In a competitive environment as the programming world is this kind of certification can help you differentiate yourself when you are looking for a job. You might want a bigger salary, you want to improve your CV, the certification is clearly a big advantage.
Taking the exam will not only help you gain some recognition at work or at interviews, but you will revise your php knowledge and fill the gaps you might have.
If you take the exam you will get a place in the Zend yellow pages, be accepted in their exclusive LinkedIn group and get a free copy of Zend Studio.
The exam is composed of 70 random questions that vary in their level of difficulty. The questions are now based on PHP 5.5 version and will test one or more concept at a time. You are allowed 90 minutes to answer the questions that will cover the following 10 topic areas:
- Php basics
- Data formats and types
- Input / Output
- Object-Oriented Programming
- Web features
I highlighted with red the most important topics and with orange the second most important topics. You will have to know all of this areas, being an expert in only a few area will not be enough.
You can buy the exam voucher in the Zend Shop and schedule your exam in the Pearson VUE training centers. You should have an test center near you or in a bigger city near you. They ask you for tow forms of identification and they ask to have signature and picture on them (id card, drivers license, credit card should work). In the testing room they provide you some way for you to make any calculations you need (scratch paper or erasable board) and you are not allowed with any device or paper.
There are 3 types of questions: multiple choice with only one right question (most frequent), multiple choice with two or more answers(they say how many) and a free text with simple word/words (no comments, white spaces, explanations allowed). They don’t penalty you for guessing, but you’d better mark for review if you are not sure and then get later back on them.
The emphasis is more on analysis, not memorization, but you have to know commonly used elements: common functions, constants, classes, maybe the function arguments order (needle, haystack, etc)
The questions refer to a environment with the recommended PHP configuration, with error_reporting set to E_ALL and display_errors on (unless the questions specifies otherwise). The environment is independent of the operating system and database adapters, you still have to know basic SQL or HTTP.
After the exam you get immediately the pass/fail status and they give you a sheet with feedback on each topic you need to study more just if you fail.
You have a lot of online resources, but first on the list is always the PHP Manual!
Check out this list of topics from Lorna Mitchel and if you want to invest in your training, the uCertify 200-550 training is great!
I have another article with the full topics and some articles about each other
Other unrated sources: Study guide, Lorna Mitchell presentation