Showing posts with label Exam tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exam tips. Show all posts

Friday, 20 May 2016

Pass your Windows 10 exam 70-697 with these top tips

 By Sarah Morgan


In January 2016, just six months after its release, it was estimated that Windows 10 was active on 200 million devices. This means Microsoft’s latest operating system is currently growing faster than any version of Windows ever. It is at the forefront of Microsoft’s cross-platform vision aimed at improving usability and reliability. Windows 10 runs on PCs, mobiles, tablets, servers and games consoles.


Image courtesy of Microsoft

The growing popularity of Windows 10 means businesses need people with the skills to install, configure, manage and troubleshoot the new operating system. This gives you a huge opportunity to get ahead of the curve and learn Windows 10 skills before the majority of other IT professionals. By passing the Windows 10 70-697 exam: Configuring Windows Devices, you'll achieve both the MCSA: Windows 10 and Specialist: Windows 10 certifications. These will prove to employers that you have advanced skills on the latest version of Windows. If you’re acting quickly to make the most of this opportunity, below are our five top tips to get you the necessary Windows 10 skills to pass your Windows 10 70-697 exam.


1. Use Microsoft Virtual Academy


Microsoft Virtual Academy has a huge amount and variety of resources aimed at helping you get the knowledge and skills to pass Microsoft exams and achieve Microsoft certifications. There are videos, articles and more to help you learn about Microsoft technologies. Plus many are aligned to Microsoft exams.

The new release of Windows 10 means there aren’t a great amount of resources. However there are a couple of videos and presentations that are extremely useful for helping you study for the Windows 10 70-697 exam. The first, “Getting started with Windows 10 for IT professionals” has 9 different sections all dedicated to teach you more about Windows 10. Titles include, “What’s new in Windows 10 deployment”, “Runtime provisioning in Windows 10” and “Windows as a service: What does it mean for you business?”. There’s also “Accelerate deployment of Windows 10 at scale”. This includes an hour long video that covers some of the key topics in the 70-967 exam.



Image courtesy of Microsoft

The Microsoft Virtual Academy is ideal for giving you information that can help with your preliminary exam preparation. It’ll familiarise you with the new features of Windows 10 and how it differs from previous operating systems.


2. Take a course


Learning from a course is the best way to make sure you cover all the content you need to be prepared for the exam. Courses are dedicated to giving you all the skills and knowledge you need, not only to pass the exam, but to be able to use them in your workplace.

Firebrand offers accelerated 6 day MCSA: Windows 10 and Specialist: Windows 10 courses that both prepare you to sit the 70-697 exam. Remember, you’ll achieve both certifications after you pass. As with all Firebrand courses, you’ll spend 6 days in an immersive classroom environment. You’ll learn from an official Microsoft instructor and bounce ideas off other students in the classroom. 


3. Take Practice tests


Practice tests are the best way to replicate the types of questions you’ll face in the real exam. They’ll also cover the full range of topics the exam could include. This’ll give you a better idea of what topics you’ll need to study. What is unique about practice tests is the immediate feedback they give you. This highlights any weaknesses you may have and gives you the chance to focus your studies in those areas.

MeasureUp is the official provider of Microsoft practice exams. It is one of the most extensive resources for IT certification practice tests, offering packages for a large range of exams.  You can find the Microsoft exam 70-697 practice exam here. This includes 119 questions to help you refine your knowledge on subjects like Windows desktop administration, maintenance and troubleshooting, Active Directory and Microsoft Intune. It then gives you thorough explanations about where you went wrong and how to improve.

MeasureUp’s 70-697 exam practice test costs £79 to buy. Alternatively, 60 and 30 day online versions are available for £72 and £66.

Firebrand also offer free and comprehensive practice tests for the 70-697 exam. You can access these on pages for MCSA: Windows 10 and Specialist: Windows 10. You can also find practice tests for all of Firebrand’s other 200+ accelerated courses.


