Studying to take any Microsoft certification exam can be quite overwhelming. The topics are often both broad, and you still need to know a lot of details. And depending on what you do in your day to day job some (or a lot) of it are might be quite new to you. In this blogpost I will share my routine for preparing, and hopefully it will help you nailing your first Microsoft certification. I’m only familiar with Microsoft certifications, but I would think that my tips could be helpful when preparing for any type of certification.
TLDR: jump straight to the tips.
Table of contents:
- What is a Microsoft certification, and why you should take one?
- What kind of questions do you get in an Microsoft certification exam?
- 5 tips to prepare for the exam
What is a Microsoft certification, and why you should take one?
A certification (from Microsoft or any other) is proof that you have some specific knowledge, and/or that you are an expert at something. It might help you get a new job, or if you are a consultant (like I am) a lot of clients will chose a certified resource over someone that does not have those credentials.
On a larger scale the company you work for will also be able to become a Microsoft partner in specific areas when there are a certan number of employees who have relevant certifications.
What kind of questions do you get in an Microsoft certification exam?
1. Multiple solution questions
Most of the questions will be multiple choise, where 1 or more answers will be correct. Both questions and answers are created to try and fool you so be sure to read everything thoroughly.
If you are taking a developer certification the code questions will also be multiple choise. It might be “which code snippet will do xxx” and you have to select the correct one. Or it could be something like “Which error code indicates a throttle warning” etc.
2. Drag’n’drop tasks
Some questions will have you drag’n’drop boxes into specific places, or in a specific order. This could be a configuration pattern, or a code sample you need to structure.
3. ‘Case study’
There are usally one (or more) ‘ case studies’ in the exam where you will have multiple questions connected to the same business case. On these questions it is important to reference the case details to be sure to select the right answers.
5 tips to prepare for the exam
I have only taken Microsoft certifications but I think these tips will be applicable to different certifictions.
We all have different learning styles and what works for me might not work for you. Thats why my first tip is:
1. Learn how you learn best
You might know this about yourself already, but take some time to think about what learning style that best suites you. Read, write, hands on, watching a video, listening to someone talk about the topic.. there are many ways to learn.
I have a tendency to buy online courses but never watch more than 5-10 minutes of them because I don’t really learn from watching someone else do things. I need to experience things for myself, or write about them, to remember them.
2. Get an overview.
Start by getting an overview of the corriculum and write a list of the things you don’t know at all, and the things you know little about. Then gather resources on these topics.
3. Hands on experience
You don’t have to have experience with every different scenario to pass the exam, but it is a good idea to actually gone through at least one example from each of the over all topics.
Hands on experience also makes it easier to make an educated guess on the exam questions you are not sure about. You can get questions like “where should you click to find xxxx settings” – so being familiar with navigating around
4. Give yourself enough time – but not too much time.
Use a day or two to get an overview of your skills – and then set a realistic timeframe.
How busy is your everyday life? How much time do you have to study? Pick a date that gives you some pressure to finish – but dont add too much stress on you. If the date is to near you might not have enough time to study, but if the date is to far into the future you will probably procastinate too much.
5. Take a practice exam
When you feel like you are ready to take the exam, try your skills on a practice exam. In my experience “certification questions” are not like other questions, so getting familiar with those type of questions can be an eye opener.
6. Bonus: Study with someone.
If you have the opertunity to study with someone you should take advantage of that.
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If you are interested in Microsoft 365 Development you might also like my other blogposts in this category.
Also, if you have any feedback or questions, please let me know in the comments below. 🙂
Thank you for reading, and happy coding!