OCM 12c Preparation

Today (1st March 2017) I will finally start my Oracle OCM 12c study project. Almost 2 years after start studying for the OCM 11g and 1 year from becoming an OCM 11g, I have another big adventure and challenge in my life!

My target is to take the exam by August/2017.

UPDATE 1: I did it on August 14th in Reading, UK. Now I’m waiting for the results! (More information in sections 6 and 7).
P.S: I made a separate post about my OCM 12c Trip that can be accessed here.

UPDATE 2: After 29 very long days (almost like OCM 11g), the result finally came on September 12th and now I’m officially and OCM 12c! (More information in section 8).

As I did with the OCM 11g, I will list here the topics and some study guides for each of them, so I can exchange with you who is also applying, interested or have any skills. Please comment in the post related to each topic if you find out any more valuable information to add.

Every topic will have a link to a post where I will cover some test cases, what is needed to study and the link to the official Oracle Doc related. Remember, the Oracle Official Doc is all you will have on the day of the exam, so being fast and getting to the item in the DOC is a necessity.

Note that here are listed  the topics for the OCM 12c FULL exam (2 days) and UPGRADE exam (1 day). If you plan to take the OCM 12c FULL exam (2 days), for the non-listed topics I recommend you to take a look in my OCM 11g Preparation page as some of them are very similar (and do not forget to check the new features for each).

Let’s start:

1 – Before you begin

Recommended Hardware for Study
Download the Exam Environment
– Prepare your Environment
– Course Requirements / OCM 12c Exam Preparation Workshop
– Where to take the exam

2 – Scoring

For the first time in an OCM exam, Oracle defined the minimum scoring to pass in each skillset.

*Acceptable performance on each skillset:

For UPGRADE exam:

  • Skillset 1 – 56%
  • Skillset 2 – 32%
  • Skillset 3 – 43%
  • Skillset 4 – 44%

For FULL exam:

  • Skillset 1 – 60%
  • Skillset 2 – 46%
  • Skillset 3 – 40%
  • Skillset 4 – 33%
  • Skillset 5 – 39%
  • Skillset 6 – 42%
  • Skillset 7 – 54%
  • Skillset 8 – 36%

UPDATE: This information is not available anymore in Oracle website, so the minimum may have changed.

This only show us how hard is the OCM exam. You must score less than 60% to be approved! Skillset 2 only requires you to score one third of the questions. So “expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.”

I believe that each skillset is respectively associated with the topics as that are listed (in the same order).

If you do not pass, they give also some information:

  • Candidates must wait 14 days before retaking a failed proctored exam. (Registration will be allowed on the 14th day)
  • Candidates are only allowed 4 attempts to pass an exam in a 12-month period.
  • Candidates must resubmit a failed Master Assignment within 30 days of receiving the notification of failing.

This basically means that you should wait almost 2 months if you consider that you are not allowed to retake a passed exam and the exam results takes 4-5 weeks to arrive.

3 – Important Links

OCM Preparation Page:
11g: http://www.dbarj.com.br/en/ocm-11g-preparation/ (have some valuable info for 12c)
12c: http://www.dbarj.com.br/en/ocm-12c-preparation/ (this page)

Exam dates:

Preparation Workshop:

Approved Required Courses (for FULL exam):

Certification Paths:

OCM 12c Full Exam Info:
OCM 12c Upgrade Exam Info:

OCM 12c Full Exam:
OCM 12c Upgrade Exam:

Candidate Agreement:

4 – Topics

Those topics were get from the official Oracle OCM website (link above) on Sep/2016. I will update if I notice any modification.

(Topics without a link is because I didn’t write it yet)


General Database and Network Administration, and Backup Strategy (PS 56%)

• Create and manage pluggable databases
• Create and manage users, roles, and privileges
• Configure the network environment to allow connections to multiple databases
• Protect the database from loss of data due to any kind of failure
• Create and manage database configuration files

Data and Performance Management (PS 32%)

• Modify materialized views
• Create a plugged-in tablespace by using the transportable tablespace feature
• Create partitioned tables
• Configure the database to retrieve all previous versions of the table rows
• Configure the Resource Manager
• Tune SQL statements
• Perform real application testing
• Create SQL Plan baselines

Data Guard (PS 43%)

