Tuesday, 24 November 2015

10 tips to pass Microsoft’s MCSA 70-410 exam



Microsoft’s 70-410 exam entitled, Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012, is exam one of three in the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification. It measures your skills in installing and configuring fundamentals within Windows Server 2012 including features like Hyper-V, core network services, Active Directory and Group Policy.

Passing this exam is a requirement to achieve your MCSA: Windows Server 2012, and proves you have the fundamental skills to configure a Windows Server 2012 environment. After learning these essentials, you’ll be able to move onto exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012 and exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services.


We’ve conducted some research into what guidance there is available to you when preparing for your exam. Below is the list we’ve compiled of the 10 most useful tips that will help you pass your Microsoft exam 70-410.

1. Use the Microsoft Virtual Academy


Microsoft’s Virtual Academy is a learning resource directly from Microsoft themselves. It’s dedicated to providing free online training and help to those interested in Microsoft technology. It contains a whole host of videos, presentations and other information on a huge number of Microsoft technologies. As well as providing you information about the course and what you’ll face in its exams, there are videos within many topics that are easy to absorb and re-watchable whenever you need.

For Windows Server 2012 and your 70-410 exam, there are plenty of articles that you can use to improve your knowledge. The Windows Server 2012 Essentials  and Installing an Configuring Windows Server 2012 video are particularly useful for the 70-410 exam.
The content in Microsoft Virtual Academy is brilliantly useful alongside revision or as a starting point for your learning.  

The content in Microsoft Virtual Academy is brilliantly useful alongside revision or as a starting point for your learning.  

2. Use a revision guide


Revision guides can help you structure your revision in a way that best suits your learning style. They point you to areas to focus on, as well as comprehensively covering the content that could come up in your exam. Use these to help reinforce your learning and cover areas you may have missed along the way. You can also study at your own pace, adjustable depending on when your exam date is.

Exam Ref 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012” by Craig Zacker is the official Microsoft study guide. It’s a fantastic resource to develop and hone existing skills, whilst looking at the different scenarios they can be applied to. It also organises content by exam objectives and covers each section of the exam thoroughly. You can learn how to apply Windows Server 2012 in your business. 

You can find it on Amazon here. The ISBN is 978-0735673168.

Another great book to use for revision is William Panek’s MCSA Windows Server 2012 R2 Complete Study Guide: Exams 70-410, 70-411, 70-412. Panek, one of Microsoft’s MVPs, writes about four exams in this guide, but starts with the 70-410 exam. It covers all exam objectives thoroughly and also has labs and online tools to accompany its explanations. It’s also useful when you move on to take the exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012 and exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services.

You can find it on Amazon here. The ISBN is 978-1118859919.

3. Join a forum


Joining a community to help prepare for an exam can be a great way to mix with like-minded people and share experiences. You can bounce ideas off others, gain insight from those who’ve passed the exam and share knowledge and resources to help studying.

The TechNet forums are useful for guidance and information whether you’re sitting an exam or just looking for help with a specific technical problem you’re having. There’s a broad range of topics too. It’s growing all the time and chances are, someone has already answered the question you’re about to ask.

For your 70-410 exam, there’re articles specifically created to help and articles on all aspects of Windows Server 2012 to give you information on an area you might be struggling with.
Here’s a link to the Windows Server 2012 section. It contains a thread on Windows Server 2012 essentials which is helpful for the fundamentals in the 70-410 exam and is a good place to start your exploration. Plus here’s a thread specifically on 70-410 exam preparation.

4. Take a practice test


Practice tests are great to get you used to the exam format, and prepare you for the sorts of questions and topics you’ll face in the real thing. It’s also a great way to benchmark your learning; identifying gaps in knowledge to work on.

Measure-up is a brilliant resource for practice tests helping you prepare for many exams. They are the provider of official Microsoft practice tests. This includes the 70-410 practice exam which offers 175 exam questions, thorough and enlightening explanations and exam answers. Not to mention up to date R2 material. Best of all, the 70-410 exam questions are aligned to the Microsoft Official Curriculum. You can download this here for £70 or get 30 day or 60 days access options, priced at £57 and £64 respectively.

Measure-up’s practice tests are well-respected and are a great option for some meaty and worthwhile revision.

5. Take a course


There is no substitute to immersing yourself in a training course and learning from experts. You sit in a classroom free from distraction, with others who are focused on passing the same exam. You benefit from hands-on experience with insight and supervision from instructors.

Firebrand offer a 9 day accelerated Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 course. This covers all three exams.

Combine a course with some of the other revision resources and tips to improve your chances of passing Microsoft’s 70-410 exam and getting MCSA: Windows Sever 2012 R2 certified.

6. Avoid brain dumps


You should avoid brain dumps at all cost. These are illegal in the context of taking exams. Not to mention any 70-410 brain dumps will be ineffective at giving you the skills and knowledge you need to pass your exam and to use Microsoft Windows Server 2012 in real-world situations. If you’re found to be using one when studying for, or sitting the 70-410 exam, you will be immediately disqualified.

7. Download a trial version of the software


A great way to prepare for the exam is to get hands-on with the software. You can download a trial version of the Windows Server 2012 R2 here. You’ll have 180 days to learn the ins and outs of the software, getting invaluable experience of all the features. Tailor this experience around the 70-410 exam and you’ll be able to learn and revise practically, gaining experience for when you’re certified and using the software for real.

To help your revision, use the exam objectives as a guide for your practical learning.

8. Join a study group


Joining a study group is another great way to connect with like-minded people who are focusing on the same goal as you. Study groups are designed to help you and others share study tips and experiences about your exam. It’s also a great way to stay motivated.

Born to Learn is a training and certification community that share and discuss certification news and articles.

Under the “Wiki” tab of this site, you can find a comprehensive list of resources for 70-410, breaking down every topic the exam covers. The site also contains a specific study group for the Microsoft exam 70-410 with many questions others have had about parts of the exam, and a forum for discussion.

Accompany this with a detailed revision guide and you’ve got almost everything you need to know about what you’ll face in the 70-410 exam and how best to attack it.

9. Do some practice labs


Practice labs are another great way to get hands on with Windows Server 2012 in a safe environment using guided learning. So, if you’re less experienced at using the software, you can gain hands-on experience without causing any issues that you’re not yet experienced enough to fix!

Building on Measure-up’s practice tests, there are a series of practice labs for Windows Server 2012 aligned to the 70-410 exam. The best part, it’ll lead you through tasks aligned to the 70-410 exam objectives. You’ll get great practical experience that is relevant to the real world and will help you pass the exam. You can find the Measure-up practice lab here.

It's also worth heading over to the TechNet virtual labs, the site packs in 31 different labs aligned to Windows Server 2012. There is a virtual lab specifically dedicated to  Configuring and Managing Servers, best of all, they are all free.


Check out VLabs


10. Download a study app


There are plenty of apps out there that can help you study for exams. Whilst these should not be solely relied upon when revising, they can be useful tools to suit a specific need and are helpful for studying on the go. Below are some of the best, along with their best features.

  • Transcender
    • On this, you’re able to customise your experience and practice questions in a way that is most helpful, or you can choose a pre-set that mimics the 70-410 exam.
  • uCertify
    • It contains a huge range of practice questions and also includes a chapter by chapter study guide to use as you go.
  • Pass-Guranteed
    • It has a vast amount of customisation options meaning you can change the types of questions and how they are arranged and displayed, so you’re not facing the same questions each time you practice.
About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 
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