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Oracle 1Z0-146: Raising the Bar for PL/SQL Developers

No exam about code development confers real ‘expert’ status on someone simply because they pass it. Developers only become an expert with PL/SQL over time by using the language to solve real-world problems. That said, preparing for this exam can provide candidates who are not yet experts with the knowledge of advanced coding techniques.  The concepts in this exam can jumpstart their coding skills past some common novice errors and reduce the time required to become an expert developer. Having said that, I believe this exam will be an extremely difficult one for candidates without significant coding experience to pass.

"I believe this exam will be an extremely difficult one for candidates without significant coding experience to pass"

The questions on this exam were rough.  In particular, it seemed like every third one was a PL/SQL block where the question was ‘What will happen when this block executes’. These questions really make you have to do some work – examining the code, and then working out what will happen when it compiles and executes. Candidates that have not done much PL/SQL development in particular will get tripped up on these.  You must have experience compiling and executing a lot of code in the real world before you can do it virtually with nothing but your mind and an erasable board to work with. The level of effort required for all of the questions was well above that of the 1Z0-144 exam. That test had a lot of easy questions, but so little time to read and answer them that the timer running down induced a panic factor. I passed the 1Z0-146 exam with a comfortable margin, but if I had gotten in a hurry, it could easily have gone the other way.  Several questions were phrased in a fairly tricky fashion.  One in particular I spent several minutes unsuccessfully trying to find a correct answer for until I re-read the question and realized that the wording imposed an exclusion that wasn’t initially obvious.

For an advanced exam, this one has relatively few topics in the list available from Oracle Education -- thirty-eight in all.  Since the exam is sixty-eight questions, you can expect to see about two questions per topic. The test I took seemed reasonably well balanced among all of them.  Most of the information you need to study can be found in the following three books from the Oracle documentation:

  • PL/SQL Language Reference
  • PL/SQL Packages and Types Reference
  • Advanced Application Developer's Guide. 

However a few topics are outside those manuals.  The Certification Prep website listed in the Author’s box contains an exam details page for 1Z0-146 with all of the applicable documentation along with links to third-party resources, articles on the Oracle Learning Library and at other websites relevant to the exam. If you are an experienced PL/SQL developer and you spend sufficient time preparing, you should be able to pass this. 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 Professional. He is the author of several Oracle certification guides. His Web site,, is dedicated to providing links to resources for Oracle certification preparation.