How I passed 70-331

Last week I sat and passed the exam for 70-331 – Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013. After having sat a couple of the prerequisite exams for the SharePoint certification streams it was good to get back to reading and learning about SharePoint and the content for this exam didn’t disappoint – it’s always valuable when the study material for a given exam allows you to learn new things and the content for this one opened my eyes up to some pieces of information I wasn’t previously familiar with. For all of the detractors out there regarding Microsoft certifications, this is probably the most valuable argument for why becoming certified has merit (of course you could read this material without sitting an exam, but for me it really helps to focus areas of study – otherwise there’s just so much information out there to get through!).

My preparation for this exam was quite significant. I had a bit of time up my sleeve so I went down the route of both reading as many relevant TechNet articles as possible and also reading Exam Ref 70-331: Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013. The book started off fairly dry and I was wondering if I’d get any benefit from it but i’m glad I stuck with it, by the end I was very happy with the content I learnt from reading it and it was actually one of the better books I’ve read for learning about SharePoint recently which was somewhat surprising for what I expected would be just a manual to assist with the exam preparation. In the end I probably dedicated about 50h of study time for this one.

Overall I found the exam quite difficult even though I went in fairly confident. I found Alex Dean’s post 70-331 Insights to be a fairly accurate account of my experience also so I figured I’d link to that rather than duplicate it all here.

I mentioned that I read a number of TechNet articles – I primarily used the Born to Learn site’s Server Certification Study Group wiki to determine what to read, however a number of other options exist including Vlad Catrinescu’s Study Guide for Exam 70-331 Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013, Gavin McKay’s Studying for Exam 70-331: Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and Becky Bertram’s currently under construction Exam 70-331 Study Guide. To be honest the first 3 I’ve listed are very similar (even to the point where the mistakes are the same!) so I don’t know who should get the ultimate credit but otherwise all will likely serve the purpose. Finding out about the Born to Learn site was a great positive of this process – I feel it’s going to be a heavily visited site for me in the future!

While I didn’t watch any videos this time around there are a number of options out there for those that wish to pursue that way of learning. Some of the options include Pluralsite’s SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions (70-331), CBT Nugget’s Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 70-331, Channel 9’s Exam Prep: 70-331 and 70-332 – MCSE: SharePoint (Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013) and TechNet’s SharePoint 2013 training for IT pros.

Another valuable resource you should be aware of is the Microsoft Virtual Academy site. I did find a page for Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013: exame 70-331 however it is in another language so perhaps not so useful for those of us that only speak English! Plus it wouldn’t actually let me access the content. Regardless – I think this is going to be an ever improving and valuable site to keep an eye on for future certification efforts.

So that about covers everything. I enjoyed the content of this exam and the process of studying for it which is always a plus when setting off on the path to gain the overall SharePoint certifications. Next on the list will be 70-332 so I’m hoping that one is similarly well created content wise.

As always, best of luck for passing this exam!

4 Responses to How I passed 70-331

  1. Jack says:

    Or just study exam dumps and scam the scammers (Microsoft). Their system sucks, and the certificates’ value is being debased significantly.

    I can’t tell you how many interviewees I’ve come across who were certed up and didn’t know anything. The system is fundamentally broken.

    • Matt says:

      I don’t completely disagree with you Jack. There are unfortunately easy ways to pass these exams without even gaining the knowledge. While it may hurt the employer if they base their decision for hire on a cert (that’s what the interview is for imo) and it may devalue the cert in some peoples eyes, for me it highlights what Microsoft thinks you should focus your study on for any given iteration of the product, and helps to provide the motivation to study that content. Those things alone provide the value for mine. With the added number and cost of the new certs, I don’t know if this is the case but I think it may dissuade the cheats from going for them. It seems like a lot of cost to undertake to just get found out in an interview anyway. I do think there needs to be something between what we have and what the Master’s program provided though.

  2. Pingback: How I passed the Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 exam 70-331 | The Project Corner

  3. Sir Poon says:

    Unfortunately, the exam’s complexity is a result of how little self-healing and automatic configuration exist in SharePoint. It is ridiculously complex in a lot of areas like search topology configuration and crawl performance to the point that, yeah, you better have a lot of real world experience making SharePoint actually work because it is very flaky in terms of configuration and performance. Throw in things like UAT and “no, really, I am an administrator” on top of the requirement for so many service accounts, Kerberos registration, temporary need of local administrator access during installation and configuration…it’s a bucket of worms to get going. It’s great once it’s running…and branded…and architected to stakeholders who don’t really want to be bothered with creating information policies…but, no, seriously, it is great. hahahaha

    In all seriousness, the complexity and flaky nature mean higher dollar rates for us consultants. But, from a TCO perspective, the exam just mirrors how expensive a SP environment is.

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