Not too happy with Microsoft and 70-414

  • Hello all,

    I upgraded my MCSA a few weeks back.  I studied for the 417 test with the Microsoft curriculum books I purchased from Skillpipe.  I began studying for the 413 and 414 test.  I took the 413 test and failed it the first time.  That is when I was told, and verified that the 413 test was upgraded to the 2012r2 version, book 20413c.  Along with that, the 414 test has also been upgraded to the 2012r2 version, book 20414C.  I have the B version of each of these books.

    Okay, fair enough.....tests change things get upgraded. fairness, I try to upgrade or purchase the 2012r2, C version books.......AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN AVAILABLE.  Not only that, the labs are not available.

    I am a long time MCSE.....Microsoft....this is not right?  How can you update the tests and not even make the curriculum available until AFTER you release the tests?

    After many, many hours, I am very frustrated.  I am beginning to believe that with Microsoft, it isn't about the learning anymore, but more about the money.  If it keeps up like this....this will be my last go round with MCSE certification.  Sure, I'll do the training but I am not into the trickery.  Learn from what happened to Novell!


  • Hi Tom

    I understand your frustration about failing an exam, I believe as long time MCSE you would have noticed that the exam are not a measure of how well you can read a book. Microsoft exam measure your working knowledge of the product.

    As for the material to study you can look at the MVA you can start from this link

    Joseph Leo Ndlovu (Regional Lead) @joeyndlovu(twitter)

    Let the community help that is our passion

  • Hi Joseph,

    With respect to your MCT and experience, I disagree.  I am finding more than ever the microsoft tests are about how well one can read a book and read a question.  I have yet to walk into any environment and asked any of the questions that I have had on a test.  And while the scenarios on the test are a bit more to true life, I spend a little more time understanding a customer's environment than was is givin in the 2 hrs to take these tests.  I can just read through the entire questions and understand what they are looking for in 2 hrs.

    In real life, I also have Bing, Google, and many other resources available to me beyond being able to come up with an answer of "Upload the certificate to the DFS share that only you and other enterprise admins have access, and make sure that it is not on any RODC" off the top of my head.

    So, in short, I believe not only are these tests a reading teslt on how to get the knowledge from the book, into my brain, and then back out onto a test screen, but also a test on how well I can read the trick questions (and answers) in the test itself.  Not having the exact study material from which to study is a death sentence.  For Microsoft to change the test without changing or making available the curriculum before the test......if not criminal, it sure is unethical.


  • One more thing.....THANK YOU so much for the study link.  I will be using some of that to study.  I wish I would have found these BEFORE I took my tests.  :)


  • Lets try another technique that I have been employing with my students. Read the official material, try the labs that are at the end of each module. I know its difficult for you to get the material but you could go to a CPLS and check if they have material for you.

    Once you have the reading material create a virtual lab using hyper V(windows 8 available), virtual box etc. After that go to search for the certification you want and then select the exam. At the bottom of the page you will have exam objectives build your labs with those in mind and using the score card you can then basic do revision  

    Joseph Leo Ndlovu (Regional Lead) @joeyndlovu(twitter)

    Let the community help that is our passion

  • Hi there,

    Tom Hafemann I have to totally agree with you. While I do understand that exams need to upgraded, I am VERY surprised to see what happened to the 70-414 (and 70-413). The new MOC environment is available for about ONLY one (1) week. There is absolutely no material for students to prepare for this exam! The do not know what to expect. I've thought this course at the end of March and I did not know what to tell my students except that they should try to take the exam before the end of the month. Unfortunately that was impossible and many of them ask me how to prepare, I simply tell them that they can't. I think it's a big mistake to upgrade an exam before making sure that enough material is available at the CPLS.

    I am very sure that we are not the only ones complaining, as I work at an CPLS which is also a Prometric center.

    Maybe Microsoft expects candidates to implement the products for a long period of time before you are able to pass for this exam, unfortunately that is NOT the case in the environments where my students are working. My students are NOT allowed to touch an environment before they are MCSA or MCSE certified. This being the case, it would be impossible to pass for these exams.

    I hope Microsoft understands that this was not the correct order of steps, they should consider returning back to the "old" exams and publish enough material so student CAN prepare.

    Joseph, Thank you very much for sharing the link, I will share it with my students.

    Kind regards,

    G. Hameetman



    My name is Gerben Hameetman and I have been training people for about 10 years now. I first began with protocol analyzing at Sniffer University and for the last 7 years with Microsoft.

  • I have to agree that it is very difficult to cover all of the topics in the exams without a book.  Also I find the example questions can give you a good understanding of what kind of situations a technology may be utilized.

    I have however found the MVA site useful, and have also just found the Microsoft Virtual Labs site, which seems like its going to be a good way for me to get more hands on experience with solutions that are not implemented in the environment that I work in. I thought I'd throw the link in here in case other people wasn't aware:


    Tom Gillis

  • Wait a minute...when did the 70-414 content get updated for R2?  The last I heard only the MCSA exams were being updated, I hadn't heard a thing about the MCSE exams.

    I've got to say, the 414 has been nothing but a nightmare for me.  I'm another longtime MCSE, and over the past decade I've taken dozens of exams and only had to retake an exam twice...until the 70-414.  I have now taken the 70-414 five times (literally!), starting when it was in beta, and then four more times after that.  I've used the products and played with them in my home lab.  I've taken what there is in the MVA.  After the third failure I even payed for the MOC course 20414B this past December (a wholly unfulfilling experience as far as covering all of the material goes), and I'm still falling short.