• Create a physical standby database
• Make the standby database available for testing
• Restore the standby database to its normal function
• Configure fast start failover

Grid Infrastructure and Real Application Clusters (PS 44%)

• Install Oracle Grid Infrastructure
• Configure Oracle Flex ASM
• Create ASM disk groups
• Create and manage an ASM instance
• Create ACFS
• Start, stop, configure, and administer Oracle Grid Infrastructure
• Install the Oracle Database 12c software
• Create RAC databases
• Configure services


General Database and Network Administration (PS 60%)

Create and manage pluggable databases
• Administer users, roles, and privileges
Configure the network environment to allow connections to multiple databases
• Administer database configuration files
• Configure shared server
• Manage network file directories

Manage Database Availability (PS 46%)

• Install the EM Cloud Control agent?Configure recovery catalog
• Configure RMAN
• Perform a full database backup
• Configure and monitor Flashback Database

Data Warehouse Management (PS 40%)

• Manage database links
• Manage a fast refreshable materialized view
• Create a plug-in tablespace by using the transportable tablespace feature
• Optimize star queries
• Configure parallel execution
• Apply a Patch
• Configure Automatic Data Optimization, In-Row Archiving, and Temporal Validity
• Manage external tables

Data Management (PS 33%)

• Manage additional buffer cache
• Optimize space usage for the LOB data
• Manage an encrypted tablespace
• Manage schema data
• Manage partitioned tables
• Set up Fine-Grained Auditing
• Configure the database to retrieve all previous versions of the table rows

Performance Management (PS 39%)

• Configure the Resource Manager
• Tune SQL statements
• Use real application testing
• Manage SQL Plan baselines
• Capture performance statistics
• Tune an instance
• Configure and manage result cache
• Manage extended statistics
• Create and manage partitioned indexes
• Control CPU use for Oracle Instances
• Configure and manage “In Memory” features

Data Guard (PS 42%)

• Administer a Data Guard environment
• Create a physical standby database
• Configure a standby database for testing
• Configure a standby database to apply redo
• Configure a standby database to use for reporting
• Configure fast start failover
• Manage DDL in a Data Guard environment

Grid Infrastructure (PS 54%)

• Install Oracle Grid Infrastructure
• Create ASM Disk Groups
• Create and manage ASM instances
• Configure ASM Cloud File System (ACFS)
• Administer Oracle Clusterware
• Manage Flex Clusters and Flex ASM

Real Application Cluster Database (PS 36%)

• Install Oracle Database software
• Create a Real Application Clusters (RAC) database
• Configure Database Services
• Administer Oracle RAC databases on one or more cluster nodes

5 – Others Certifications as study strategy

As I did when studying for OCM 11g, in the OCM 12c there are a lot of Oracle Certifications that you can take as a way to study for a topic. This is the way I’m doing and I recommend it. The work & study required to prepare for certification exams broadens your knowledge by exposing you to a wide variety of essential functions, features & tasks.

Getting certified also adds a lot of benefits for you and your career, as Oracle listed here.

So, what extra certifications do I recommend you to take as you study and for what topics do they prepare you?

The best of taking all that combo above is that you will also become an Oracle Database 12c Maximum Availability Certified Master.

I hope you don’t ever think in using Brain Dumps for them. Why?

  1. It’s illegal.
  2. It will not help you and will not give you any base for any OCM skillset.
  3. Every Oracle Professional knows that Brain Dumps exists. If some candidate during an interview show me some certification budget, the first thing to do is make some questions that this credential should allow him to answer. Imagine how shameful would be to him not to know basic things.

6 – Tips for the exam trip

Here are some tips that I recommend:

  • Arrive some days before the exam to the city to align your biological clock, specially if your time shift is bigger than 3 hours.
  • One day before the event, go to the exam place to check if the address is right, where is the room, the best way to arrive, etc.
  • Don’t drink any alcoholically things from 3 days before the event. Do it after the second exam day to celebrate (and do it well).
  • Don’t eat heavy food or any kind of food that put you stomach at risk during the exam (like fat or sea food).
  • Take a good breakfast in the morning. Avoid drinking too much liquid before the exam or during the breaks. Do it after.
  • Sleep for at least 8 hours before each exam day. Relax your body and your mind!
  • Keep in your pocket some pills for headache that could come.
  • Don’t forget to take with you 2 (TWO), I said 2 (TWO) ID’s. Maybe the passport and the other your driver license or your country main ID. If you don’t, you will need to leave. Rules are rules, they will not be flexible with you in this point.

