By Deiby Gómez
In 2013 I began my preparation for becoming Oracle Certified Master (OCM) 11g. I was already OCP (Oracle Certified Professional) 11g and OCP 12c, so to get to the next level, I made myself a schedule of reading and practice. The OCM exam is no joke—it takes a lot of knowledge, as well as speed in working to solve problems, to pass it. Later in this article I’ll share my study and practice schedule, which you can use to prepare for the exam yourself.
But first, some background. There are three levels of Oracle Database Certifications (for any version 11g or 12c):
The Professional level requires Associate as a prerequisite, and Master requires Professional. So your certification quest starts at the Associate level. You have to pass two exams in order to achieve it. Next, you have to get your professional certification, which requires you to pass an exam and also take an Oracle University course. Once you are an OCP you can start your journey to become an OCM.
For OCM, you have to take two courses in Oracle University, and then you have to pass one more exam. This exam is different from the ones for the first two levels of certification, because it does not consist of multiple-choice questions and also it’s not online like the exams for OCA and OCP. To find out where to take it, you need to look at the Oracle Certified Master Exam Worldwide Schedule. There are only few countries where you can take this exam.
This exam is for real DBAs! It is 100% practice, rather than answering questions.
Basically you have to be prepared for anything and you have to do everything as fast as you can, because you have a limited time for each problem.
Above is the path to OCM for 11g. If you want to start directly toward certification in the 12c version, the path you follow is as follows:
Some months after I passed the OCM 11g exam, the OCM 12c exam was released, so I decided to take it as well. When I was preparing my OCM 12c I created the following schedule, which you can use, too, for your own preparation.
I focused my preparation in two main areas: Knowledge and Speed.
Hours to develop knowledge
The hours I allotted to increasing my knowledge I spent reading everything I could about that topic, blogs, metalink notes, forums, books, videos, etc. And inside that time I also practiced every topic on a virtual machine, at least twice. For example if the topic was “install database software”, I read everything about that topic and then I installed the software at least two times. With these hours I also was reading every single option of every single command J Yes! It was fun. I also tried to memorize as much syntax as I could. Once I knew how to do everything related to a topic and I got considerable knowledge about the syntax and concepts I moved to the hours for get faster.
Hours to increase speed: During these hours, I didn’t have to read more because I already knew how to do the things I was focusing on. This was time I set aside to practice and practice and practice and yes, practice. I tried to get as fast as I could.
So here is the schedule I used:
Time (hrs) to read and practice (Knowledge)
Time (hrs) to improve speed
General Database and Network Administration
Create and manage pluggable databases
Administer users, roles, and privileges
Configure the network environment to allow connections to multiple databases
Administer database configuration files
Configure shared server
Manage network file directories
Manage Database Availability
Install the EM Cloud Control agent
Configure recovery catalog
Perform a full database backup
Configure and monitor Flashback Database
Data Warehouse Management
Manage database links
Manage a fast refreshable materialized view
Create a plug-in tablespace by using the transportable tablespace feature
Optimize star queries
Configure parallel execution
Apply a patch
Configure Automatic Data Optimization, In-Row Archiving, and Temporal Validity
Manage external tables
Manage additional buffer cache
Optimize space usage for the LOB data
Manage an encrypted tablespace
Manage schema data
Manage partitioned tables
Set up fine-grained auditing
Configure the database to retrieve all previous versions of the table rows
Configure the Resource Manager
Tune SQL statements
Use real application testing
Manage SQL Plan baselines
Capture performance statistics
Tune an instance - Configure and manage result cache, Control CPU use for Oracle Instances, Configure and manage "In Memory" features
Manage extended statistics
Create and manage partitioned indexes
Administer a Data Guard environment
Create a physical standby database
Configure a standby database for testing
Configure a standby database to apply redo
Configure a standby database to use for reporting
Configure fast start failover
Manage DDL in a Data Guard environment
Install Oracle Grid Infrastructure
Create ASM Disk Groups
Create and manage ASM instances
Configure ASM Cloud File System (ACFS)
Administer Oracle Clusterware
Manage Flex Clusters and Flex ASM
Real Application Cluster Database
Install Oracle Database software
Create a Real Application Clusters (RAC) database
Configure Database Services
Administer Oracle RAC databases on one or more cluster nodes
Using this schedule, I tried to practice four hours every day after my job, and I dedicated my weekends to this effort completely (16 hours) so I was able to get prepared in about three months. Depending on the time you have to commit to your own effort, your ‘mileage may vary’.
In addition to my schedule, you can also use the following books for your preparation. One of them is from Kamran Agayev, an 11g OCM and a good friend.
Oracle Certified Master 11g Study Guide by Kamran Aghayev.
OCM: Oracle Database 10g Administrator Certified Master Exam Guide by Nilesh Kakkad
Once you have passed your OCM exam you will receive a card like this:
Getting prepared for the OCM is not easy, it takes time. And without good preparation, you likely will not pass the exam. This exam is no joke, it is serious and you should be well prepared in every area before scheduling it. In this article I’ve provided a preparation plan you can follow to get to take it and become an Oracle Certified Master. Best of luck!
About the Author: Deiby Gómez is an Oracle ACE Director from Guatemala, he has the certifications Oracle Certified Master 11g and Oracle Certified Master 12c. Deiby Gómez currently works for Nuvola Consulting Group, a Guatemalan company that provides Consulting Services for Oracle Products. He is the winner of “SELECT Journal Editor's Choice Award 2016”. Deiby has been Speaker in Collaborate in Las Vega USA, Oracle Open World in San Francisco USA and in Sao Paolo Brazil. Twitter | LinkedIn