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Zen and the Art of CPD Maintenance

Truth is stranger than fiction... Yes, this is fact, not fiction!
This is the note that I wrote the night (early morn aft)
of the same day that I finally passed the
CPD Pro 5.0 Maintenance Test
May it help you in your journey... ~sb


Subject: Zen and the Art of CPD Maintenance - We're having fun NOW!
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 1997 05:46:55 -0500
From: Sharon Buntz
To: All my CPD Friends and all the CPD Program People...
"Jon Credit[TeamPS]" <JCredit@Sprynet.com>, Nancy.Cowen@sybase.com, AWhitney@powersoft.com, Jill.Suarez@sybase.com, BGasin@advent2000.com, William Green <green_william@jpmorgan.com>, Hsadm2.Jolson@State.Ut.Us, Mpfeifer@Sprynet.com, Lcermak@flash.net, Jegan@Carman.Com, Tony@Online.Tmx.Com.Au, steve.benfield@findyn.com, kent@pbase.com, e.aling@cypres.nl, gnieman@interserv.com, niemang@squared.com, kyates@highfiber.com, Judy.Cote@dalsemi.com, tmfi@flash.net, campcinn@cinti.net, tderosa@clientserver.com, kkellis@swbell.net, dfox@agccs.lmco.com, hblock@bsginc.com, Mzguo@aol.com, patcat@atl.mindspring.com, jammoral@tenet.edu, la_pond@xmission.com, Sicate@aol.com, SRao@netbasecomp.com, Tom Cutler <76153.2357@compuserv.com>, bcarter@bcarter.com, 72330.1134@compuserve.com, jbnunez@usa.net, jchoong@smtpgw.powersoft.com, Dorene.Sykes@sybase.com, techsys@airmail.net, Jill.Moritz@sybase.com, Robert.Rhodes@sybase.com, Lou.Dignazio@sybase.com, Vaidyanathan sriram <sonyram@hotmail.com>, support@gatesys.com, Sasha57@aol.com, walbornw@squared.com, bmike1@world-net.net, msimpson@august.com, ptalley@txdirect.net, Bob_Garcia@smtplink.amedd.army.mil, Joseph_Phan@smtplink.amedd.army.mil, raron@cyberramp.net, zipfast@mis.net, dterry@tenet.edu, lcsjis@tenet.edu, g00npmor@gr.com, RobertRhodes@msn.com, rmendez@front-line.com, dwilson@farmland.org, rbrooks@pics.com, aleon@giasmd01.vsnl.net.in, bheys@compuserve.com, abereznak@mindspring.com, Randy_Bielby@kpmg.com, rhiner@boardroom.com, jbuntz@texas.net, sbuntz@texas.net


Thanks, Jon!

> That CPD test will be a breeze now... I printed off a cropped copy
> (blown up 20 times), and I'm taking my lucky pic of IT[*] with me tomorrow!

[*] IT = The Borg = Boris

It worked! I took along the lucky picture that you gave me, on my second try today, and guess what? Yes, I passed the CPDP 5.0 Maintenance test!

So to show my appreciation, and to warm y'all up for the rest of this note, here are some FUN tips from what I did differently between yesterday and today that I believe helped me to pass...

not checking any checkboxes is always an option,
and perhaps the correct answer sometimes it seems, i dunno %^/.

Also, there must be a feature, whereby, if you click one box, then unclick it, automatically the test KNOWS that you are uncertain and confused, and it counts it wrong, no matter what.

Needless to say, that only counts for extra credit on the "Assoc." test

There is a HEAVY penalty for that, trust me, the tests are not intended to be a laughing matter at tall...
Until my test administrator pointed it out to me today, I never noticed but it IS clearly stated in the policies/guidelines.
That's actually why I missed it by 10 points yesterday.

In fact, it is best not even to think at all.
(Here's where the only four hours of sleep the night before comes into play.)
However, sip some coffee, and sit up straight for the camera, posture is important!

// > Keep me "CPD posted" 8-)
ll_rc = Sharon.event post dynamic cpd ( "pass|fail" )

if ll_rc = 1 then

rave ( il_passing_score )


rant ( il_failing_score )

end if

How many people in the world could get a laugh out of a code fragment?
--dan fox

Just funning y'all... Now, TeamPSers, howzabout a little congrats gift for moi? You know what's at the top of my Christmas list... And, need I remind you?, the pic needs to be the REAL Borg! Well, knowing y'all, that still won't work, so let me go ahead and spill the beans here... It was GOING to be a SURPRISE, but guess not now...

See, I wanted the pic so's I can hurry up and order The Borg "mousepads" for all you TeamPSers, in time for the conference!! So now... Whaddayallsay?

Speaking of the conference, Let's have a big *CPD* party!! No, __really__, let's all sign up to take the CPD tests, all of us at the same time. Did you hear the good news? The CPD Pro 5.0 Beta App Test is being offered at the conference for a discount of over 50%! And, get this - Nancy promises that our feedback and input will influence the future of the test. And you get *three* full hours to take it now... Btw, it's BYOB.

In all seriousness, I received that wonderful letter from Nancy today in my snail mail... Hope y'all got yours, too... Her letter to announce the CPD Pro 5.0 Beta App Offer (and the "message" that it carried) is the most dramatic enhancement of the CPD Pro Program, and it warmed my CPD heart... Maybe I was still high from passing the maintenance test, though, I can't be for sure... Anyways, Thank You Nancy!!!! 8-)

I am also tickled that the Pro (beta) app test is now available in 37 testing sites, in over 20 states in US/Canada, list growing daily. Impressive.