I made a separate post about my OCM 12c Trip that can be accessed here.

7 – After the event!

After you do the exam, don’t talk any information about anything in the exam to the others (even if it is your best friend or your wife/husband). Why?

  1. Before starting the exam you must sign a NDA (non disclosure agreement), available here, saying that you won’t say or talk anything about the exam. If you don’t want to sign it, you cannot do the exam and that’s it, good bye. But if you do sign and if you talk to anyone about the exam, you will lose your OCM credential.
  2. It’s not fair to the ones who studied and worked hard to get it.
  3. The value of the something is inversely proportional to how easy is to get it. If we have 100K people that are OCM and got it cheating, the ones who didn’t will also be harmed. That’s the case of the OCP certification today, where many people got it using Brain Dumps.

Also, that’s why you usually don’t see much information about the exam in the internet.

And what about the results?

  • “Participants will be notified of their final score 4 – 5 weeks following the exam”. So relax during that time also.
  • If you pass, celebrate it, you deserve. If you didn’t, don’t give up. Try again! Imagine if the babies give up trying to walk after the first wrong attempt. We would have a world of people crawling around.

I’m still waiting for mine, that will be probably available by September/2017. =]

8 – The Results

After 29 long days waiting, months of dedication and more than 10 years working with Oracle DB, I could not be happier with the result. Now, I’m officially an OCM 12c.

The OCP team sent the result at 9h44 UTC-3.

As they are not shopping kits to Brazil as the government is taxing any type of incoming (even presents), I’ve asked to receive the OCM kit by mail in a US address.

9 – External Pages that Helped!

Alex Zaballa posted a series of topics while he was studying for his OCM 12c Upgrade Exam in OTN Brazil page. Those topics help and serve as a guide also for the Sections 1 and 2 of the Upgrade Exam. However they are all written in Portuguese language, so if you don’t understand the language use a webpage translation tool.

Section 1:

Section 2:


Skip to comment form

  1. Cheikh

    First , thanks a lot for the information in your blog.
    I’am from Sengal e and I’am currently OCP and /OCE 11g RAC.
    How many times do you thonk it can take for me the OCM exal preparation ?

    1. DBA RJ

      Hi Cheikh,
      Well, it depends a lot of your practical experience on the exam topics. If you have knowledge on them but not the daily expertise, you would require at least 1-2 years. Otherwise 6 months is fine.

  2. Petar

    Hello Rodrigo,

    what is your daily routine for learning? Considering 1-2 hours per day during the week and 4-5 hours during the weekend, roughly…with 5~6 years of experience, do you think 6 months is enough for preparation. I can`t say that I know everything, but try to be up to date (webinars,seminars, blog posts etc.).

    Regards, Petar

    1. DBA RJ

      You need to cover all the topics at least twice and doing the things in all possible ways.
      It’s hard to tell based on years with experience as it depends more on the diversity of the environment and your tasks, I think that you would need at least 1 years studying 3-4 hours/day.


  3. Nguyen

    please share the best way to browse the 12c oracle documentation. It’s harder to browse than the 11g version.

    1. DBA RJ

      I recommend the same one that comes with in Oracle Linux 6.5, which means firefox-17.0.10-1.0.1.
      Good luck,

  4. Deepak Kumar Polepalli

    Thanks for your valuable info and tips.
    Are all modules in the exam of equal duration?
    Will the exam duration for each modules vary?
    I have set my OCM exam next week.

    1. DBA RJ

      Hi Deepak,
      Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything about the exam itself due to signed NDA.
      Good luck!
      Rodrigo Jorge

  5. Carlos

    Hello Rodrigo, thanks for the blog..
    During the exam, could you use Cloud Control to build the Dataguard environment? because i know that is faster than by hand for the exam.

    1. DBA RJ

      Hi Carlos,
      Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything about the exam itself due to signed NDA. You should practice and be well prepared all the possible ways imagined to do something, in case the exam constraints the ways you can do something (GUI or CLI). Then use your best approach available.

  6. Alvaro

    Congrats again Rodrigo! Someone who is thinking about taking 12cOCM upgrade next may in UK?

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