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10 Tips to Pass Microsoft’s MCSA 70-410 Exam

Microsoft’s MCSA 70 410 exam, Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012, is exam one of three you must pass to achieve the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification.

This exam measures your skills in installing and configuring fundamentals within Windows Server 2012 including features like Hyper-V, core network services, Active Directory and Group Policy.

Passing this exam is a requirement to achieve your MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification, and proves you have the fundamental skills to configure a Windows Server 2012 environment.
To help you pass Microsoft exam 70 410 first time, make sure to make the most of these revision resources, practice tests and tips. Here's our list of 10 tips to pass MCSA 70-410 exam:

  • Use the Microsoft Virtual Academy
  • Use a 70-410 revision guide
  • Join a Microsoft forum
  • Take a 70-410 practice test
  • Take a MCSA 70-740 course
  • Avoid brain dumps
  • Download a trial version of Windows Server
  • Join a Microsoft study group
  • Take a Windows Server practice lab
  • Download a Microsoft study app

After learning these essentials, you’ll be able to move onto exam 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012 and exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services.

1. Use the Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft’s Virtual Academy is a learning resource directly from Microsoft that’s dedicated to providing free online training and help to those interested in Microsoft technology.
It contains a host of videos, presentations and other information across a massive number of Microsoft technologies. As well as providing you information about the course and what you’ll face during the exam, there’s plenty of video material across dozens of topics.
For Windows Server 2012 and your MCSA 70 410 exam, there are plenty of articles that you can use to improve your knowledge. The Windows Server 2012 Essentials  and Installing an Configuring Windows Server 2012 video are particularly useful for your 70 410 exam.
The content in Microsoft Virtual Academy is brilliantly useful alongside revision or as a starting point for your learning.    

2. Use a 70-410 revision guide

Revision guides can help you structure your revision in a way that best suits your learning style. They focus your learning and comprehensively cover the content that you’ll be tested on in your exam.
Use study guides  to help reinforce your learning and cover areas you may have missed along the way. You can also study at your own pace, depending on when your exam date is.
Exam Ref 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 by Craig Zacker is the official Microsoft study guide. This guide covers each section of the exam thoroughly and is a fantastic resource to develop and hone your existing skills. You can find this 70-410 study guide on Amazon. 

Windows Server Study GuideAnother great book to use for revision is William Panek’s MCSA Windows Server 2012 R2 Complete Study Guide: Exams 70-410, 70-411, 70-412. Panek, a Microsoft’s MVP, writes about four exams in this guide, but starts with the MCSA 70 410 exam.
The guide covers all exam objectives thoroughly and also includes labs and online tools. This complete MCSA study guide will also prove useful if you take the follow-up exams: 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012 and exam 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services.
You can find this Complete MCSA study guide on Amazon. 

3. Join a Microsoft forum


Joining a community to help prepare for an exam can be a great way to mix with like-minded people and share experiences. You can bounce ideas off others, gain insight from those who’ve passed the exam and share knowledge and resources to help studying.
The TechNet forums are useful for guidance and information whether you’re sitting an exam or just looking for help with a specific Microsoft query. There’s a broad range of topics too, meaning there’s a good chance someone has already answered your question.
For your 70 410 exam, articles specifically created to help and articles on all aspects of Windows Server 2012 to give you information on an area you might be struggling with.
Use this link to the Windows Server 2012 section. It contains a thread on Windows Server 2012 essentials which is helpful for the fundamentals in the 70 410 exam and is a good place to start your revision. And here’s another thread specifically discussing 70 410 exam preparation.

4. Take a 70-410 practice test

Microsoft practice exam

Practice tests are great to get you used to the exam format, and prepare you for the type of questions and topics you’ll face in the real thing. It’s also a great way to benchmark your learning and identify gaps in knowledge.
MeasureUp is a brilliant resource for practice tests helping you prepare for many exams; they are the provider of official Microsoft practice tests.
This includes the 70 410 practice exam which offers 175 exam questions, thorough explanations and up to date R2 material.

Best of all, the 70 410 exam questions are aligned to Microsoft Official Curriculum. You can download these practice exams on MeasureUp’s website. 

5. Take a MCSA 70-740 course

There’s no substitute for immersing yourself in a training course and learning from the experts. You sit in a classroom free from distraction, with others who are focused on passing the same exam. You’ll also benefit from hands-on experience with insight and supervision from instructors.
Accelerated MCSA 70-410 training

Firebrand offer an accelerated 9-day Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 course that includes all three certification exams (which you’ll sit at the Firebrand Training Centre).

6. Avoid brain dumps

You should avoid brain dumps at all cost; they are illegal in the context of taking Microsoft exams. Not to mention 70 410 brain dumps will be not provide you with the knowledge you need to use Microsoft Windows Server 2012 in real-world scenarios.
Plus, if you’re found to be using one when studying for, or sitting the 70-410 exam, you will be immediately disqualified.

7. Download a trial version of Windows Server

A great way to prepare for the exam is to get hands-on with the software. Microsoft provide a trial version of Windows Server 2012 R2 which is available to download immediately. 
You’ll have 180 days to learn the ins and outs of the software, getting invaluable experience of all the features. Tailor this experience around the 70 410 exam and you’ll be able to learn and revise practically, gaining experience for when you’re certified and using the software for real.

8. Join a Microsoft study group

Joining a study group is another great way to connect with like-minded people who are focusing on the same goal as you. Study groups are designed to help you and others share study tips and experiences about your exam. It’s also a great way to stay motivated.
Born to Learn is a training and certification community that share and discuss certification news and articles.
Under the Wiki tabof this site, you can find a comprehensive list of resources for 70 410, that summarise every topic the exam covers. The site also contains a specific study group for the Microsoft exam 70 410 with questions others have had about parts of the exam, and a forum for discussion.
Accompany this with a detailed revision guide and you’ve got almost everything you need to know about what you’ll face in the exam and how best to revise.

9. Take a Windows Server practice lab

Practice labs are another great way to get hands on with Windows Server 2012 in a safe environment using guided learning. If you’re less experienced at using the software, you can gain hands-on experience without causing any issues that you’re not yet experienced enough to fix!

Building on MeasureUp’s practice tests, there are a series of practice labs for Windows Server 2012 aligned to the exam. The best part: it’ll lead you through tasks aligned to the 70 410 exam objectives. You’ll get practical experience that’s relevant to the real world and will help you pass the exam. Access MeasureUp’s practice labs now.
It's also worth heading over to the TechNet virtual labs, the site packs in 31 different labs aligned to Windows Server 2012. There is a virtual lab specifically dedicated to Configuring and Managing Servers. And best of all: these resources are free.

Microsoft TechNet

10. Download a Microsoft study app

There are plenty of apps out there that can help you study for exams. Whilst these should not be solely relied upon when revising, they can be useful tools to suit a specific need and are helpful for studying on the go. Below are some of the best Windows Server study guides.
On this, you’re able to customise your experience and practice questions in a way that is most helpful for your revision. Alternatively you can choose a pre-set that mimics the 70 410 exam.
uCertify contains a massive range of practice questions, including a chapter-by-chapter study guide to use as you go.
Pass-Guaranteed supports a vast amount of customisation options meaning you can change the types of questions and how they are arranged. This means you’re not facing the same questions each time you practice.