It really depends on your individual style. You could throw the monitor off the desk, take a sledgehammer to the machine, or my personal favorite - just strap a block of C4 to the entire desk and blow it to oblivion. Yes, it's been a long day. The best way to prepare for the 70-029 exam is really to get experience with SQL Server. Install a copy on your desktop and start playing with it. Get an idea of where the pieces and parts are just by navigating around. Then pick up a couple of books on SQL Server. I would suggest starting with Richard Waymire's "Teach Yourself Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 in 21 Days". I then suggest moving on to Sharon Dooley's "SQL Server 7.0 Essential Reference". By this point, you should be getting relatively comfortable with SQL Server. Now it's time to take a step up from there. Pick up one of Ken Henderson's book which will drive you through performance in pretty good detail. You finally finish it off with Kalen Delaney's "Inside Microsoft SQL Server 7.0". At this point, you should have a pretty good familiarity with SQL Server. If you are looking for test prep software, the best that I've found is from Transcender. Use their prep exams to get familiarity with the exam format and the types of questions that will be asked. Use the books I listed above along with your test install of SQL Server to help fill in the blanks for questions you miss.
Any certification exam can be daunting. The best way to beat them is to learn the material. There are too many people in this industry that simply saw dollar signs and certifications as an easy way to get them there. A lot of these people are now complaining about recessions and lack of work. Why? Because they memorized material, regurgitated it on a certification exam, and then wound up in a job they were not prepared for. Use the exams as a benchmark in learning the technology you are studying. The exams are not a means to an end. They are simply a beginning on a long journey in this industry of endless studying and non-stop learning.
Becoming a SQL Server professional is simply a matter of learning. It is a simple path, but don't mistake it for an easy path. The best way I can describe a DBA is a person who stands outlined on the crest of a hill, in the middle of a firing zone, that everyone is taking shots at. You will be blamed for everything that goes wrong and be expected to fix it. Your job is truly 24x7x365. It never stops and it never ends. However, it is not all bad. It is an extremely challenging profession that brings lots of rewards. Yes, the money you can earn is good, but that is not the true reward. Because you are always on the firing line, you are also directly responsible for the way your company functions. You are handed a very high level of responsibility and trust because of the systems you are responsible for. Live up to that responsibility and you get to work on a lot of extremely interesting projects and get to deal with things that many IT professionals only wish they could work on.
But, it all starts with learning the basics and constantly pushing yourself to learn more. There is no such thing as mastering SQL Server. There are those who have worked on it since it was a product and still only truly understand portions of it. It is an unending learning curve. The engine keeps getting better and is well beyond having the kitchen sink in there for features. The SQL Server team is working hard to get the entire house in there. The deeper you get into a portion of SQL Server, the more amazed you will become at the levels of complexity that really exist and how good of a job the SQL Server team has done with abstracting and hiding them while still giving access to those who really want to know.
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