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exam format for MCTS 70515 RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi everyone,

     

    I am about to take the MCTS exam for 70515.

     

    Can anyone tell me about the

    1, how long the actual exam takes (They only tell me 4 hours including other admin issues such as exam tutorial and client survey, so how many minutes we have to answer questions?)

    2, how many questions are asked

    3, how many questions I need to answer correctly to pass the exam?

    4, now we have a microsoft Press training kit that contains practicing tests.  Are questions of the practicing tests coming from the same question pool of the real exam?

    Thanks for your help 

    Thursday, February 24, 2011 2:29 AM

Answers

  • Hi dlweirch,

    I'm Microsoft's psychometrician. Let me see if I can address all of the questions/concerns that you raised in this discussion.

    1) Why does Microsoft 'scale' scores? The actual cut score (the number of items you need to answer correctly) is based on input from a group of subject-matter experts who review the difficulty of the item pool in relation to the expected skills of the target audience. As a result, the number of items that you have to answer correctly varies depending on the difficulty of the items delivered (this ensures that regardless of which combination of items you see, the evaluation of skills is fair--if you get a more difficult set of items, the number to pass is less than if you saw an easier set of items). So, providing a simple "here's the percent you answered correctly" wouldn't be useful information to someone who had to take the exam multiple times and saw different combinations of items with different levels of difficulty.

    We provide scaled scores so that you can determine if your performance is changing from one administration to the next (if you have to retake the exam); because the number correct to pass varies based on the difficulty of the item pool, if you see a difficult combination of items, your performance may actually be higher in relation to standard required to pass even though you answered fewer questions (a lower percentage) correctly than if you saw an easier set of items. It simplifies your ability to evaluate improvements in your performance over time. By the way, scaling scores is standard practice across the certification and licensure industry.

    2) Using the length of the bars to estimate your performance: Although you are correct in saying that each item is worth one point, you are overlooking the fact that each section (functional group) of the exam contains a different number of questions. So, you cannot measure the length of the bar and use that to determine the actual number of items you answered correctly. If you do well on a section that contains 3 items but poorly on a section that has 10 items, your estimate based on the length of the bars will be off. You have to account for the fact that each section of the exam--represented by a bar on your score report--contains a different number of questions.

    3) Non-Disclosure Agreement: Although the number of items is not explictly identified in the NDA, "disseminating exam content" is, and we consider the number of items on an exam to be part of "exam content." More important, both the number of items and length of exam can change at any time as we continue to maintain the validity and reliability of the exam. Sharing this level of information sets expectations for candidates that may not be appropriate when they take the exam. By the way, the cut score changes, too, because it's based on the difficulty of the items delivered in relation to the expected skills of the target audience (see my first response), so even speculating on this does a significant disservice to candidates who are preparing for the exam because it may change the way they study for and take the exam.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012 1:44 AM
  • 1- The time for answering questions varies depending on the exam. I don't remember the specific time fot 70-515, but you can expect somewhere around three hours. Don't worry too much about the time, you can normally answer all of the questions at a leisurely pace and finish with time to spare.

    2- Again, the number of questions vary, but you can expect somewhere around 45.

    3- You need to get 700 point out of 1000. However, this is not necessarily equivalent to getting right 70% of the questions, since the evaluation of the exam follows a scale that may not be linear. The precise scaling for each exam is not made public.

    4- No, the questions from the training kits are not in the question pool for the real exam. The questions in the exams are confidential and (in theory) should not be available anywhere.

     

    Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:12 AM

All replies

  • 1- The time for answering questions varies depending on the exam. I don't remember the specific time fot 70-515, but you can expect somewhere around three hours. Don't worry too much about the time, you can normally answer all of the questions at a leisurely pace and finish with time to spare.

    2- Again, the number of questions vary, but you can expect somewhere around 45.

    3- You need to get 700 point out of 1000. However, this is not necessarily equivalent to getting right 70% of the questions, since the evaluation of the exam follows a scale that may not be linear. The precise scaling for each exam is not made public.

    4- No, the questions from the training kits are not in the question pool for the real exam. The questions in the exams are confidential and (in theory) should not be available anywhere.

     

    Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:12 AM
  • Thanks, that really helps.

     

    And btw, the practice test in the training kits is 105 minutes for 45 questions. Does that suggest that the actual exam is 105 minutes too?

