I passed the Salesforce.com Certified Force.com Developer and Administrator Winter ’13 Release Exams this morning. I always try to do this as early as possible and make the exams the culmination of a detailed investigation into the new release. The excellent resources available (pre-release webinars and orgs, release training, release notes and sandbox previews) make this a painless process. The pace at which the platform evolves can really catch you out if you don’t invest the time in keeping your expertise current. New features such as Chatter Answers, Case Feed etc. are extremely powerful but take hands-on experience to really understand, spin-up a pre-release test org and get your hands dirty.. In respect to the maintenance exams my approach is to have Salesforce open in one browser and the exam in another (Safari), I also have the release notes open and the full help documentation pdf open for quick reference. This arrangement works for me, I can quickly switch from the question to reference materials and the app for verification. That said, if you’ve read the release notes thoroughly, and you should, the exams shouldn’t prove too much of a challenge.