Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Study Strategy for the Base SAS Certification Exam

  • Take the through the end-of-chapter quizzes in the SAS® Certification Prep Guide: Base Programming for SAS® 9, Third Edition
  • When to you get a problem wrong, use the explanation or (when necessary) the material in the chapter to create an Anki flashcard.
    • Often, creating a cloze deletion flashcards works well.  For example, the explanation, "Librefs must be 1 to 8 characters long, must begin with a letter or underscore, and can contain only letters, numerals, or underscores. After you assign a libref, you specify it as the first level in the two-level name for a SAS file." can be come "Librefs must be [...] to [...] characters long, must begin with a [...] or [...], and can contain only [...], [...], or [...]."  Doing this will create 7 flashcards, one with each deleted phrase.
    • Other times, basic flashcards work well.  For example, chapter 3 in the certification guide lists a number of common SAS coding mistakes and there associated symptoms.  Each symptom can be the front of a flashcard, and each symptom can be the back of a flashcard.
  • My tendency when coding is to write the first thing that comes into my head, knowing that the syntax will probably be a bit off and that I'll have to fix a few errors before the code will run.  The SAS certification exam requires that I be able to read some code and figure out which snippets have syntax errors, which will run normally, and which will run but have logical errors that will cause incorrect output.  It's a hassle, but if you want to become really proficient with a language I think it's good to have practice looking at lines of code and detecting which will error and which will run properly.