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Oracle 1Z0-144: A Firm Foundation for Oracle PL/SQL Developers

Despite the fact that the topics themselves are not particularly difficult, I found the exam to be more of a nail-biter than I really expected. This is an exam that you can easily fail if you take it without being prepared. I have been developing in PL/SQL for over a decade, but I still found myself constantly chasing the clock trying to stay on track. The primary factor making this exam difficult is the time crunch. You have to answer eighty questions in ninety minutes. This works out to less than sixty-eight seconds per question. By contrast, the SQL Expert Exam (1Z0-047) has only seventy questions and a duration of two hours.

"The primary factor making this exam difficult is the time crunch."

When taking the exam, a fair amount of the time is eaten up by the need to look at exhibits -- lots of them. Some display information about tables or other database objects relevant to the code in the question. Other exhibits show the code for PL/SQL subprograms that the question refers to. In many cases, the exhibits are required -- you must view them in order to answer the question. However, other questions can be answered without the exhibit. With time being such a limited resource, you want to spend it opening and viewing exhibits only when you absolutely must. Read the question and answers before looking at the exhibits to see if you can answer it (this behavior is reversed from what the test instructions suggest). Every bypassed exhibit will save you a few seconds that you may well need in order to complete the test before the clock runs out.

Some of the questions test your knowledge of facts about the PL/SQL development environment. This includes information about rights, initialization parameters, and best development practices. However, on the vast majority of questions, you will be looking at one or more blocks of PL/SQL. It should go without saying that in order to do well on the exam you must be able to read and interpret PL/SQL.  Many test questions will have you look at a block of PL/SQL and explain what it will do, or if it will generate an error. Without having written at least some PL/SQL, it is difficult to look at code and answer questions like this.  You must be able to read through a block of PL/SQL code and determine what the execution results will be. 

The best preparation for 1Z0-144 is writing and debugging PL/SQL code. In addition, reading the Oracle documentation is always valuable in preparing for certifications. Every single Oracle manual is freely available for download and contains the answer to any question that might appear on a test. Third-party books and study guides can also be of use in preparation. If you do not have any experience writing PL/SQL, you should definitely allocate time to develop PL/SQL in a practice environment. Reading about code is no substitute for writing code. No one ever failed a test because they spent too much effort preparing for it. Good luck on the exam.


About the Author

Matthew Morris is an experienced DBA and developer. He holds Oracle DBA Certifications for releases 7, 8i, 9i, 10G and 11G; and Oracle Expert Certifications for SQL and Application Express; and is an Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate. He is the author of several Oracle certification guides. His Web site,, is dedicated to providing links to resources for Oracle certification preparation.