Epic fail: Flunked my 12c OCP upgrade test

Well, I took the Oracle 12c OCP upgrade exam this morning and didn’t pass it.  I’ve spent many hours over the past weeks and months reading up on new 12c features and it wasn’t enough.  I also installed 12c databases and tested out a variety of features to no avail.

Ultimately my downfall was that I tried to prepare for the test from the manuals and the descriptions of what the test covered.  Also, I purchased the Kaplan TestPrep software which only covered the first part of the 12c upgrade exam and only included 50 questions.

I should have waited until an upgrade exam book came out and I should have gotten the more comprehensive Transcender software so I would have a more complete set of questions and a better idea what would be covered.  I can’t study everything.

If you don’t know the 12c OCP upgrade exam has a new “Key DBA Skills” section which wasn’t present in earlier exams.  You have to pass both sections.  The first section covers the new 12c features and corresponds to the previous exams.  I passed this section, although barely, even though I felt confident going in that I would get a high percentage.  The breadth of the topics covered by the second section worried me because I can’t study everything.  It definitely covered things I didn’t study including some features I’ve never used.

Both parts of the exam were challenging.  It seems like a pretty tough test.  I’ve got my Oracle 7, 9,10, and 11 certifications and I’ve passed all of those tests on the first try so this is my first failure.  So, I’m trying to regroup and think about where to go from here.

Ideally, I’d like to get Sam Alapati’s book after it comes out on Amazon and get the Transcender software as well but that costs some money.  Also, I’m thinking I need to take some time and write-up some study sheets for myself instead of trying to commit everything to memory and hoping I remember during the test.

Anyway, I thought I would share my failure with the community and hope it helps someone else prepare.  The truth is that even though it is embarrassing to fail the test I learned things in the process that I can use at my job.  It would be great to get the piece of paper and I hope to do so by the end of the year, but I’ve already learned a ton through what I’ve done so far.

– Bobby

About Bobby

I live in Chandler, Arizona with my wife and three daughters. I work for US Foods, the second largest food distribution company in the United States. I've been working as an Oracle database administrator and PeopleSoft administrator since 1994. I'm very interested in Oracle performance tuning.
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13 Responses to Epic fail: Flunked my 12c OCP upgrade test

  1. Anonymous says:

    I bombed my first attempt at the 11G upgrade. My first reaction was that the test was entirely too focused on extra cost features and not an accurate reflection of what the certification should represent. My second reaction was that I didn’t properly prepare and the failing score was on me. I passed on the second attempt after a significant amount of studying. Seems like maybe you skipped my initial reaction. :) Those tests seem to be getting harder.

    • Bobby says:

      Thanks for your comment. My first reaction was that the test wasn’t scored correctly because I couldn’t believe I missed that many questions on the second section, not to mention the first section. But, upon reflection I think the biggest problem was that I didn’t study very well for the second part of the test.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fell into the same situation – passed the 12c features without issue, but fell a couple questions short on “key skills”. Many of them I was familiar with, but had not used (or used the features in the questions) in a while.

    I have not planned a retake time yet, as I am waiting for a good “refresher” guide. Good luck as you prepare.

    • Bobby says:

      Thanks for your comment. Sounds like a very similar situation. Annoying as it was to not pass the test I guess it can’t hurt to study some more features that I haven’t used or have forgotten.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I used sam alapti’s book for 11g upgrade as well as my friend who funked by using it.
    I didn’t like that much either and found many errors

    • Bobby says:

      Thank you for your comment. I really appreciated Sam Alapati’s 11g and 12c OCP upgrade books. Both enabled me to pass the respective tests. Both contained a number of errors. In my opinion these books add value by restricting the scope of the things you need to study down to something manageable. They are no substitute for reading the Oracle manuals and trying things out yourself. But, if you try to study for the test without a guide by someone who knows what the tests cover you will be overwhelmed by the amount of material you have to study. At least that is my experience and my opinion.

  4. Ejaz says:

    Can u please share the soft copy of the book ? (12c Upgrade guide)

    • Bobby says:

      I am not sure which book you are referring to. I can’t share the soft copy of any book that I have purchased. If you mean the Oracle 12c manuals they are available for free here:


      But, I encourage you to buy the books and software that I used as well as read the free manuals. The paid resources are worth every penny, in my opinion.

      – Bobby

      • Ionut says:

        Hi Bobby,

        Have you managed to take a second shot at this test?

        I am starting to prepare also, and I can see that the problematic area is not the 12c new features but the Key DBA skills that are covered.

        Do you have any advice? I have prepared a plan to review some of the most important areas in general DBA stuff but I still cannot obtain an opinion on what I should concentrate on because as you said, it practically means that one should review all topics of the oca,ocp examn in 11g plus 12c new features.


        • Bobby says:

          I passed the test in August and put out a blog post about it. Here is the URL:


          My recommendation is that you purchase the three products I list in my post and use them to direct your study of the key dba skills. I don’t think they cover everything that the test had on it but at least it can narrow your focus down to something manageable. Then, if you fail the test the first time as I did try to remember the areas that the test covered and make notes when you get back to your car or office and add those to the topics that you study. Anyway, that is what I did.

          – Bobby

  5. André Duminiet says:

    Wow, congrats! on your huge accomplishment Bobby. I plan on doing the upgrade exam this year as my main objective for 2015. I am a bit undecided as which to purchase as my study guide. Between Sam Alapati and Robert Freeman’s guides, would you be able to recommend the better of the two study guides?
    Also, thanks so much for the ‘heads-up’ and the pointers plus advice. These exams or certainly no “push-over”, are tricky and costly.
    – André

  6. André says:

    Hi Bobby,
    Please ignore my previous post and questions as I see that you have listed your recommended study material. Thanks for the info, I will certainly make use of your advice and tips.
    Take care.
    – André

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