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At a Loss On How To Study Any More for 70-576 RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm in a bit of a weird/embarrassing spot. 70-576 seemed to cover most of the stuff I work with as a SharePoint dev and I figured I'd do what I've done for past several certification tests: buy a practice test to help identify weak areas then use that to guide my study efforts.

    I bought the MeasureUp one and didn't have a ton of time to study, but read up on the weak areas it identified, and was getting comfortably passing grades on the practice tests by the time it came to do the real test. Nevertheless, I failed (for the first time in my taking of Microsoft certifications).

    That lit a fire under my butt and I proceeded to go through about every resource I could find on the subject matter covered by the test, going over the parts I felt shaky on in the real test with special vigor.

    I also bought a study guide from uCertify (which I didn't care for: some of the practice questions are awkwardly worded and  some of the information is wrong). It gave insight into a few edge cases, provided a few new links, and got me to the point where I was scoring near perfect on the test designed to evaluate your real test readiness.

    After my intensive study sessions, I felt pretty confident, was scoring 100% on the MeasureUp practice tests and felt like I had just about every MSDN article on SharePoint 2010 all but memorized but... I failed again.

    This time, however, there were literally only about 5 questions I can think of that I didn't feel fairly certain about the answers. I'll study those, but otherwise I don't even know where I went wrong on the test! I've tapped about every online resource I could find, and I don't think the practice tests will do much more good, because I understand the answers and studied the underlying material ad nauseum!

    I literally feel like I could sit in a room and discuss any subject on the test in a fair amount of detail, which isn't to brag (especially given the failures), but more to say that I don't even know what to do at this point!

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how else to study where I don't even know where I went wrong?

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013 9:38 PM

Answers

  • Hi, Colin.

    I feel for you, man, because I have been in the same situation in the past. Please don't feel embarrassed either.

    First off - don't immediately blame yourself for not passing on the second attempt. Don't assume that the exam questions are fair either. Some exams are simply much harder than others.

    Know that the questions are written by Microsoft-identified "professionals" in the related field. These folks are asked to write exam questions immediately after the new product is released. These folks usually have a lot of experience with the prior version(s) (SharePoint 2007?) of a product but hold little to no "real world" experience with the new version, other than (many times) playing around with it to write the questions. Maybe they got to upgrade to it but they haven't had a couple of years experience with it yet.

    They may also think they are being extra clever and try to write unreasonable trick questions. There may be errors in the test's "correct" answers as well. I've seen enough errors in my 15 year history of taking Microsoft certification exams.

    I learned a lot about badly a written exam in the late '90s (70-152, Visual InterDev). I failed it more than twice to learn the horrible questions and terrible answers. There is always a lot of opinions as the best way to do something with a technology and they sometimes end up in these exams.

    What are your options? Here is what I would consider doing in your situation:

    • Cut your losses on a bad exam and prepare for the SharePoint 2013 exams instead. Work towards the MCSD SharePoint title. To heck with SharePoint 2010. Once you pass the SP 2013 exams, you have a little more time to not worry about these #$%^& certification exams. http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcsd-sharepoint-apps-certification.aspx
    • If you are not a quitter on 70-576, perhaps get another practice exam such as a Transcender or Selftest Software. I consider them to have much better practice exams. Both exams are owned by Kaplan and have the same exam questions. It's a matter of cost.

    Good luck.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Thursday, October 31, 2013 3:43 PM
    Answerer

All replies

  • Hi, Colin.

    I feel for you, man, because I have been in the same situation in the past. Please don't feel embarrassed either.

    First off - don't immediately blame yourself for not passing on the second attempt. Don't assume that the exam questions are fair either. Some exams are simply much harder than others.

    Know that the questions are written by Microsoft-identified "professionals" in the related field. These folks are asked to write exam questions immediately after the new product is released. These folks usually have a lot of experience with the prior version(s) (SharePoint 2007?) of a product but hold little to no "real world" experience with the new version, other than (many times) playing around with it to write the questions. Maybe they got to upgrade to it but they haven't had a couple of years experience with it yet.

    They may also think they are being extra clever and try to write unreasonable trick questions. There may be errors in the test's "correct" answers as well. I've seen enough errors in my 15 year history of taking Microsoft certification exams.

    I learned a lot about badly a written exam in the late '90s (70-152, Visual InterDev). I failed it more than twice to learn the horrible questions and terrible answers. There is always a lot of opinions as the best way to do something with a technology and they sometimes end up in these exams.

    What are your options? Here is what I would consider doing in your situation:

    • Cut your losses on a bad exam and prepare for the SharePoint 2013 exams instead. Work towards the MCSD SharePoint title. To heck with SharePoint 2010. Once you pass the SP 2013 exams, you have a little more time to not worry about these #$%^& certification exams. http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcsd-sharepoint-apps-certification.aspx
    • If you are not a quitter on 70-576, perhaps get another practice exam such as a Transcender or Selftest Software. I consider them to have much better practice exams. Both exams are owned by Kaplan and have the same exam questions. It's a matter of cost.

    Good luck.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Thursday, October 31, 2013 3:43 PM
    Answerer
  • Thanks!

    I'm actually totally with you on some of the questions being goofy/having errors. There are two in particular where I shied away from what I'm sure were the correct answers because of nonsense in the answer or missing information in the question.

    One was about improving page load times for a problem related to large javascript/CSS files. I think they wanted me to say use BLOB cache, but that only applies if the files are stored in the content database (e.g. in a style library) and there was nothing in the question to indicate whether they were or not. There was a second answer that wasn't great, but would apply to files stored in the 14 hive or elsewhere on the file system and I went for that.

    The second weird one I remember had to do with SPFeatureReceiver events, but what would have been the obvious answer was clouded by the additional mention of a "list event receiver" (presumably they mean SPItemEventReceiver) which had nothing to do with the question and didn't support the methods the answer said to add to the mentioned classes (FeatureActivated/Deactivated).

    At any rate, I have a free retake voucher for the next test, so I may as well take it again. I'll just be careful of the weirdness and try to make different assumptions about some of the questions.

    I love Transcender, too, FWIW, but they don't have a practice test for the 70-576. Selftest doesn't appear to either.

    To be honest, however, I may be done with Microsoft Certifications after this run. I'm mainly doing it because my workplace wants to maintain "Gold Partner" status but I really didn't like the 70-576 test. I know that I know the material it covered in a fair amount of depth, I think I just made wrong assumptions and maybe missed some trick in the questions. I don't like playing those games.

    Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:24 PM