First of all, a HUGE thank you to everyone who replied to the post: ‘Tried and True Exam Prep – Part 1: Practice, Practice, Practice.’ Psychomagician and Super Sigma could not have cracked the case without your help. Ultimately, your insights about how to prepare for an exam help the community, especially newbies to the world of Microsoft certification.
We’d like to announce Psychomagician’s #1 (psycho) fan! He was a key contributor to the investigation into exam preparation. A very special thank you goes out to Michael Corkery. THANK YOU MICHAEL! An official ACE Chronicles Fan Club t-shirt is coming your way! Want to know more about the ACE Chronicles Fan Club and how to join? Stay tuned! We're working out the details, but it's going to be legend...wait for it... dairy!
Okay, time to get back on track here. SO, WHAT DID WE LEARN ABOUT EXAM PREPARATION? You’re not getting off that easy! You have to do a little investigating on your own by watching the video to find out!
In my role as a MCT Regional Lead, I get asked a lot of questions. One of the rapidly recurring questions is "I'm a developer. Why should I get certified?" Most people expect me to respond with something about job security or income increases. However, this is not the typical answer I offer. The real reason you should get certified is to learn your framework.
The .NET framework has been in a state of rapid (r)evolution in recent years. More companies, including Microsoft, are moving to a rapid release schedule. As developers, we have a tendency to start a project with a given framework and a given set of tools. We use these frameworks and tools for months, even years, as the technological world marches forward. I started a project in the later parts of .NET 2.0. By the time the project ended, .NET 4.0 had been released. After 2 years on a project, I might as well have changed my name to Rip Van Winkle.
When a developer stays on top of his or her certifications, he or she keeps a mental inventory of tools that have become available. As developers, we are often not able to keep on top of every advancement in our field. However, the certification tests do two things. First, it proves to your employer or contracting official at you have knowledge of the current trends. I may not have written a Windows Store App that needed Semantic Zoom, but I now have proof that I am familiar with it.
Second, and more importantly, it gives you the tools to quickly merge into new areas. I have often joked that 2% of my brain lives in my head. That 2% is the index terms into the other 98% of my brain, which lives on the web. For example, I was recently working on a side project that required me to access a third-party RESTful service. All of my professional work has used WCF. Since I have stayed current on my certifications, I had an academic knowledge of what I needed to do. Using this knowledge, I was able to effectively find the information I needed to consume this service in a matter of minutes.
There are very few ways to quickly prove to yourself that you really have touched the breadth of knowledge in a specific area. Certification are a way to not only guide you through the roots of emerging technologies, they offer you a way to measure your understanding of these new technologies. As a professional that lives or dies by my ability to stay current, I find great value in spending a little time, money and effort keeping my certifications current. While it does benefit my professional endeavors, the satisfaction I get knowing I'm prepared for any challenge that may come with my next project is priceless.
Related resource: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) exam prep page
Connect with Chris on Twitter @freestylecoder.
A few months ago the IT Certifications Council, an industry group in which I participate, conducted a survey on “Attitudes Around Cheating.” This was not a Microsoft-specific survey, so the respondents were those who had taken all sorts of IT Certification exams. We got a pretty good response to our 15-question survey; the most surprising outcome was the sheer number of verbatim responses we got to some questions. Clearly our certification candidates across the board feel security is a vital part of a testing program. As a group, we will use these answers to help improve and strengthen our respective security programs.
Some of the positive outcomes that interested me most:
Among the answers that surprised us:
Let me clarify what we mean by “discussing an exam,” because I think the question, the way it had been worded, might have been confusing. I’ve said before that it’s one thing to study together before the exam; this is fine. It’s another to tell someone what’s actually on the exam. That is where candidates get into trouble. It’s the divulging of confidential exam information that is a violation, not group study. That’s one of the reasons we prohibit instructors from proctoring exams.
Last, we got more than 1000 verbatim responses to our question: “What other methods do you suggest to combat cheating?” I find that so encouraging that people have an interest in this. I will be pouring through all the responses for inspiration.
Got a tip for me? Let me know at email@example.com.
