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070-680 / 073-680 Cert Exam Problems RRS feed

  • Question

  • So I just failed this test for the third time and I am about running on my last bit of patience with this exam.  About 3 months ago I took my first shot at this exam after about 3 weeks of quick scanning of the Microsoft suggested book as well as picking up the Kaplan SelfTest software suggested by Microsoft.  I failed with a 680. Although I failed, I knew the huge majority of the questions but second guessed myself on most of them and ended up switching some answers around that all ended up being wrong.  Stupid me.

    So I felt pretty confident in my knowledge as well as my experience.  I picked up the book and started looking into the items I had questions about on the test and supplemented that with a bunch of google searches as well as a few hours of Professor Messer's 70-680 training and exam prep videos.  About 7 weeks after my first attempt I was feeling extremely confident and decided to schedule my second attempt at this exam. 

    I went into the testing center with a big 'ol smile on my face, proud of my hard work, thinking about how it was about to pay off and how I was going to be able to drive back to work in 2 hours and brag about my 3 new certifications on top of all the other certifications I already have.  By question number 5 I was figuratively deucing in my pants.  By question 35 of 50 I was chuckling a little bit in disbelief.  By question 45 of 50 I couldn't hold back and was busting up laughing.  The second attempt at this test was a complete failure.  It was completely different than my first attempt.  When I say completely different I mean completely different.  I second guessed if I even got the correct exam until I got my score sheet with the exam number on it.  50 brand new questions on brand new concepts that I never studied for because I didn't think I needed to.  Looks like about the entire exam got trashed and replaced.  I ended up scoring somewhere around 550 this time.  Fool me once, shame on you.

    At this point I was REALLY upset.  I felt like I just got robbed by Microsoft.  It took me a few days but I got over it and blamed it on myself for not studying the full material.  So I settled back in and went through the book in depth 3 times, I watched all 13.5 hours of Professor Messor's training videos on the 70-680 exam twice (focusing on a few sectionsa little more by replaying them 4 or 5 times before I would move on), worked through the Kaplan SelfTest software repetitively every free second of the day whether at work or at home.  It can go without saying, but, my fiancée was NOT happy with the lack of attention through this process LOL but she understood.  It got to the point that I had almost every practice exam question and flash card memorized as well as the reasons why answers were right as well as wrong and what all the wrong answers for each question were actually for.  I even got a few questions changed in the Kaplan SeltTest Software because I found and proved they were wrong.  I also picked up the MeasureUp Software, again, Microsoft recommended.  I went through that without much issue as well.  About 5 weeks later (last Friday) I felt really confident again so I scheduled my 3rd attempt at this exam for this morning.  That gave me a full week to sure up some loose ends and look for anything I may have overlooked.  I pulled an all nighter last Friday, took a quick 2 hour nap Saturday morning, and pulled an all nighter on Saturday night.  I increased my studying volume each day of this week Monday through this morning and built a 15 page last second refresher document with key concepts I would need to hit again right before heading into the training center.

    So I got up this morning, had the morning off work to relax and prepare slowly instead of rushing around.  I got to the training center an hour early and spent that hour running through my refresher document over and over again until about 7 minutes before my exam time.  I went in feeling really confident again this morning.  Sat down in the exam room, and by the 3rd question was starting to get a little concerned again.  By the 10th question I was upset.  By the 25th question I was really angry.  By 35 I started really losing interest, still not a single question I knew.  Finally at question 45 I got a streak of 5 questions that I actually knew without question.  I ended up with a 583 score today.  That 583 can be attributed to a TON of lucky guesses.  I only really knew 5 questions on the exam today. 

    My third attempt at this test in a 3 month span and all three tests were completely different.  Each time they got more in depth and further away from what the Microsoft Suggested Training materials as well as Professor Messer videos covered.  Today I saw a bunch of commands cmdlets and switches I had no idea even existed.  I am not even sure if they do actually exist.  Why you ask?  Well because this test was horribly put together.  This exam looked like it was thrown together by somebody in about 30 minutes.  Questions were mostly all cut off really short and lacked the details required to answer the question, questions generally consisting of 6 or 7 lines were dropped to 3 half lines housing only the barest of information if the information even made sense at all, correct answers appear to be completely missing from questions, answers consisting of cmdlets had the cmdlets spelled incorrectly, switches were fat fingered.  It was just a complete mess of an exam.

    All those formatting and proofreading issues aside, I still am completely deflated and lost at this point.  I have never had a test where I failed 3 times in 3 months and somehow, even with all the power studying every day, every time I took the retest I walked in feeling like I was ready and walked out feeling dumber than the last time.