Nancy, I have an odd request for you... May I please take the CPD Pro 5.0 Beta App Test at the conference, even though coincidentally I just today got it via an alt route? I would like to see what it is like, and offer some input 8-) ... Hey... now y'all wouldn't take it away from me if I fail though, would you? ;-)

Nancy, I really WOULD like to take it at the conference... Please let me know.

Nancy, Jill and Alex, here are a few suggestions that I have for the "written tests"... based on my last CPD experience, and also, feedback and suggestions that several people have been writing to me personally...


I was very pleased that the number of "checkbox" questions are now minimal... But may I suggest that you totally eliminate the checkbox questions altogether? ... They perplex me and many others too. They also upset us because it's all or nothing on the scoring of the question... There are always one or two answers that we are certain about. Then there is one that we are not sure about. And then, of course, comes a stray one that tempts us to check it... ZING! ~~ THE ZINGER! I call it... Some suggest giving "partial credit" to be fair, and it is probably an issue with Sylvan Prometric, but really, we would much rather just not even see them! I freak out just seeing those little boxes! ... So, please, instead, would you express all questions in only radio button format where there is only one choice. This will help us out tremendously. That way we don't question ourselves or overanalyze the question. One click and we can hit the Next button... For questions that favor multiple answers, you can always just rephrase the question to say to pick the one that is *not* true/valid.


or at least


[From suggestions at: http://www.pfccheatsheet.com/cpdsugg.htm]

<<Upon Taking the CPD Test and achieving passing score I would like to see a review of questions you missed with the corresponding correct answers. This would take the CPD exam from a one lane highway to a two way learing opportunity.

If the participant received a none passing score no review would be performed.>>

Also,<<Are you going to continue renewing your CPD each year. I think there should be a price break, if you renew your CPD and pass it successfully the first time each time its up for renewal.>>


Why not consider allowing the use of the "Online Help" during the test? There is simply WAY too much that one needs to know nowadays, and we simply cannot keep all these details in the foreground of our brains, all at once. In the real world, we constantly hit F1, or else we go look up some other code that does something... Simply put, it is impossible to memorize all of the online help! -- Or, why not make the test "open book"?


How about some "sticky notes" or an MLE per each question, whereby the test taker may make jot down a quick note about the particular question to the CPD Program people as feedback?


Please, take away that restriction that if someone does not pass a Maintenance exam on their second attempt that they must "go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200". I was freaked when I found out that if I failed the CPD Pro 5.0 Maint test twice, that I would not be able to reattempt it, not even after any 3-mo/6-mo/whatever waiting period. [Side note: you know 3/6 months is a very long time in today's world] I would then have to face the app test to get a 5.0. Maybe you could consider even uping the number of attempts allowed in these types of cases, that would keep us from shaking in our boots while we are clicking away the second time around. And, usually, the third times a charm! Been there, done that. 8-)


I did learn A LOT about 5.0... Stuff that I had not discovered before from my last testing experience. No doubt about it, these tests are like self-study, correspondence classes, and they are very helpful. The only thing that concerns me is that when I try to study (for my first attempt=), I am totally overwhelmed with information overload. But, studying in between take one and take two, wow, I learn bunches! That is because until I see the actual questions (which actually are very educational), I didn't even know about certain tricks or new features. But, most prep tests don't really even touch on these insightful tidbits... What this is getting at is that those practice exams that y'all are working on will REALLY be invaluable... Not only to aid in our studying (so we can pass the tests the first time), but to actually teach us new things along the way. Learning PB should be made fun; we shouldn't *have* to learn from our mistakes, the painful way. 8-) So, please, do hurry on those practice tests!


And last, but not least, leading to my big finale! ... Tying back to the previous suggestion, but thinking even moreso in a "preventive" manner... I know that you are working on enhancing the study guides... So here are some of my suggestions on what would be grand for them... Of course, they need to be more specific and itemized, defining a narrower view for what are the important things to learn... There could be like a Help file or an online/web-based/cd-infobase format that starts out with a tree of the main categories... Kinda like the ____"What's new in PB 5?"____ section of the current Help file, only even more "boiled down"... Then, the test person could expand the branches or link to the help or online ref documentation for info on that subject directly. I found that when I was studying (in between take 1 and take 2) that it was many times difficult to zoom in on exactly what I was looking for. I was surprised that a lot of info is kind of buried, either due to a missing key index in the help or lost in the forrest of all the other details that are trivial. It all keeps coming back to **__There is simply too much to know now__**, and we need a better guide to what are the important things to know. ~~~

~~~ What we CPD seekers (we PB higher knowledge seekers) NEED is something like a "CPD Cheat Sheet" + "CPD Guide" ! I would be more than happy to help y'all design and create such an animal, in whatever ways I can.

By the way, I am continually updating the little "How to Study for the CPD Tests" (which is from a layman's point of view) at:


per new developments and other's feedback and recommendations, as well as some of my real world CPD experiences (I'll be BUSY tomorrow with these updates!)...

I am also pleased to know, altho' somewhat unofficially, that there has been a little more "LENIENCY" being given to "BORDERLINE" cases. Thanks. May I mention on the cheatsheet that if someone scores "borderline" that they are welcome to contact PS? I am at least going to mention about the CPD Review Committee option for the CPD-P test. Just let me know what is kosher. People like to hear hopeful things and know their options in case they need outlets.

Well, thanks for listening! ...
And thanks again for the good things that y'all are doing! Keep it up!

Have fun,
Msss. CPD Pro 5.0

Sharon Weinstrom Buntz | mailto:sbuntz@texas.net
Cheat Sheet for PFC/PB Help | http://lonestar.texas.net/~jbuntz/
We are moving soon to... | http://www.pfccheatsheet.com/

How to Study for the CPD Tests...

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