your head. Other questions will provide a block of code and ask what is required to make it function correctly. The code might require certain rights, or parameter values, or settings in the development environment. The questions that do not directly involve code will involve facts you should know about PL/SQL development: information about rights, initialization parameters, best practices, or capabilities.
The 1Z0-144 exam contains a large number of questions that contain exhibits. Some of the exhibits show PL/SQL subprograms and other show information about the database — typically tables affected by the subprograms. Some of the exhibits you must look at in order to answer the question, and others are optional. Time is a critical factor so you want to look at the exhibits only when you have to. While the test indicates that you should view the diagram and then answer the question, I would suggest the reverse. Read the question first before opening the exhibits. Each exhibit that you bypass will save you a few seconds that may prove critical to complete the test in time. I expect that a significant number of people run out of time on this test.
1Z0-144 is an OCA-level test which are generally considered to be entry-level. I will agree that the information being tested is at the level of PL/SQL fundamentals, but the time crunch means that you must know those fundamentals really well. Had the test length been 120 minutes rather than 90 minutes, there would have been more leisure to look through the PL/SQL subprograms before answering. With the current time limit, you must be able to very quickly scan through the code, which automatically means you must be more familiar with PL/SQL. Make sure that you view all of the exam topics on the Oracle Education website. You should be extremely familiar with all of them before scheduling the exam. Good luck on the test.