Showing posts with label Windows server 2012 R2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Windows server 2012 R2. Show all posts

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. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Top 5 MCSA: Windows Server 2012 revision resources you could be missing out on


By Sarah Morgan


As well as qualifying you to take on the role of computer systems administrator and network specialist, the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 cert also opens up your progression through to the MCSE certifications.

It’s the cornerstone certification that proves you know what you’re doing when it comes to the Windows server environment. Specifically, it’s your first step towards earning an MCSE: Server Infrastructure or MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure certification, advanced and specialised certs that really set you apart as a high level IT professional . Find out which MCSE certification suits your role here.

To get the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification you’ll need to pass three exams:

  • Exam 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
  • Exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
  •  Exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services

And to give you the best start possible in these tough exams, we’ve compiled some of the best resources to help you get this career boosting qualification.


1. 90 Days to MCSA


Microsoft wants to skyrocket your IT career and their 90 days to MCSA project will do just that.
3 one-hour videos, covering all 3 exams and presented by Microsoft certified trainers form the meat of the content here. But don’t approach these with the idea that they are your only revision tool. They are by no means all-encompassing and you’ll certainly have to read around to get the broader knowledge you need.

However, these resources are great. As they are created by Microsoft, you can expect the information to be accurate and reliable. Plus, the presenters are certified Microsoft trainers, so they know what they’re talking about.



Each video is also equipped with its own mini-forum where students can discuss their revision, examination and technology questions. These are very active forums too. Just a cursory glance shows that this is an active and participatory forum with official moderators and an active user base. If you have any nagging questions, about one of the three exams, this is the place to go.

That’s not all. Each exam is also accompanied by an individual wiki page. On it, you’ll find detailed curriculum relevant to each of the three exams, including links to the exhaustive Microsoft TechNet library, in which you’ll find even more information.

You’ll also find handy whitepapers, detailing individual features and functions in great depth. This will help get you the in-depth knowledge you need to get the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification. 

As some of this wiki is contributed by members of the community, Microsoft make it clear that they do not provide any endorsement on third party resources.


2. Microsoft Virtual Academy


Microsoft provides some high quality and varied Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 courses on their Virtual Academy.  You’ll find 31 courses including topics like virtualisation features, efficient networking management and new storage capabilities.
















The courses themselves are well produced 20-30 minute videos presented by Microsoft evangelists,
experts well-experienced in their chosen technologies. These videos can also be downloaded in both high and medium quality – we recommend getting all of them onto your tablet or laptop for a quick revision fix whilst on the commute or elsewhere.

Microsoft complements their Virtual Academy with a support forum. If you’re struggling with something, just ask and one of the official forum moderators is sure to answer.


3.  Mastering Windows Server 2012 R2 – ISBN: 978-1118289426


Before you take on training or start revising, make sure you become familiar with the Windows 8 / Server 2012 R2 interface. Without this prior basic knowledge, you will undoubtedly struggle on training courses and it will make your revision hard-going. Luckily, Mastering Windows Server 2012 is one way of getting up-to-speed.

Even in this age of virtual academies and video tutorials, you can never underestimate the power of a good book.  This one comes highly praised with a 4.5 star rating on Amazon (out of 37 total reviews) and glowing recommendations from our very own Firebrand Windows Server 2012 instructors.

This book gets you up to speed on the new Windows Server 2012 R2 features like Hyper-V and Storage spaces and also includes real-world scenarios to put them in perspective. But don’t think it’s only about the new stuff; this book is designed to cover every aspect of Windows Server 2012 R2 technology.

Its’ been created by Mark Minasi, a highly regarded instructor and author, alongside a team of Windows server experts led by the equally prolific Kevin Greene. Minasi is well-known for his straightforward approach to writing and his ability to make even the most complicated technologies easily understandable.

You can find this great book in paperback and kindle on Amazon for £26.99 (at the time of writing).


4. MCSA Exam study guides 70-410 / 70-411 / 70-422 by Keith Mayer


To help you prepare for your three Server 2012 R2 exams, Keith Mayer, Microsoft senior technical evangelist, has released three comprehensive study guides packed full of useful resources.
Each study guide includes hands-on exercises and resources to build your confidence with the updated R2 exam topics. Keith has over 20 years of experience and it shows. Each of these three guides contains everything you need to get up to speed with all the changes made to the Windows Server 2012 in the past year.

Plus, every study guide is brimming with links to videos, downloadable exam objectives and step-by-step tutorials. This is a collection of resources and industry insight that only a seriously experienced Microsoft technologist could compile.

Check the exam guides out here:


5. Firebrand Learn


Firebrand learn gives you access to a range of free digital learning resources like: Firebrand Official Course Material, practice tests and exercises.

As part Learn, we’ve uploaded Firebrand’s entire MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 course material online. It’s available for free, for everyone.

This resource was compiled by our Firebrand Instructors, professional consultants who know the material inside out.

Access your Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 courseware instantly on Firebrand Learn.

Some extra tips

Before you take on the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 exams, we strongly recommend you get hands-on experience with the software itself. It’s not enough to just get ‘book-smart.’ See if you can get Windows 8 Pro or Enterprise on your PC and use Client Hyper-V.

Additionally, if you happen to have an extra computer, download Hyper-V Sever 2012 R2 and use this to build your lab.

Thirdly, you can try out an Azure trial – here’s a guide for that. But if you don’t have the time to build your own lab, you can get unlimited lab access during your Windows Server 2012 R2 course with Firebrand.

And lastly, don’t underestimate the exams. You can never revise too much!

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.