    Thursday, February 24, 2011 11:38 PM
  • No, the actual exam is substantially longer than 105 minutes. This means that if you get used to answering the practice questions in 105 minutes, you will have plenty of time to spare when you sit the actual exam.
    Friday, February 25, 2011 7:28 AM
  • I took it yesterday and failed :-(.

    <removed due to NDA> questions with 105 mins.

    Felt way short to cover with Training kits and MeasureUP software.

    Much more difficult than 1.1 exam.

     


    Friday, July 1, 2011 5:23 PM
  • That's interesting Web Database Guy, I'm studying for it now also.... and have the training kit and measure up software also. Are the questions much harder than what is in the training kit and measure up software?

    Did you fail by much? It's a lot of stuff to remember for an exam.

    Cheers

    Andrew

    Monday, July 4, 2011 10:58 AM
  • I just took this exam and can confirm it is <removed due to NDA> questions in 105 minutes.

    I failed because I ran out of time. I was on question 46 when my time ran out so I missed 6 complete questions. In my results printout, I could see that I actually did quite well on all the sections except the last section of the exam where I got 0 points (due to running out of time).

    I found 2 minutes per question was way too rushed for some of the more complicated questions where I spent at least 3 to 5 minutes on it. I'm confident I chose the correct answer because after reading it very carefully and studying the possible answers, I understood the problem and picked the correct answer.

    I may be a slow exam taker though, because I really like to understand what is being asked before just going with a "gut feel" answer right away. These questions can sometimes be very sneaky so you really have to read the question several times and the possible answers a few times as well before choosing.

    I too used the Microsoft Press Training Kit and the MeasureUp software and was flying through the "certification" mode questions (which was 45 questions in 105 minutes) with at least 30 minutes to spare and was passing with 80%+.

    Well...that was a big mistake. The questions on the real exam are MUCH harder! Also, the topics on the real exam were NOT covered completely in the Training Kit.

    After coming home and trying to review some of the questions I remembered, I found that some of the answers were directly in the examples in the MSDN pages describing the particular class, method or config setting, etc...

    So, do *NOT* just rely on the Training Kit book and MeasureUp questions. Read the MSDN sections on the topics covered by the exam as well and practice, practice, practice! Try out many settings, look at the drop-downs, use Intellisense and have a look at the possible properties and methods for the classes and see what they do.

    I don't know when I'll challenge this exam again, but I know I definitely have to do more work than just the Training Kit.

    Hope this helps someone out there. Good luck!

     

    Andre


    • Proposed as answer by LP Janaka Monday, February 13, 2012 11:30 AM
    • Edited by Mr. WhartyModerator Tuesday, November 6, 2012 7:48 PM Removed NDA content
    Friday, October 14, 2011 6:13 PM
  •  

    Hi Andre,

     

    Can you please tell about the exam format? Is it multiple choice options or drag and drop pieces of code to generate correct statements?

     

    I am using training book from MS for 70-515. I also have test related material,  most of them has multiple choice options but one of them has drag and drop options.

     

    I have 2+ year exp of web forms, jQuery and little bit Ajax. Any tips?

     

    Thank you,

    SK

    Sunday, January 29, 2012 5:50 PM
  • I took the 70-515 exam on October 26, and you actually need a 78% to pass.  The 700 score is based on a "cut score", which is the amount of questions you need to answer correctly in order to pass the exam.  This cut score is not published, and therefore could correlate to any percentage up to 100% (or even greater???).  For example, on my exam, there were <removed due to NDA> questions.  I answered 41 correctly, or 74.5%.  However, the "cut score" was set to 43 correct answers, or 78.2%.  My overall posted score of 667 can be calculated using the following formula:  (# correct answers/cut score) * 700 = (41/43)*700 = 667.

    The passing score of 700 is a meaningless number.  If the cut score is set such that you need to actually achieve a 90% to pass the exam, then if you answer 90% of the questions correctly your Microsoft score is........ 700.  Makes you wonder why Microsoft goes to such great lengths to hide what the 700 number actually represents; Oracle provides an actual percentage on your exam results, not some fantasy number based on a hidden "cut score".

    So, you need 78% or greater to pass the 70-515 exam.  At Microsoft's whim, you might also need 85-90% to pass the exam.

    Unless.......................

     

    When you register for a Microsoft exam on the Prometric site, do you remember that part when you can enter a code from a Microsoft training partner?  I wonder, if you enter such a code, would the "SMEs" who determine the cut score be more gracious and lower the cut score required to pass the exam?  That would certainly be a great way for Microsoft to pad its revenues.  And, if you do not enter a code from a training partner, could the "SMEs" raise the cut score sufficiently to all but ensure that you will not pass the exam, thereby requiring you to take the exam more times and increasing Microsoft revenue???