Not everyone who comes to TechEd is super-technical. Rob is a project manager for IT projects and was at TechEd to learn more about ALM and what's new and coming soon for Microsoft's application platform. He decided to take the MTA exam for Operating System fundamentals to begin using certification to establish his technical credibility even though he's not a developer. Are you a project manager who needs some credibility with your developers? Maybe MTA is for you too.
I had a nice chat with Edward who told me about a cool project he got to work on. He got the gig because he had the certifications which showed he had the skills. Now he's working on his Windows Server MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification. What cool projects did you get to work on because of your certifications?
We hear lots of different reasons why people pursue their certifications. In this case, Ron told us that in a consulting role, he changes industries a lot. His skills give him that flexibility, but his certifications help give clients the peace of mind that he knows his stuff and will be able to help them - even without direct industry experience. Are you looking for some consistency in your career? Maybe certification will give you something common you can share with your clients.
I spoke with Nate, who is a long time certification guy, who currently has 5 MCSE certifications. But yesterday, he took his first MTA exam. If you have been thinking about certification, but aren't sure if you want to get started, or are feeling like you wish there was a way to dip your toe into the waters of certification before committing to something really hard (like getting your MCSE in one week), you should hear what Nate has to say.
Last night I met Clint just outside the testing center here at TechEd North America. This was a great chat because although he's been in the industry for over 20 years, yesterday he took his first certification exams. Ever. More than that, he's working on going from zero to his MCSE: Messaging this week! He wanted to prove to his colleagues that he has the knowledge to get it done in five days. Seems like this is the week of taking exams with a bit of a challenge in mind. Do you have a certification challenge in mind for yourself?
I chatted with Heather about her job working for NASCAR. Heather took her Office certifications to the next level three years ago when she decided to become an MCT. Now not only does she have the Office skills to help the NASCAR organization, but as a Microsoft Certified Trainer she helps others get the skills they need to grow their own careers. Are you the person in your office everyone comes to for help? Maybe MCT is the certification for you...
I spoke with Lou on the expo floor at TechEd today. He told me that when he was ready to leave management to go back to being a technical individual contributor, he used his SQL Certification to help prove he still had his technical skills. We love hearing from customers whose certifications help them switch roles. Have you don this too?
Three experienced MCTs are now taking all twelve (12) MTA exams right here at TechEd North America 2013. Telmo Sampaio, David Elfassy, and Ken Rosen (left to right) have challenged each other right here at Certification Central, on the third floor of the convention center.
Objective: Each MCT must take all 12 MTA exams this afternoon, in numerical order by exam number. See all MTA exams here.
We're starting a pool on how well they will do. Comment below with your guesses, and we'll announce the results later today when they come out of the exam room!
On average, students takes 22 minutes to complete one MTA exam. What's the average time for these three MCTs?
Let's get ready to rumble!!!
Update: The results are in!
Last week, MCT Sasa Kranjac contributed an article packed with training and certification tips, plus a massive list of free resources. This week, Sasa returns with more great tips and resources to help you prepare for exams. Welcome back, Sasa!
In my previous article, I recommended a variety of learning styles, from self-paced study to instructor-led and online training; and provided a list of my most valuable resources. This week, I'll share study tips and provide more cool resources to help you prepare.
Study Tips: 5 Steps to Success
1. Schedule an exam early.Book an exam early. Paying and scheduling your exam fixes "the day" and materializes it. "A day" becomes "the day" and it is no longer a fictional day. You don't want to take the exam "when you are ready". You are going to be ready at the time of the appointment, take the exam and pass. I know people getting ready and preparing for years.
The most important thing is to prepare to study. Prepare yourself mentally to learn. Be determined to achieve a result. Say it: "I'm going to be an MCSA on Windows 8 in 90 days."
Be aware that if you reschedule your exam appointment 15 days or less prior to the deadline you will be charged a reschedule fee. See www.prometric.com/microsoft for details. On the left side of the page, click Frequently Asked Questions to learn more. Hopefully this will keep you from rescheduling over and over.
2. Prepare to study, prepare to learn.Find yourself a quiet, comfortable place where you can focus on your studies. A place where you are alone and without distractions. I know that this is not easy, especially if you are working, have a family, or have other commitments; but do whatever you can to keep the distractions to your studies to a minimum. Do not study in a living room or in a kitchen if the rooms are crowded or noisy; in these places, your family sends the message: "please, spend some time with us; put that boring geek book away".
