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Tim’s MCSE Journey, 70-331, Part 2

Editor’s Note: CBT Nuggets trainer Tim Warner is taking the exams required for MCSE certification for both Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 and Microsoft Windows Server 2012. When all is said and done, he will have taken five exams in five weeks! Tim is blogging about his experiences and providing valuable insight and advice for other potential test-takers. Here’s part 2 of his first blog post of the series.

Content Strategies for the 70-331 examtim_blogpost_BLOG

Let me share with you a grab bag of content-related impressions with you. These suggestions denote what I call “exam alerts” and should be studied very carefully before you enter the exam room to pass the 70-331 test.

Know Your PowerShell. In my 70-331 training course, I’m careful to show you both the graphical and PowerShell ways to accomplish tasks. However, I don’t do that for everything. Your best bet as you prepare is to make sure that you understand the relevant SharePoint PowerShell cmdlets that you use to perform all the tasks presented in Microsoft’s content blueprint.

Know Service Application Procedures Cold. The 70-331 exam includes many interactive items of the “Build List and Reorder” type. Here you are asked to solve a SharePoint-related problem by dragging three relevant tasks from a block stack on the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen.

Once you’ve decided which tasks are relevant to the question, your next job is to reorder them sequentially. Therefore, these items test not only your ability to recognize which SharePoint procedure is appropriate, but also the specific step order to accomplish the goal. These are tough questions!

Understand Every UI Element in Central Administration. You’ll likely see several questions that ask you to click your mouse on a screenshot of Central Administration in the correct place. These interactive items are called “Place the Target.”

If you go into the exam confident in PowerShell but weak in the Central Administration UI, then you will fail the test, it’s as simple as that.

Know Your Numbers. It disappoints me when I see exam questions that test your knowledge of stuff that is just as easily looked up in a 10-second Web search; stuff like SharePoint system requirements and capacity limits.

That said, you’ll need to know those numbers before you take the 70-331 or you’ll find yourself in very deep, very hot water. Study both the SharePoint hardware and software requirements and software boundaries and limits pages in the TechNet library, and use whatever mnemonic devices you have at your disposal to commit them to memory.

Case Study Strategies for the 70-331 exam

The best advice I have to give you concerning the case studies is don’t panic. Take a preliminary glance over the case content, but don’t get bogged down in the details. Instead, mentally note the theme of the case, as well as any requirements that jump out at you.

In my experience, each case study is centered on a particular theme. Perhaps one case will be all about integration between on-premises SharePoint and Office 365; another may focus on app management and cross-farm security.

In any event, you’ll obviously see that the requirements sections of each case consist of what amounts to a bulleted “punch list” of specific requirement statements. When you approach a question, find the relevant 1-3 lines in the case that pertain to the question, and go from there.

For Built List and Reorder interactive items, you’ll be asked to build a list of x items. For multiple-answer multiple choice items, you’ll be told in advance how many answers are correct. Therefore, take heart and don’t worry about seeing any of those dreaded “select all that apply” questions that are artificially difficult and poorly designed.

Good luck on your 70-331 exam! Please let us know in the comments how you did, and what your impressions are. Take care.

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