    <removed NDA content>



    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 3:38 PM
  • I took the 70-515 exam on October 26, and you actually need a 78% to pass.  The 700 score is based on a "cut score", which is the amount of questions you need to answer correctly in order to pass the exam.  This cut score is not published, and therefore could correlate to any percentage up to 100% (or even greater???).  For example, on my exam, there were <removed due to NDA> questions.  I answered 41 correctly, or 74.5%.  However, the "cut score" was set to 43 correct answers, or 78.2%.  My overall posted score of 667 can be calculated using the following formula:  (# correct answers/cut score) * 700 = (41/43)*700 = 667.

    The passing score of 700 is a meaningless number.  If the cut score is set such that you need to actually achieve a 90% to pass the exam, then if you answer 90% of the questions correctly your Microsoft score is........ 700.  Makes you wonder why Microsoft goes to such great lengths to hide what the 700 number actually represents; Oracle provides an actual percentage on your exam results, not some fantasy number based on a hidden "cut score".

    So, you need 78% or greater to pass the 70-515 exam.  At Microsoft's whim, you might also need 85-90% to pass the exam.

    Unless.......................

     

    When you register for a Microsoft exam on the Prometric site, do you remember that part when you can enter a code from a Microsoft training partner?  I wonder, if you enter such a code, would the "SMEs" who determine the cut score be more gracious and lower the cut score required to pass the exam?  That would certainly be a great way for Microsoft to pad its revenues.  And, if you do not enter a code from a training partner, could the "SMEs" raise the cut score sufficiently to all but ensure that you will not pass the exam, thereby requiring you to take the exam more times and increasing Microsoft revenue???

    Side note:  when studying for the 70-515 exam, be sure to also study for the 70-519 at the same time.  Microsoft likes to include items which are more appropriate for the 70-519 exam in the 70-515 exam.


    The passing score is 700 out of 1000 and percentages are not used in Microsoft certifications.  

    BTW, how do you know you answered 41 question correctly as Microsoft does not tell you what questions you got right?  Given this, you percentage calculations are more than likely incorrect.

    With regards to entering codes, the pass mark is the same for everyone who takes the exam and SME's do not alter the pass mark if you belong to a training partner.


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript


    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 7:46 PM
    Moderator
  • How I know is because I measured the length of the progress bars for each section.  By dividing that by the total length of the bar, that gave me the sectional percent.

    From there, I computed the average using a weighted average (with the sectional weight) and a re-construction of the number of questions in each section to the number answered correctly.  For example, in one section, I had a 72.7% average.  Since there are <removed NDA content> questions in the exam, and six sections, this equates to an average of about 9 questions per section.  Since there are an integer number of questions, and an integer number of correct answers, this yields few (if only one) combination of correct answers and total number of questions for each section.  In the section where I attained 72.7%, the only likely combination is 8 correct out of 11 total.  For a section where I had 90%, the only likely combination is 9 correct out of 10 total.  Doing so for each of the sections, I reached the total of <removed NDA content> questions.  In any event, since the sectional weight is supposed to correspond to the number of questions in each section, a weighted average is very close; and in this case, was well within 1/2 of one percent of the straight average.

    Doing yielded an overall percentage above 74%.

    Go ahead, try to tell me that those progress bars on the results printout DO NOT correspond to the # correct / total questions for each section, we need some transparency for the Microsoft certification program anyway.


    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 8:35 PM
  • Measuring those bars will not give you the correct number of questions you answered as their length does not represent the number of questions you answered correctly in an exam.  Furthermore, not all questions are given the same weighting i.e. 1 question may be weighted more than another question therefore using your approach will not work.  More information about scoring can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/exam-prep.aspx#tab3

    What do you mean by "we need some transparency for the Microsoft certification program"?


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 8:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Your statement is not compatible with the posted Microsoft policy regarding certification exams, http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/exam-prep.aspx#tab3.  Look at the question "How many points is each item worth?"; the answer is, ONE POINT EACH.  This means, same weight for all questions.

    As far as the disclaimer that "This is subject to change...", the fact is that it HAS NOT BEEN CHANGED ON YOUR WEBSITE, and your website is using an instrument of interstate commerce to communicate with clients.  Therefore, each question should be worth only one point, anything else would amount to fraud.

