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Daniel_M
Obsidian | Level 7

Hello, everyone! I’ve been prepping for the clinical trials exam for a while, and for the most part it’s very straightforward, but there’s a certain incongruence in the materials that I was hoping someone with knowledge of the exam could clarify.

For example, a variety of books are mentioned as helpful for exam preparation, but much of their content go above and beyond what the content guide says should be known. “Implementing CDISC: An End to End Guide” covers how to automate the creation and management of SDTM datasets with macros, but nowhere in the guide does it state that this is necessary information, although macro programming is mentioned separately from being able to “describe the structure and purpose of SDTM.”

 

We also have a vague “Manage Clinical Trials Data” section that mentions basic data management, like how to sort observations, identify outliers; etc. Nothing nearly as in depth as Implementing CDISC implies we need to know.

I’ve also noticed occasions when the SAS SQL course is stated as prerequisite knowledge, but then in other resources, it’s not listed at all. In the exam content guide, it's simply stated that we need to be familiar with SAS SQL dictionaries, as opposed to the entire syllabus of the course. Even the SAS Statistics 1 course that’s mentioned as a test prep resource seems to cover much more than the statistical analysis section of the content guide implies we should know, like logistic regression; ANOVA, etc. I know these techniques are important on the job, but does the exam test for them, or does it just test for descriptive statistical procedures, proc freq, and proc t test, as the exam content guide indicates?

 

I just don’t want to waste my time prepping for the exam. I’d rather focus on the exam content, improve my chances of getting the cert, and focus on other important info not tested by the exam afterwards. Right now, I'm getting the vibe that it's really the "SAS Programming in the Pharmaceutical Industry" book and the base programming 1 and 2 classes that cover everything required. Previous posts I've seen pretty much seem to align with this, but clarification would be appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

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Mark2010
SAS Employee
Hi,
Focus on the topics listed in the content guide. The training and prep resources may be more broad. As with all SAS exams, the content guide is the definitive list of what the exam will cover.

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11 REPLIES 11
Mark2010
SAS Employee
Hi,
Focus on the topics listed in the content guide. The training and prep resources may be more broad. As with all SAS exams, the content guide is the definitive list of what the exam will cover.

Hi, I just took A00-281 and passed. Actually had fun taking the test lol because I love programming.

 

Definitely just go over the bullet points in the content guide: https://www.sas.com/en_us/certification/exam-content-guides/clinical-trials-programming.html

 

I literally just went over each and every bullet point. For things not covered in the books, I'd google the topics and found most of the info in pharma papers available via LexJansen.com. The biggest thing that helped for me was putting in the work and coding via SAS Studio. Some of the questions ask the students to type in and complete the 'code' to achieve a task----this was not bad at all for me because I practiced using the examples in the books.

 

The books I used were:

 

1. "SAS Programming in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Second Edition" by Jack Shostak

2. “Implementing CDISC: An End to End Guide” by Chris Holland and Jack Shostak

3.  "SAS Statistics by Example" by Ron Cody 

4. "Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer's Guide, Second Edition" by Ron Cody

5. http://lexjansen.com/ (A bunch of pharmaceutical papers)

 

*https://www.oreilly.com/ I got access to all 5 textbooks via this website (free 10-day trial). This site is absolute gold for any SAS newbie and helped me pass my other SAS exams (base and advanced programming certification).

 

Some practice exams may be floating around for A00-280/281 (just use Google)----go over those too.

 

Please don't stress out about studying; the exam wasn't bad at all.

 

Good luck and happy programming! 😄

Daniel_M
Obsidian | Level 7
Hi, quick update that I passed A00-280! Your comment really helped me keep cool before and during the exam. I just wanted to share a quick thanks. Feels great to join all you SAS professionals. 🙂
evener
Calcite | Level 5

Did you try other online exam practising? I am preparing for A00-281 now.

tarheel13
Rhodochrosite | Level 12

I passed too!

evener
Calcite | Level 5

How long did you prepare for A00-281 ?

Took me 3 months, but I would do a couple hours a day, skip days/weeks, then go back to studying.

Just depends on distractions + study breaks + actual uninterrupted time for studying/programming.

 

 

tarheel13
Rhodochrosite | Level 12

I'm taking it on Wednesday. Failed the first time. Wish me luck.

sanirekha
Calcite | Level 5

Hi I passed SAS base certification exam and am taking SAS clinical trials certification exam in 2 months. Are the five books that you mentioned here are essential? I only have "SAS Programming in the Pharmaceutical Industry" only. Do we need to know all that covers in Advanced SAS certification exam as well? I am also worried about the materials as well. 

JackieJ_SAS
SAS Employee

Hello and thank you for your question,


Note that this thread started in 2020. The Clinical Trials Programmer Certification exam has been updated since then, with a new version released in early 2023.

First, make sure you have the updated content guide:

https://www.sas.com/content/dam/SAS/documents/technical/certification/content-guide/clinical-trials-...

 

Also make sure you have the updated list of preparation materials, including a full-length practice exam. 

Certification Exam Preparation | SAS

Four books are listed with the current prep materials, along with several courses and papers. It's a long list of resources! This list of suggested preparation materials was not meant to imply that you should reference all these materials. Instead- I suggest you review the content guide linked above, then find materials that focus only on areas in which you are not confident. A Table of Contents for each book is available on Redshelf or Amazon, so you can see which topics each book covers to determine whether those would help you. Here is a link to SAS books on redshelf: SAS Institute (redshelf.com)

I also highly suggest you take the practice exam now without studying for it. The content of the practice exam is representative of what you will see on the actual exam, and the score you receive on the practice exam will be broken down by content area. You can use your score to see which areas would be most beneficial for you to review. You can take the practice exam as many times as you like.

sanirekha
Calcite | Level 5
Thank you very much for your suggestion.

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