I used to read in the bed. But not anymore. It tells me "come and take a nap; come on, it won't hurt you, close your eyes for couple of minutes". I still read in bed but I do not study in bed. Reading a novel is not the same as studying and trying to remember what you've read.
Speed reading doesn't work either.
"I took a speed reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia."--Woody Allen
A study room in your house or a library is a good choice. Places free of distractions are the best. An hour of uninterrupted, quality studying is far better than three hours of intermittent, constantly interrupted studying.
3. Prepare your mind. Develop your study plan.Set a goal, define an objective, or objectives for your studies. The key is to set study goals that are "tangible". Define study goals that are:
Don’t ever do "some reading" or "some studying". Knowing ahead what you will learn and read generates a feeling of progress or "moving forward". I remember a good inspirational quote:
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."-- Mark Twain
I like this one even better: "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!"
4. Keep your goals away from trolls.There have always been and always will be someone that will tell you that certifications are not worth pursuing and exams not worth passing. It is incredible how much energy some people put in convincing you that you threw your money away because you scheduled an exam, paid for a class, bought a book. I remember a colleague of mine telling me that certifications are worthless, that anyone could get one. Interestingly, he himself didn't have any. I am glad I didn’t care what he was saying. Now I have hundreds of (read) books on bookshelves and dozens of certifications under my belt. Recently a client picked me instead of him. I leave to someone else to figure out why.
Keep away from people telling you should abandon your goals, that your goals are not worth pursuing.
5. Which type of study is the best? How to know more?Self-study, instructor-led, online, books, "audiobooks", podcasts, videos, e-books, blogs, articles?
The learning retention graph (well, list) looks like this:
The more styles of learning you use, the most effective your studying will be.
More Cool Resources
I'll wrap things up with links to very interesting documents and resources that will greatly support your studying:
Saša Kranjac is IT Technical Trainer, Consultant and Speaker with almost two decades of experience in the IT field. He began programming in Assembler, met Windows NT 3.5 and the love exists since then. He have held various jobs and roles: Teacher, System Engineer, Systems Aministrator, IT Manager, Consultant, and IT trainer. Now he works mainly as a Consultant and IT Technical Trainer in the Security field and on Microsoft related products and technologies. He can’t forget his first love, Microsoft Office. He is also Member of the Board of Directors at IAMCT/MCT Europe and country lead for Croatia. Read more from Saša on his blogs at sasakranjac.com and kranjac.wordpress.com.
Hey VIPs! As promised, Psychomagician and Super Sigma are committed to making sure you are the first to know about changes, innovations, and improvements that Microsoft is making to their certification program and exams. And, they have some news for you…Microsoft Learning is exploring a variation of case studies called ‘progressive case studies,’ and they need YOUR feedback!
This variation of case studies is a game changer—creating scenarios that are more real world in how you actually solve problems on the job because, just like in the real world, more information is introduced as you proceed through the case. Want to know more? Watch the video below, the demo of the new question format, and then complete a survey to have a say in how we ultimately roll this out. Because the structure of progressive case studies is so different from our other question types, we really need to know what you think! If you want to have a voice in the implementation of this question format, watch the video and respond to the survey by June 16. Psychomagician and Super Sigma look forward to seeing what you think!
...Cert Bunny is curious, too...
The Microsoft Learning team is getting ready to head to New Orleans for TechEd North America 2013, and we could not be more excited to see you again. I even got a haircut for the occasion. But have we started packing? Of course not! We did, however, send Melissa to crash Rick's and Joey's TechEd Countdown Show! Watch the latest episode to find out all the cool things Melissa revealed.
Certification and Training Resources
I've been getting a lot of great questions from the community (especially members of the Krewe) about what MSL will make available onsite. For planning purposes, get all the details and links via our previous blog post titled "How to get certified @ TechEd at 50% off." If you don't remember all that or just aren't sure about taking exams yet, no problem. Come to Certification Central when you arrive at TechEd, where you'll find a full buffet of training and exam prep resources, such as:
FREE Beta Exams
For the SharePoint developers among you, we are bringing two free beta exams this year. These are available to TechEd North America attendees only, and the limited seats will be filled fast. Go to http://northamerica.msteched.com/CertificationReg to pre-register for these exams using the codes provided below, and select site location MC60 or MC61.
