If you have been following my journey to the Office 365 MCSA certification in previous posts, you will know that I was scheduled to take the exam on Wednesday 30th July whilst attending the Microsoft internal TechReady conference.
Not many people outside Microsoft will have heard about TechReady, that is because the event is for full time employees to learn the new products strategies and road maps for the following six months and for very good reasons this is not broadcast like the TechEd events.
The similarity between TechEd and TechReady includes the provision of Certification Prep sessions and a Certification hall for attendees to schedule and take MCP examinations whilst onsite.
I don’t have the stats for numbers taken and passed during the week but I can tell you that i was in the largest Prometric exam hall I have ever seen, there were over 100 testing stations and a whole bunch of proctors to keep an eye on us.
I had spent several evenings in Seattle with my nose buried in the books (or screens) to ensure that I was successful. The conference pretty much runs from 0700 to 1900 every day so the extra effort to study through jet-lag was no little work. (I don’t travel well and the 8 hour time difference was a not insignificant factor in my studies)
I did enjoy the surroundings of the Seattle Sheraton though and the weather was superb all week.
Having attended a prep session for the 70-346 and 70-347 exams on the Tuesday afternoon I decided to reschedule the exam to that evening. So in I went and sat the test.
I will leave the result until the end of the post but I will say that without the level of study I would have done much much worse. Obviously the NDA you agree to when taking exams prevents me from disclosing the details of the exam, but I can say a few things which will help those of you preparing for the experience of 70-347. Enabling Office 365 Services.
The exam I sat was a standard one with a wide range of the item types I have listed before. These included PowerShell build questions, drag and drop, hot spot and other types.
The overriding point I would like to make is that the exam was already significantly out of date in a few ways. Anyone that is a Microsoft Azure or Office 365 user will know that these cloud based Iaas, Paas and Saas products change almost weekly. (Why not sign up for free trials now and check them out?)
This means that screenshots in your exam may not look like the current product, I had several instances where this was the case. The strategy for exams based on these products is under review (I met and spoke to the LeX team whilst at the conference).
I am prevented from giving too much detail and giving the number of questions is fairly pointless as these change often and when new questions are under test, they are added in too.
I can and will say that the exam is a fair test of the whole product, covering Sharepoint Online, Lync Online and Exchange Online as well as the Office 365 portal and admin consoles and the PowerShell required to run these products from the commandline. It was not easy and it caused me no end of headaches in the review of the questions.
Top exam taking tip from me is that your first answer is normally your best one and changing your answers just gets you in a mess.
I am pleased to say that I was successful with no wasted effort, I scored exactly the mark required to pass, no more, no less. As you can see from the exam sheet below.
If you follow the Microsoft Pychometrician Liberty Munson on Born2Learn, you will know that a score of 700 is not 70% and does not reflect a result worse than a score of 800 or 900. Personally I have never understood this and look forward to someone explaining it to me in words I understand. I have shown this score to point out that even though I studied really really hard and know the product very well indeed, and I love PowerShell, had I got one more question wrong, I would have failed this test.
So study hard, study the correct things and Good Luck.
The bottom line, however, is that I now have the MCSA Office 365 to add to my transcript. This will help me in my career as a Technical Evangelist, will flag me up on LinkedIn to people looking for speakers and allow me to teach the two courses related to the certification.