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;
Total=instock.backord;
Run;
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.

tags: certification, christine kjellberg, data step, input, PROC CERTIFY, programming, sas

4 Comments

  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.
    -Christine

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