Well I passed the 70-228 exam which means I am one test away from my MCDBA. The best part of it is that I am done with the SQL tests so now I get to focus on what I prefer more, which is development. To study I used the Microsoft Press book: MCSA/MCSE/MCDBA Self Paced Training Kit: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 System Administration. I selected this book simply because it appeared to be the best of the poor quality of books out there. It was a rather boring read, and the hands on training involved running a bunch of prewritten scripts that were sometimes not explained very well. I passed though, which is what matters.
What I have decided though is that instead of providing me with an evaluation copy of SQL Server 2000 (or for that fact the software for what ever test you may be studying for) the publisher should provide the reader with a virtual pc image of what is required for the test. For example all of the exercises in this book expected SQL Server 2000 running in a domain with a specific domain/computer name. Also, several exercises required specific domain users be setup. I would assume that most people do not have a setup like this unless they are studying on company time, and even if I did have a setup like this I wouldn't want to be messing it up adding unneccessary users for use with the exercises. Now that Virtual PC is free it would be great for this particular test to have been provided with a virtual image of Windows Server 2003 (feel free to have it expire in 6 months like it would if I downloaded the eval copy) along with the install files for SQL Server 2000. (For this particular test installing and setup are part of the test hence not having the software already installed. For the 70-229 test the server could already be installed as that is out of scope of the test.) The server could then be preconfigured with the proper naming conventions and users which the setup of is completely out of the scope of the test. This would allow the user to focus more time on the topics covered in the exam and not on the environment. I would have to think that something like this would make all of us very happy. Let me know what you think!