    I suggest you familiarize yourself more closely with officially posted Microsoft policies before commenting further.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 8:53 PM
  • Some clarification is required here.  

    Firstly, I do not work for Microsoft :-)

    Secondly, I was referring to "Does the score report show a numerical score for each section?" and realise that I should have been a little more direct in my initial reply and used scaled instead of weighting:

    Because we provide scaled scores and each exam section (subject area) often contains a different number of questions, combining their numerical results at the section level rarely provides an accurate final exam result.


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 9:07 PM
    Moderator
  • Since you do not work for Microsoft, you are not qualified to provide any opinions as to how the certification process works.  I know exactly how "scaling" works from the Microsoft website, the scaling works from a "cut score" which applies to the entire exam - NOT FOR EACH SECTION.  Since scaling therefore occurs at the overall exam score and NOT the sectional results, it is incorrect to conclude that the sectional results provided on the printout following the exam are "scaled".

    As I said in my original post, the OVERALL score provided by Microsoft is as follows:  (# correct / cut score) * 700.  THAT is an example of scaling, but again, since the cut score is at the overall level this does not apply per section - the Microsoft website makes no reference to cut scores per section.

    And this exactly what I mean that transparency is required.  If Microsoft provided the # correct and the total number actually scored, not counting beta questions, and if Microsoft itself did not post on its own website that the cut score is not disclosed, I would not have to reconstruct the results myself.  I have never had an issue with Oracle exams, even when I have come up just short - precisely because they provide transparency.

    Is Microsoft going to have someone who can properly represent them answer, or should I continue this in a different venue?

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 9:28 PM
  • I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone in this thread about the NDA (non-disclosure agreement) portion of the Microsoft exam policy.

    "All Microsoft Certification exams, including the content and wording of exam questions, constitute confidential Microsoft information and/or Microsoft copyrights that are protected by intellectual property laws. All candidates must agree to the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which obligates them to maintain the confidentiality of MCP Exams before they can access an exam.

    If an individual is caught violating the NDA, the candidate will be subject to action."

    Reference: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/exam-policies.aspx#tab2


    Veronica Sopher, Community Manager, Microsoft Learning


    • Edited by vsopher Wednesday, November 7, 2012 12:32 AM
    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 12:32 AM
  • So, please inform me if you have found a violation of the NDA in any of my posts.  Because there is no violation.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 1:14 AM
  • Sophie, are you willing to discuss this with me as an official representative of Microsoft?  Because I believe there is a very serious issue with how Microsoft deals with certification exam results.  In my opinion, Mr. Wharty misrepresented the Microsoft policies as posted on the Microsoft website (please see post with respect to weight of individual questions).

    If you would be willing to continue this discussion as an official representative of Microsoft, I would be more than happy.  If not, I would like to remind you that accusing me of violating the NDA without just cause is a very serious matter.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 1:19 AM
  • With all due respect dlweirich, I did not misrepresent anything and I stand by my comments in relation to weight/scale of questions.

    With regards to violating NDA, you provided details on the number of questions in the exam which is in breach of NDA hence the reason why I edited your replies and removed such content.


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 1:23 AM
    Moderator
  • Yes you did, you said each question was weighted when the official Microsoft website quite clearly indicates that each question counts as one point; therefore, what you said is gross misrepresentation of Microsoft policy.

    As far as posting the number of questions:

    1.  What about the other posts where it indicates the number of questions,

    2.  Please show me SPECIFICALLY in the NDA where it says I cannot disclose the number of questions (it refers content and wording of exams, not number of questions).

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 1:28 AM
  • They were edited as well.

    As Microsoft does not release the number of questions in an exam, doing so is in breach of NDA as that content is only available to people taking an exam.


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 1:32 AM
    Moderator
  • As you did not quote the NDA, I will assume you are wrong again.  I asked you to show me SPECIFICALLY in the NDA.  If Microsoft did not specifically mention the number of questions as content within the NDA, that is an oversight on Microsoft and not my concern.
    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 1:34 AM
  • As you did not quote the NDA, I will assume you are wrong again.  I asked you to show me SPECIFICALLY in the NDA.  If Microsoft did not specifically mention the number of questions as content within the NDA, that is an oversight on Microsoft and not my concern.

    Veronica has provided the details in her reply however I will repeat them again for your benefit:

    "All Microsoft Certification exams, including the content and wording of exam questions, constitute confidential Microsoft information and/or Microsoft copyrights that are protected by intellectual property laws. All candidates must agree to the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which obligates them to maintain the confidentiality of MCP Exams before they can access an exam.