    The exam has been out for over a year and a half and the exam prep book STILL hasn't been released yet, despite the projected release date being over 9 months ago.  And to top it off now I find out that the exam has been updated and the MOC course that I took in December has been stealth-superseded by the R2 release?

    I don't know what changed with MSL in the past 3-4 years, but they have gone waaaaaaay downhill from where they used to be.  The left hand and the right hand have no idea what each other are doing, and despite years of criticism it just continues to get worse.

  • Hello Kevin,

    I sat through an official MOC class spanning 3+ months.  I did 20410B, 20411B, 20412B, 20413B and 20414B.  I did most of the labs, some several times, and even learned things that were not in the curriculum.  I went through it with a comb and found 100's of mistakes or things that didn't work quite right.  Right around April 1st I took my 70-413 test and failed it just short with a 685.  When I began the test, I saw that it covered the 20413C edition.  At that time, the only books that were out and published by Microsoft were the B versions.  I retook the test and passed with a 724.  I then took the 70-414 with another 685 result.  GRRR.

    I, and hopefully everyone else on the planet, understand that things change.  However, Microsoft changed it backwards!  Change the curriculum FIRST and then change the test!!!!  How can Microsoft expect anyone to pass a test on material that isn't even published?  And what is even worse, we do not get mercy from Microsoft.  Rather, all I have heard is "We are Microsoft....we do what we want; live with it!"  (Sounds familiar to my Novell days, and look where that attitude got them.)

    In the end, about 3 weeks ago, I spent the additional $200.00 ish dollars, repurchased the 70414C curriculum, because there isn't an "upgrade" cost between versions, spent 4 days in a hotel going over the changes and different labs, finding out that some of the mistakes were fixed and other things that were working in 70414B that they BROKE.  How they took something that was working and went to broke is incomprehensible.  Copy and paste shouldn't change anything.  Once I went through it all, I took the test again and passed with an 800.  So now, I am an official MCSE 2012 (Which is now, Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert).

    And I hope Microsoft is listening to this.  While we use to enjoy the prestige of being called an MCSE, I and my friends wonder if it is all worth it anymore.  Yes, they are still difficult, but with ALL of the certifications that Microsoft is coming out with, EVERYONE gets a piece of paper!  It use to be a few dozen tests.  It has exploded to what seems to be 100+ tests.  4 or 6 different MCSE tracks?  Really?

    On the flip side of this, Solution Providers are expected to keep up with certified staff.  We use to say, "We have 4 MCSE's"  Now we have to say we have 2 MCSE Desktop, 3 MCSE Infrastructure, 2 MCSE Cloud services, etc."  And instead of hiring specialized people, many solution providers expect 1 person to "do it all".  If I am going to do it all, I am going to spend 12 months per year STUDYING, and getting NOTHING else done.



  • @Tom:  As far as being multiple MCSE tracks, that really has been the case all along.  Even in the Windows NT, 2000, and 2003 days you had different paths to earning MCSE certifications.  If you'll recall it was usually 7 exams, of which 3-4 were core + a choice between a couple of design exams and a couple of elective exams.  You even had MCSE: Messaging, MCSE: Security, and the old MCSE+I certifications.  So that hadn't really changed much.  Even under the MCITP there were different paths.

    As far as your solutions provider expecting one person to "do it all", that's not Microsoft's fault.  In fact, the last time that I looked at certification requirements for their partner program you weren't allowed to let one person who held multiple certifications count all of those certs towards your Silver and Gold partnership requirements.  It's been a couple of years, but I doubt that requirement has changed any.

  • Now that you put it that way, you are right.  I am just a bit cranky from the little bit of diaper rash I got from the 413 and 414 test changing.   Thanks for the reminder.

  • Hey guys,

    Has the 70-414 really updated to R2? I'm taking that test on the 16th and I had been studying for 5 moths already (I passed the 70-413 on January).

    Even thought I have some real world experience with R2, I'm sure it doesn't cover everything that will be on the test (darm!) I think I better continue studying/practicing, but with the R2 in mind.

    Regarding the other comments, yes, I feel that it is insane to just throw an exam out there without any material.

    And about the materials, the books for the MCSA are lame. I got the one for the 70-410 and read the first chapter. I found that the practices on Keith Meyers's Early Experts group was waaay better in content. I don't understand why they make two books now about one test. I remember I prepared for my first MS certification in SQL Server 2005 with a book that covered pretty much all the topics and had good exercises.  I saw the same quality of books for the Windows Server 2008 MCITP.

    Renzo Patricio Carpio

  • R2 has been included since April 7th

    Read here

  • The exam has been updated. The most annoying thing ist that even the  2nd edition of the Exam Prep book doesn't do a good job in preparing you for the exam. I failed in the first attempt to pass 70-413, but thanks to the Second Shot offer it was not much of an issue.

    Thomas Stensitzki

    MCT - MCSM - MCM |

  • As Thomas mentioned the book doesn't do a good job. I'm lucky that i've passed the exam the first time, i've heard alot of people don't. Probably due to the lacking material, and if there's any it's written by a programmer???

    After 70-414 I'll start working on the MSCE: Private Cloud, but think it will be the last exams i'll take due to the lack of decent exam material