    What is the deal with this exam?

    Why is Microsoft changing the exam so quickly?

    Why do they keep updating this exam with questions that migrate further and further away from the materials Microsoft tells you to study for the exam?

    I can't sit here studying everything about everything about everything about everything in Windows 7.  It isn't possible.

    Since Microsoft is updating exams with questions comprised of concepts that are moving away from all the information the recommended study material covers at break neck speeds, shouldn't they be releasing new approved study materials for the exam?

    My opinion is that they are creating one heck of an unfair advantage already and don't appear to be slowing down any time soon.  After 3 exams, 50 questions each, 150 questions total, I have only gotten a repeat question 1 time.

    What am I supposed to use for study materials?  How do I prepare for my 4th attempt?  All of my study materials are void at this point as they do not cover any of the topics touched in the newest version of the exam.

    AAAAHHHHHHHHHH  HELP ME PLEASE!!!

    Friday, November 8, 2013 11:43 PM

Answers

  • You darn right these exam questions are tough and many are not completely fair. As well, the exam questions are written by IT professionals who thought their questions' topics were important enough to test you on them. Keep in mind, these exam questions are usually written (right after a product is released) by professionals experienced with the prior version on the product. As well, they write the questions on brand new features and/or functionality that may or may not be utilized in the real world years after the product is installed. Some new features may be considered dumb and useless and ignored by today's IT professionals - yet you have to learn them for the frickin' exam!

    As a working IT professional, you usually cannot blame yourself for failing these exams. Yes, folks totally new to the field will have a much harder time and have a lot to learn, but the purpose of these questions is to filter the beginners from the experienced professionals. The key is - it doesn't always work!

    Face it - there are people passing this exam. The question is - how? Are they better test takers? Do they use illegal brain dumps? Do they "brute force" the exams (keep trying until you pass)? Are they super geniuses? Are they experienced in everything with product - ha!

    There are also people that just give up on an exam. I have done that when I felt the questions were too hard, unfair, or irrelevant in today's IT world. Besides, real world work experience speaks volumes more on a resume than just some passed exam or title. Certs can mean a lot more to an junior professional trying to enter the field than a working professional trying to stay current.

    BTW - I believe (I am speculating!) that the typical IT exam pool is based on 90 to 150 questions depending on how many questions are deliverd for an exam. There are not several hundred questions, as stated above. Keep in mind that when people take Microsoft beta certification exams, they get all the questions - typically 120 or so questions. No one is taking an exam with 300 questions on it.

    How I Pass a Microsoft Exam (My Tips)

    • Study the best you can for the first attempt. Make sure to take advantage of free "2nd shot" Prometric voucher and plan on retaking it so you don't feel so down if you fail the darn thing.
    • As you are taking it, read the question thoroughly. A small strange detail might be a hint in the question that will force you to choose a particular answer.
    • As you are taking it, if you see an unknown acronym or property, write it on the markerboard to help you remember it later when you get back home to prepare to retake it.
    • For each question, make sure you are clear if they are asking for one or more answers.
    • When looking at a collection of possible answers (usually four), try to immediately eliminate the stupid answers (usually two). Of the other two, go back to the question and look for the weird fact that alludes to why you have to choose one of them.

    If you fail...

    • Before leaving the exam room, study your markerboard and try to remember your notes. You will write them down when you get home or even in the parking lot at the test center.
    • Immediately get to a computer (home/work) and write down all the questions and answers that you remember from the exam. Look up the correct answers and understand why they wrote the questions. Why are they testing you on that topic? What's it purpose?
    • Go through the exam outline, practice exams, and study guides to see if they help you remember additional exam questions. Write those down too after researching them and include the correct answers!
    • Consider using legal study guides offered by others who have passed the exam, such as this one:
      http://eddiejackson.net/web_documents/70-680_Study_Guide.pdf 
      or this one:
      http://www.mcmcse.com/microsoft/guides/70-680/70-680.shtml 
      The free study guides available are usually written by other suffering test takers who have conquered it. Be careful not to download braindumps which are illegal.
    • Retake the exam within two weeks. This pushes you to study more of the exam topics and helps keep all the exam topics fresh in your head.
    • Use IT blogs related to the exam topics. You should see the most important topics repeated across multiple blogs.
    • On the day of the retake, study your notes. Count on seeing some of those questions reappear when you retake the exam.

