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  • I just failed my 70-410 exam for the second time. I've studied the book from Microsoft Press "Exam Ref 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012" by Craig Zacker, watched the entire CBT Nuggets video series for 70-410 and also used the Transcender practice exams (waste of money there) and I cannot seem to pass this exam.

    The thing is if you test my knowledge on any of the content in the book or video series I've got the correct answer with no trouble. The exam has been throwing questions at me that the study material doesn't even begin to cover. In fact the exam questions are so left-field (when compared to the content of the book or video) that I'm questioning whether I took the correct exam (which I did given the title on the results paperwork). So I'm left with the question of "what the hell do I have to do to properly prepare for this exam?"

    Does anyone have any reference you can point me at that will help in getting me the correct material I need to study for this exam?

    Saturday, November 9, 2013 3:41 AM

Answers

  • I know your frustration. I can share my tips for passing Microsoft exams. These may not be directly recommended by Microsoft but I am not trying to make MVP. I prefer to help people the best I can.

    First off, know that the exams are not fair. To be fair to the Microsoft cert team, they can't be. The questions /answers are usually written by professionals who work with the products. The questions can be based on some pretty obscure topics.

    I've been taking Microsoft exams since 1998. I passed my 30th exam yesterday - 2nd try.

    What I do:

    I prep the best I can for an exam. I schedule the exam two weeks out. This motivates my study habits.

    As I take the exam, I use the marker board to write down the exam topics that I struggle with. This helps me memorize the topics that I need to cram up on. You can't take the marker board with you, of course.

    If I fail the exam, it's no big deal to me. It's disappointing but I am energized to try again.

    I go home and sit at my laptop with Word or Notepad and start writing my own private list of the exam questions that I struggled with. I used the failed exam results to help me remember the questions. I also go back to the Skills Measured on Microsoft's exam web page. I also look up the answers to those questions using MSDN, TechNet, and Bing. I write down all the questions/answers I struggled with - right and wrong answers!

    As I start writing up this document, additional questions/answers will pip in my head. Our brains remember more than we think. I take a few hours to work on this Q&A list. The more I work at it, the more that I will remember. I go back to my study guides or practice exam and even more questions will pop in my head.

    Admittedly, I am creating a personal brain dump. I will never share it with anyone! It is only meant to be used by me. Microsoft has no tolerance for people sharing brain dumps - or even using commercial brain dumps.

    They can tell if someone is using a commercial brain dump because they will get the same wrong  answers as the most popular dumps contain. As well, the test takers seem to pass the exam in less than an hour. I don't recommend them. I never use them.

    On the day of the exam review your notes and the study topics be fore taking it again. If you fail again, refine your document.

    If you just failed your exam recently, sit down and write down those topics. I bet you remember more than you think!

    Good luck and don't give up.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Saturday, November 9, 2013 3:02 PM
    Answerer

All replies

  • I know your frustration. I can share my tips for passing Microsoft exams. These may not be directly recommended by Microsoft but I am not trying to make MVP. I prefer to help people the best I can.

    First off, know that the exams are not fair. To be fair to the Microsoft cert team, they can't be. The questions /answers are usually written by professionals who work with the products. The questions can be based on some pretty obscure topics.

    I've been taking Microsoft exams since 1998. I passed my 30th exam yesterday - 2nd try.

    What I do:

    I prep the best I can for an exam. I schedule the exam two weeks out. This motivates my study habits.

    As I take the exam, I use the marker board to write down the exam topics that I struggle with. This helps me memorize the topics that I need to cram up on. You can't take the marker board with you, of course.

    If I fail the exam, it's no big deal to me. It's disappointing but I am energized to try again.

    I go home and sit at my laptop with Word or Notepad and start writing my own private list of the exam questions that I struggled with. I used the failed exam results to help me remember the questions. I also go back to the Skills Measured on Microsoft's exam web page. I also look up the answers to those questions using MSDN, TechNet, and Bing. I write down all the questions/answers I struggled with - right and wrong answers!

    As I start writing up this document, additional questions/answers will pip in my head. Our brains remember more than we think. I take a few hours to work on this Q&A list. The more I work at it, the more that I will remember. I go back to my study guides or practice exam and even more questions will pop in my head.

    Admittedly, I am creating a personal brain dump. I will never share it with anyone! It is only meant to be used by me. Microsoft has no tolerance for people sharing brain dumps - or even using commercial brain dumps.

    They can tell if someone is using a commercial brain dump because they will get the same wrong  answers as the most popular dumps contain. As well, the test takers seem to pass the exam in less than an hour. I don't recommend them. I never use them.

    On the day of the exam review your notes and the study topics be fore taking it again. If you fail again, refine your document.

    If you just failed your exam recently, sit down and write down those topics. I bet you remember more than you think!

    Good luck and don't give up.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Saturday, November 9, 2013 3:02 PM
    Answerer
  • I guess I'm a little unclear as to how to study for this though. I did the same thing on writing down the topics to cover after I failed the exam the first time. But there were a whole new set of questions in the second test that I had no clue how to answer again.

