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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Overall, if you're considering taking the 70-536 exam, I recommend getting this book (not that there are a lot of alternatives). It may contain a few errors (honestly, I don't recall anything significant, right off hand), but the 2nd edition definitely alleviates at least most of the scores of pages of errors found in the first edition. Don't get the cheaper old edition: it's worth it to pay for the updated version, if only to avoid having to go through the 50+ pages of errata with the first edition.

This book does not cover everything in the same depth as the test, so if this is your only study tool, don't expect to feel completely comfortable when taking the exam or expect to "ace" it. As other posters have stated, you will need to do some of your own research if getting every question right is your goal. However, using ONLY this book as a study tool you CAN pass. Passing was my goal, and to that effect, this book accomplished its purpose effectively.

The tests provided on the CD did not seem much easier than the questions on the exam. Others may have had a different experience, but that was mine. I did notice that I "memorized" the answers rather quickly, and am glad I saved the tests on the CD until after I had already worked through the book, and could still use them to help polish my knowledge.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I read this book from front-to-back and performed a lot of the exercises. For the most part, I've found errors in the answer keys within the end of chapter questionnaires and some of the coding examples given. While an error is acceptable to a certain degree, it is somehow unforgivable when it comes to studying for an exam since you need the absolute answer for everything. A book can potentially lose its credibility once a reader finds inconsistencies within its context. It's a battle but experience can play a big role in determining the best solution, even in the exam.

I may also add that the sample questions given in the book and CD are way easier than that of the real exam. It doesn't even compare. I passed it but I had to find some other way means of reading up some details/references that the book lacks. Reading this book is only half the battle. I honestly can say that this is a good starting point since it covers the basic and fundamentals of various subjects. Since the exam covers much more in-depth for each subjects, you'll find yourself looking somewhere else in addition to what you've learned from this book. I end up going to MSDN a lot just to look up a topic and find out more about it.

To sum it up, get this book as a starting point to get you on the right track then research the topics and learn the little details on your own.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft® .NET Framework Application Development Foundation, Second edition
I basically used this book as my only printed resourse for taking the Application Development Foundation (70-536) test. There are NO other alternative books that I know of.

This second edition of the book still has some errors in it. I attempted to read the first edition and found the number of erros appalling and distracting. I considered finding the errors on the second edition part of my training for the test. I also looked up topics that the book didn't cover on MSDN. The tests at the end of the chapters are in no way similar to the actual questions on the test but they still help in testing and consolidating your knowledge and undertanding of the topics.

As the time to take the test approached, I bought the pratice test from Transcender and found the questions it contained to be very similar to the questions on the actual test. I actually passed the test with a very high score. Getting a Transcender practice test actually gives you a better perspective of the types of questions you will encounter on the test and helps you fill in any gaps the book may have.

Good luck on the test.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I passed on my first try using this book as my main resource. This is how:

1) I read the "70-536 Training Kit" cover to cover. I worked all the labs. I answered all the sample questions. Any subject that I was not familiar with, e.g., COM interoperability, I got a book on that subject and read the first few chapters so I had a good background on the subject. (The MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit is not a primer! It does not baby step you through the basics of VB .NET or C#, nor any of the APIs.) Fortunately, I have a subscription to one of the several online technical book libraries. So, getting my hands on books was easy & cheap. I would recommend doing the same.

2) I re-read the book cover to cover. This time I only spent time studying the lab code that I previously completed. I worked the sample questions again.

3) The weekend prior to the exam, I reviewed all of the text I highlighted and again studied the lab code. (I know, I'm old fashioned. I actually bought a hard copy of this book and used a high lighter.)

I was taken by surprise at how focused the exam was on testing the minutia of the APIs. The MCTS Self -Paced Training Kit did a really good job of providing coverage of the significant APIs to know to pass the exam. I believe I could have done a lot better on the exam if I had spent more time rote memorizing the examples in the book. (Like punishment at school, write the code snippets 100 times each. A dry erase board would come in handy. But not required!)

The sample questions were easier than the real exam. So, I would highly recommend getting one of the practice tests listed on the Microsoft site, "MeasureUp" or "Self Test Software".

I don't know what the big deal about errata is. There were only a couple of times that I got annoyed. But, the online errata page resolved that.

Good luck!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have several issues with this book.

First off, I resent the fact that it is "bi-lingual". As it is, a third of the book is useless to me (i.e. the VB.NET code samples) - a complete waste of dead trees and ink. It's not only superfluous, it is distracting, since I must continually scan for the C# code. Please bother to print two different editions of the book. It should be trivial.