Certification Nation Celebration (#CertNation)
That's right. *The* party for our MCP + MCT community at TechEd NA, dubbed "Certification Nation Celebration," is coming with us to New Orleans! It will be happening at Pat O'Brien's on the River at 9pm on Tuesday night (June 4), so mark that on your calendar. We are so happy to partner with New Horizons Computer Learning Center this year, who will be treating you to a specialty cocktail. Want in? Visit our booth, find me (Veronica Sopher, aka @Shih_Wei) or one of my esteemed colleagues, show us you're an MCP, and you'll get a "backstage pass" to the party, hashtagged #CertNation. Don't forget to give a shout-out to @MSLearning and @NewHorizonsCLC if you're the tweeting sort. (Party size is capped at 300. One pass per person.)
That is it for now. Got questions? Post it in a comment below, or find me online. See you in NOLA soon!
Microsoft Corp. has announced that Lutz Ziob has stepped down from his role as General Manager of Microsoft Learning (MSL) after more than a decade of leading the company’s training and certification business and has been succeeded by Alison Cunard, who has been running MSL’s Sales and Marketing organization.
Mr. Ziob said that he plans to take some personal time off before considering his next career step, but is confident that MSL is well-positioned to continue its efforts to educate, train and certify individuals on the Microsoft platform under Ms. Cunard’s direction.
“This is a time of great change and opportunity in the learning industry,” Mr. Ziob said. “Microsoft is leading the entire technology industry in these efforts and MSL is well-positioned to play a key leadership role in this transition with IT Pros, developers, students and our Learning Partner channel. We’ve seen great business models and training innovations within our existing learning partner community and I believe now more than ever our partners have even greater opportunity to take those forward to drive new skills and certification across key audiences and markets.”
During the course of his 10-plus years at MSL and its predecessor organizations, Mr. Ziob helped redefine the company’s training and certification strategy, expanding the company’s reach in multiple geographies, extending its Microsoft Press books to digital format and further solidifying the industry’s most recognized and valued technology certification program. There are now more than 10 million people certified on a Microsoft technology platform. Recently, MSL updated its entire Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) program to make it “cloud ready” to support Microsoft’s cloud strategy. The organization also has greatly increased its footprint in the academic area through its Microsoft IT Academy, which offers academic institutions and their students access to industry-leading technology skills training and certification.
Ms. Cunard is well-known in the training industry, after having led the Sales and Marketing team for more than two years, working closely with Microsoft’s training partners globally. Ms. Cunard has worked in multiple leadership roles at Microsoft. Prior to joining MSL, she was General Manager in the US Public Sector Services group, based out of Washington, DC.
Since joining MSL, Ms. Cunard has been instrumental in helping craft a longer-term strategy for the organization that takes into account the rapidly evolving training industry, while working closely with the organization’s 1,400-plus training partners.
“Changes are happening real-time in the learning industry and I’m excited to take this organization forward through this industry evolution. We appreciate and thank Lutz for the many years of tireless advocacy and leadership and I look forward continuing to drive our learning business through leadership in innovation and strong industry partnerships.”
A couple months ago we announced and launched our first MOS 2013 exams in a new and improved project-based exam format. You can read all the details here. If you're an anxious test taker like myself, you may want to check out a couple new videos! These videos demonstrate how the new exam works, as well as answer questions we know are on many candidates' minds such as how long will the exam take, how will I know if I pass, what if the exam crashes, and more.
The first video, viewable via this link located on the Microsoft MOS web page, features a 6 minute news desk format Q&A discussion and demo of key changes in the exam experience. The second video, viewable via this YouTube link and the Certiport MOS video web page under Exam Preparation, features a 6 minute video that navigates you through the new MOS exam interface, highlighting key tips and tricks you'll want to know for success taking your exam.
Check out the listing of and exam objectives for all the MOS 2013 exams here, which are rolling out over the next five months. Ready to take the exam? Click here to find a test center via our MOS exam provider, Certiport.
Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) are the premier technical and instructional experts on Microsoft technologies, and are the only individuals authorized to deliver training with Microsoft Official Courses. MCT Sasa Kranjac—a preeminent Croatia-based IT Technical Trainer, Consultant, and Speaker—stopped by the Born to Learn blog to offer a wealth of training and certification tips, including an exhaustive list of free resources you shouldn’t miss. Take it away Sasa!