4. Use a revision guide


Getting a revision guide is crucial to studying successfully. They give you integral information about the exam topics. They’ll dissect complex technologies or theories giving you in-depth detail. Plus they’ll often indicate which sections require more focus than others. Here are our top recommendations for the 70-697 exam.

Microsoft’s official revision guides are often a great place to start and are closely aligned to the exam content. The revision guide for the 70-697 exam, “Exam Ref 70-697 Configuring Windows Devices” is no different. Written by Microsoft MVP, Andrew Bettany, it covers exam objectives including, plan desktop and device deployment, configure networking and storage and manage data access and protection. It also pushes you further with varied real-world scenarios that show you how your new knowledge can be used.

You can find it on Amazon here. The ISBN is 978-1509303014.

A reliable alternative to Microsoft’s study guide is the “MCSA Microsoft Windows 10 Study Guide: Exam 70-697” by William Panek. This is also closely aligned to the latest version of the exam to make sure the information you get is as useful as possible. As well as including plenty of content on all of the exam topics, it also gives you access to the Sybex interactive online learning environment. This gives you extra online content and flashcards to expand and vary your studies. This book covers the exam content in a slightly different way that may suit your leaning style, with the possibility to learn online at times when you may not have the book with you.

You can find it on Amazon here. The ISBN is  978-1119252306.


5. Use a trial version


Downloading a trial version of Windows 10 Enterprise is the best way to practice and implement your Windows 10 knowledge. Combine this with a revision guide and you’ll be able to walkthrough each 70-697 exam topic, learning to manage each Windows 10 feature as you go. This’ll help make your learning more real, giving you an edge in the exam room. 

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.


Friday, 8 April 2016

5 tips to help you pass your Six Sigma Green Belt exam

 By Sarah Morgan


Lean Six Sigma’s Green Belt certification introduces managers to process improvement, waste minimisation and value maximisation. You don’t need to possess any specific prerequisites to take the Green Belt exam. It is aimed at professionals with a definite interest or need for process improvement techniques in their role. 

If this sounds like you, and you’d like to implement Lean Six Sigma’s methodologies in your workplace, the Green Belt certification can be of huge benefit. It teaches you to reduce errors, control costs, streamline processes and improve the success rates of your team’s projects.

Below are a list of tips to help you study for the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt exam. These will help you gain as much knowledge and skills as possible whilst preparing for the exam. Follow these study tips and you should have the best possible chance at exam success.

1. Practice questions


The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt exam is in a multiple choice format. Whilst it’s clearly extremely important to gain as much knowledge as you can, try and tailor your exam preparation around the format. Completing numerous practice tests is the best way you can do this, honing your exam technique.

sixsigmastudyguide.com has a broad collection of practice tests, exams and questions from a range of sources. This gives you good variety in the sorts of tests and questions you’re answering, whilst still remaining true to the real thing. 

Another website useful for your Lean Six Sigma studies is sixsigmatrainingfree.com. This also has a great selection of resources. This includes practice exams specifically for Green Belt as well as for general Six Sigma study. It also contains a host of other resources that can help you answer any questions or issues that arise during your studies. 

2. Use a Lean Six Sigma study guide


There are a wide range of study guides specifically designed to help you study for the Green Belt exam, as you may have seen in our previous post, “10 best books to help you pass your Six Sigma certification”. This post gives you further detail on Lean Six Sigma study guides. However, for your Green Belt exam, either or both of the two below will be sure to help your studies.

The “Six SIGMA Green Belt Study Guide: Test Prep and Practice Questions for the Six SIGMA Green Belt Exam” from Trivium Test Prep is the one of the most direct study guides available for the Green Belt exam. It doesn’t include any distractions from what you need to know, whilst still fully explaining every exam topic. The book’s uncomplicated style makes for very efficient and productive studying. 

