Studying for the 1Z0-450 – Oracle Application Express 4: Developing Web Applications

The 1Z0-450 exam is one of Oracle’s niche certifications. It is pursued largely by Oracle developers that specialize in using Application Express for creating Web interfaces in Oracle, or by new IT professionals that are looking to enter that area. I have worked with Application Express since the early releases when it was called HTMLDB. It is a robust development environment and well suited to rapidly creating database applications without sacrificing the ability to make them highly functional. This is a very useful certification for an Oracle database developer to have. This article will provide you some insight into some of what will be expected from you on the test to help guide your preparation.

All of the topics that will be covered in the 1Z0-450 exam are listed on the Oracle Education website. Any capabilities of Application Express that are not listed will not appear on the test. The lists from Oracle Education will always be definitive. The Developing Web Applications exam contains sixty-four topics in nineteen subject areas. The vast majority of them are specifically related to creating an application using Apex. The remaining topics deal with utilities, supporting applications, and interacting with the database.

During my Oracle career I have taken eleven Oracle certification tests. If I were to pick a single exam that was least like the others, it would be this one. As a general rule, Oracle certification exams are primarily about recognizing key facts and features of the subject being tested. The 1Z0-450 exam has a good percentage of questions that fall into this category, but it also has a significant number of questions that exist only to verify your familiarity with the Application Express interface. In a perfect world, the exam would have simulations that would test a candidate’s knowledge of the interface. Since this test has no simulator, it makes use of questions that try to verify that you know how to use the interface. Some of the questions ask you to sequence events: “What is the correct order of the six steps to create ‘X’ object.” Other questions ask what can or cannot be performed with the interface: “Which of the below functions is not possible on a ‘Z’ object?” Because questions like these are not key facts to be written down and memorized, it is not possible to study for them as such. In order to be prepared for this kind of question, you must be familiar with the interface. This means you must use Application Express enough to gain that familiarity.

Before you even consider taking 1Z0-450, you need to have used Application Express to create one or more database applications and one or more websheet applications. The applications don’t have to be incredibly complex, but you should practice creating one or two of every kind of form and report available. You likewise want to try creating some of all of the item types. There are numerous Oracle-By-Example tutorials for Application Express. Going through these tutorials can be useful. You will have to become reasonably familiar with just about all the features that exist in the environment. Take a look at the topics at the Oracle Education website. Plan to spend extra time learning about those areas that you use the least.

In order to have a good chance of passing the test, you must be fairly familiar with the Apex interface. If you have never used Application Express and are planning to simply read about it and pass 1Z0-450 without spending time using the development environment, you are almost assuredly going to be disappointed. I’ve been developing applications with it since 2004 and I did not find the test simple.

The exam has 55 multiple-choice or multiple-answer questions. At this time 61 percent is the passing score. For the multiple-answer questions, there is no partial credit. Not answering a question counts against your score as much as answering one incorrectly, so you don’t want to leave any question unanswered — even if that means simply picking a letter at random. The intent of 1Z0-450 is to pass only those people who really know the development environment. In my opinion, it does a reasonably good job of that. Good luck on the test.