Study Tips: Blend your Learning Styles
When preparing for a certification exam, different people have different approaches. What works for one person may not work for another.
I would not recommend a single study resource or approach. Blended learning—combining different methods—seems to be the best for me. Both theory and practice are equally important, and to pass an exam you’ll need both.
It’s important to realize that you are not learning to pass an exam. You are learning to secure your future; to be successful at your job, to be knowledgeable, and to be an expert—you’ll need that knowledge throughout your career.
Think of knowledge as a pyramid. Why are pyramids so stable? It’s because of the wide base. As you go higher, the pyramid narrows. Theory is the foundation of your pyramid, and hands-on experience builds on top. You have to have solid theory knowledge on which to build your practical knowledge. You’ll probably pass an exam without reading a book or an article about underlying technology, but that won’t make you an expert and won’t benefit you in the long run.
Self-paced Study: My Preferred Learning Method
Self-paced studies are my preferred method because I can decide A) what I study and B) when I study. I read, listen and watch while going to/from work, not only when I’m studying for an exam. During these times, I focus on my weak spots to learn about the topics I don’t know so well.
This option is slightly more expensive but here is the crucial thing you need to be aware of: picking a class and a subject should be your secondary concern. Picking right instructor for a class you want to attend should be your primary concern. The instructor makes a difference and holds a lot of the value in the class you want to attend. Instructors can answer your questions and assist with his or her experience in your studies.
Just as with instructor-led, online classes are as good as the instructor.
My Most Valuable Resource: TechNet/MSDN Subscription
If I could pick only one resource that is MOST valuable to me, then TechNet/MSDN Subscription would be definitely the one I’d choose. With TechNet/MSDN Subscription you are in possession of almost all Microsoft products and operating systems, licensed for evaluation. That means that you get access to full-versions of software for 12 months with no feature limits. You also get other benefits, depending on the subscription level. Visit TechNet Subscriptions or MSDN Subscriptions to learn more about Subscription levels, benefits and prices.
TechNet Library and MSDN Library are competing for first place with TechNet/MSDN Subscriptions ;-)
I have already mentioned some of the important resources. There are numerous blogs, sites and places where you can read a lot about your preferred technologies, but I’ll mention some of the most popular and what’s most important, FREE, resources you shouldn’t miss. (You can also download the list at the end of the post.)
IT Pro Resources
Fundamental Technologies: Technical References on TechNet
The links below points\ to some of the most important fundamental topics. You should get familiar with how TechNet Library topics are organized; something that’ll happen once you start reading and exploring. The resources below are not buried very deep in the library, but often are not easy to find. Although the core topics are placed under the “old” technologies/products section, they are equally important today.
If you need to learn the basics, don’t miss these:
Group Policy Collection
Windows Security Collection
Active Directory Collection
Print and Save TechNet Library Articles
I almost forgot to tell you about one really cool feature TechNet Library has. You can print and export multiple topics in PDF and HTML! Files you export retain links to selected topics; you don’t need to scroll much – just click on a topic in the Table of Contents and jump to sections.
Follow these steps to use the Print feature:
1. Navigate to your favorite topic in TechNet Library.
2. On the top right corner, below the Search bar, right-click on a downward-pointing arrow next to the printer icon and choose Print Multiple Topics. A brief introduction page loads.
3. Click START to begin selecting topics. After that, all you have to do is visit each page or topic you want to print/export and select it by clicking on + Add This Topic on the gray bar on top of the page. Once you add the topic you want, you can remove it by clicking – Remove This Topic if you do not want to export it.
4. When you have finished selecting all the topics you want to print, click Collection (x Topic(s)) where x is number of topics you have selected. On the Manage Collection page you can choose to export your collection to PDF or HTML, rename and rearrange collections, add more chapters or choose from Advanced options to refine and tune your selection.
5. Click Generate to export/print the topics. If you aren’t already signed in, you will be asked to sign in to generate the page and print.
Taking Your Exam
I have to admit: I did not study for my first exam, only because I had a lot of hands-on experience and I passed it relatively easily. That does not mean that the exam was easy, but I had a good working knowledge of the product, and that helped me a lot.