Second, there is too much generic boilerplate text. Each chapter starts with the same kind of generic paragraphs stating that you should have some prior experience with .NET and Visual Studio blah blah blah. Again, I have to scan the text to see where the actual content starts.

Third, I would have liked to see some illustrations! Several topics (such as code access security) would benefit greatly from visual presentations to accompany or replace part of the text. As it is, I have to mentally deserialize the text to build up these images in my head instead.

Finally, a complaint about the exam itself (not the book) is that there are too many questions about random .NET arcana (such as the sequence of parameters to a method call, or whether you pass something to a constructor or set a property after constructing the object, or if there's is a factory method you should use rather than a constructor). A good test would focus on understanding, not on the stuff that Intellisense and MSDN gives you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book on .NET fundamentals. However, if this is your only source of study for the 70-536 test you may not pass. I took the test and none of the questions matched any of the 337 questions that come on CD with this book. I studied this book for 3 months and did all the practice exercises and consistanly aced both the chapter review and exam mode tests and still failed the 70-536 exam. Areas where I did well on the exam were those in which I use on a daily basis. The rest of the test was basically foreign material and this book did not cover those topics in much detail. However, there appears to be no other source of study available.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
A little over a year ago, I travelled this journey with Java, becoming certified as an SCJP. I purchased an $800 course from them, went through it and their little practice exam twice. I passed the test on the FOURTH attempt. It was all because the test hit hard on many areas that were not covered at all in the training. Serialization was one, for example. The course covered about 1/3 of what it needed to on threading.

I learned more about these concepts from THIS book than I did in the $800 video and online class I purchased from SUN. I am about half way through, and I find the writing very understandable, the examples clear. The labs may be TOO clear in that they walk you every step of the way through the assignment rather than let you figure out some of it on your own.

The book assumes that you have some grounding - officially more grounding than I actually have - in .NET. In fact, as I recall, it asks that you program with it for a year or more before attempting this book. I agree that some experience is necessary, but a year is serious overkill. If you know java, dive right in the water's fine. If you don't, try some "for dummies" books for a couple of months before jumping into this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Most of the other reviews say this book is great because the first edition was so much worse. Personally, I don't think that is an excuse.

The practice test has many errors of every category: clearly incorrect answers that directly contradict the "explanation" are marked as the correct answer, letter-for-letter duplicates in the answer options, vague questions that could produce a different correct answer depending on interpretation, and plenty of questions that are not covered in the book (each question states which chapter and lesson covers it...I went back and read them, many of them simply aren't there).

Furthermore, the book does not adequately cover the topics for the test. It skims all of them, but does not give you sufficient depth.

This is a good book for under five bucks. If you want something serious that will prepare you for this (over-broad and over-emphasizing of trivia and valueless minutiae) test, look elsewhere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I just passed the test with an 861/1000. I needed a 700. I found the questions accompanying this CD woefully inadequate compared to the questions on the test. They were both shallow, and much trickier than anything I found on the test. Likewise, this didn't cover some things like BufferedStream, while it went into painful detail on regular expressions which were nowhere to be found in the literally 250 questions I found in braindumps and of the 40 during the actual test (So: don't waste a second of your time on regular expressions).

HOWEVER, that said, it did have some excellent labs and explanations of topics that were on the test that I used to really KNOW what I was being asked. Did it cover each and every class that was on the test? No. Did it give me an understanding of permissions, generic classes and the like? Yeah, it did.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The most important thing about a book like this is whether it can actually help you pass the exam. In my case, it did. But like other reviewers, my reaction was that the coverage of the various topic areas was very sparse. Having already gotten a MCSD, I feel I know what these exams are like. I would read through one of the chapters and say to myself "I know it's not going to be that easy".

If I had to do it all over again, I would have read each chapter, maybe worked with some of the sample code on the CD (which is also pretty mimimalistic) and then spent some time looking up pertinent .NET types on MSDN, and reading other books and articles to fill in the gaps. That's what I ended up doing during the "cram" stage just before the exam, anyway. I think it would have been a better use of my time if I had done that in stages instead of trying to cram it all at once.

Where code samples weren't especially helpful, the practice test that was on the CD did seem to help quite a bit. It's not that the questions are that much like the real exam questions but they helped me focus on lots of details that the book didn't bring out. Don't bother with using that thing to "score" yourself, as if you passing that CD test means you can pass the real exam. Use it grill yourself on some of the excruciating detail that getting through one of these things is all about.

Where the book was unrealistically general, the practice test was hopelessly detailed. It was a real relief that the real test was nowhere near fixated on the minutia of specific method calls and overloads, etc. as that practice test. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here to write this review, having aleady shot myself.

So all in all, the overall package is worthwhile if you want or need to pass the 70-536 test, at least until something better comes along.
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