Silverlight MCTS Exam–what to expect, and how to prepare

In October last year, I participated in the beta exams for Silverlight MCTS certification.  Last week, I was notified that I had passed the exam, so – quite excitedly – I tweeted about this.  Not soon thereafter I got a few questions from people asking me what to expect of the exam, and how to prepare for it.  Therefore, I decided to dedicate a blog post to it.


So, what can you expect of this exam, 70-506, Silverlight 4 Development?  If you’ve taken any other MS Certification exam, you already know what you’re going to get: a bunch of multiple choice questions, spanning about every aspect of Silverlight development.  Questions can be more theoretic, but often consist of a proposed problem, and 4 code examples you have to choose the right one from.  I got the feeling the questions were much more aimed at real-life problems compared to other certification exams I took in the past.  I vividly remember a .NET Fundamentals exam (.NET 2.0) containing questions like “What is the correct syntax for xxx”, with possible answers consisting of useless (due to IntelliSense) wrongly spelled class names. 


No such silliness here: for almost all code-related questions, I could easily imagine a real-life situation where I would pose myself that exact question. 


You should, however, have a vast knowledge of all the core concepts: DataBinding, INotifyPropertyChanged, Converters, DataContext, Validation, … as there were questions about all of these.  That said: this is something every serious Silverlight developer should know about.


Next: how should you prepare for this exam?  At the moment, there isn’t a book you can buy/download (might want to read mine though ;-)) specifically aimed at the exams.  But: if you’re working with Silverlight day to day, you should be able to pass the exam without any problems.  I’ve been working with it for more than 2 years now, and I didn’t prepare for the exam at all, yet there were very few questions I wasn’t able to answer with certainty – so I guess my main advice would be: don’t worry, you can do it! 😉


However: if you haven’t been developing SL projects for a while, you should prepare – and even if you have, brushing up on your knowledge is always a good idea.  Luckily, there are resources to be found around the web:



Look at these links, and you should be more than prepared for the exam.  Good luck!

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