Studying for 1Z0-060: Upgrade to Oracle Database 12c

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Oracle released version 12c of the database in mid-2013. Several of the new features introduced with 12c will make it a very attractive upgrade option for large corporations running Oracle databases. At the time this article was written, the 1Z0-060 exam has only been in production for a few months and the number of 12c-certified Oracle DBAs in the marketplace is still small. Those who upgrade early will be in the minority for some time. Earning this credential early can help DBAs to stand out from their peers.

I have been an Oracle Certified DBA since Release 7.3 and have upgraded over the years to 8i, 9i, 10g, 11g and now to 12c. It has been my experience that preparing for the upgrade certifications is an extremely effective means for keeping abreast of the current capabilities available in Oracle. On numerous occasions I have learned about new features in Oracle that were useful to me in my work while preparing for the upgrade exam. That said, in every release of Oracle, there are plenty of features that have no interest to me. I would still rather spend time learning about ten new features in order to find one that I like if the alternative is to never find out about that one feature at all. In this article I will try to provide some guidance about the test to help guide your preparation.

The exam topics page on the Oracle University website should always be your first stop when preparing for an Oracle certification exam. This page will provide all of the topics that will be covered on the exam. Not every new feature added in the 12c release will appear on the exam, so it is vitally important that you use the topic list to determine which ones to study. The 12c Upgrade to Oracle Database 12c exam is unusual in that it has two scored sections. The first section is on the new features of 12c and has forty-nine topics. The second section is on on Core DBA skills and it has thirty-four topics. On the exam, the sections contain fifty-one and thirty-four questions respectively. Effectively, each topic will lead to approximately one question on the exam.

This exam was different from any of the upgrade exams I have taken to date. In large part, this was due to the new ‘Core DBA Skills’ section. Every other upgrade exam consisted only of questions regarding capabilities added and changes made to the latest release of Oracle. Having almost half the exam directed at DBA tasks required additional preparation time. The exam questions about the new features also seemed to require more depth than they have in the past. One of the largest blocks of topics on the exam is about the multitenant architecture that is new with 12c. You want to spend extra time making sure that you are comfortable with how this changes the administration tasks of a DBA.

As with every new features exam, the topics covered are all over the map. Beyond the multitenant architecture (which composes only about 15% of the exam), there is no particular area of focus. Candidates who prepare for this exam using the Oracle documentation will need to make use of a lot of books. In my research for the exam, I made use of twenty separate Oracle manuals. That is not meant to discourage anyone from using them — the Oracle documentation is a great resource to prepare for their certification exams.

I found the 1Z0-060 exam to be more difficult than I expected. Historically I have found Oracle University’s upgrade offerings to be some of the more simple exams that they offer. Be prepared to invest sufficient time studying the material on 12c and refreshing your knowledge of the topics covered in the Core DBA Skills section. Reading the 12c New Features manual is a reasonable starting point for your studying. However, it does not come close to providing enough information to pass the exam. Be sure to locate a good source of study materials for the exam and make that you spend enough time on each of the topics to become comfortable with them before you schedule the it. Good luck on the test.

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