If you don’t learn best through intense study and revision, there is a study guide that can assist you through practical learning for the Green Belt exam. If you’re already trying to implement Lean Six Sigma methodologies in your team or business, the “Lean Six Sigma and Minitab (4th Edition): The Complete Toolbox Guide for Business Improvement” by Quentin Brook, is the book for you. This is designed to give practical advice to people using Lean Six Sigma. Having already sold over 100,000 copies, it helps managers implement process improvement all over the globe. Its features include easy to navigate DMAIC tabs, interactive examples and logical routemaps through the Six Sigma DMAIC flow. 

3. Sit a course


The best way to prepare for any certification’s exam, is to sit a course. They are specially designed to give you as much knowledge and skills as possible to pass the exam and to use the methodology in the real business environment. The benefits you receive depend of the type of course you choose to sit. A classroom based course gives you the benefits of an instructor available at all times to answer your questions as well as other students learning at the same pace who you can bounce questions and ideas off. 

Firebrand’s accelerated and combined Green and Black belt course gives you 12 hour training days, giving you the most learning time possible in a distraction free environment. You can also learn skills from the Black Belt certification while your Green Belt knowledge is still fresh. 

4. Immerse yourself in the methodology


With many topics and exams, an invaluable tip would be to get hands on and learn through your experiences with a trial version of the product or technology. With the Lean Six Sigma methodology, that’s a little trickier. The best alternative though, is to immerse yourself as much as you can in Lean Six Sigma outside of directly studying for your exam.

To do this, you should take advantage of the myriad of websites, blogs and other content available online that gives you information on Lean Six Sigma at a Green Belt level. For example, www.leansixsigmaninja.com is an excellent website created by a Green Belt alumni that breaks down Green Belt in a straightforward and easily digestible fashion. It has a lot of information for “newbies” and explains many of Lean Six Sigma’s tools and terminologies. Getting truly familiar with these will help your learning a great deal going forward.

There are many writers out there blogging about the latest trends and developments in Lean Six Sigma, and specifically the Green Belt’s exam content. Reading and staying current with these can give you a wider understanding of the methodology; how it’s evolving and how your knowledge and skills can be utilised in the real world business environment. Check out the full list of 20 Lean Six Sigma blogs here.

5. Use a Six Sigma Green Belt forum

Image courtesy of David Castillo
Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net

Due to the broad and widely applicable nature of project management there are a wide range of forums and discussions you can find online – all with varying levels of quality. One the best out there, with a large number of contributors and topics is from isixsigma.com. It has a comprehensive range of Lean Six Sigma topics and is nicely divided into topic areas for easy navigation. As with all online forums though, be aware that not everyone is an expert and not all contributions will be applicable or useful. 


If you use these five tips, you should give yourself the best possible chance of passing the Lean Six Sigma Green belt exam. Also, learning as much as you can in preparation for the exam, should put you in a great position after the exam to bringing the knowledge you’ve learned into your business, improving processes and reducing errors.

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. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

5 tips to help you prepare for CEH exam success

 By Sarah Morgan


IT security breaches have regularly made news headlines over the past 12 to 18 months. These hacks can be extremely costly. TalkTalk’s security breach at the end of 2015 for example, is estimated to have cost them £35m, as well as the potential damage to their reputation. Businesses are now making their IT security a top priority to ensure they are protected from hackers. This means the demand for IT security professionals has soared and Ethical Hackers are among the most highly sought after.

The role of Ethical Hacker is one of the most exciting in IT currently with an average salary of £72,500 (according to itjobswatch.co.uk). Ethical Hackers are at the forefront of IT security and the top of their field. They work directly to stop malicious hackers, using many of the same techniques. But crucially, once they’ve spotted a gap in security, they close it to protect the business.

The biggest and most trusted certification for Ethical Hackers is EC-Council’s Certified Ethical hacker certification. As the title suggests, it proves you have the skills of an Ethical Hacker. In order to pass the CEH exam, you’ll need to prove skills in areas like malware threats, session hijacking, SQL infection and cryptography. This shows you can identify gaps in a business’s security and ensure they cannot be exploited.

To help you get your CEH certification and prove you have all the ethical hacking skills required, we’ve compiled 5 of the most useful tips to help you prepare for the tough CEH exam.


