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Q&A Session for Certification Review Webinar: Accessing Data and Creating Data Structures

by SAS Moderator 3 weeks ago - edited 3 weeks ago (840 Views)

Webinar Logistics

Q: Will the recorded presentation be emailed out after the presentation?

Q: Can you share the Power Point presentation?

A: We will post a link to the On-Demand version of the webinar along with a pdf copy of the Q&A from the session out on the SAS Certification Community Site by early next week (Week of Jan. 20, 2018).

To join go to: https://communities.sas.com, and click on “Join Now”. Once you’ve created your profile, you can explore all the different SAS Support Communities. You’ll find the Certification Community under “Learn SAS”. Go to: https://communities.sas.com/t5/SAS-Certification/bd-p/certification.


Questions Asked and Answered “on air” during the Webinar

Q: Are there equal number of questions for each of the five content areas? In other words, will there be the same number of questions for Accessing Data versus Creating Data Structures?

A: The content areas on the exam are not equally weighted. The area that has the most number of topics is Manipulating Data. Therefore, there will be more questions about manipulating data than there would be for creating data structures. There is not an equal number of questions per section. If you look at the Exam Content outline you can see the number of topics covered under each section and that should give you a rough idea of the number of questions to potentially expect.


Q: I see that I need to know how to read in an Excel file with the LIBNAME statement. Do I also need to know how to read in other file types such as Microsoft Access or database data?

A: You do not. The three types of files you want to make sure you know how to read in are: SAS data sets, raw data files and Excel workbooks. You do not need to know about other software file types.


Q: Does the exam cover joining with SQL in addition to merging with the DATA step?

A: We talked about the merging with a data step. You will not find the alternative method, which is joining, in SQL, PROC SQL, in this BASE exam. However, if you take and pass the BASE exam and then want to continue on with certification, the next certification you might want to attempt would be the ADVANCED Programmer certification. In the ADVANCED exam it does cover PROC SQL along with Macros and advanced data sets. In that exam you would want to know how to join with PROC SQL. 


Q: Will I be asked questions about the Program Data Vector (PDV)?

A: Yes. Absolutely. Make sure that you are familiar with the behind the scenes of compile and execution and how the Program Data Vector (PDV) works. You will definitely have questions directly about the Program Data Vector or concepts that you need to understand how the Program Data Vector works.


Q: In the section on Accessing Data, I did not understand the explanation given for Question 1 when the instructor was doing the review questions for Accessing Data.

A: ­Question 1 was asking you to read the code and determine the correct output from the code. The input statement. The correct answer was A, because the dollar3. Informat will strip out the dollar signs when it reads the data into SAS and will store as num.


Questions about the SAS Certification Program itself

Q: ­Do SAS Certifications ever expire or need to be renewed?

A: The SAS Global Certification Program now issues versioned credentials that do not expire. For example, if you earn the SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS 9 credential, you will retain this credential and it will not expire. Please note: Some exams may retire as new software is developed and/or enhanced.

In previously released exams, there were some non-versioned SAS credentials that had a 3-year expiration date. We no longer offer non-versioned credentials. All SAS credentials that were non-versioned have expired. Please refer to our FAQs for the complete list of SAS non-versioned credentials and retired exams: http://support.sas.com/certify/faq.html#.


Q: During the exam, do we actually write programs in SAS? Will short answer questions include writing entire sections of code? If so, how extensive will the code be?

A: Our exams are a combination of multiple-choice, short-answer and interactive item type questions. Interactive questions allow you to complete a task. The exam question will provide you with a work area. In this work area, you may be asked to:

  • use drag and drop functionality to configure a user interface component
  • use drop-down lists, check boxes, and radio buttons to configure user interface components
  • build a SAS program from a list of available lines of code.

The exam scoring mechanism will evaluate the settings you have established in the work area to determine if the item is answered correctly. You will not have to write actual code for this exam.


Q: If you think you could pass either the Base Programmer or Advanced Programmer exam, do you think there is any value in spending the additional $180.00 USD to take the Base Programmer exam?

A: In order for you to earn the SAS Advanced Programmer credential you must FIRST take and pass the SAS Base Programmer exam and earn that credential. 


Q: ­Is the certification community a specific group that we can join? ­

A: Absolutely YES, we encourage you to join the Certification Community and other SAS Communities. The Certification Community is a knowledge-sharing community for SAS Certified Professionals and anyone who wants to learn more about becoming SAS Certified. Ask questions and get answers in real time. Share with others who are interested in certification and who are studying for certifications.

To join go to: https://communities.sas.com, and click on “Join Now”. Once you’ve created your profile, you can explore all the different SAS Support Communities. You’ll find the Certification Community under “Learn SAS”. Go to: https://communities.sas.com/t5/SAS-Certification/bd-p/certification.


SAS Exam Preparation Tips and Available Training for the BASE Programmer Certification

During the webinar, we received a number of questions asking us how to prepare to take the SAS BASE Programmer certification exam and about available books and training.

Here are the questions we received:

Q: Is there a prep guide available for the SAS Base Programmer exam? If so, what is the cost?