After getting a few exams on my transcript, and passing all on the first try, I failed an exam. What a shock! I could not believe that I could’ve failed an exam, and was furious. After passing the exam on my second attempt, I realized that being overconfident and acting as if I was in some kind of race did not help at all. If I had read the questions more carefully and took all the time I had on the exam, I knew I would pass. And I did.
I would say, even if you know a product by heart, take your time to read questions carefully and be sure you understand what the question is about. If you are unsure about the answer don’t be afraid to mark the question so you can return to it later.
We’re excited to introduce to you a new look for the Born to Learn community. We’ve made big changes to the design and navigation to make it easier to not just find what you want, but also to discover new articles, discussions, news, and expert advice.
Let’s take a stroll through the some of the new features, starting with the Born to Learn home page:
Get where you’re going faster. We’ve made it easier to access your favorite places on the Born to Learn Community—blogs, forums, study groups and more are a click away from the top navigation menu.
Keep up with new and noteworthy posts. Catch up with the latest posts on Born to Learn blogs and forums.
This is a good time to remind you that you can keep up with the latest activities by subscribing to RSS feeds or daily or weekly email digests—most subscription options are located at the top-right of the blog or forum.
New blog articles. We wanted to give you a simple way to keep up with all the new posts across Born to Learn blogs. The new blog module displays a tabbed view of the latest articles from some of the popular blogs.
Easier-to-browse blogs. Leaving no stone unturned, we’ve rolled out a new design and layout for the Born to Learn blogs. The clean look is easier to get around and improves the reading experience.
What do you think of the new look? Speak your mind!
Studying for your Windows Server 2012 MCSA designation via related books should not be your only method of study. While memorizing facts and figures is a great first start, however, nothing beats practical experience. Microsoft provides a slew of resources called IT Pro Camps, or CANITPRO Camps here in Canada, allowing attendees to run through labs provided being led by an instructor. Again, another great start, but still not enough hands on to gain practical experience. There is however another option.
Building a lab at home provides the ability to learn on your own time and pace. Most aspiring IT administrators think creating a home lab would be difficult and/or expensive. This process is actually easy to do and will provide you a tool to test out many labs provided in reading material and online. To setup your Windows Server 2012 lab machine be sure to keep the following PC requirements in mind:
Setting Up Your Lab
NOTE: This process installs Windows Server 2012 in a dual-boot scenario using Boot-to-VHD features in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. While this process is not intended to disrupt your existing OS installation, these steps are for use at your own risk. No support or warranties are implied or provided.
Once completed, you now have a study tool that will allow you to conduct labs on your own time providing true hands on practical experience. Stay tuned as we will provide more Step-By-Step posts to take your learning to the next level and help you achieve your Windows Server 2012 based MCSA sooner.
Last week, I posted the first installment of The ACE Chronicles, introducing you to Psychomagician and Super Sigma on the ACE Team Blog. Based on the number of views, it seems most of you haven't found your way there yet... I am super excited about this series and our ability to be more engaged with our community. I want to be sure that you know about The ACE Chronicles!!!
Without further ado, meet Psychomagician and Super Sigma, superheroes tasked with investigating cases based on your questions about Microsoft certifications and exams. Not only will they answer your questions, they will also provide information on emerging issues. In other words, they will make sure you have the most up to date information about all things certification and exam, and they might even share some insights into life at Microsoft.
YOUR MISSION…if you choose to accept it:
Now, go watch that video…we’d love to hear what you think about ACE Chronicles!
MCP: 7882935Location: SwedenTwitter: @FredrikNilsson_ Blog: moln1
I actually started my Microsoft certification journey in October 2010 while I was employed at HP in Sweden. I was working within the Enterprise Services division with the Server Virtualization Solutions. The HP/Microsoft alliance manager asked a colleague and me if we had any interest in attending a Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Virtualization class. This class was my first real contact with Hyper-V and Microsoft Server virtualization.
A few weeks after attending the class, I decided to give the Hyper-V exam 70-659 a shot, and I passed. In the second quarter of 2011, after doing some self-study, I passed the Desktop exam 70-669; followed by the PRO exam 70-693. At that point, I added the title MCITP Virtualization Administrator to my resume.
