In a previous post I covered some of the material I used to pass 70-410 (Installing And Configuring Windows Server 2012), so I wanted to follow up with brief post on what I used to pass Microsoft’s 70-411, (Administering Windows Server 2012).
Born To Learn
The born to learn site and forums is a Microsoft-hosted community site, aimed at pulling content relevant to pass different Microsoft Certifications. Definitely a good starting point to figure out what to start studying. NB. even if you do follow everything, it’s probably not going to be enough to pass the exam.
Server 2012 Jumpstart Videos
These are a series of youtube videos (which I believe were originally aimed at the Microsoft Virtual Academy), which are hosted by Rick Claus and Ed Lieberman. Essentially each video is an hour long, and while they do cover some topics which are not in 70-411 scope, are still well worth a look. (Big hint: if you are struggling to find materials for 70-410 or 70-411, give a look for material covering 70-417, which is one of the two upgrade exams if you have an MCSE in a previous Server edition).
Trainsignal\Pluralsight Videos & Transcender Practice Exams
These would be fairly standard practices (the reason I mention Trainsignal & Pluralsight is that Trainsignal was acquired by Pluralsight while I was studying.) One thing that happened however, is that when Trainsignal were acquired the practice exams were no longer available (because Pluralsight are now working on new practice exams). However in an excellent show of customer care, when I raised the point Pluralsight provided me with a free transcender exam in place.
And while I didn’t originally consider the transcenders necessary, I will definitely be using them for future exams. Not only they provide a reality check on where you are (I felt confident after doing practice questions in the books, but doing the transcenders I was getting less than 50%!), but the explanations on the answers for each question (especially the wrong ones) are quite thorough, as well as providing links to the relevant Technet articles.
There is NO substitute for actual experience in doing these exams. While you may con yourself, and think “if I read all the books, and do the transcenders, I’ll be fine”, you are wrong: it’s going to be really hard just by going through the theory.
I have covered previously an attempt to build a lab in the cloud, but abandoned it because of performance issues. What I ended up doing was building my own lab, which I’ll cover in another post. But back to my original point. Because the exams test so much minutiae (“what tab is such and such a setting on” and “is the setting ‘import something’ or ‘restore something”) it’s almost impossible to remember such details purely by reading a book, or even watching videos. I found the only hope for me was to follow through some example scenarios within the lab.
And here are a few final points that are definitely worth mentioning.
- DISM.exe : The command line switches seem to come up a bit, well worth reviewing (this wasn’t mentioned in any of the books or videos).
- NPS : even though it’s smaller compared to some of the other areas, it’s vital to get a good grasp, especially topics such as the differences between connection request, network and health policies, as well as the different parameters (for want of a better word) that can be “described” in each.
- Finally, also learn about the AD recycle bin, and the steps required to recover deleted objects.