Passing the Zend PHP 5 Certification Exam

On 16th, December, 2007, I have passed the new Zend PHP 5 certification exam 🙂 . Well, I feel the actual exam is very easy; it should not difficult for any php user who has certain level of php development experience. In this post, I will publish some information regarding how to prepare and attend the exam. Of course, since Zend has stopped back up the old PHP (PHP4) certification exam, PHP5 exam is the only exam right now you can choose to take.

Preparing the exam

  • Reference books and documents:
    There is one must-have book you need go through(maybe twice) before you take the exam, that is phparchitect’s “php|architect’s Zend PHP 5 Certification Study Guide“. I can’t say this book is very useful to those php veteran; but compare to the previous ” Zend Php Certification Study Guide”(for PHP4, which published by Sams), this book is mostly accurate on every aspect of the PHP feature, and it does cover nearly everything you need to know in order to pass the exam.
    However, though the study guide is very useful, but as it name suggests, it is just a GUIDE. According my experience, a systematically studying on PHP 5 will very helpful for your passing the exam. I suggest the book: “Beginning PHP and MySQL 5: From Novice to Professional, Second Edition“(by Apress, 2nd edition). Even though, many knowledge in this book will not required in the actual exam, it provides far more detailed explanation on those knowledge mentioned in the study guide; and I also believe that a more full scope understanding of PHP will do you more good than no harm while you are learning PHP.
    Another useful document is the paul reinheimer’s ZCE course guide—-this document can be downloaded freely from the internet I believe. I found that you can use this little book quickly overview the ZCE exam’s the twelve major topics, and also following the guide-line, you can check more often! There are twelve major topics of the ZCE exam:

    1. PHP Basics
    2. Functions
    3. Strings
    4. Arrays
    5. Files and Streams
    6. Security
    7. Databases
    8. Design and Theory
    9. Object Oriented Programming
    10. PHP 4 vs PHP 5
    11. Web Features
    12. XML

    I will posted a series of final reviews on each topics in future blog posts to help those who may will want to attend this exam as well.

  • Practice
    Even though that you may pass the exam without the actual PHP development experience, however, I strongly suggest that that you start to do some coding in PHP as soon as you have learned some thing new, or play some of the Open Source PHP CMS around. Actual PHP development experience is the vital part that make sure you truly understood what you read. And, of course, is alway an invaluable source that you can exploit. Some key knowledge will be made very easy to grasp after you read some of the user discussions and examples on—-and there is no better way to do so!
  • Zend PHP 5 Certification Simulator
    There is always better if you can improve your confidence and familiarize the actual test environment before you attend whatever exam. Right now, there is a very good deal at phparch, which is a 10-use of Vulcan Zend PHP 5 Certification Testing License. You can take ten times of the Zend PHP 5 Certification Simulator exam before you take the actual exam. It is also a good assistant as you are preparing the exam, as their web page says, it really can “Provides a breakdown of your score by topic to help you maximize your study time only on those areas you really need”. I passed all of the ten simulator exams, and since from the fourth, I passed with excellent score—-by the way this is only available in this Vulcan system, the actual exam will only show you either “Passed” or “Failed”—-so you can build up your confidence all the way to the final exam room.

Register and Schedule the exam
This is what you will do after you fully prepared for the ZCE exam:
First, you will purchase a Zend PHP Certification voucher from Before you do the purchase, search google for “Zend PHP5 Certification promo code” to see if you can find some promo code. For example, “zcej100” saved me 25 bucks at the time I purchasing the certification voucher 🙂 . After you got your voucher code, you need go to Pearson VUE website to register an account and then select the right exam to make an appointment at which time you will attend. Please carefully select the best VUE test center for you, because you must make sure you can arrive the test center in time. You need consider location, traffic, timing; for example, if you are not a morning person, schedule the exam at afternoon!

Take the exam
The actual exam should not difficult to you. It will easier than those Vulcan simulators. According my experience, Functions, Strings, Arrays, Security, Object Oriented Programming and Web Features are seem more important in the exam. Of course, the actual 70 exam questions were randomly selected every time; so every exam should have different questions distribution among the twelve topics.

Ok. That a brief introduce how to pass the ZCE exam. PHP is most popular web programming language ever be used; and recently I found that more and more hosting service providers have supported PHP 5. Since PHP 4 have been deprecated, PHP 6 are still in cradle, PHP 5 will be more and more important! I encourage anyone working in the web develop field get the ACE certification. Good luck!

18 Comments - Leave a comment
  1. What you think about the difference of the mock exams and the actual exams? Which is harder?

  2. hello,
    Will you please send me your email address. I want to send you my 6 mock exams result. And want to evaluate me from you.

  3. David Adam says:

    Hi, thanks for you comment. I think the actual exams are easier than the mock exams.

  4. Hello,
    On 5th May I passed the real exam and become Zend Certified Engineer. Here is the link:

    but, my opinion is:
    Compare to Mock exams I found real exam’s questions are harder. As the questions of real exam are randomly choosen so it depends on one’s luck.

  5. shawkat says:

    Can you help me to get paul reinheimer’s ZCE course guide as I have searched in the internet desparately with no success…

  6. David Adam says:

    Hi, really. You think the real exam questions are harder?
    Um, maybe. When I passed the exam, I feel it is easier, maybe it is not necessary than the mod test, but than some questions I read through other books and forums.

    By the way, congratulations!

  7. Lekha R says:

    i would like to know about the way they will ask questions in exam. Currently I am working as a PHP Programmer. I am planning to attend the PCE exam. Could you please send some early asked questions of PCE exam.
    thanks and regards

  8. David Adam says:

    I used the phparch one. But, the price seems the same. You am try out the zend’s. But, I suspect the two are the same.

  9. Todd says:

    A very late congratulations, but congratulations no less. I’ll be taking the exam this upcoming Friday.

  10. […] Passing the Zend php 5 certification exam […]

  11. […] – First of a collection of posts with advice on each category covered in the exam. […]

  12. Xuni says:

    I just failed the exam, don’t know how since I passed the mock exam with excellent degree twice in a row.
    I actually found the real test more challenging.
    Or maybe it was just bad luck, I noticed that I sucked at the parts where I thought I was good at… maybe something about the double negation wording. Don’t know. Anyhow. 150$ down the drain.
    I will read these instructions and then try again.

  13. echo says:

    haha,good article

  14. Dan Kelly says:

    I started a Study group. Do you have any suggestions for us to maybe study maybe one topic more than the other or any ideas in general?

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