My experience from Windows Server and Presentation Virtualization Solutions helped me out quite a bit, but my biggest help came from a site in Portuguese by Daniel Donda: MCSE Solution. I don’t speak Portuguese but, luckily, the web translation service does! After translating the site to English, I discovered some really valuable information on the exam topics and key resources for my studies.
Later that year, I attended Microsoft TechEd in Atlanta, where I met some awesome people, The Krewe, and really learned the value of the technical community. In 2012, I got involved in The Krewe community and joined the 60 Days to MCSE challenge. I was a bit too certain that I would pass the exams as easily as I did with my previous ones and, unfortunately, I failed to get my MCSE. I can tell you: it was painful to fail the exams. I had already passed exams from other vendors, and I had never failed exams before. I actually licked my wounds for six months before I got myself back on the horse.
I currently work at Lumagate in Sweden, a company focusing on System Center and I’m studying for the System Center Private Cloud exams 70-246 and 70-247. It’s been really great to build a training schedule and a lab that covers both exams.
The next step in my education plan is to study for the MCITP/MCSA upgrade exam 70-417. Since I don’t have a lot of experience with Windows Server topics, like Active Directory, I’ll be studying hard to make sure I’m prepared for the questions. The 90 Days to MCSA challenge will be a great help in preparing for that certification exam.
1) Set the date for the exam now. It’s a great strategy for getting yourself mentally prepared for the exam.
2) Create a training schedule. If you’re attending a trainer-led class, be sure to pencil in time for additional study. If you’re following a self-study plan, create a schedule that allows for a study-free day before your exam.
3) Build a lab environment and try different scenarios. You can usually employ scenarios from your day-to-day work or find some at TechNet Test Lab Guides, which is a great resource I use.
If you have any questions, please connect with me. See you around in the binary space!
MC ID: 6859838Location: NorwayTwitter: @msandbuBlog: Sandbu-Blog
I was working part-time at a helpdesk when I began my path to certification. It was 2008 and I attended a Microsoft Vista client training course in Norway. After the course, the instructor asked if I wanted to give the certification a try, and I figured “why not?”. I trained for a couple of weeks and aced the exam. As someone who doesn’t have a college degree, it felt good knowing that I had achieved these skills.
After my first exam, I investigated other Microsoft certifications. After passing two more Windows Server exams, I got a new job as a system engineer working with infrastructure management.Currently, I have taken more than 30 certification exams with Microsoft, Citrix, Cisco, EXIN and Comptia and I know there are more to come.
I feel fortunate because certification has provided me with new opportunities. I’ve had the pleasure of working part-time at Microsoft as an infrastructure ranger. Currently, I work as a technical advisor and a Microsoft Trainer. My current work allows me to incorporate everything I’ve learned through certification, as well as my on-the-job experience. Nothing feels wasted. Why am I am going to continue with certification? Certification allows me to keep my knowledge up-to-date and I like playing around with technology. Why not take the exam and demonstrate my expertise with the technology?
1) Find someone who has similar goals as you and become study partners. It’s always easier to study for an exam if you have someone to discuss ideas with.
2) If you are studying for a particular exam, use the Microsoft study guides. Don’t rely solely on hands-on experience to prepare you for your exam. Most of the Microsoft exams already have a study guide available. TrainSignal or CBT Nuggets also have good training books and videos.
3) Find a topic that interests you! If you don’t, your training will take a lot more time because you won’t be truly engaged. Microsoft has a wide range of resources to help you find the IT certification that suits your interests.
MC ID: 3724854Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USATwitter: @sharepointmctsBlog: http://www.sharepointfeed.com/
I remember my first certification exam. It was 2006 and I was just a few years into my IT career. I started with an IT Pro exam for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. I took the exam because I wanted to use Microsoft certification to validate my skills to myself as well as to my current employer.
I found the exam experience to be very rewarding and passing this exam allowed me to be promoted to a more senior position.
Since my first exam, I’ve passed 14 additional exams and achieved 5 certifications. These certifications have provided me with the opportunity to rapidly advance in my career and gain exposure to new opportunities. It’s also confirmed my belief that Microsoft certification is an ongoing measure of my experience and technical ability. In fact, certification has been so rewarding that I decided to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer to help others with their journey toward Microsoft certification.
