To SQLMCM Lab? Or Not To Lab?

So my first blog post was kind of talking about me and kind of talking about the 88-971 SQL Server 2008 MCM Lab examination.  Mine is still scheduled for 09/12/2013.  I scheduled it in July and debated on whether or not to put it out there online.  What a fun experience to have your first blog be about an extremely difficult exam and biff it right?

I decided to put it online because of the experience that I had at the sqlskills.com training I took.  Paul Randal had encouraged me at IE2 in Chicago this year to send him a copy of my powershell login permissions script or to blog it myself.  (I gave a short but sweet demo on their “peer night”.)  So since one of my goals had been to get at least one or two blog posts in, I figured why not?  But since no one has seen my blog or knows anything about me, I had to give a little background on my first blog post.

That’s where the debate about the lab and whether or not I should write about it came up.  I decided to go ahead and put it online since it won’t really matter in the end if I pass or not, but rather that I had the determination to get to where I *could* take it.  I’m not feeling 100% confident or even 50% confident today.  September 12th is 9 days away now.  I’ve got some items I’m focusing on until then where I know I’m still weak.

So the question becomes after the announcement Friday night, do I take the 88-971 lab or not at this point?  I had decided that if I took it and failed, I’d have a shot at redemption between October 12th and early December.  And if I can’t make it on that schedule then I don’t deserver the title.  So let me know in the comments, what would you do?  I took the Knowledge exam December 2012 and made it through on the first shot.  I didn’t think I would, but I did.

The thing bothering me is wondering about the lab experience itself.  I’ve read the blogs from guys like Jonathan Kehayias, Brent Ozar, Robert Davis and the guys who’s blogs you read when you want to be a super DBA.  I met recent MCM Sean Gallardy at the IE1 in Bellevue last year before he got it,and these guys are just down right machines.  He’s actually one of the folks that has given me a lot of encouragement to take a shot.

I’ve taken ~25 Microsoft exams myself, but even the Knowledge exam just felt different.  The quality of the questions to me were very high and less word play in them.  Just you have this problem, you investigate like this, what would you do to fix it?  None of the “if it is night time and you are at sea on a boat in the southern hemisphere on winter solstice, what color is the sky?” type questions…

I’m feeling confident that the things I’ve worked with for years will come naturally.  The things that I don’t use as much like say replication or service broker, these are the ones I’ve chosen to focus a few extra cycles on.

Anyway, put that ramble in your pipe and smoke it.  When you are done, go ahead and leave me your opinion of if I try to finish strong or say to hell with…  it.  Microsoft told me I had until December 31st and I’ve been on a very calculated plan to maximize my study time and efforts.  Now I have my shot in 9 days but the catch is I probably won’t get a second shot since they are retiring it.  But it sure would be nice to be able to sneak in at the end as one of the last masters.  I’m leaning towards giving it my best, but it is tempting now to throw in the towel and save $2000.00.

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