Preparing for Zend PHP 5 Certification

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I mentioned on Twitter a while ago that I’ll be taking the Zend PHP 5 Certification exam at the end of this month. Well, the time has come! Exam is tomorrow noon. I’m quite excited about it, cause with this startup thing I had no time to study at all! I did read the Study Guide by php|architect and it’s quite good, but outlines only some aspects on each topic. It doesn’t really prepare you well for the exam, as according to the test sheets, they’re missing some questions ;)

Browsing the web, I came across a PDF book which contained the most common questions and detailed answers to each. It actually helped me out a lot, as they describe all the questions in detail, including the tricks, such as typos, operator priorities, etc. Speaking of typos, I cam across a dozen reading the first 4 sets of questions, and the guys said that typos are very common in the exam, as it tests our ability to analyze code and locate them, so if you’re taking this exam in the future, watch out for typos, don’t rush!

Rush? You’re given over an hour for the whole exam, which is a set of 70 questions. Personally, I took the practice exams a few times, and it took me no longer than 20 minutes to answer all 70, but honestly, I did rush in some of them, especially ones I didn’t know.

Interesting fact is that as soon as I signed up for the examination, I’ve been given these 10 practice tests I could take online. Without opening the book I took the first test, and guess what. I passed! Although I did miss quite a lot when it came to databases with PDO, XML manipulation and OOP design patterns, which is where I’m not too good at. PDO, well, I’ve been using procedural calls to databases all my entire life. I did know that there’s PDO, but I never realized that life is so much easier if we used that ;) XML manipulation, well.. Who cares if you’ve got JSON services ;)

And design patterns. It’s a very interesting topic indeed and seemed like something new to me at a first glance. Soon I figured out that we’re using such design patterns in all our products, but we just didn’t know they had names – Singleton, Factory.. MVC is different, and quite complicated. If the exam wouldn’t have been an online test, we could have easily defined MVC in our own words, as just like the guys at Google say, nobody knows what MVC is. Everybody thinks of it in their own way, which is why Google presented the MVP pattern – Model View Presenter.

Well, that’s about it. Just hope I don’t forget everything by tomorrow. Oh and by the way, I actually called the testing center and asked them if I could use my iPhone during the exam ;)

About the author

Konstantin Kovshenin

WordPress Core Contributor, ex-Automattician, public speaker and consultant, enjoying life in Moscow. I blog about tech, WordPress and DevOps.


  • Hey.. Konstantin Congratulations.

    Even I am also planning for this Exam to next Week but Very Very Nervous,
    Can you please provide me materials or Web references if you have…

    And What about Zend Practice Test paper…have u purchase it ?
    Please guide me.

    Thanx & Congrats again…

    • Nilesh, thanks! If you got the exam bundle then you must have received everything you need for the exam (PHP Architect's Zend PHP 5 Study Guide). Anyways, what it really is about is practice. You need to have a lot of practice to be familiar with all the functions, you can't just study them ;)

      Cheers and good luck! ;)

  • Can u tell me the name of the pdf book which contained the most common questions and detailed answers to each which helped u a lot?

  • hey konstantin, congrats for passing the exam!

    i'd like to know which book/pdf you mean as well! (and where to get it!)

  • Hi kovshenin,

    Congratulations for getting Certified.
    How do you evaluate the real exam questions level? And, are they more difficult than the mock exam ones or not?

    I have passed 4 Mock exams and I got Excellent in all of them, so in your point of view, should I reveal the challenge and pass the real Exam soon?

    Thanks for reading and replying :)

  • Hi kovshenin,

    congrats friend! i saw your commens. and i am happy for this. actually i would like to take some suggest by u.

    i have a total 1.5 year of experiance in php technology. but it is my dream to give the test and pass it. and can you tell me? is there any scope in the market for ZCE.
    i mean how much scope in the market? bcz if market value is good then only i will attend the test. plz reply me soon.

    • Sorry sir, but I have no idea what you're talking about. Market value? Scope? Dude the exam doesn't cost $5000. You'll simply get better by passing it, *and* you'll get a certificate from Zend ;) My opinion? Go for it.

    • Hi Damase,

      I took the exam in August 2010 and passed it and therefore have been listed in ZCE yellow pages. My actual employer contacted me through these yellow pages ; I didn't apply for any position. Do you see what I mean?

    • I had a more interesting situation. We were talking about a project and I was trying to convince the guys to do it in Python instead of PHP. The guys got all frustrated and said that I'm saying that because I don't know PHP, this is when I showed them my certificate, none of them had theirs :) The project was done in Python :-P

    • Hi cheater (Bindi ^^),

      The guide you mentioned is about PHP 4 ^^.

      Please be more careful (chuckle).