Certifications / Microsoft

Create a 18-Week Study Plan for MCSA Server 2012 70-410

by Raju Woodward
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Published on March 7, 2017

Nevermind the fact that Microsoft Windows Server 2012 is five years old, it's not in danger of going way of the dodo bird anytime soon. In fact, Spiceworks reported last year that about a quarter of servers are still using Server 2012, and with Microsoft not planning to end mainstream support for the OS in 2018 (and continuing extended support until 2023), it's safe to say that Server 2012 is sticking around for awhile.

What does that mean for you? Well, if you've been thinking about pursuing MCSA Windows Server 2012, you still have plenty of time. However, keep in mind that you do have to pass three exams to earn the certification. So we put together a comprehensive study plan for the first of these three exams: the 70-410. By the end, you'll be on your way to Windows Server 2012 success!

Week 1

Before you jump into watching videos, do your homework so you'll have a better understanding of the 70-410 exam. Visit the Microsoft Learning Center's MCSA Windows Server 2012 section to learn about the exam, exam requirements, and study resources. If you are feeling especially brave, you could try a practice exam to get a feel for the exam and test your baseline knowledge. Don't get discouraged by your score, though. Remember, you're just starting your MCSA Windows Server 2012 journey.

During Week 1 we recommend watching the first seven videos of Garth Schulte's Microsoft Windows Server 2012 70-410 with R2 Updates course. You'll be learning how to plan for a server installation, how to install a server, and server roles.

It's a good idea to supplement your training with textbooks. We recommend any of these three:

And just like that, you're off and running!

Because there's a lot to cover in regard to the 70-410 exam, we will stick to the nitty gritty for the next 17 weeks of this study plan, making it easy for you to identify what videos you need to watch, available supplemental resources, and how to get hands on with Server 2012.

Week 2

Watch: Videos 8-12, which cover server core and delegating administration. Please note that videos 9-12 feature hands-on virtual labs! So be sure to take the time to complete those.

Learn: Create flashcards to help you drill down key terms and concepts. Action item: Join the CBT Nuggets Learner Community and network with IT pros who can help you with questions, point you to more resources, and much more.

Week 3

Watch: Videos 13-17 that focus on configuring servers, deploying roles on remote servers, and configuring PowerShell Desired State Configuration. Learn: Ensure you've got PowerShell basics down with these flashcards. Then, explore Explore Microsoft's TechNet Scripting with Windows PowerShell. Action item: Take the time to go through all the labs associated with videos 13-17.

Week 4

Watch: Videos 18-24. Learn about configuring basic and dynamic disks, managing volumes, designing storage spaces, and other storage-related topics. Learn: Read our blog post to learn how to maximize practice exams. Follow that by reading Derek Schauland's What You Need to Know About Storage Spaces to Pass Exam 70-410 article. Action item: Take a practice exam to see where you're at by this stage of the journey!

Week 5

Watch: Videos 25-32 cover topics such as creating and configuring shares, configuring various permissions, and configuring offline files. Learn: Use those handy flashcards again, as well as the PowerShell flashcards. Action item: Use your practice exam results from last week to identify areas that you need to strengthen and keep labbing it up. Action item: Check out Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 Technical Library.

Week 6

Watch: Videos 33-37 focus on the configuration of areas including work folders and printers. Learn: Keep at it with the labs. They are important for measuring your progress. Action item: Review Microsoft's TechNet Print Management Step-by-Step Guide to get a stronger grasp of printer configuration.

Week 7

Watch: Videos 38-42 cover important Server 2012 configuration tasks, including WinRM, down-level server management, and multi-server management. Action item: Courtesy of Microsoft's TechNet library once again, reading this article can help you better understand WinRM.

Week 8

Watch: Videos 43-49 cover topics such as Windows firewall configuration, Hyper-V fundamentals, and configuring dynamic memory. Learn: Read the Hyper-V article from Microsoft's Technet library, because Hyper-V is such a crucial part of Server 2012, you need to understand it well. Then flashcard it up to reinforce what you have been learning! Action item: Take a practice exam. Use the results to guide you during the second half of this training journey.

Week 9

Tada! Bet you didn't even realize you made it to halfway point of this study plan. Congrats. You're killing it! So, without further ado:

Watch: Videos 50-54 highlight topics including resource metering configuration, guest services integration configuration, and creating VHDs and VHDXs. Learn: Read this post from Mark O'Shea to learn about deciding between VHDX or VHD Files with Hyper-V. Action item: Do a practice lab. Are things making sense more quickly?

Week 10

Watch: Videos 55-60 cover topics like managing checkpoints, implementing a virtual fibre channel adapter, and configuring storage QoS. Learn: Review those PowerShell flashcards again, and for good measure, your other ones. Action item: Keep doing any virtual labs associated with videos. Remember, hands-on-experience is really the best teacher you can have.

Week 11

Watch: Videos 61-66 focus on configuring Hyper-V virtual switches, how to optimize network performance, and network isolation configuration. Learn: Get more help conquering Hyper-V virtual switches by reading Kathy Davies' Create a virtual switch for Hyper-V virtual machines on Microsoft's TechNet.

Week 12

Watch: Videos 67-72 cover topics including IP fundamentals, configuring IP address options, and authorizing DHCP servers. Action item: It's time to schedule your exam! Why? It helps keep you accountable and on track in your training.

Week 13

Watch: Videos 73-76 address creating and configuring scopes, configuring DHCP reservations, and configuring Client and Server for PXE Boot. Learn: Return to your flashcards this week. Follow that up by re-doing 2-3 virtual labs from Weeks 2-8 of this study plan. Action item: Take a practice exam and use the result to guide you during the home stretch.

Week 14

Watch: Videos 77-81 focus on DNS fundamentals, configuring Forwarders and Root Hints. Learn: Use Microsoft Technet to deepen your understanding of Active Directory, yet another key component of Server 2012. Action item: Review Microsoft's Exam Policies and FAQs, so you'll be better prepared for exam day. Hard to believe that it's approaching so quickly, isn't it?

Week 15

Watch: Videos 82-86 cover DNS cache management, Active Directory fundamentals, and installing domain controllers. Learn: Review the skills you'll be measured on during the 70-410 exam, and how much of each skill is covered on the exam.

Week 16

Watch: Videos 87-90 focus on topics such as creating and managing Active Directory Groups and OUs, creating group policy objects, and configuring security policies. Learn: Use Microsoft Technet to dig deeper into the concept of group policy. Action item: Along with doing the virtual labs, as always, take another practice exam.

Week 17

Watch: Videos 91-93. You'll wrap up Garth's amazing 70-410 course by covering these three topics: Configuring application restriction policies and configuring Windows Firewall. Garth closes his course in Video. 93 with some exam tips and by wishing you good luck! Action item: Use virtual labs to strengthen any potential weak areas for you; then take one final practice exam! Generally speaking, if you score 90 percent or better on a practice exam, you should be ready to conquer the real deal!

Week 18

You made it! Congrats. Use this week to brush up on any terms or concepts that might still trip you up. Spend at least 3-5 hours on those areas. It's been a long journey, so take a deep breath and relax. Speaking of which, make sure you get a good night's sleep before exam day. Good luck!

So, there you have it, a week-by-week breakdown of how to conquer your training for the 70-410 exam. Once you pass it, you'll be ready to take the 70-411 and 70-412 courses, and become MCSA Server 2012-certified!


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