MCSA: Windows 8 and MCSA: Windows Server 2012 exams to be updated January 28, 2014

Erika Cravens

A few months back we let you all know that we are updating our exams to cover Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2.  Well, the day is approaching quickly when the updates will be seen in the exams.  In just under 3 weeks, on January 28th, you will see the updated content in the exams.

I am working on getting all our webpages updated to include this information for all of you, but here are a few more key pieces of information:

 1.    Exams being updated on January 28th you can review the exam detail pages and download the document outlining the changes:

  • 410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
  • 411: Administering Windows Server 2012
  • 412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
  • 417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012
  • 687: Configuring Windows 8.1
  • 688: Supporting Windows 8.1
  • 689: Upgrading your Skills to MCSA Windows 8

NOTE: Upgrade exam objectives will follow the changes shown in the full exams. For example, exam 689 changes follow the changes in exams 687 and 688.

2.    Training Content being updated as follows:

Instructor Led Courses

  • Course 20410 - already updated and available now
  • Course 20411 - updates coming January 21st
  • Course 20412 - updates coming January 28th
  • Course 20417 - updates coming January 29th
  • Course 20687 - already updated and available now
  • Course 20688 - updates coming January 30th
  • Course 20689 - updates coming January 27th

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Press

  • Exam Ref 70-687 - coming March 15th
  • Exam Ref 70-688 - coming February 15th
  • Exam Ref 70-410 - coming February 15th
  • Exam Ref 70-411 - coming March 15th
  • Exam Ref 70-412 - coming March 15th
  • Exam Ref 70-417 - coming April 15th

3.    Exam name changes

If you didn't already notice, we have changed the exam names for the Windows 8 exams.  The names now include 8.1 and we changed one of the exams from Managing and Maintaining Windows 8 to Supporting Windows 8.1.  The certification names remain the same.


Let me know if you have any questions.


  • Jason
    | |

    So, how about those Training Guides? When the training kits were retired for two new products, I didn't expect one of those to just sorta die off.

  • spilks
    | |

    @Jason Krause - Hi, this is Kim Spilker from the Microsoft Press team. We are also producing Training Guides on many of these topics, however, we have made the Exam Refs for people who simply need to prepare for the exam but already possess the core skills and the job experience to sit for the exam. We announce every new book as we release it. Check our Microsoft Press blog for upcoming Training Guides.

  • Jason
    | |

    @Kim, thanks for the update. I understand the difference, but I think that by splitting the product line, MSPress has done candidates a great disservice. You are targeting two audiences with these products, but not delivering well to either. A quick search of Amazon shows there are four training guides targeted at MCSA/MCSE candidates.

    Out of the nine possible exams, you are only addressing ~44% with training guides. This makes it a bit more difficult for those who want to learn, but do not have the core skills.

    If we look at the Exam Ref series, that number drops to ~22%, with only two MCSA/MCSE books being published.

    70-410 - published

    70-411 - available Jan 22

    70-412 - available March 22

    70-413 - published

    70-414 - available March 22

    70-415 - available March 22

    70-416 - available March 22

    70-246 - No Book

    70-247 - No Book

    The older training kits were a complete package that covered core skills, exam preparation, and included practice tests. I would be hard pressed to defend the newer book series as an improvement on that model.

  • Erika Cravens
    | |

    Forgot to add to this post.  These dates are subject to change until the products actually release.  So keep an eye out for each of the products and their release dates.


  • Jason
    | |

    ...and just to back up some of my rant, I am not alone in my position.

  • ImmoRhys
    | |

    Hadn't seen Lawrences post, but it matches my experience with 70-413. Exam ref didn't cover the whole exam.

    "More significantly, I encountered concepts on the exam that were not even mentioned in the Exam Ref."

    The worst part is an MVP agrees with me that the exam has out of scope questions, and Microsoft still ignored the item appeal I put in. Theres still nothing available for 70-414, and I actually doubt at this point there ever will be. The product came out over a year ago.

    MCSE Server has been dropped by the MS Partner scheme for a lot of competencies. They know nobody is sitting the exams for it, and they'll lose partners if they insist on trying to force people to pass it.

    On the other hand, Cisco rolls out proper training books months before the new exams are out.

    Long term Microsoft will scrap the entire MCSA/MCSE scheme and transition to pure Microsoft Academy, with online labs, tutes, notes etc. Then they'll fire the rest of the Microsoft Learning group as they won't need them.

  • Ammar Hasayen
    | |

    i am trying to catch my MSCA 2012 before 28th Jan 2014.. Just passed 70-410 :)

  • Markku Jaatinen
    | |

    The natural questions of course is that what (if anything) happens to those users that have already passed the earlier versions of the exams. Any need to re-take exams or something? This is probably be a good point to add into web pages when you are making the updates about the exam changes.

  • Francisco David Munoz
    | |

    I agree that we should have the training materials before the release of the product and any exams. ( I dare you to question that logic).  Here they are advertising R2 in the coming weeks and we cant get decent materail for the current version.   Another perspctive is to say that they are pushing the product while lacking support (training materials). Well, this is on Microsoft as we will not be moving to any 2012 products as training is an issue.  As the only vialable training option is instructor led class,  (5 days at $2000 - $3000 a pop) we dont have the money or the time.  We would prefer the training kits as it allows us to learn and prepare in our own time.

  • Erika Cravens
    | |

    As for if you are in progress or already earned your certification and need to retake exams, the answer is no.  Here are links to our FAQs that should help give some more details (be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page):

    Windows Server:

    Windows Client:

    As for training materials release and exam release dates.  This is great feedback and definitely resonates with the direction we want to go and I think we are getting closer to getting there, just not there just yet.

    Thanks all for your feedback!

  • Thorsten Butz
    | |

    1. This is mess: You cant change the exams prior to publishing MOC (plus a timespan to prep classroom setups etc)!

    We need a procedure to explicitely book the "old" exams after January, 28.

    2. You did not change the name of the courseware to fit "WS 2012 R2". Why?

    WS 2012 R2 is a new OS release, subject to charge.  You reflect the changes in MS PRess releases, you reflect e.g. in Vista vs. Windows7.

    If you don't change this, you'll confuse anyone.

    3. What about loc?

  • mohammad haroon1
    | |

    is the paper 70-640 name has been changed or not is it still valid it can be given or not

  • Jasmin Kahriman
    | |

    Next week I'll take exam 687: Configuring Windows 8.

    I'm planning to buy book for 688 - Managing Windows 8.

    What you suggest me? Which book I need to buy now. I'm a little bit confused.

    Thank you

    | |

    I'm wondering if there is an update as to when 70-246/247 will be updated?   A previous post mentioned the training is to be out in April 2014 - what's a rough lead time for the "skills measured" to precede these?

  • Richard Wu (Regional Lead – HKSAR)

    I take the •417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012 exam today (2014-Jab-27) in Hong Kong and I found the exam include the content of R2 ALREADY! How would that happen? I am totally surprising on it!

    Any one can contact me for more follow-up?

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