    If an individual is caught violating the NDA, the candidate will be subject to action."

    Reference: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/exam-policies.aspx#tab2

    It is not an oversight as Microsoft does not release the number of questions for ANY exam.  Given this, disclosing this information is in breach of the NDA.


    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer

    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    Twitter: @Mr_Wharty
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 1:38 AM
    Moderator
  • How about you review the NDA yourself?  IT DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY MENTION THAT THE NUMBER OF QUESTIONS COUNTS AS "CONTENT".

    If you are attempting to accuse me of violating the NDA, please let me know plainly.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 1:51 AM
  • Hi dlweirch,

    I'm Microsoft's psychometrician. Let me see if I can address all of the questions/concerns that you raised in this discussion.

    1) Why does Microsoft 'scale' scores? The actual cut score (the number of items you need to answer correctly) is based on input from a group of subject-matter experts who review the difficulty of the item pool in relation to the expected skills of the target audience. As a result, the number of items that you have to answer correctly varies depending on the difficulty of the items delivered (this ensures that regardless of which combination of items you see, the evaluation of skills is fair--if you get a more difficult set of items, the number to pass is less than if you saw an easier set of items). So, providing a simple "here's the percent you answered correctly" wouldn't be useful information to someone who had to take the exam multiple times and saw different combinations of items with different levels of difficulty.

    We provide scaled scores so that you can determine if your performance is changing from one administration to the next (if you have to retake the exam); because the number correct to pass varies based on the difficulty of the item pool, if you see a difficult combination of items, your performance may actually be higher in relation to standard required to pass even though you answered fewer questions (a lower percentage) correctly than if you saw an easier set of items. It simplifies your ability to evaluate improvements in your performance over time. By the way, scaling scores is standard practice across the certification and licensure industry.

    2) Using the length of the bars to estimate your performance: Although you are correct in saying that each item is worth one point, you are overlooking the fact that each section (functional group) of the exam contains a different number of questions. So, you cannot measure the length of the bar and use that to determine the actual number of items you answered correctly. If you do well on a section that contains 3 items but poorly on a section that has 10 items, your estimate based on the length of the bars will be off. You have to account for the fact that each section of the exam--represented by a bar on your score report--contains a different number of questions.

    3) Non-Disclosure Agreement: Although the number of items is not explictly identified in the NDA, "disseminating exam content" is, and we consider the number of items on an exam to be part of "exam content." More important, both the number of items and length of exam can change at any time as we continue to maintain the validity and reliability of the exam. Sharing this level of information sets expectations for candidates that may not be appropriate when they take the exam. By the way, the cut score changes, too, because it's based on the difficulty of the items delivered in relation to the expected skills of the target audience (see my first response), so even speculating on this does a significant disservice to candidates who are preparing for the exam because it may change the way they study for and take the exam.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012 1:44 AM
  • Imunson,

    As you said, "the number of items is not explicitly identified in the NDA".  Therefore, you are attempting to alter the conditions of the NDA I signed without my consent - which is a violation of contract law.  Since Microsoft drafted the NDA, and failed to specify that the number of questions counts as "content", I am not obligated under the terms of the NDA to NOT disclose the number of questions.  And I do not consent to comply with such terms, as I am not required to under the terms of the NDA I am bound to.

    You have also verified my original statement that the actual percentage of questions required to pass the exam, i.e. cut score / number of questions, can in fact be a moving target and subject to change at the whim of Microsoft and/or its SMEs, who even if not Microsoft employees are certainly agents of Microsoft in a legal sense.

    I am filing a complaint against Microsoft with the Washington State Attorney General.  As part of the complaint process, I can provide the name of a Microsoft manager.  I therefore request the name of a Microsoft manager who would be a suitable point of contact for these matters.

    • Proposed as answer by dlweirich Thursday, November 8, 2012 3:43 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by Mr. WhartyModerator Friday, November 9, 2012 8:09 AM
    Thursday, November 8, 2012 3:40 PM
  • I am planning to take this test before it will expire (July 31st???) But I beleive that it must be hard to pass otherwise what's the point of taking it? If Microsfot does not protect the value of its certifications ( so every entry level to average developer could be certified) then Employers will not take these certifications serious. Microsoft clearly says "Those who are certified are considered Experts" which is a considerable status in our profession :)

    I think the only trustable source of study is MSDN accompanied with VS.

      
    Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:29 PM