Here’s How Long MDAA-Certified Professionals Said They’d Studied for the MD-100 and MD-101

by Ross Heintzkill | Published on September 12, 2022

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate is an extremely familiar certification to IT professionals working in basically every aspect of IT. The MDAA's first exam, MD-100, covers installing, configuring and maintaining Windows clients and storage in a professional setting. The second exam of the MDAA, MD-101, tests familiarity with managing compliance policies and more advanced administration techniques.

Students get through CBT Nuggets' Desktop Administrator Associate online training at different speeds, so we put a survey on Twitter, a poll on LinkedIn and emailed a survey to find out how long it takes to prepare for the MD-100 and MD-101. We compiled the results of over 200 respondents and combined that with our own information about study habits to answer the question of how long it takes to prepare for the Modern Desktop Administrator Associate.

How long did most people need to study for the MD-100 and MD-101?

According to a survey of over 200 MDAA-certified IT professionals, it takes most people a few months to prepare for both the MD-100 and the MD-101, but there's a lot that can be done to shorten that. 40% of all people surveyed said it took them less than 6 weeks to prepare for the Modern Desktop Administrator Associate exams, but they almost certainly had substantial work experience and the benefit of a course of study.

how long to study for microsoft 365 desktop admin survey data

Brand new IT professionals with little work experience and who study on their own tend to take over 5 months to prepare for the MD-100 and MD-101. But taking an online course that covers all the learning objectives for Microsoft's exams can accelerate that significantly. IT professionals with no work experience but who take an online course can prepare for the MDAA in under 3 months.

Studying for the MD-100 and MD-101 takes so long because there is just so much information to get through. Without good study habits, you risk losing time and progress. According to CBT Nuggets Senior Coach, Molly Billow, you should think about how to make your habit “sticky.” 

"Try to stick your training habit to something you already do," Billow recommends. "For instance, after you pour your first cup of coffee you start training. Before or after a meal you train. Or just before you sit down to watch your favorite Netflix show, train." She says that following a study routine faithfully often reduces the time it takes to prepare for the MDAA.

How should you prepare ahead of taking MD-100 and MD-101? 

The Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification is intentionally designed to check if a new IT professional can deploy a Windows client, manage identity and access, configure compliance policies, protect devices, and manage apps on multiple devices. If your job doesn’t already give you extensive experience administering Windows 365, you should follow a training program designed for the Modern Desktop Associate Admin exam that will prepare you for each of those skills.

CBT Nuggets coach Blake Pierson encourages anyone who's trying to prepare for the MD-100 and MD-101 that it's a marathon, not a race. "Two courses, one cert. It can take approximately 2-3 months to complete each course, including virtual labs. Factor in a couple weeks of review time integrating the practice exam tool after completing each course," Blake advises. "It’s not unusual to score around 50% the first time through. Find your gaps, lab it up, and watch your scores improve."

Tips to help you study for the Modern Desktop Administrator Associate:

The right tools can help set you up for success on exam day. Prepare yourself with an online course that comes with all the tools you’ll need to get ready for the MDAA. Here are a few of the test prep tools we recommend using to get ready.

Learn from Microsoft-certified experts

Speed up your study time by using the Microsoft 365: Desktop Administrator Associate Online Training taught by James Conrad, an experienced pro with tons of certifications of his own. He knows exactly what to expect on the MD-100 and MD-101. 

Download a MD-100 & MD-101 study plan

This Modern Desktop Administrator Associate study plan outlines the topics you'll need to study each week to take the MD-100 and MD-101 exams. The study plan recommends spending 30 minutes per day in order to prepare for the MD-100 and MD-101 in about 13 weeks.

Use virtual labs

A virtual lab lets you simulate real-world environments so that you can practice Windows administration and client management in a setting that acts just like reality. Virtual labs reduce how long it takes to prepare for the MD-100 and MD-101 significantly because they help practice the exact skills you need to pass them.

Test yourself using practice exams

Rather than cram everything you can into your head for as long as you can stomach it, you can use a practice exam from CBT Nuggets instead – that way you know what areas you don't have to keep studying. And it helps speed up how long it takes to prepare for the MDAA because you spot the areas you're a little shaky on.

CBT Nuggets online training courses are popular because they're successful, and they're successful because they encourage practice and applicable skills. Using a course to prepare yourself for exam day ensures that learners really know how to do what they're studying and practice exams guarantee no one spends longer than they need to on any topic.

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