1. Get familiar with the exam


It’s important to get familiar with the exam before attempting it. EC-Council’s CEH website can help you do this. It has CEH FAQs, a breakdown of the exam format and duration, plus an extensive background of the CEH certification and regulations. I’d also recommend using the website for reference during your studies, or if you have any queries about the exam. If you still want more information, take a look at our previous post on CEH v9 FAQs.

Due to the sensitivity of the knowledge the CEH is teaching you, probably the most crucial part of the website to take note of is the eligibility criteria. There is a concise summary in the CEH FAQs, but you can find a full explanation of the criteria here. Be aware that if you don’t already meet the training requirements, you’ll have to complete an application form to ensure you’re eligible to sit the CEH exam.


Image courtesy of EC-Council

And as a very basic tip, but a point definitely worth mentioning, make sure you know which version of CEH you’re studying for. EC-Council recently updated the CEH curriculum to version 9. The Version 8 curriculum and exam are however, still around. 

Make sure you know which exam you’re sitting and don't mix up the curriculum you need to study. I’d recommend sitting Version 9 if you can. This has the most up to date content, featuring new attack vectors, a greater focus on cloud computing, mobile and Windows 10 as well as new tools and the latest techniques to use.


2. Use a study guide


EC-Council offer a series of study guides for their CEH exam. These are on five different topics within ethical hacking, which includes “Attack Phases”, “Linux, Macintosh & Mobile Systems”, “Secure Network Infrastructures”, “Threats & Defense Mechanisms” and “Web Applications & Data Servers”. As they’re official from EC-Council, you know you can trust the information. Each book covers its topic thoroughly, giving you plenty of knowledge to tackle it in the exam. 

The aim of splitting EC-Council’s study guides into five is to allow you to take a more in-depth look at each section. From this, you can build your understanding of how a hacker works in each area and how to build countermeasures specific to each area. Take a look at these books here


A concise alternative is the CEHv9: Certified Ethical Hacker Version 9 Study Guide. It follows the digestible, but very informative style that readers found useful in the version 8 study guide, for the new curriculum. Written by IT security expert Sean-Philip Oriyano, it goes into depth on each exam topic, with clear division of each topic making it easy to follow.

Some of its useful components, are the review questions and exam essentials at the end of each chapter. The questions solidify your reading by making you think it through properly, and the exam essentials point out what you’ll need to know for CEH exam success.

You can find it here on AmazonISBN - 978-1119252245


3. Take an official CEH course


Sitting an official CEH course will put you in the best possible position for the exam, following a method proven to help people gain as much knowledge and skills as possible. If you choose an official classroom based CEH course, you’ll benefit from a qualified expert instructor. You’ll have access to the instructor’s expert knowledge when you have questions. Whilst you're also with other students who’ll be in the same situation, asking similar questions and boosting your motivation.

Official courses  give you access to official curriculum,practice materials and an instructor authorised by EC-Council to deliver the training. This means you’ll be studying exactly what EC-Council intends you to, giving you the highest quality teaching and the best possible chance to pass. An official course is also the best way for you to get hands-on and reinforce crucial exam knowledge. You’ll get real-world ethical hacking experience applicable to the role. 

Ethical Hacking requires you to follow a code of conduct, making it impossible to do this in a safe environment in your own time.

4. Test yourself with practice questions

The best way to assess your readiness for the CEH exam is to try a practice test. You’ll get immediate feedback and it’ll help you make the connection between your studies and the end goal of gaining knowledge and skills and passing the exam, relating your knowledge to specially designed questions.

Skillset offer CEH practice tests in 52 different skill areas. From Cryptanalytic Attacks to Computer Viruses to Session Hijacking, this incredible detail means you can study CEH comprehensively. Also, each topic has a series of more advanced levels allowing you to test the depth of your knowledge for each topic area.