    Good luck - seriously! You can pass this piece of @#$% of an exam. It's not always about knowing all possible exam topics. It largely about answering the exam questions correctly. The exams are only quizzing you on parts of the exam topic - not everything. Know those parts.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson


    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 6:24 AM
    Answerer

All replies

  • So first off they are probably not changing up the exam that much.  Most exams have hundreds of questions in their pool.  Some technologies will have more questions than other just because it's the nature of the technology/software/application etc.

    You keep saying you're studying but I didn't see anything about you saying you were building and working through the technology.  For instance, below is from the MS website on what the exam measures for that one section.  Have you physically gone through and done these things in the real world?

    Deploying Windows 7 (13%)
    • Capture a system image

      • Preparing system for capture; creating a WIM file; automated capture; manual capture

    • Prepare a system image for deployment

      • Inserting an application into a system image; inserting a driver into a system image; inserting an update into a system image; configuring tasks to run after deployment

    • Deploy a system image

      • Automated deployment methods; manually deploying a customized image

    • Configure a VHD

      • Creating, deploying, booting, mounting, and updating VHDs; offline updates; offline servicing

    There is no perfect answer to this question, everyone is different.  My personal approach is that I find as many exam questions/study aid (whatever you want to call them) as I can and instead of trying to study for the answer, I walk through the question in a lab environment (like a real world point and click machine).  Each question I don't know or I'm not sure about gets lab time and then I still may go through it more ways than one - meaning I might do it with the GUI and the next time I'll do it in powershell.

    Have a look here at MS TechNet Virtual Labs

    Don't just answer the question, know how to mouse click or powershell your way through the entire question

    • Proposed as answer by Kelly Bush Tuesday, November 12, 2013 1:02 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by 51Patrick1 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:51 PM
    Saturday, November 9, 2013 12:02 AM
  • Yes I have and do accomplish those things regularly.  I have a dev lab at my house as well as my office at work.  So I do go through these physically as well.

    As far as going through everything both GUI and PS style, that is where I am having the issue at this point.  I physically do as many activities as I need to in order to answer questions I have on different aspects of my studies, but, only the first exam I took actually involved information included in the study material.  Exams 2 and 3 both had all kinds of "scope creep" on what was tested.

    Saturday, November 9, 2013 12:45 AM
  • As already stated, there is a pool of questions used for exams.  This is to guarantee that people do not get the same questions when they resit and exam.  This also helps maintain the integrity of exams.

    How many years experience do you have with the technology (by experience I mean actually using the technology on a day-to-day basis, not studying, doing a few labs or playing around at home)? Microsoft recommend that you have at least 1yrs experience in an Enterprise environment (This means working with the technology in an Organisation or Business on a daily basis).

    From the information provided it appears that most of your experience has come from study, labs and/or playing around in dev labs.


    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

    Sunday, November 10, 2013 10:57 PM
    Moderator
  • I have been working in an Enterprise environment for over 4 years working with Windows 7 x86 and x64.  I actually build images, driver repositories, advertisements, and build, troubleshoot, repair, and deploy laptops, desktops, thin clients, iPads, iPods, and other equipment every day.  I do this for a fortune 300 company with over 20,000 employees.

    Problem is the statement or thought process that I need to practice this stuff on a daily basis in a live environment is ridiculous if you actually think about that statement.  For one, how would I implement a Homegroup and troubleshoot issues with it in an Enterprise environment when no enterprise environment that is going to last more than 6 months would ever setup their machines on a "Home" WLAN and do file sharing through Homegroup.  Also, very few legitimate Enterprise environments use all Microsoft technologies like Branch Caching and distributed and hosted modes.  We use things like SCCM instead because they function better.  Furthermore, this would also assume that I will make the same exact mistakes over and over and over again that Microsoft is testing you on.  If I did this, I would not have a job for very long at all.

    On top of that, you require certifications like this to get into positions that allow you to do things like this.  If I need the cert to get the job, how do I get the job so I can get the cert?  Catch 22 much?  The only reason I am in the position I am is because I know one of the Senior Engineers and he moved into my office to work with me every day when he got hired.

    The entire premise of "We are not going to test you on the materials we tell you to study and that we teach you" is a shameful statement that makes absolutely no sense at all.  I mean answer this question for me off the top of your head; How many error codes are possible to run into during image, capture, driver insertion, and application of a .WIM file of a Windows 7 Professional x86 build?  What are those error codes and what do they mean?

    You can't answer that.  That is why when you call Microsoft and say "I just got a BSOD with error code 0x04394873" the rep says "Let me put you on a brief hold while I research your issue" then goes and searches their database for the issue and troubleshooting steps and reads the page back to you.