    The exams are truly unfair. If Microsoft puts together a curriculum and you use that as a guide to study from, then they test on topics that aren't in that curriculum, it makes me wonder if it's even worth attempting the exam, yet again. In an educational setting there is no way this kind of misrepresentation would be tolerated.

    Monday, November 11, 2013 12:55 PM
  • There are only so many questions for a particular exam. They are randomly pulled from a question pool when you take an exam. If you contine to fail the same exam, eventually you will see all the questions repeated. Admittedly, the IT exams seem to have larger exam question pools than developer exams. More people are taking IT exams and the Microsoft cert team wants to be sure the IT titles remain valid.

    Please do NOT count on the Microsoft class or exam preparation books to fully help you pass an exam. The authors of the Microsoft courseware and the authors of the study guides on Amazon do NOT have access to the real exam or the exam questions. They can only speculate what you will be asked on the exam based on the "Skills Measured" section of the exam's descriptive web page.

    Instead, as I suggested before, create you own personal brain dump as soon as you get to a computer after failing the exam. Don't write down the topics; write down the questions and answers that you remember. Write down everything you can remember. Go back to the outlines or to practice exams and see if this jogs your memory about any other questions. Record them, research the correct answers, and write them down.

    Retake the exam within two weeks. This will encourage you to study for the exam immediately while the last attempt is still fresh in your head. Don't wait a mont or two; you'll end up forgetting some of the topics.

    Certification exams are much harder than academic tests, which are always guaranteed to be based on content in the related books. The authors of the college course books are the same authors of the exam questions. For Microsoft's certification exams, the questions are generated by several identified professionals in the related field.

    Just in case you haven't seen them yet, here are the 70-410 study forum and wiki sites. You will find additional study materials and test taking tips from other 70-410 test takers.

    Wiki
    http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/certification/server/w/wiki/491.410-installing-and-configuring-windows-server-2012.aspx

    Forum
    http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/certification/server/f/495.aspx

    Good luck!


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 5:19 AM
    Answerer
  • Thanks, Davin, for the links. I've already found good information in both.

    I've been through the Virtual Academy, but haven't tripped over the link you sent me. I like the MVA site, but the catalog of topics hasn't really blossomed. They've obviously added more to the 2012 topic since I ws there last.

    I"ll report back right after Thanksgiving on my third try.

    *sigh*

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:42 PM
  • Hey CVDale,

    I had a good moan myself (over on my blog) about the certification process , it's definitely not fair, and you would really have to question some of what is being asked? 

    But a couple of things that may help:

    • definite +1 on Davin's tip to use borntolearn, definitely been a big help
    • you really need to get some hands one experience. Keith Mayer has some really good articles on building a lab in Azure, but I found those to be too slow. What I ended up doing was buying a little Microserver, setting up Hyper-V and building a lab in my sitting room. Without this I just wouldn't have passed either of my first 2 exams. I could get 100% in the books & practice exams, but I'd struggle to pass without the actual hands on experience.
    • and when it comes to looking for videos, give a look at the 70-417 jumpstart videos over on Virtual academy

    HTH


    • Edited by Michael Halpin Sunday, November 17, 2013 7:33 PM forgot words
    Sunday, November 17, 2013 7:32 PM
  • Thank you for all your suggestions. It's not only nice to know that others can help, but also to know that I'm not alone in my thinking. I do have a small environment that I can study with and it is helpful. You certainly can't expect to be prepared for the exam without. There were a few things I've picked up on (items that were in the exam that I know I missed) so that is good. Now I just need to divide the content and conquer. I have already expanded my Hyper-V knowledge and I am now feeling a bit more confident in that subject. Fortunately I come from a VMWare shop so I can relate a lot of the functionality to Hyper-V.

    I've been doing this sys admin job for a while and it's really interesting to see where my knowledge gaps are. In the companies I've worked for, the sys admins don't do everything. There is a network group that handles the DHCP, VLAN, sub/supernet and other firewall fun. My abstraction from those duties has created a hole that seems difficult to fill since I haven't had to think about it for quite a long time. *sigh* It's getting better though.

    Slow but sure I will destroy this exam after Thanksgiving. Then there is only four more exams to go. :-/

    Monday, November 18, 2013 2:38 PM
  • Hi,

    never give up. I would suggest to build virtual environment on your PC.

    On VMware Workstation or Virtual PC, you can install a bunch of VMs, build your environment and test all the stuff you find in books (you won't be able to test everything though), but you will be able to do the most important stuff.

    As you have already mentioned, read a book, watch CBT Nuggets and do the preparation tests (which are never 100% correct, I have encountered a lot of wrongly answered questions in those dumps). In the end, I decided not to use dumps at all, sometimes every question is valuable and you can lose points easily if you learn the answer to the question using dumps, and it ends up being wrong.

    Hope this helps.


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    Thursday, July 17, 2014 7:16 AM