There is also a practice test on the EC-Council website. As it comes straight from the creators of the CEH exam you know the questions will be useful and could be a basis from which to build your revision, and assess your readiness for the CEH exam. I wouldn’t use this resource too early in your studies, but as a check to see whether your knowledge is well-rounded enough for the exam.

MeasureUp have an ethical hacker practice lab that allows you to work on your skills in areas like footprintting and reconnaissance, scanning networks, sniffers and device enumeration. Lasting 20 hours, the lab contains plenty of material that will help prepare you for the real-world as well as the exam. You can access this here

5. Get involved in a forum

Using a forum is a great way to connect with many like-minded people who are currently studying for the same certification or who have sat it in the past. You’ll learn from their queries and experiences helping you get ideas for your own studies. However, bear in mind that not everyone is an expert.

TechExams has one of the largest CEH forums, with people that have passed and those who have found barriers and difficulties whilst studying. Here, you’ll be able to find help and information regarding what skill areas you should concentrate on to gain the most from the certification. Not only will this help you pass the exam, it’ll help you focus on the most useful topic areas to help you on the job in the future.


The key to passing any exam is investing time and hard work into your preparation. For your Certified Ethical Hacker exam, and certification as a whole, investing your time and efforts into these five tips will give you the best possible chance of achieving your EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker certification. Proving your skills as a very capable ethical hacker. 

Best of luck in your studies.


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. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

10 tips to pass Microsoft’s MCSA 70-411 exam

 By Sarah Morgan


If you’re considering achieving the MCSA Windows Server 2012 certification, you’ll need to pass 3 exams 70-410, 70-411 and 70-412. Having launched our “10 tips to pass Microsoft’s MCSA 70-410 exam” today we focus on exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012. This exam proves your knowledge and skills in implementation and management of Microsoft Windows Server 2012’s components like Active Directory domain services, Group Policy, Remote Access and Update Management.

The 70-411 exam builds upon the fundamental skills demonstrated in the 70-410 exam and proves you can manage the majority of Windows Server 2012’s functions. Remember, you are required to pass all three exams before you are MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certified.

We’ve researched and compiled 10 tips that will help you get you the skills and knowledge to pass the second Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification exam, 70-411.

1. Use the Microsoft Virtual Academy


Microsoft’s Virtual Academy is one of the most useful resources Microsoft provides. Watch videos from Microsoft experts, giving you in-depth training and guidance on core Microsoft technologies. There are also online courses aligned to Microsoft exams. 

You can find resources for the MCSA: 70-411 exam here. This takes you through two substantial videos with all the insight into the details of the overview of the exam aims and contents. These videos also point you to, and talk you through the 70-411 exam page on the Microsoft Learning website. 

I’d recommend using the Microsoft Virtual Academy to prepare you for your studies. Once you know more about what you’ll be facing, you’ll be better placed to begin your studying and exam preparation.  

2. Use a revision guide


A revision guide is a must-have for any exam. It’ll guide you through your studies, highlighting which topics require more focus than others. Study guides often define terms you may not understand and explain theory with a high level of detail.

Don’t mess around searching for study guides, here’s our top recommendations. Like the 70-410 exam before it, Microsoft have a really useful official 70-411 exam revision guide called, “Exam Ref 70-411 Administering Windows Server 2012 R2 (MCSA)”. If you used Microsoft’s guide for the 70-410, this will continue nicely where the last left off, using a similar style. It is well structured to help you focus on each exam objective and also presents real-world scenarios to put your knowledge into context. And finally, published from Microsoft, you can trust that it contains all the information you need for the exam.

You can find it on Amazon here. The ISBN is 978-0735684799.

An alternative 70-411 book is William Panek’s MCSA Windows Server 2012 R2 Complete Study Guide: Exams 70-410, 70-411, 70-412. It comes with weight as it’s written by one of Microsoft’s MVPs and covers all the topics in all three of the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification exams. This goes into extensive detail to improve your knowledge and prepare you for the 70-411 exam. Other features include hands-on exercises, practice exam questions, electronic flashcards and over two hours of video content. All of this creates a revision guide package that is perfect at improving your Windows Server 2012 knowledge in all the areas in the three exams.

