I have just finished the MySQL 5.6 DBA Certification Exam Beta and my best advice is to study, study, study. The exam is in beta which means three things. The first is the exam is three hours long and it took me all that time to finish. Normally I am very fast test taker which has helped me earn three college degrees and enough computer related certifications to wallpaper a decent sized house. So if you are a slow reader, suck down a gallon of high octane coffee before your test appointment.
Secondly consider that some of the question will need to be cut out or reworked as the exam becomes production to fit the normal two hour test window Pearson View prefers. But in the beta period you over test and cut out the questions that prove less than satisfactory. So if you see a questions that triggers the ‘where the heck did they find that?’ reflex, you can hope that it gets determined to be a question to be relegated.
Thirdly and lastly is that while in beta you will not get your grade for several weeks. There is not immediate pass/go, pass/fail, or thumbs-up/thumbs-down. You will walk out wondering just exactly how you did. And you will also have some mental notes that you will want to go to the manual to crosscheck.
I have heard some say that because of a lack of a Certification Guide, that the only way to pass will be to take the DBA Class and that is bull cookies. I had access to the course materials (one perk of working for Oracle is the access to mountains of docs) and there are numerous items on the exam not covered in them or the class exercises. You had better go through the exam objectives with a fine tooth comb and spend a good deal of time on the new features of replication, performance schema, user administration, and everything else new in 5.6 or you will be wasting your time. I estimate that a complete certification guide for 5.6 would at least twice the size of the 5.0 version and kill off too many trees.
I do have a big hint. The PV testing software will let you right click on any item on the list of answers and strike it out to help you eliminate multiple choice options that are obviously wrong. So pick off the obviously wrong answers and mark the question for review if you get stuck.
So how does it compare to the ol’ 5.0 DBA exam? Well, the questions are much more rigorous in testing your knowledge but less picky on wording. Or to be more precise, the hard part is the material and not the way the questions are asked. In the past a candidate had to memorize a lot of minutiae and a little of that is still there. But the overwhelming majority of the questions cover items that a DBA will have to handle as part of the job.
And how does it compare to the ‘hands-on’ 5.1 DBA exam? Both measure practical DBA material and my preference will be on the hands-on approach. But you can not cover the breath of material as in the 5.6 exam with a hands-on exam.