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Failed 70-642 exam due to omission(s) from study materials! RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    I just wrote the 70-642 exam basing my studies from the Microsoft Press preparation materials for this exam by authors Tony Northrup and JC Mackin.

    I'm a little annoyed that the exam included questions on topics that were not covered in the study materials!  Specifically on DirectAccess <removed due to NDA>. I'm also surprised (or perhaps not surprised at all) that I was not tested on <removed due to NDA>.  The exam was very much lobsided and did not portray an accurate fielding of questions from the exam prep materials.  This is absolutely ridiculous and I'm *slighty* annoyed right now.

    From speaking with others that have experienced the same thing I ask how are we supposed to study for exams that aren't fair?  Fairness meaning the inclusion of all topics needed in order to successfully pass.


    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 10:20 PM

Answers

  • You are 100% correct Terahertz.  It's the responsibility of the candidate to ensure they have studied the correct content.

    I understand your frustration Jon however purchasing study material "years ago" and then turning up to an exam without validating what you have studied is not Microsoft's or Prometric's fault (I liken your scenario to using a street directory from "years ago" then complaining that a street is no longer their or accessible even though it is according to the directory).

    Microsoft publishes details of the Skills Measured for each exam and regularly updates this information to ensure candidates are aware of exam changes.  For your exam it clearly states that it includes Windows Server 2008 R2 content and clearly states that DirectAccess is a skill being measured.  Given this, the reason why you failed the exam is not because Microsoft played dirty or changed the exam and didn't notify you, it's because you didn't ensure that the material you purchased "years ago" was still valid for the current version of the exam.

    So where do you go from here?  I'd suggest that you review the skills measured in the exam (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-642) and then use TechNet Online (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/) to research those topics not covered in the study material you purchased.  You should also have a look at the Windows Server 2008 R2 release documents (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5681) to see what's new/changed since 2008 and then research this new/changed content using TechNet Online.

    BTW, Microsoft is aware that sometimes "stuff" happens and that people sometime "forget" to check the Skills Measured for an exam so they have provided Second Shot vouchers (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/second-shot.aspx) to assist candidates with passing exams.  Unfortunately these vouchers need to be registered at the time of exam booking and cannot be applied retrospectively so will not help with your current situation (however they will help for furture exams).


    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

    • Marked as answer by J A Copeland Wednesday, February 6, 2013 11:51 PM
    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 10:48 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    I just wrote the 70-642 exam basing my studies from the Microsoft Press preparation materials for this exam by authors Tony Northrup and JC Mackin.

    I'm a little annoyed that the exam included questions on topics that were not covered in the study materials!  Specifically on DirectAccess <removed due to NDA>. I'm also surprised (or perhaps not surprised at all) that I was not tested on <removed due to NDA>.  The exam was very much lobsided and did not portray an accurate fielding of questions from the exam prep materials.  This is absolutely ridiculous and I'm *slighty* annoyed right now.

    From speaking with others that have experienced the same thing I ask how are we supposed to study for exams that aren't fair?  Fairness meaning the inclusion of all topics needed in order to successfully pass.


    Hi, I'm one of the authors of this book. Sorry about your troubles with the exam! I know it's a tough one. 

    First, a minor point: As someone else pointed out, I do cover DirectAccess in the book.

    A more important point: I know it's a popular misconception, but no book can completely prepare you for the certification exams. I always do my best; I cover every exam objective, particularly focusing on content that I think will be in the test.

    Of course, I take (and pass) every exam that I write about... I've passed more than 30 MS certification exams over the years. However, there's no way that my book or any book will ever cover everything on an exam, for several reasons:

    * Even though it's published by Microsoft Press, they are not legally allowed to give the authors any information about the exam except for the pubic exam objectives. I don't get to see the questions.
    * When I take the test, I only see a portion of the overall question pool at one point in time.
    * Microsoft regularly changes the exam, so even if I covered every question at the time of the writing, new questions would be introduced later.

    * If you could just read a book and pass the exam, the certification would become instantly meaningless, devaluing it for everyone. You really do need more than a book; you need practice and, hopefully, real world experience.

    As a result, I can't write the book to the exam. Instead, I try to write a book that will give readers knowledge they can use in the real world, but I stick closely to the exam objectives.

    And please don't be upset that the book covered something that wasn't on the exam. It's not time wasted; even if it's not on the exam, it's still good to know for the real world!

    Well, just wanted to get that out there, because it's a very common and understandable misunderstanding, particularly because our book has the "Microsoft Press" logo on it.

    Tony

    Monday, February 11, 2013 9:26 PM

All replies

  • What experience do you have with Windows Server 2008R2 (by experience I mean practical experience from using the technology on a daily bassis, not experience gained from studying)?

