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Tim’s MCSE Journey: 70-413, 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 fourth blog post of the series.

High-Emphasis Content Areastim_blogpost_MCSE_BLOG

For the Windows Server 2012 exams, I’ve found Microsoft to be pretty accurate in terms of mapping their posted exam subject matter domains to the questions on the live test. Let’s have a look at those domains and high-value concepts within each:

  • Deployment Planning: Heavy emphasis on WDS, especially in a multi-site infrastructure; Recognizing which deployment tool or technology is best suited for a given scenario; You need to know quite a bit about System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), actually, and of course a heck of a lot about managing Hyper-V VMs; Quite a bit of content on FSMO roles, functional levels ,and upgrade/migration paths
  • Network Infrastructure Service Planning: Extensive coverage of DHCP, especially as it relates to new features of the service and NAP; A fair amount on IPAM; Know your DNS new features cold
  • Network Access Services Planning: You will fail this test unless you are totally up to speed with Microsoft’s implementation of RADIUS (client, server, proxy) and configuring VPNs (don’t forget about SSTP); Lots and lots on Network Policy Server and differentiating among the various NAP enforcement methods; Not too much on DirectAccess, but make sure you know your stuff on the subject nonetheless before you sit for this exam
  • Active Directory Logical Infrastructure Planning: Microsoft has been gung-ho on testing Group Policy on all the Windows Server 2012 exams; Thoroughly understand the importance of administrative delegation; Heavy coverage of RODCs, especially as regards security (obviously, know your tools and requirements for domain and forest migration)
  • Active Directory Physical Infrastructure Planning: Lots of coverage on understanding AD sites, site links, bridging, and so forth; Understand Microsoft best practices on domain controller and Global Catalog server placement in sites; Know those best practice for figuring out optimal number of sites/domains for a given case

Various Tips and Tricks

My first suggestion for you is to not get bogged down by the dense text. Instead, skim the cases or item stems as the case may be, paying close attention to the actual question being asked. Sometimes you have to sift through the proverbial wheat to get to the proverbial chaff, you know what I mean?

Once you know specifically what is being asked, then you can return to the case or item stem to find that crucial 1-3 lines of text that gives you the background information you need to make the correct answer choice.

My second tip is to beware of “Choose all that apply” questions. I am so disappointed that Microsoft is asking these types of questions again. In my humble opinion, this is such a cheap way to ask an exam candidate a question. What’s the problem with saying something like “Choose three” or “Choose the best three answers”? Oh well. Just be prepared that you might be asked one or more questions that use this motif.

My third parcel of advice is to parse every word of questions carefully. The psychometricians who are the behind-the-scenes architects of these certification exams do their best to make every single word in an exam question count. Do not make the mistake of “reading into” the item with your own idea of what should be there.

Instead, stick only with the text that Microsoft gives you. If it isn’t in the case or item stem, then as far as you are concerned, that technology or issue does not exist.

All things considered, this is quite a difficult exam. In fact, I would say that it is the most difficult test I’ve taken so far in completing the MCSE Windows Server 2012 track (for the record, I’ve passed 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412).

Why is Exam 70-413 the most difficult? For me, it was the combination of dense text to wade through, some picky subject matter to comprehend, the closeness of some of the answer choice wording (sometimes two choices were identical except for three words), and the presence of the dreaded “choose all that apply” question type.

Good luck to you! Please let us know your experience with Exam 70-413 in the comments portion of this post. I hope that this blog post have been informative for you, and I’d like to thank you for reading.


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