I’m currently studying for my next certification, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert – Private Cloud.To train, I’m using Microsoft Virtual Academy, which is a great resource and provides the most current information, directly from Microsoft, on a variety of technical subjects. This current certification relates directly to my job as I have started implementing a private cloud environment for my employer and it also allows me to continue my Microsoft certification journey.
1) Relax. If you haven’t taken a Microsoft certification exam yet, it may feel like a daunting experience. Remember that you have prepared yourself and this is your chance to show what you know.
2) Reference the “Exam Details” page that Microsoft Learning publishes for each exam. This page is very valuable and will help you understand what you need to study for the exam.
3) Find a buddy in the IT community to study with. I will expand your focus: you not only learn the topics you’re focusing on but gain additional knowledge from the topics your peer is focusing on, while helping each other achieve certification.
Let’s continue our discussion of ways to unintentionally violate our Exam Agreement (found here). A couple of months ago I talked about discussing the exam answers. To clarify, I want to make the distinction between studying with colleagues and friends before the exam, and divulging information you learned after having taken the exam. The first is perfectly fine—assuming you’re not revealing confidential information, which is what violates our agreement. Discussing what is on the test itself once you’ve taken the test is the behavior that could get one into trouble. I think everyone understands that.
Now, for example number two of ways to unintentionally violate our NDA.
Example 2: Using unauthorized materials in an attempt to satisfy Exam requirements (this includes using brain-dump material and/or unauthorized publication of Exam questions with or without answers)
Everyone knows not to bring cheat sheets into a testing environment. (Well, they should.) This is why at the testing center, you may be asked to empty your pockets, submit to a security wanding, and asked to put all your items in a locker. It’s pretty difficult to argue having answers or notes on you during the test is okay.
But what not be as clear as a violation is what one uses to study. I’ve talked about brain dumps before and how confusing they may be as legitimate study materials. Unfortunately people do use them to study for the test, not realizing to do so is a violation of our exam policy. I know this because sometimes I get inquiries from those who failed, wondering why they didn’t pass, because they studied using “[X] brain dump site.” Again, it’s just a matter of making sure everyone understands that using such sites is an actual violation, not just a poor study practice.
The same is true for materials obtained from anyone who attempts to sell or give away answers or questions to the test, no matter how they procured them. Using those materials violates our policy.
Interestingly, I sometimes get mails from folks who recognized answers on a test and they want to let me know. They didn’t realize they were studying from a disreputable source until they sat for the test and realized the answers were the same. Recognizing that this is an issue, they’ll let me know, and sometimes have even asked to re-test so that they can legitimately pass. This speaks to the integrity of our examinees, and I appreciate such tips so I can take action against those sites.
Got a tip for me? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related info: Microsoft certification exam policies
There are many reasons to gain a Microsoft Certification - prepare for a new job, get ahead in your career, or to gain recognition by peers and managers. Whatever your reason, Microsoft’s reinvented certifications, announced in early 2012, have evolved to focus on technology solutions, and validates the breadth and depth of skills required to manage cloud, on-premise, and hybrid technology solutions.
While obtaining Microsoft certification is a measurable sign of achievement, earning your certification requires a great deal of time, energy, and commitment. You may already be taking the necessary steps to upgrade your certification to a MCSE: Server Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2012, or a MCSD: Web Applications certification or another distinguished certification. Prepare for your future by registering for your certification packs before May 31, 2013. By doing so, you will receive 15% off your certification, free exam retakes, plus you will have until December 31, 2013 to complete your initial exams and your free retakes.
Second Shot exam retakes are also available for single vouchers, if you have registered for a single exam voucher online or through a Microsoft Learning Partner, these vouchers, including free retakes, must be used by May 31, 2013. Sorry, no exceptions or extensions can be made.
Get the Second Shot Details at: http://aka.ms/SecondShot
If you are preparing to schedule your exams, keep in mind that ALL exam registrations are subject to seat availability at testing centers. Reserve your seat early if you plan to take your exam(s) (including retakes) by the deadlines:
Don’t let your vouchers go unused. Register and take advantage of great SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 resources to give you the extra boost you need to pass your exams.
Related post: "Second Shot" is Back!