Strategies to Prepare For SAS Certifications

Select the Method of Preparation

The very first step is to choose the method of preparation; I have divided this into mainly three types to prepare for the certification exams:

  1. Instructor-led training (if one resides within the U.S.),
  2. Self-paced e-learning,
  3. Self-study of exam preparation books published by SAS Institute Inc.

More details about these different options can be found at

If you are not a SAS neophyte and does not lack the confidence of learning SAS by reading books by and preparing by yourself, I’ll recommend preparing for the certification exams by reading the two books published by SAS Institute Inc.:

“SAS Certification Prep Guide: Base Programming for SAS® 9”


“SAS Certification Prep Guide: Advanced Programming for SAS®9”.

You can purchase these books from direct SAS website, by clicking the link or you can even purchase these from Amazon. These two books are very well narrated and enough number of examples and sample programs to the readers. Either new or experienced SAS users who want to prepare for the certification exams will find these two books to be convenient and comprehensive resources. These two books cover all the topics and objectives SAS certification exam testes on the exams. However, they do not completely cover everything that could appear in the exams. For instance, the exams can test a function or option that does not appear anywhere in these two books. However, this is very rare and the abovementioned two books should cover all topics of the SAS certification exams for Base and Advanced Programming.

Moreover, If you are writing the SAS Advanced Programming Exam only, it is recommended to read (At least the first seven chapters) “Carpenter's Complete Guide to SAS Macro Language” by Art Carpenter as well. It complements “SAS® Certification Prep Guide: Advanced Programming for SAS® 9” well and will promote your understanding and grip of the SAS Macro language. therefore, reading these extra seven chapters will reduce, rather than increase the time needed to prepare for the SAS Advanced Programming Exam. The main disadvantage associated with preparing for the SAS certification exams with the two preparation books published by SAS is that these two books were written in such a detailed and easy-to-understand way, so, the chances of confusion are minimized. Additionally, it is usually not very difficult to find answers by using SAS software’s online documentation as well. As a final resort, one can contact SAS technical support, which usually provides satisfactory support in my experience. Although, there are many good forums and blogs as well, where you can get your queries resolved very easily. Say,

These are just to name; there are many active communities over the internet which can be very helpful. While you are reading through the above books, I suggest to RUN SAMPLE PROGRAMS, The certification exams cover a wide range of functions, statements, options, etc. One will run into new things one had not encountered before. In these situations, it helps to try out these new functions, statements, options, etc. with the SAS software. You can run the sample code provided in the books, or it would be better if you can write your own code to incorporate the new materials you just learned. These hands-on experiences will enhance your understanding of the overall SAS Programming.

As we all know, SAS degrees are one of the most prestigious in the field of analytics, and these are also somewhat difficult when it comes to learning the SAS Programming. The learner needs to remember a good amount of information, logic and code specifications. To memorize this amount of information, it is essential to comprehend the logic, reasoning, and connection underlying the information. On the other hand, for information that does not seem to have any logic behind it, applying some memorization techniques will be helpful.

Study Of The Preparation Material and Do The Repetition:

As there are benefits of the memorization techniques, use the same in your daily study and get yourself experienced with SAS subject matter. However, the most matter is the material you are using to prepare yourself. So when you are studying a large amount of information as required in the SAS certification exams, it can be a challenge to keep learning new materials without forgetting materials that have already been learned, here the memorization technique will help a lot. Also, to fight against forgetfulness, intensive repetition is an effective strategy. Concentrate on the study material and do a regular repetition will help you be more accurate and amazingly confident to face the exam easily. It saves time to reinforce the memory before it completely fades away because once it is forgotten, you will need to go back to stage one and spend the time to relearn the forgotten information. While you go through the certification exam preparation materials chapter by chapter, the strategy of intensive repetition requires you to proactively go back and review the materials you have studied, well before you would have it get fed away. Try and learn more than one or two chapter(s) per day and not have to worry about not being to remember it all, because repetition will help you not to forget it.

In case if studying “SAS® Certification Prep Guide: Base Programming for SAS® 9” takes two weeks approx to go through the entire book (22 chapters), one should spend another two weeks reviewing the book several more times. Before one takes the Certification exam, one should read each chapter about five times. By doing just that and taking the practice exam, one can score 89% on his/her Base SAS Programming Certification Exam. The preparation book for the Advanced SAS Programming Certification Exam, “SAS® Certification Prep Guide: Advanced Programming for SAS® 9”, is markedly more concise, comprehensive, and more difficult than the book for the SAS Base Programming Exam. It contents probably at least doubles the information compared to SAS Base, so it may take almost double the time as well. However, the best side of this study and repetition is that you are left with memories that last more accurately and much longer any other method.

Take Practice Exam access and do Lot of Practice.

The last but most important part of the preparation is to take access to the practice exams and do lots of, lots of practice. Yes, as this is not just any other certification, you need to be very serious on certification practice as well. The SAS Certification exams are designed in a way that will confuse the candidate as apart from the SAS Base or Advanced Body of knowledge, the most important part of the test the candidates reasoning and problem-solving abilities by not getting confused with the tricky situation created by the examiner. Now, this is something you will learn only by practice in such real-time cases. The practice exams are constructed to test the same knowledge and skills as the SAS certification exams. Following are links to the most famous practice exam for,

A00-231: SAS Certified Base Programming for SAS 9.4

A00-232: SAS Certified Professional - Advanced Programming Using SAS 9.4

The best method is to get access to the practice exams soon you start preparation as this will help you plan your learning. Taking a practice exam at this point will allow you to assess the knowledge gap between what you possess now and what you need to possess to comfortably pass the certification exam. Taking a practice exam during the preparation will also familiarize you with the format and the level of difficulty of the certification exam.

Taking a practice exam at this point helps you assess if you are indeed ready for the actual certification exam. If you do very well on the practice exam, it will also boost your confidence level and ease your nervousness when taking the actual certification exam. Continue taking practice test until you appear for the final certification exam, this is very important as any gape in-between can be fatal on the result.

At the Last

Do not create any gap between the compellation of your study and the schedule of your certification exam. The less is the gap, the best will be the results. Preparing for exams is certainly more “painful” than just dreaming of being certified. If you would like to reduce the amount of “pain” you have to endure and increase your odds of passing the exams and try not to divert from the goal.

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