Give Us Your Feedback - Rapid Technology Updates and Therefore Rapid Exam Updates

Erika Cravens

Hi All!

Recently, I created a couple blog posts to inform people about the updates to the Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 exams.  These blog posts were only part of the communication plan for how to inform you all of what changes were coming.  Just so you all have the information, here is everything we did and some items to note:

Here is the feedback I have received, but want to find out more:

  • Need to have training launched ahead of the exams:
    • Question: What level of training is necessary?  We have free online courses that talk about what is new and different.  Not everyone goes to classes or reads a book or does e-learning, but how long should we delay an exam to get courses and books in market or can we release the exams for those working with the technology and those that are good with just having an online free course for a couple hours outlining the high level differences?
  • Need to learn ahead of time about the changes:
    • Based on the messaging above, where else can I make sure we have messaging and how far in advance? Just as a side note, it takes about 4 months to actually develop a new exam, so it will be difficult to do much earlier than what we did this time.

I hope this is helpful and I am looking forward to your feedback!

  • PeteAUS
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    Get your course books out around the same time the exams are ready for example 70-410 -412 are now updated for R2 but the course ware from MS is slated for release in April???

    I seriously think it would be better and quicker for me to sit my MCSA for 2008R2 and then sit a 70-417 exam

    But as I have already done my 70-410 at teched 2013 in Australia  I have trapped myself

    Also if you read the comments at

    It seems the quality of these reference books are slipping. (server 2008

    Yes MVA is available but it does not in anyway match the course ware.

    Rapid release seems great in theory,but in the real world enterprise cannot be updating their infrastructure all the time. Nor can people spend all of their personal time studying for exams at every walking moment.

    And this one..

    "What level of training is necessary?  We have free online courses that talk about what is new and different. "

    Those courses do not go into enough detail, even using the product on a daily basis does not mean you use every role and feature in your day to day work,

    e.g. So what about people like myself that support desktop systems but are looking at studying for Windows server? We need the in-depth training.

  • Ed Baker (Regional Lead - UK)
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    OK, my tuppence worth (or in US language 5c worth) - The warnings and advice were timely mostly accurate re dates and useful. The online resources (evaluations, labs and other data like the full TechNet Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2 library as a download are invaluable).

    The question of getting books out in time for a product release is an old one and anyone who has written a tech book will know that writing it for unreleased software is a brave and risky step. Things get added and removed at various stages and any errors would soon have all the critics shouting foul!

    I know everyone studies differently BUT surely the full evaluation with TechNet with labs and other web guides is enough for the early adopters until the considered accurate and detailed training guides come out.

    I am really in favour of the certifications being hard, what you have to work hard for you appreciate more and other people value more.

    Having taken over 100 Microsoft and other exams, I often find it is the technique that is half the battle as well as knowing the product well. Reading any book is no substitute for that.

    Just my opinion.

    Thanks for all the hard work both providing what resources you do and fielding all the sometimes very rude comments.



  • ImmoRhys
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    Exam Ref 70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure

    Published: September 2013 (estimated)

    Your exams are nothing like real world, so people need the books to pass the exams. Books and Exams should be developed and released the same day the product is. Cisco can do it, why can't you?

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    Wanted a information!

    The trainings 24410, 24411 and 2412 were updated in English language, correct?

    but the same training in Portuguese were not updated, correct?

    This also occurred with the exams 70-410, 70-411 and 70-412?

  • Guido van Brakel
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    Hi Erica,

    I think it would be very nice if the training en books are updated and or released two months before the exam is updated/released in the test center.

  • KevinM
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    @ImmoRhys:  You've hit the nail on the head, again.  According to Microsoft, the estimated release date for the 70-414 Exam Reference (Sept 2013) is over a year after the product shipped, and 3 months after the successor product shipped.  Of course, the estimated release date that MSL is pushing isn't correct, seeing as the book still isn't available yet.  According to Amazon it will be released on March 22nd of 2014.  That's 6 months after the date that MS Learning is giving and a year and a half after the product shipped.  It's flat-out inexcusable on MSL's part.

    @PeteAUS:  Of course businesses aren't updating their infrastructure as fast as Microsoft is releasing newer products.  Some companies will skip an upgrade, others will skip two upgrades.  But Microsoft is working on "cloud time", which means that they need to have a rapid release cycle to compete with other cloud providers.  Everything that we're seeing in Windows Server, System Center, and most of the rest of the products is trickling down from their cloud development.  Cloud is on rapid release cycles, so they can continue to roll out updates to the OS and applications on a rapid cycle too.  The problem with that is that 90% of the improvements in the new versions of the software are really only useful in cloud scenarios, so people who do on-premises deployments are left shaking their heads.

  • Mike Brighton
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    Erika, I recently passed my 70-663 Exam, which opens up the 70-417 exam.  I noticed that you guys are offering discounts for people to try to get their MCSA via 410-411 and 412, however there is no discount or support for the 417 exam.  I can't speak for others, however for myself I will be having to learn this whole product from scratch as I have no previous "Server" experience.  

    Why do you not have discounts and support for those of us who would like to obtain our MCSA through 70-417?   I realise that this is only one exam, however it is the equivalent of 3 exams as we have to know everything to pass all three, just to pass this one.

  • Gareth.Harle
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    Communication is fine. I think the area for improvement is resources.

    As an MCT I did know about the changes coming but getting good enough resources to use the classroom was difficult. I had to make my own.

    I get the impression it is the books/courseware people are most in need of sooner.

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    Hello Erika,  there seems to be no mention of the private cloud exams 70-246/247 since the original post and a suggested update date of April 2014 which states:

    - MCSE: Private Cloud - Exams 246 and 247 will be updated to include System Center 2012 R2 content and Windows Server 2012 R2 content

    I haven't seen any updated exam pages, objectives, etc? Are these still being changed and if so any idea of timing and objectives being released?  

    I've posted this query a couple of times now.