Technology is a big part of our lives today, and as such, I thought I would do a few posts on some tech stuff for you nerds out there. I recently realized that a lot of my certifications were out of date and I needed to update them. The easiest (in my opinion) and most productive route to go is the Microsoft track. Lets face it, when it comes to business computing, Microsoft is still king.
For those of you out there who don’t know what a MCSA certification is, let me clarify. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. The first step to getting your MCSA is by taking two tests, the MCSA Windows 8 (currently) 70-346, and 70-347. These tests will get you the MCSA certification. You should follow this up with two tests on MCSe Windows SharePoint. Exams #331, and 332.
Each exam costs $150, so you really don’t want to have to retake the exams. I figured I would share my experience on exam taking, since I currently hold a few certs and have been successful in the past. I hope to continue that trend. So let me give you some insights on the fast track.
I’m not a big fan of the “Bootcamps” that are offered because of the inflated prices that come with them. The typical Bootcamp experience costs about $3-$4000, so unless a company is paying for your training, you probably won’t be going to one of those. My second reason is that they advertise a free retest if you fail. I don’t want a guaranteed retake, I want to pass on the first go round.
SO, here is what I do. First off I want to know the material, so I will buy some books or get some online training videos about the subject, as well as creating a testing environment to play with what I am learning. Unfortunately, the tests are really geared to real world applications, so when I feel I am finished becoming knowledgeable about the subject matter, I will then begin to study for the exam. I will utilize a resource that is commonly known as a Brain Dump. These are actual questions used on the exams. I am not trying to use this to know the material but rather to familiarize myself with the way that Microsoft will be asking the questions. Once I can answer the majority of the questions with a passing grade I will be ready to take the exam.
The process I use to do this is a long one. It can be done in about one week depending on the time you want to spend and the amount of knowledge you already have on the subject. First, I take the Brain Dump and copy the questions out in a notebook with only the correct answer, when I have finished all 150-300 pages. I will get a friend (usually my wife) to ask me the questions verbally, marking any that I get wrong. Then I rewrite the the ones I got wrong, I contunue this until I stop getting things wrong. Once that is complete, I schedule the exam. Another great tool is a VCE exam simulator. This will also give you the similar type of experience you will get at the testing center.
Remember, the more confident you are going into the test. the better you will do. Good luck and “enjoy” your study time. Let me know if this method helps you.