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About This Book
This is a study guide for the MySQL Core and Professional Certification exams. It contains both the "Core Study Guide" and the "Professional Study Guide." It should be seen as a primer for the exams, but not as a replacement for the MySQL Reference Manual. This guide is not meant as an exhaustive exposition of everything there is to know about MySQL. Instead, it focuses specifically on topics that appear on the exams and in MySQL training classes. As part of your preparation for an exam, you should of course make sure that you're thoroughly familiar with the MySQL Reference Manual. In addition, the "Professional Study Guide" assumes that you're familiar with everything in the "Core Study Guide."
You might find that the wording of a topic covered in this guide corresponds exactly to the wording of a question on an exam. However, that is the exception, so rote memorization of the material in this guide will not be effective. You'll need to understand the principles discussed herein so that you can apply them to the exam questions. If you find the material difficult, you might want to consider the training classes offered by MySQL AB. These classes are presented in a format that facilitates understanding by allowing you to interact with the instructor.
Some features in MySQL are version specific. The current exam and this book cover MySQL 4, and you should consider a feature available if it's available as of MySQL 4. For example, UNION statements were implemented for MySQL 4. For purposes of the exam, you should consider UNION a topic upon which you might be tested. More specifically, you should expect to be tested on a given feature shortly after it appears in a gamma version of a MySQL release. In practice, however, the features tested in exams are likely to lag a month or two behind the release date of such a gamma version.
Because the study guide is targeted to MySQL 4, it doesn't normally point out when features are unavailable in earlier versions. This differs from what you might be used to in the MySQL Reference Manual. For example, the InnoDB storage engine requires explicit configuration in MySQL 3.23, but not in MySQL 4. The MySQL Reference Manual points out that difference. In contrast, this study guide simply indicates that InnoDB uses default configuration values if you do not provide them explicitly because that is always true in MySQL 4.
This introduction provides some general hints on what to expect from the exam, what to do in order to take the exam, what happens on the day of the exam, and what happens once you have passed the exam.
The remainder of this study guide covers each section of the exams, as defined in the "MySQL Certification Candidate Guide." The appendixes include the "Candidate Guide" itself and a "Quick Reference."
Each chapter ends with a number of sample exercises. It's essential that you work through the exercises to test your knowledge. Doing so will prepare you to take the exam far better than just reading the text. Another reason to read the exercises is that occasionally they augment a topic with more detail than is given in the body of the chapter.
Note that the exercises are not always in the same format as the exam questions. The exam questions are in a format that is suited for testing your knowledge. The exercises are designed to help you get a better understanding of the contents of this book, and to help you prove to yourself that you really grasp the topics covered.
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