I usually post on a Sunday but I didn’t this week as I had the 70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 exam the next day. I was too busy studying to post! One of my goals at work this year is to obtain the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 so this was exam one of three.
Thoughts on the exam and study
After 19 years of working with Microsoft technology this was my first ever Microsoft exam. Looking at the objectives at the beginning I felt confident I knew the material but not necessarily the ‘Microsoft way’ of doing things or how the exam format was like.
I felt it was a fair exam and the objectives covered the exam questions - there were no surprises. Going through objectives I learnt some completely new things like Hyper-V but even better I learnt better ways of doing things I knew. I actually started a new OneNote page listing out the things I want to implement at work. Implementing a short DHCP lease for laptops was a great one.
Even if I never sat the exam I felt that I gained some valuable knowledge.
One thing I recommend is when purchasing the exam is I bought a deal that included a Second Shot voucher and 30 days access to a MeasureUp Practice Exam. There is an offer on this just now on the Microsoft website. This gave me the backup of a free retake if I failed.
I used a number of resources for study. First I went through the MCSA 2012 Learning Path on Pluralsight. The videos closely followed the exam objectives and as usual with Pluralsight high quality. When Greg Shields and Jason Helmick are the presenters you know the content will be great.
Next I got a copy of the Microsoft Press book Exam Ref 70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 R2. This covered any gaps in the Pluralsight videos and reinforced what I learnt so far. I thought is was £18 well spent.
Lab, lab, lab! This goes without saying. Practice using the GUI and PowerShell. You will need to know both well to pass.
Finally I purchased the MeasureUp Practice Exam as part of the exam voucher bundle. This was really good in preparing me on the format and style of the Microsoft exam. It also exposed things I thought I had covered enough but I needed to go back and study some more. Well worth it.
Lastly I like having a check list of all the objectives and cross them off when I am confident on them. Microsoft only have a expandable list on the exam website, so I create a Markdown file in GitHub and converted it to PDF. You can see the Markdown file here, or a grab a copy of the PDF here.
As I said at the beginning this is exam one of three. Some of you might be wondering why the 2012 R2 version of the MCSA? We are not deploying 2016 at work yet, so I know 2012 R2 well. I intend to take the 70-743 Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA: Windows Server 2016 once I get the 2012 R2 version. By then I should have a few 2016 deployments done.
I am looking forward to getting started on 70-411 Administering Windows Server 2012.