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  • November 28, 2018

The Craziest Experience of Zhuang Hui's Life Provides Good Advice For OCM Exam Preparation

Brandye Barrington
Sr. Program Manager

My Journey with OCM

by Zhuang Hui

I especially want to thank my wife for her support. Last night I was doing experiments till dawn, and our kids were crying in the next room. My wife handled both of them all by herself without disturbing me. Looking after two children at such a young age, she made no complaints and did her best to support my study. I really appreciate her. This journey with Oracle Certified Master (OCM) has probably been the craziest and most unforgettable learning experience in my life. I have never felt so excited and insane at the same time, even more than preparing for the national Gaokao (college entrance exam) years ago.

​RELATED: Liu Denfeng Gives Advice on Beginning Your Own Exciting Journey to OCM Certification

Crash Courses

I highly recommend the OCM crash course. I took the crash course as soon as I registered for the exam. Since I started with a weak foundation in Oracle, I had lots of problems the first time I went through all the scenarios. One good thing about the crash courses was that you had classmates to discuss these problems with so that you could deal with them quickly. Studying alone would undermine your confidence. What’s more, learning with classmates was a powerful motivator. During the 7-day crash course, I slept less than 6 hours every day. I remember coming back immediately after dinner to do experiments, practicing until after midnight. Surprisingly, though I felt tired physically, I didn’t feel like sleeping. This can be attributed to the teachers at the Oracle WDP training center, who were able to make the technology so exciting. Besides, my classmates were working so hard that it was easy to be influenced by them. I think the most important thing about taking the crash course was the camaraderie. It was very special to have an opportunity to get to know a group of like-minded friends, and they were all very successful in taking the OCM exam. Here, I especially want to thank Fan Jinyi and Wang Qianlong for sharing with me their work experience, materials, and useful tools and software. When I had problems in my study or at work, my classmates were always there to help me. I was able to learn so much from their timely help and feedback, even more than I did from the teachers.


"If you read a book a hundred times, the meaning of the book will emerge naturally."

I suggest practicing as much as you can after going through session the first time. If you practice 20 times before listening again, you will find the theories easier to understand and have a clearer idea. I found it very difficult to understand what architecture was really about, even though I listened several times, but after practicing 20 times, I found it very easy!

You have to get rid of the textbook as quickly as possible. It was tough at the beginning, but you have to push yourself to keep going. Reflect on your practice each time you finish it. Print out the extremely difficult commands and put them in your pocket, so you can have a read while you walk or eat. Try to put the most common commands into your muscle memory and make them part of your basic skills. You don’t have to memorize large sections of code, because you can find them in the official documentation. You have to study the official documentation very carefully, making comparisons between different sections, and you will be able to locate the commands quickly. In the end, you will find that you only need to search one or two places in the documentation for each scenario.

Moreover, "sharp tools make good work." An SSD is a must-have as it saves you a large amount of time. Those who are able to finish one scenario within 20 seconds must have first-class configurations. I bought a secondhand PC specifically for practice. A SSD hard drive is 180GB, so scenario 1 can be put onto SSD, but most of my practice was done on the VSphere virtual server at my company. Finally, I want to tell you something about training: “Obsession leads to mastery -- practice, practice, practice!”  

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Mind Map

I have used four mind-mapping tools and prefer XMIND, because it meets the user’s basic needs without needing to register. A daily mind map is necessary. Even though you can’t do it every day, you have to organize your mind map regularly. One of the advantages of mind mapping is review, sorting pieces of information and structuring them into a whole.

There is the famous Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, in which Ebbinghaus' experiment demonstrates the importance of review. It also shows that the better you understand what you have memorized, the slower you forget it. Mind mapping helps you remember and understand. It is worth noting that some commands still have to be memorized because it helps you understand. It’s not just for the exam. If you memorize them just for the exam, you can forget them easily under pressure. Here, I would like to share with you the forgetting curve created by Ebbinghaus.

Human beings have two major categories of memory: short-term memory and long-term memory.

The first memory cycle is 5 minutes, the second 30 minutes, and the third 12 hours. These three memory cycles belong to the category of short-term memory.

Here are the important long-term memory cycles: the fourth memory cycle is 1 day; the fifth 2 days; the sixth 4 days; the seventh 7 days; and the eighth 15 days. Try to practice according to the long-term memory cycles when getting rid of the textbook -- it will be easier to do it scenario by scenario. If you stick to it, you will find that many commands will really become muscle memory, and you can type them out intuitively.

"It is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books. It is better to read different authors than to travel ten thousand miles. It is better to be mentored by great teachers than to read different authors. It is better to practice by yourself than to be mentored by great teachers."

- Chinese Proverb

Your own practice day after day can be regarded as "traveling ten thousand miles" in your journey with OCM. In this sense, you are able to figuratively travel ten thousand miles, read ten thousand books and be mentored by great teachers at the training center. Naturally, you’ll improve your skills.

I also want to thank all my classmates for your help, which made my journey with OCM a lot easier. Of course, my journey through life will also be a lot easier because of the help from my friends. I especially want to thank my wife for her support. When I registered for the training courses, our younger child was less than a year old and often woke up several times during the night. Our older one was less than three years old. It was very tiring to look after both of them. I thank her for this. I felt profoundly sorry for not being there for all of them. The best gift I can give to my children now is the role model of a hard-working dad. Finally, I want to share with you one of my favorite sayings:

"Persistence brings you a fine life. Self-discipline helps you win the future!"


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*This article was provided and authorized by Oracle Certified Master Union. To reprint, please contact Oracle University and indicate the source.

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Comments ( 2 )
  • Michael Milligan Tuesday, March 10, 2020
    Congratulations Zhuang on this great achievement!

    And thank you for this truly excellent description of how you achieved it. You provided not only the nuts, and not only the bolts, but exactly how - and how many times - to turn the wratchet!

    Today I passed my OCP upgrade exam to 12c DBA. If I eventually take on this gargantuan challenge, I will follow your advice carefully.

    Michael Milligan
    Layton, Utah
  • Brandye Williams Barrington Tuesday, March 10, 2020
    Congratulations on your 12c DBA upgrade, Michael! It looks like you're on the right path to earn the OCM credential!

    Brandye Barrington
    Oracle Certification
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