A: From the SAS Certification web site, navigate to the Base Programmer page. Under “Exam Preparation”, you will find sample test questions, links to practice exams and other resources such as SAS Certification Prep Guides and other SAS Books, documentation and white papers. You can check out SAS books by visiting the SAS Bookstore at www.sas.com/store/books. The cost of the SAS Certification Prep guide: Base Programming for SAS 9 is $140.00 USD.


Q: In the SAS Base Programmer Certification Prep Guide, could we find practice exams?

A: There are quiz questions at the end of each chapter in the prep guide. The quiz answer keys can be found at the end of the guide in an appendix.


Q: The last time I checked, the Cert Prep Guide had a copyright of July 2011, well before SAS 9.4 was launched. Any plans to update the Cert Prep Guide? Have corrections been published for outdated information?

A: Glad you asked! Work recently completed on an update to the Certification Prep Guide. The new guide SAS Certification Prep Guide: Base Programming for SAS 9, Fourth Edition is now available for purchase through SAS Books. Go to www.sas.com/store/books. 


The following questions all ask specifically about exam preparation:

Q: How long should I expect to put in to prepare to take the BASE SAS Certification?

Q: If I finish the e-learning, is it enough for SAS certificate?

Q: Is the SAS Base prep guide sufficient to study for SAS Base certification along with online practice or are there any other suggested books­?

­Q: Do you suggest previous experience in any other programming languages (SQL, Python, etc.) to better prepare for SAS Base Programmer using SAS 9?­

A: To help candidates prepare for exams, SAS offers a broad curricula of instructor-based training, Live Web classes, and e-learning courses. Information on exam preparation options are listed on our website at http://sas.com/certify/ under the “Exam Preparation” section within each exam.

To help you know what content is potentially tested on each of our exams we strongly suggest you look at the information under the “Exam Content Guide” section within each exam. We now provide a detailed listing of the exam testing objectives for each of our exams. You can download the Complete Exam Content Guide as a PDF document.

Everyone is different when it comes to studying for a certification exam. Whether you choose formal training, e-learning, self-study, or reading books, you simply need to find the study approach that works best for you. Practical work experience is important. We recommend that you have anywhere between 3-6 months practical work experience with the subject matter. For the BASE Programmer credential you do NOT need programming experience with another programming language although previous programming experience may help you pick up and learn the SAS programming language a little faster than someone with no previous programming experience.


SAS Certification Practice Exams

Q: It seems that there are websites that “sell” practice exams or offer additional training. What is your take on these sites?

A: As mentioned in the webinar, your best source for information about SAS certification exams, exam preparation materials and the most up to date training offerings to help you prepare to take on of our exams is the SAS Global Certification program website at: http://sas.com/certify/. Other websites you encounter are likely unauthorized by SAS and provide unauthorized exam content and materials that are outdated. We do NOT recommend and strongly discourage using materials from these sites.  


Q: Please tell me more about how to access the “practice” exams for the SAS Base Programmer?

A: You can find information about practice exams by looking under the “Exam Preparation” section for each of the exams we offer. You can also find the “Exam Practice” link under the “Prepare for Certification” section on our certification web site. Specifically the practice exam for the SAS Base Programmer can be found by going to the SAS Base Programmer exam on the certification web site and scrolling down to the “Exam Preparation” section.   Click on the Practice Exams icon to see the practice exams. 


Q: Pearson VUE also sells practice exams. Is that recommended?

A: Practice exams for select exams are now available through SAS and Pearson VUE for purchase. Please note there are several differences between the practice exams purchased through SAS and the practice exams purchased through Pearson VUE. Exam fees are $55 per exam for purchasing from either group.


SAS Exams and the Testing Experience

Q: How much time do I need to allow prior to booking an exam reservation. Is there a long waiting time for an available testing spot at a test center?

A: Appointments may be made several months in advance and up to one calendar day prior to the day a candidate wishes to test, subject to availability. Candidates may NOT register at a Pearson VUE testing facility. Pearson VUE offers over 4500 global delivery sites, so it’s most likely that you will not have any issues with a long wait time at a testing center.


Q: Who can see your scores after you earn the certification? Can employers see your score?

A: No one except you can see your exam scores. It is SAS policy that we do not share exam scores with anyone.


Q: A 70% score is required to pass the exam but what proportion of test-takers historically receive a passing score?

A: Following industry best practices, the SAS Global Certification program does not advertise the pass rates for any of our certification exams. We do tell candidates if they properly prepare for the exam by following our suggestions and guidelines for study including: taking training, exploring our web site for the exam content guide, utilizing the practice exams we offer and allowing time to practice programming in SAS, then they have an excellent chance of receiving a passing score on the exam.


Q: Will you be allowed to use blank paper and pencil for scribbles, calculations etc… during the exam?

A: You will be given a blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil to write down notes OR at some Pearson VUE Testing Centers they will provide you with a personal, erasable white board with pen that you can use to make notes. All notes are collected by proctors at the end of the exam and either destroyed or erased.


Q: Does the exam format get updated every once in a while?

A: SAS continually monitors all of our exams and we constantly look at the content to make sure that it is technically up to date. If deemed appropriate we may change the format of some questions on various exams. We perform updates on exams to ensure they are of the highest quality.

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