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

3. Join a forum


Sharing your Microsoft 70-411 exam queries and experiences can help you gain ideas and learn from others in the same position as yourself. Doing this in an online forum is easy, can be a well-earned break from revision and may surprise you in the amount of questions it answers. Take each answer with a pinch of salt – not everyone is an expert.

One of the best for Microsoft exams is TechNet’s forums. You can search for specific exam related questions, or look up general technology related queries. You could pose a direct question yourself, or use an existing thread with many responses and answers already available. There are many ways in which an online forum could be helpful to your 70-411 exam studies.

To point you in the right direction, here is a link to the Windows Server 2012 section and a link to the MCSA exams section.

4. Take a practice test

Practice tests are the closest you can get to a real exam. They’re designed to replicate the same question style and cover the same topics as the actual exam. This allows you to identify areas that may need more revision.

The best place to go for Microsoft practice exams is MeasureUp. They’re Microsoft official and have ample resources for all Microsoft exams. You can find the 70-411 practice exam package here, which contains 163 questions in total. Its features include a timed certification mode that mimics an exam scenario, a study mode that walks you through all topics and an instant score and break-down of how you’ve done to see where you need to improve.

You can buy the package for £79 or download 60 and 30 day editions costing £72 and £66 respectively.

5. Take a course


Sit down and learn from experts in the field, dedicated to building your Windows Server 2012 skills and knowledge putting you in the best position to pass your 70-411 exam. They get you hands-on with Windows Server 2012, whilst taking you step by step through the courseware. You’re also with like-minded students - who are a resource in themselves, as they tackle the same obstacles alongside you.

Firebrand offer a 9 day accelerated Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 course which covers all three exams, of course including the 70-411. 

There’s no better way to help you get certified than taking time out to study and giving it 100% of your time and attention, especially when you combine a course with some of our other tips and resources.

6. Avoid brain dumps


It is important to remember that if found using brain dumps, you will be disqualified from exams. They are a false economy, teaching you to cheat in order to pass, rather than focusing on building the skills and knowledge required to pass. Make sure you steer clear of 70-411 brain dumps. They’re not a good way to invest your learning efforts. Even if you pass, you’ll not have learned the skills the certification aims to teach you, meaning you won’t be able to put these into practice in your job. 

7. Download a trial version of the software


You can get hands-on with a trial version of Windows Server 2012. Put your knowledge into practice, reinforcing your learning of administering Windows Server 2012. Using all the Windows Server 2012 features, you’ll discover things you didn’t in your studies, that’ll be handy in your exam.

To make it more relevant, I’d recommend combining your exploration of the trial version with a study guide and the exam objectives. This’ll help you focus on the commands, switches and parameters used for Windows Server 2012 administration.



8. Join a study group


Study groups are useful for connecting with other students sitting the 70-411 exam. Learn from how others are tackling their studies. They may have tips that could be useful to your study method. Collaboration is always helpful when it comes to studying.

One of the biggest study groups for Microsoft certifications can be found on the Born to Learn blog. Here is the link to the MCSA: 70-411 exam study group. This is where you can find an extensive list of resources to refer to, as well as forums and discussions where you can interact with others.


9. Do some practice labs


If you’re looking to try out Windows Server 2012, but don’t yet feel confident enough to attempt the practices in the 70-411 exam, a practice lab is for you. It is based around guided learning so you can take on the tasks in a safe environment, removing the danger of anything going badly wrong.

MeasureUp’s 70-411 practice lab costs £98, but completing the lab means you’ll have done all the skills the 70-411 exam covers. There’s 16 hours of material and you’re able to go through it at your own pace. If you like to learn practically, this could be invaluable preparation. 

You may already be aware of TechNet’s 31 Windows Server 2012 R2 virtual labs. Although there isn’t one specifically for the 70-411 exam, they are all free and many of these cover topics that overlap with 70-411 exam content – like this one on configuring and managing servers.


