Last week, we kicked off our brand new “Ask an MCT” blog series with an interview with Armando Lacerda, a long-time Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and a moderator in our Born To Learn online study groups.

Today, we’re back with our next post in the series—helpful advice for Microsoft Certification exam newbies from another great MCT, Nate Stammer. With nearly four years of in-classroom experience training students in technologies like Windows Server 2012, System Center, private cloud, Exchange, and virtualization, Nate has a ton of knowledge about how to best prepare for Microsoft Certification exams. We’re excited to introduce him to you and to share his insights here on Born To Learn!

1. When did you first become an MCP? How many IT certifications (Microsoft and others) do you hold?

I first became an MCP in 2000, and I currently have about 20 IT certifications.

2. What is one thing about taking a Microsoft exam that a first-time candidate might find surprising?

I think newbies to Microsoft Certification exams might find the length of the actual exam and of each individual exam question a bit surprising. I remember the first time I took an exam, I actually ran out of time! As you take more exams, you learn how to manage your time better. But as you go into your first exam, please watch the clock and don’t make the same mistake I did.

3. What’s a common mistake that first-time candidates make when preparing for Microsoft exams?

 The most common mistake first-time candidates make is that they do not read through all of the objectives and information on the Microsoft Learning website. As a result, I find that many first-timers do not know all of the objectives that an exam will cover. 

4. What’s your advice for IT professionals who are interested in pursuing Microsoft Certifications but don’t feel they have the time?

Simply put, make the time. A Microsoft Certification is a great confidence builder and looks good on your résumé. To help find the time, think of it as investing in yourself. If you do that, you will be able to find the time you need, since there is always time to invest in yourself and your future.

 

Thanks to Nate for taking the time to share his insights and knowledge with us here on Born To Learn. Please be on the lookout for more helpful advice for Microsoft Certification newbies as part of our “Ask an MCT” blog series!

Are you preparing for a Microsoft Certification exam as part of our Certification Challenge? Do you have an exam preparation question for our Microsoft Certified Trainers? Leave it in the comments section, and we may use it in future posts.

Want to connect with Nate? Connect with him on Born To Learn. You can also find Nate helping to moderate our online study groups, where he answers questions in the MCSA: Windows Server 2012, MCSE: Server Infrastructure, and MCSE: Messaging (Exchange) forums.