    According to the exam content page (under Skills Measured) http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-642:

    • Configure DirectAccess.
      • May include but is not limited to: IPv6; IPsec; server requirements; client requirements; perimeter network; name resolution policy table

    Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the training kit so can't verify it's 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


    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 10:51 PM
    Moderator
  • I have just verified that the 2nd edition of the 70-642 training kit published on 20 May 2011 does indeed cover DirectAccess.  You can use Amazons "Look Inside" feature to search for DirectAccess

    http://www.amazon.com/Self-Paced-Training-Exam-70-642-Infrastructure/dp/0735651604/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360105871&sr=1-1&keywords=70-642+2nd+edition


    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, February 5, 2013 11:10 PM
    Moderator
  • I had a similar experience. I think the CORE issue here is that exams are updated and people taking the tests are not notified. The only update ever published is in the exam objectives. While that's great for someone just now starting to study for the exam, it does no good for the user that has been studying for a few months.

    I took the exam early last year and failed because of this very reason. I was studying first edition material when Branch Cache, direct access and other new material was not available. I went, took the exam and these terms were included on the exam. I failed by about 30 points.

    Mr. Wharty is right - i mean Microsoft does publish the updates and their second editions books do cover the new material, but there should be some other means that MS can tell test takers. Something like an exam edition, 70-642 for the first edition and when R2 comes out 70-642B or something. I don't know, i just know i got burnt as well on this and some communication would be greatly appreciated.

    On that note I've been studying the new material and plan to take the exam in the coming weeks.

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 11:57 PM
  • Something like an exam edition, 70-642 for the first edition and when R2 comes out 70-642B or something.

    This is something that has been under discussion for quite some time however I don't believe MSL have come up with a viable solution yet.


    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, February 6, 2013 12:04 AM
    Moderator
  • Good to hear they are discussing it - when it comes down to it, it's the testers responsibility to ensure they are prepared. Just empathizing with the original poster, i had the same frustrating experience.

    Look at the exam objectives from MS and they include direct access, branch caching, access based enumeration, ect: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-642

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 4:16 AM
  • My own personal opinion as a trainer/consultant is that no single book, practice test, or course can (or should) provide enough depth or breadth of content to make you proficient in a technology. To pass a certification exam you should need real world hands-on knowledge. If you are using the technology and keeping current with the updates and changes you should do well.

    The training kits are great for exposing you to parts of the technology that you do not use frequently (we all specialize to a certain extent) and to fill in gaps in your knowledge.

    When I prepare for exams, I often start with training kits. I then look at the web site for the technology, blog posts from experts, magazines and everything else I can find. This strategy works pretty well for me.


    Mike Corkery, MCT, MVP (Office Systems), MCSD (Windows Store Apps), MCITP, MCPD, MSF, etc. Please do not forget to click “Vote as Helpful” if any post helps you and "Mark as Answer”if it solves the issue.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 2:06 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Folks,

    I do agree that this can be frustrating. Back in 2010, when updated R2 content first started appearing on Microsoft exams, there was an outcry from test takers, and a similar debate ensued here in this forum.

    At that time, Ben Watson, then Director of Training Products for Microsoft Learning (now with Global Knowledge), made the following declaration:

    "Candidates are expected to know the latest version of the software. Microsoft Learning updates exams on a regular basis to keep the exam 'fresh' and also updates exams when key Services Packs or Releases happen. Of course, we do not communicate what or when questions have been added to protect the integrity of the exam.

    It is also important to remember that the Microsoft Certification Team does not communicate exam details to the Microsoft Training Products Team. There is a 'wall' between the two teams, in particular because of our ANSI certification..."

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en/CertGeneral/thread/d9614142-1a0d-470f-ac26-d7289df769fb

    Anyhow, what Ben is saying is that we are expected to know the latest version of any new Microsoft software published, that is relevant to our exam, whether or not this content is included in Microsoft's own official training products. Furthermore, he claims that since there is no "special" communication at Microsoft between those who write the exams and those you produce the training products, then one shouldn't rely solely on Microsoft's training products in preparation for Microsoft's exams.

    So there you have it folks. You have been forewarned. Caveat emptor.

    James

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 2:45 PM
  • When exam prep materials indicate 70-642 and the exam I subsequently write indicates 70-642 there's no doubt in my mind that what I've studied should cover all topics / questions in the exam, pretty straightforward and simple.  When people are paying *lots* of money to write multiple exams and there's an inclusion of additional topics not covered in the prep materials this is really unacceptable.  

    In my case I had purchased all of the exam materials that cover the 70-640 / 642 and 646 MCITP:SA exams years ago and it's just taken me this long to get it all done, why? ... life happens and yes you can minus marks for me failing to check up the exam skill objectiveson the site prior to when I wrote the exam and I consider this an expensive lesson learned. But really?