    So why is it fair to test us on things they don't teach us or provide to us in their suggested study materials that we would honestly have no way of knowing it was even there because nobody ever told you it was there?

    Monday, November 11, 2013 1:13 AM
  • You darn right these exam questions are tough and many are not completely fair. As well, the exam questions are written by IT professionals who thought their questions' topics were important enough to test you on them. Keep in mind, these exam questions are usually written (right after a product is released) by professionals experienced with the prior version on the product. As well, they write the questions on brand new features and/or functionality that may or may not be utilized in the real world years after the product is installed. Some new features may be considered dumb and useless and ignored by today's IT professionals - yet you have to learn them for the frickin' exam!

    As a working IT professional, you usually cannot blame yourself for failing these exams. Yes, folks totally new to the field will have a much harder time and have a lot to learn, but the purpose of these questions is to filter the beginners from the experienced professionals. The key is - it doesn't always work!

    Face it - there are people passing this exam. The question is - how? Are they better test takers? Do they use illegal brain dumps? Do they "brute force" the exams (keep trying until you pass)? Are they super geniuses? Are they experienced in everything with product - ha!

    There are also people that just give up on an exam. I have done that when I felt the questions were too hard, unfair, or irrelevant in today's IT world. Besides, real world work experience speaks volumes more on a resume than just some passed exam or title. Certs can mean a lot more to an junior professional trying to enter the field than a working professional trying to stay current.

    BTW - I believe (I am speculating!) that the typical IT exam pool is based on 90 to 150 questions depending on how many questions are deliverd for an exam. There are not several hundred questions, as stated above. Keep in mind that when people take Microsoft beta certification exams, they get all the questions - typically 120 or so questions. No one is taking an exam with 300 questions on it.

    How I Pass a Microsoft Exam (My Tips)

    • Study the best you can for the first attempt. Make sure to take advantage of free "2nd shot" Prometric voucher and plan on retaking it so you don't feel so down if you fail the darn thing.
    • As you are taking it, read the question thoroughly. A small strange detail might be a hint in the question that will force you to choose a particular answer.
    • As you are taking it, if you see an unknown acronym or property, write it on the markerboard to help you remember it later when you get back home to prepare to retake it.
    • For each question, make sure you are clear if they are asking for one or more answers.
    • When looking at a collection of possible answers (usually four), try to immediately eliminate the stupid answers (usually two). Of the other two, go back to the question and look for the weird fact that alludes to why you have to choose one of them.

    If you fail...

    • Before leaving the exam room, study your markerboard and try to remember your notes. You will write them down when you get home or even in the parking lot at the test center.
    • Immediately get to a computer (home/work) and write down all the questions and answers that you remember from the exam. Look up the correct answers and understand why they wrote the questions. Why are they testing you on that topic? What's it purpose?
    • Go through the exam outline, practice exams, and study guides to see if they help you remember additional exam questions. Write those down too after researching them and include the correct answers!
    • Consider using legal study guides offered by others who have passed the exam, such as this one:
      http://eddiejackson.net/web_documents/70-680_Study_Guide.pdf 
      or this one:
      http://www.mcmcse.com/microsoft/guides/70-680/70-680.shtml 
      The free study guides available are usually written by other suffering test takers who have conquered it. Be careful not to download braindumps which are illegal.
    • Retake the exam within two weeks. This pushes you to study more of the exam topics and helps keep all the exam topics fresh in your head.
    • Use IT blogs related to the exam topics. You should see the most important topics repeated across multiple blogs.
    • On the day of the retake, study your notes. Count on seeing some of those questions reappear when you retake the exam.

    Good luck - seriously! You can pass this piece of @#$% of an exam. It's not always about knowing all possible exam topics. It largely about answering the exam questions correctly. The exams are only quizzing you on parts of the exam topic - not everything. Know those parts.


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson


    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 6:24 AM
    Answerer
  • I marked Davin's response as the answer.  Not sure why a discussion thread would require you to mark an answer as a discussion does not hold the conversational requirement of an answer to be considered completed.  I guess that's just anther one of those failed Microsoft deals where proofing was never done and minimal thought process was put on a product or service.  #VistaFlashBacks


    • Edited by 51Patrick1 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:55 PM
    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:54 PM
  • Thanks, 51Patrick1.

    BTW - when you create a new post on the forum, there are two radio buttons at the top for you to choose from.

    "Ask a question" and "Start a discussion".


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:34 PM
    Answerer