To pass a certification exam and earn a Microsoft certification requires being prepared and knowing the content being tested. This can come from experience using the technologies, however, this doesn’t get you 100% of the way to passing through experience alone. Often you don’t use all the technologies and do all the tasks covered on the exam through your daily job duties. As a result, you will need to study.
The keys to preparing for Microsoft certification exams are finding all the right study tools and materials necessary for your learning style. It also helps to go through a practice test of some kind to help prepare and really drill in the memorization of the technical knowledge required.
The cost of study materials can range wildly, depending on what you are using to study. These are a few different avenues that can be chosen when studying and preparing for certification exams.
Online Guides and Articles
There are sources of online study guides and hands-on lab guides that can be used to study for certification exams. These can often provide one of the cheapest options for study.
The product documentation also falls under this category, but is one of the least structured methods to follow when studying.
TIP: You can find some guides for learning and being more productive with Microsoft technologies at: https://howto.buildazure.com
Study guide or other books on the technologies or focused on the exam objectives are a very common method people use to study for certifications. They provide a guided path towards certification that is vetted not just by the author, but also any technical editors that help review the books before they are published.
Typically, a technical book can cost anywhere from $20 to $50 USD depending on the publisher and where it’s purchased.
Online Videos / On-demand Courses
There are online, on-demand video services and courses that can be purchased, and the cost can vary depending on the source. These provide a great self-paced learning path to follow using audio and video rather instead of written books. These sources can be easier to consume while multi-tasking.
There are free video sources available on the Internet, as well as subscription services that cost between $10 to $50 USD per month. There are also individual courses sold by various providers that can vary in price from around $10 to $300 USD per course purchased.
There are free video sources available on the Internet, as well as subscription services that cost between $10 to $50 USD per month.
Instructor-led Training (in-person or virtual)
Obviously, the most expensive study path to take is to attend an in-person, instructor led training. This will give you a class room full of students to attend along-side, and a dedicated trainer for the duration of the class. This may be the most affective training method if you can dedicate the time, but it will cost the most amount of money.
Instructor-led training can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 or more for a 5-day long training class. These are intended to train a group of approximately 20 students at a time with an on-site instructor. This allows students to interact directly in-person with the instructor.
These training classes can be delivered either in-person or virtually over the Internet. The specifics of how the class is delivered will depend on the training provider.
As an individual, it is possible to find training vendors offering training classes that cost only a few thousand dollars. These classes will pool many students from many different clients together so that individuals and/or small teams can afford instructor-led training.
Virtual delivery of instructor-led classes, such as over the Internet, will offer big cost savings. These do not require the trainer to travel, and the class can accommodate more than 20 students. Although, virtual deliveries do not offer the same level of interaction between all the students and the instructor as an in-person class does.
It’s important to fully review the exam objectives when studying for a Microsoft certification exam. It’s also important to purchase and use a practice test in the final stages of studying. Practice tests are great study aids! There are Microsoft Official Practice Tests available for most of the Microsoft certification exams.
s important to fully review the exam objectives when studying for a Microsoft certification exam. It’s also important to purchase and use a practice test in the final stages of studying. Practice tests are great study aids! There are Microsoft Official Practice Tests available for most of the Microsoft certification exams.
The questions are written in a similar format to the questions on the real exam, and will get you used to the exam format. The practice tests will also help familiarize you with the way Microsoft words the questions and answers on the exam. This will also get you more familiar with the “Microsoft best practice” type of question / answer combinations, and help you get further into the “Microsoft best practice” thought process that will be required to pass the exam.
Practice exam questions are written in a similar format to the questions on the real exam, and will get you used to the exam format.
When searching for Microsoft certification practice tests and questions it’s easy to come across websites selling certification exam braindumps. It’s important to never use braindumps while studying.
A braindump is essentially a collection of questions from the exam. These are questions someone who presumably sat the real exam has then typed up from memory. These are advertised and sold as real questions from the real exam. However, there’s no way to verify the accuracy of the questions. They may not be correct question and answer pairs, and have incorrect information in them that will interfere with your study progress.
It’s important to never use braindumps while studying. They will hurt your study efforts, and could disqualify you from getting certified.
The use of braindumps is against the terms and conditions that must be agreed to when taking a Microsoft certification exam. By agreeing to take the certification exam, you are agreeing not to share the contents of the exam with anyone. You are also agreeing that you have not used or participated in braindumps or similar activities.
Do not attempt to cheat your way through Microsoft certification exams. This doesn’t just hurt the credibility of Microsoft certifications, but also the value you will get out of being certified. Do the work to study, learn, and gain the expertise necessary to earn the certification for yourself. This is the only way you will realize all the benefits of being certified and able to perform on the job with the skills validated by the certifications you earn.
Top 9 Tips for Taking Certification Exams
Everyone has different levels of anxiety and levels of nervousness when taking exams. This generally applies the same with certification exams as it does for class exams in school. It’s great to know all you can about the exam objectives being tested on the Microsoft certification exam your taking, however, be sure to follow some best practices for test taking. These will help you reduce anxiety and enhance mental focus so you do your best every time.
Here’s a list of a few tips and techniques you can use when preparing for and sitting through a certification exam testing session:
- Practice Test – Be sure to use a Practice Test as part of your study process. This will help you get into the exam question mindset.
- Multiple Study Resources – Using multiple sources of study resources will help iterate through the content multiple times and improve retention. This could be combining a training class, labs, documentation, and a text book. Or possibly any other combination of resources you deem appropriate.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. – Get plenty of hands-on experience with the technologies covered on the exam.
- Get Plenty of Sleep – Getting an appropriate amount of sleep the night before sitting for an exam will help you be well rested and able to focus on the exam with a clear mind.
- Use Restroom Beforehand – Nothing kills mental focus like having to urinate. Be sure to use the restroom before beginning a testing session. You are not allowed to take a break in the middle of the exam.
- It’s OK to Guess – If you really don’t know the answer to a question, then just guess. You won’t be penalized for guessing. Plus, who knows, you might get it correct!
- Answer ALL Questions – An unanswered question is an incorrect answer. Be sure to answer all questions on the exam to make sure you don’t lose points unnecessarily.
- Relax – Just focus on doing your best. If you don’t know the answers to some questions, or get a few incorrect, it’s ok. At the end of the exam you will receive a score report for how you did on the exam objective areas. If you do fail, you can always retake the exam after you’ve studied the objective areas you didn’t score so well on.
- Take Notes Afterwards – This is especially helpful if you do fail the exam. Taking notes about what was covered and not covered on the exam immediately while it’s still fresh in your mind will help you retain valuable information that can be used to study for the next exam attempt. Just don’t share these notes with anyone as that would violate the testing policies.