    I'm glad to hear that there is discussion on this but discussion without action is futile and it's 2013 already.  Time to get a move on with some decision making here.  There *has to* be a better way of doing this.  Without giving it much thought here's two potential solutions off the top of my head:

    1. Require some kind of initial screening process when a candidate registers for the exam that outlines the inclusion of additional exam objectives or...
    2. Send a friendly email reminder to the candidate once registered indicating that there may be additional content quizzed in the exam since Exam Prep Material X, Y and Z were published and to ensure that candidate knowledge is up to date.  A lot of people (me included apparently) don't even think to check up on the skills required on the exam objectives site and by implementing one of the above solutions you introduce a level of awareness to the candidate so that they can take the necessary steps to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.  How hard will it be for Prometric to send a candidates email address to MSL so that they can then subsequently send the candidate a reminder update?
    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 4:14 PM
  • I don't think it's Prometric's job - they just proctor the exam they don't design it or create the outline. I still believe the fastest, easiest solution would just be to include exam versions when an exam is updated. IE 70-642 and 70-642B or 70-642R2.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 5:58 PM
  • You are 100% correct Terahertz.  It's the responsibility of the candidate to ensure they have studied the correct content.

    I understand your frustration Jon however purchasing study material "years ago" and then turning up to an exam without validating what you have studied is not Microsoft's or Prometric's fault (I liken your scenario to using a street directory from "years ago" then complaining that a street is no longer their or accessible even though it is according to the directory).

    Microsoft publishes details of the Skills Measured for each exam and regularly updates this information to ensure candidates are aware of exam changes.  For your exam it clearly states that it includes Windows Server 2008 R2 content and clearly states that DirectAccess is a skill being measured.  Given this, the reason why you failed the exam is not because Microsoft played dirty or changed the exam and didn't notify you, it's because you didn't ensure that the material you purchased "years ago" was still valid for the current version of the exam.

    So where do you go from here?  I'd suggest that you review the skills measured in the exam (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-642) and then use TechNet Online (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/) to research those topics not covered in the study material you purchased.  You should also have a look at the Windows Server 2008 R2 release documents (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5681) to see what's new/changed since 2008 and then research this new/changed content using TechNet Online.

    BTW, Microsoft is aware that sometimes "stuff" happens and that people sometime "forget" to check the Skills Measured for an exam so they have provided Second Shot vouchers (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/second-shot.aspx) to assist candidates with passing exams.  Unfortunately these vouchers need to be registered at the time of exam booking and cannot be applied retrospectively so will not help with your current situation (however they will help for furture exams).


    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

    • Marked as answer by J A Copeland Wednesday, February 6, 2013 11:51 PM
    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 10:48 PM
    Moderator
  • Don't get me wrong, I completely understand your perspective Mr Wharty, but being on the receiving end of this I just wished that awareness of missing subjects from my course materials could have been raised using some other method.  Like I said ... lesson learned.

    In response to Terahertz PC I don't mean it's Prometrics job to notify candidates, however, they are aware when a candidate registers for an exam, so have them notify MSL with the exam the candidate will be writing who can in turn notify the candidate of any "gotcha's" that the candidate should be aware of.  Awareness level raised and nobody was hurt in the process.

    Good info and responses from all.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 11:49 PM
  • Hi,

    I just wrote the 70-642 exam basing my studies from the Microsoft Press preparation materials for this exam by authors Tony Northrup and JC Mackin.

    I'm a little annoyed that the exam included questions on topics that were not covered in the study materials!  Specifically on DirectAccess <removed due to NDA>. I'm also surprised (or perhaps not surprised at all) that I was not tested on <removed due to NDA>.  The exam was very much lobsided and did not portray an accurate fielding of questions from the exam prep materials.  This is absolutely ridiculous and I'm *slighty* annoyed right now.

    From speaking with others that have experienced the same thing I ask how are we supposed to study for exams that aren't fair?  Fairness meaning the inclusion of all topics needed in order to successfully pass.


    Hi, I'm one of the authors of this book. Sorry about your troubles with the exam! I know it's a tough one. 

    First, a minor point: As someone else pointed out, I do cover DirectAccess in the book.

    A more important point: I know it's a popular misconception, but no book can completely prepare you for the certification exams. I always do my best; I cover every exam objective, particularly focusing on content that I think will be in the test.

    Of course, I take (and pass) every exam that I write about... I've passed more than 30 MS certification exams over the years. However, there's no way that my book or any book will ever cover everything on an exam, for several reasons:

    * Even though it's published by Microsoft Press, they are not legally allowed to give the authors any information about the exam except for the pubic exam objectives. I don't get to see the questions.
    * When I take the test, I only see a portion of the overall question pool at one point in time.
    * Microsoft regularly changes the exam, so even if I covered every question at the time of the writing, new questions would be introduced later.

    * If you could just read a book and pass the exam, the certification would become instantly meaningless, devaluing it for everyone. You really do need more than a book; you need practice and, hopefully, real world experience.

    As a result, I can't write the book to the exam. Instead, I try to write a book that will give readers knowledge they can use in the real world, but I stick closely to the exam objectives.

    And please don't be upset that the book covered something that wasn't on the exam. It's not time wasted; even if it's not on the exam, it's still good to know for the real world!

    Well, just wanted to get that out there, because it's a very common and understandable misunderstanding, particularly because our book has the "Microsoft Press" logo on it.

    Tony

    Monday, February 11, 2013 9:26 PM