A Refreshing 2010

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a very happy 2010 so far. We’re lucky enough to work for a company that closes between Christmas and New Years’, so it was an extra long break for all of us here at SAS. Along with almost everyone else, I rang in 2010 with a few goals and resolutions for myself. Among them is to do what’s needed to prepare for the certification exam, and that includes taking a refresher Programming I course.

As Stacey mentioned in her last post, we opted out of our study session the Wednesday before our Christmas break and we plan to meet next week. Our assignment was chapter 6-8 in the SAS Certification: Prep Guide. Chapters 6 and 7 are in the books and I’m working through chapter 8 now.

This last assignment has shown me that I need a refresher – especially when it comes to data step processing. I remember covering that in Programming I (which I will be re-taking next week) but even after reading the chapter, and I might say, re-reading the chapter, I still got 4 of the answers wrong on the quiz. The reason for this, I think, is because I didn’t retain the meat, the guts, the essence of this chapter. For example, here is one that I got wrong:

Look carefully at the DATA step below. Based on the INPUT statement, in what order will the variables be stored in the new data set?

Data perm.update; 
infile invent;
input IDNum$15-19 Item $1-13 Instock 21-22 BackOrd 24-25;
a.  IDNum Item InStock BackOrd Total
b.  Item IDNum InStock BackOrd Total
c.  Total IDNum Item InStock BackOrd
d.  Total Item IDNum InStock BackOrd

Naturally, I thought it was a trick question and chose wrong only to realize that I should have gone with my original gut instinct and chosen A. For those that need a reminder, like I did, about why the answer is A, the answer key states: The order in which variables are defined in the DATA step determines the order in which the variables are stores in the data set. Ahh…yes, I remember reading that a couple of times. I hope we go over this again in the Programming I class next week because I’m hoping that it will stick this time, along with everything else from this chapter.

I am happy to say, though, that the concepts covered in chapter 7, Creating and Applying User-Defined Formats, were something I found easier to retain and l look forward to creating some formats of my own. In an effort to apply what I’m learning and use it in everyday life, I’m going to create a data set for a household budget so that I can analyze where my money is actually going! It might take a few months before I get enough data to analyze, but at least it’s a start.

Next week I’ll be taking a Programming I, again, and I’m eager to go into class with some questions and a better understanding of SAS Programming.


  1. Ayangka
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I am trying to put finishing touches to my studies for the base certification and I am having a tough time. I downloaded 123 questions from eplanets.com which I paid $30 for but some of them I have no idea why the answers are the way they are and others I am just disappointed I got them wrong. After 3months of studying and completing the SAS Certification Prep book and getting most of the questions, I am at lost about what I should do to ensure that I pass this exam 'cause I have not given myself anyother option. Any suggestions as to where I can find study questions and answers (with explanations). I find that those explanations help you remember which is why I really love the Sas Prep guide. Is there any place one can post questions that I am not sure about answers and get them answers by other studying or experts. I need resources I guess. Thanks and Good luck to you,

  2. Anonymous
    Posted January 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear that you're having a hard time with the practice exams. A great resource we have here is SAScommunity.org where you can interact with other SAS users and experts. Visit the page at http://www.sascommunity.org/wiki/Main_Page. You will need to create a profile before you start. You can also take the SAS Certification Practice exam from our e-Learning site at https://support.sas.com/edu/schedules.html?id=851&ctry=US.
    Good luck with your studies.

  3. Ayangka
    Posted January 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much. I will look into that. Good luck to YOU !!!

  4. Anonymous
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Another great resource is our Discussion Forums which you can find at http://support.sas.com/forums/index.jspa. Sorry I didn't include that in yesterday's reply.

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    I’m Maggie Miller and I’ll be providing you the latest updates about SAS books, documentation, tips and industry trends here on the SAS Bookshelf. Follow along with my talented colleagues, and guest posters as we bring the written word to life and share helpful content with our fellow SAS book enthusiasts.
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