How to pass PHP5 Zend Certification Exam

I have finally passed the PHP5 Zend Exam. It was very hard work. Long time studying and understanding every core PHP function.
Anyway, here are my tips for you to pass as well:

– Study hard. Don’t think you know. Be certain that you know.
– Take the mock exams and only accept Excellent in all categories of the test, nothing less.

– Go outside the books, read forums, blogs (including this one) and off course, the site.
– Learn the difference of echo and print and how each one work.

– Learn strings, string functions, patterns, patterns functions, streams and streams functions.

– Learn PHP.INI, not everything, mostly the new settings and session
– Learn session management and it’s security risks
– Don’t be afraid of creating scripts to better learn a new extension of PHP.
– Check the ZendCon 08 Slides. There a few there with some great info.
– Remember you must know very well all the subjects that the certification book informs
– and most important, have fun.

Cristiano Diniz da Silva
PHP5 Zend Certified Engenieer


About mcloide

Making things simpler, just check: View all posts by mcloide

25 responses to “How to pass PHP5 Zend Certification Exam

  • magesh

    hai dude,

    Congrats for your certification, All the best.

    i need some help from you for developing my php knowledge, actually i m working as Software engineer in one org, i just want to know which book is good to follow php5, i m having 5/10 knowledge in php its my point of view. can you give some suggestion how to improve in php

    with regards,

    magesh N
    (09-10-2008) 3:45 PM

  • mcloide


    Thanks and the best book to follow PHP5 still being I know sounds strange but, site is by far the best resource for any PHP developer searching for any information.

    If you are seriously wanting to learn PHP5 and all it’s resources and still looking for a printed book, so look for any book from O’Relly Media or PHP 5 Power Programming that is recommended by Zend.

    Don’t get stuck on Books only, to learn PHP5 you will need to code and research a lot on resourceful websites like Zend, PHP Architech, etc.

    Have fun and anything, get back here, we can always try to help out.

  • phifeshaheed


    congrats, so what the most interesting website resources you have used to nail this certification?

    again congratulations!

  • Adam

    Congrats mcloide.
    Im hoping to book the test soon, but come a bit unstuck. Never heard of SPL before, and I find it under the array section.

    It has to be the most ill-documented new php5 feature yet. The only way to learn, is if you already know spl. lol

    Thanks for the info, Im sure it will help me out!

  • mcloide

    Thanks you all.

    Phifeshaheed, I have used most of the resources. Each one have something to help out, but under the Resourceful Blogs menu you will find the one that have most of the information that you will need for the certification.

    Adam, the Standard PHP Library is something that some times freak us out, but try not to worry too much.
    For the test, you will need most, to understand how it works.
    For instance, under arrays, you will need to know how the SPL can help you out on objects – You can use the Interator and the ArrayAccess, both part of the Array Library, to allow an object to be accessed as an array.

    My suggestion is that you focus on things that you need to know to program very well in PHP5. Everything that fall under the test is mostly focused on daily best PHP practices. After a while studying for the test you will get addicted in programming PHP in the way the exam requires you to and you will see that is insane easier.

    Good luck you all.

  • shaun

    Do you find out your results immediately after the exam?

  • Abhijit

    Hello mcloide,

    Congrats first of all on being ZEND Certified. I ‘m having a few problems with some areas mentioned in the syllabi of ZEND PHP 5.0 Certification – Reflection , SPL . I mean what all should I cover in these ? It’s really freaking me out, also I cannot remember all these methods that they have in them. Kindly guide me which all are the important points to be covered in them. Same can be said about php.ini, can you enlist/ enumerate some categories of directives that I should go through ? Thank you in advance for helping me out.


  • mcloide

    Hi Abhijit,

    First of all, thanks for the congrats…

    About the Reflection, all I have seen are basic questions demonstrating classes or functions that would be considered a Reflection, so all you need to do is understand how the Reflection really works. Take a look at the PHP5 Zend Study guide that it will give you an idea about the pattern.

    About the SPL there is a great article at Zend Developer Zone that will give you all you need to understand how it works and how it can be used.


    Understand how it works and how you can use it in a real application, this is how it will be used in the exam. The exam is pretty much teaching you how to program in accordance with good program standards.

    About the PHP.INI that is kind of hard to enlist, but I can tell you that all that will fall are directives that you use while creating an application. Increasing the values for upload, execution time, url-include directives (even those that are not directly displayed on the ini – look for php.ini on and go to the include directive), include path, safe mode (big one, must know), the E_STRICT for PHP5 and any directive that can affect the security of your application (such as global vars => never use).

    Hope it helps and remember, the exam is to test if you can create a good, performance, testable, safe and in coding standards. It will require you not only the basic knowledge of PHP, but also some core knowledge that you could use in a daily basis. The whole idea is for you to get comfortable with PHP5 and object oriented development.

  • Abhijit

    Thanks , Pal. I’m gonna give the exam next month. Hoping for the best.


  • mcloide

    Good luck and don’t give up on any question, some times the answer is just ahead.

    Later come back and tell us the result.

    Again good luck.

  • Abhijit

    Hello mcloide,

    One more doubt I had while studying “Databases” Section. I understand that we need to be well-versed with traditional database concepts while attempting this section of the exam. However , I just wanted to ask you, is there a need to study any additional PHP DB extension Eg SQlite, PDO for the same ? Please guide me.

    Best Regards,

  • mcloide

    There is a need to study SQLlite, mostly to understand the importance in SQLlite a core PHP database per se.

    Understanding the MySQLi and how the query structure works, helps a ton also and most important, you should study PDO and all of it’s databases drivers. PHP5 relies mostly on the PDO structure and Zend Framework uses a lot of the PDO concept.

    Good luck on the exam.

  • Abhijit

    Hello Mcloide,

    Long time I posted in here. This is to inform you that finally I’m a ZCE for PHP 5 . Thank you immensely for all your suggestions, they all worked. Sad part is that I’m no longer working in PHP, my new domain is now Python ! I now have 3 exams to my credit

    1. ZCE for PHP
    2. SCJP for Java
    3. SCWCD for JSP and Servlets
    But , lol working in Python :))
    Anywaz, thanks a lot for your help.


  • Puneet

    hi all

    congaratulations to who have passed and good luck to who havec not passed.

    “Patterns function? “, what does that mean? can you clarify please?

  • neel

    Hi mcloide,

    I decided to enter in the PHP certification exam. but i am confused from where to start all the study. Can you give me suggestion from where i should start.


  • mcloide

    Hi Neel

    The first thing is to study following the Study Guide that is sold by Zend. Believe me, it will help since it will guide you on what topics to study.

    The only problem is that only reading the book is far from being enough to take the test, so the next step would be taking the mock exams, but using it as a study guide, so on the exams, take your time on learning what is the correct answer of each question. Is true that the mock exam is way easier than the real test, but it does helps.

    The best piece of advice I can give you is to only take the exam when you are really ready. On the real exam, if you fail in one section, you will fail on the exam.

    Good luck.


    • Gourt


      “The best piece of advice I can give you is to only take the exam when you are really ready. On the real exam, if you fail in one section, you will fail on the exam.”

      Really? I thought that 60% is enough to pass. It is not?

      • mcloide

        I thought this at first too, and then I failed the exam. It requires that you have Medium to High on all categories so you can pass. It’s not a 60% of the whole test, but it is 60% (let’s say if this is what they call medium) of each category, then it might be correct. Fact is, you can’t have a low in any category or otherwise you will have a failed test.

      • Gourt

        Thank you for explanation Mcloide. Your advices are priceless.


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