10. Download a study app


Revision for your 70-411 exam has not escaped the modern world of the smartphone. Study apps have 70-411 exam resources to help you revise at your convenience. They do not have the extensive resources that a study guide can give you, but are fantastic for revising on the go, or when you’re away from home or the office. The three below are some of the best currently available and all have specific 70-411 sections:

  • Transcender
    • A highly customisable app allowing you to tailor your studying and has a setting to replicate the exam environment and style of questions.
  • uCertify
    • One of the most extensive libraries of practice questions plus a well-structured study guide to assist you through your exam practice.
  • Pass-Guaranteed
    • Another app with a collection of outstanding practice questions. This is because you can customise the type of questions you face, to vary your exam 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. 

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. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Succeed in the CISSP exam with these 4 tips

CISSP is a global standard, widely recognized as the information and cybersecurity benchmark certification. It’s an advanced cert that demonstrates a wealth of IT security knowledge and experience.  As a result, typical salaries have risen to upwards of £55,000 in the UK.

Cybersecurity professionals have never been in greater demand. What’s more, Sebastien Cobut, vice president of IT recruitment specialist Volt states that, ‘internal statistics suggest a continuing increase in both demand and pay rates for IT security professionals, across both UK and continental operations.’



'A day in the life of a CISSP certified professional'

Whilst the CISSP-certified are in demand, as you might imagine, it’s not an easy qualification to achieve.  You’ll need 5 years of paid information security experience (or 4 years with a degree) to take the mammoth 6 hour exam.  For an information security professional, preparation for the CISSP exam has been likened to that of a runner preparing for his first marathon.

Like any advanced qualification, it can be achieved if you’re committed - here are 4 tips to help those preparing or thinking about going for a CISSP cert.

1. Prepare to pass

Before you embark on your training course, it will be worth your time to evaluate your existing knowledge in line with the CISSP CBK (common body of knowledge). You might find that your idea of the domains differs to their actual definitions and this could seriously misinform what you study.

Sort and rank domains according to your knowledge level and from there, assign a hierarchy based upon how familiar you are with them. This will allow you to allocate your time smartly and ensure you don’t neglect any of the domains. 

Commitment is the key to passing your CISSP
Image courtesy of imelechon / morgueFile
2. Don’t waste time; start studying now

Yes, it’s an obvious one, but it can’t be stressed enough. The CISSP cert demonstrates you have a wealth of knowledge across a lot of different information security topics. Even if you’re already an expert in the majority of the domains, there will likely be some you will have to learn from scratch.

3. Choose good study materials

CISSP’s All-in-one Exam Guide 6th Edition comes highly recommended. It’s a great preparation tool that covers all 10 CISSP exam domains.  Familiarise yourself with these domains before the commencement of your training course and you’ll be well positioned to pass the exam.

The official study guide comes courtesy of (ISC)2 and is recognised as one of the best tools for studying the CISSP exam. Try to select a variety of study materials and make sure they are up-to-date. Don’t just settle on one guide either, try to experience a few different guide and handbooks.  

Study forums can be a great asset to anyone studying the CISSP, especially if you don’t personally know anyone else studying for the CISSP exam. If you ever need to ask a very specific question, or simply want to speak to people revising for the same exam as you, these forums can prove invaluable. Try and regularly browse these IT forums, the more involved you can get, the more you’ll learn. It’ll help you stay motivated to be metaphorically around people in the same position as you.

4. Minimise stress

Completing an important exam is stressful, especially if its 6 hours long. It’s important not to get flustered. Don’t let your hard work be hindered by any stress you feel. If you studied well and have some good experience, it should all come naturally.

Concluding thoughts

If you’re not the kind of learner that can shut themselves away for hours on end, there is a better alternative. Study CISSP at Firebrand and you’ll get certified in just 7 days on an all-inclusive course. You could begin looking for a senior role in IT security within a week with our unique accelerated training.