The 70-536 exam is a gateway exam of sorts for most .NET Developers looking to earn an MCTS or MCPD certification for Windows, Web or Enterprise application development. Currently, it is a prerequisite for 3 .Net 2.0 Certs and 6 newly added .NET 3.5 Certs. I am pursuing an MCTS Certification for WPF, which is why this exam was a logical starting point.
The Exam tests a developer's skills as related to working with the .NET Framework in the following 7 areas.
- Developing applications that use system types and collections (15 percent)
- Implementing service processes, threading, and application domains in a .NET Framework application (11 percent)
- Embedding configuration, diagnostic, management, and installation features into a .NET Framework application (14 percent)
- Implementing serialization and input/output functionality in a .NET Framework application (18 percent)
- Improving the security of .NET Framework applications by using the .NET Framework security features (20 percent)
- Implementing interoperability, reflection, and mailing functionality in a .NET Framework application (11 percent)
- Implementing globalization, drawing, and text manipulation functionality in a .NET Framework application (11 percent)
The Microsoft Learning Website makes a few suggestions for resources that one could use when preparing for this exam. You can check them out here.
I used the MS Press Book - MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 - Application Development Foundation.
The book does a good job of covering the 7 skills sets you will be quizzed on. It comes with a companion CD that you can use to install practice tests on your machine at home. These practice tests are very helpful if this is your first certification exam as they give you a good feel for how the questions on the final exam will look like.
The CD also contains code samples that you can use to complete the Labs detailed in the book. If you do not own a copy of Visual Studio .NET or 2005, fear not... the book also comes with its very own copy of Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition, licensed to you for 6 months from the time you install it.
Another interesting resource that I found was this Live Meeting from Microsoft. It is titled "Cram for Exams! 70-536" and thats exactly what it does. In one hour, it gives you a brief overview of the exam and the various sections as I mentioned above. The Speaker also works out some sample questions and has some good tips for the exam itself.
Code, Code and then some...
I cannot stress enough the importance of exploring the .NET Framework yourself by writing your own little test applications. Nothing sticks in your head as a line of code that you wrote. A majority of questions on the test will be code-based and there's a good chance that you will see some classes or structures for the first time at the Testing Center if you haven't been coding regularly. So again, take the time to understand what the Framework has to offer by writing a little code yourself.