How I passed 70-667

Part three of my ‘Certification Series’ delves in to how I recently passed 70-667 – TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuring. It was always going to be a bit of a challenge stepping back up to the administrator certification plate (I had achieved administrator certification in the 2007 stream) after having a heavy focus both in development and also predominantly on the 2007 platform for the past year and a half, however I’m happy to say with the preparation I followed I managed to pass reasonably comfortably.

I took somewhat of a different approach to studying this exam in that, for the first time heading into an exam, I decided to base a large proportion of my preparation time reading a book. Without turning this article into a book review or commentary on what the best book out there for studying for this exam would be, I can say that the book I read, Professional SharePoint 2010 Administration, was a really good read in terms of learning a few things that I previously had not known. Whether it helped achieve the certification in the end i’m not sure (there ended up being a few months difference between finishing the book and sitting the exam) but regardless it was a good read and one I would definitely recommend.

Closer to the examination date I chose to go back to my tried-and-true method of finding a blog post which highlighted all the relevant Technet and MSDN articles on the skills measured for the exam. Not surprisingly, as I did for 70-573, I found that Becky Bertram’s post Exam 70-667 Study Guide covered everything I would need to read for each point and is the site I chose to go through.

I would however suggest that there is an even better resource when it comes to studying for the 667 exam and that is Benjamin Athawes series How I passed SharePoint 2010 exam 70-667 (part 1, 2, 3 and 4). The reason I didn’t use his articles as a guide for my study was simply due to time – I thought I had enough experience and knowledge already to get by without that level of study – however as a starting point for someone without the experience it would definitely be my number 1 suggestion on where to start.

Unfortunately, unlike the Cram Session videos I used for the developer exams which were extremely helpful, I couldn’t find anything similar for the administration stream. What I did find (some of which I had viewed previously) were some decent video content on Technet including Getting started with SharePoint Server 2010 for IT pros and SharePoint 2010 advanced IT pro training.

In the interest of completeness, like I did in my 70-576 post, I thought it would also be useful to highlight some of the training and labs available to help pass this exam, even though I didn’t use it in my own personal study plan. The labs available on TechNet Virtual Labs: SharePoint Products and Technologies are definitely worth exploring for those without enough hands on administrative experience.

Finally there was one pretty cool resource that I stumbled upon and perused briefly, Accelerated Idea’s Free Practice Exam – MCTS: SharePoint 2010, Configuration. It’s a neat little tool to help get you used to the multiple choice format of the Prometric exams and give you a little bit of confidence going into the administration certification (assuming you do well – I wouldn’t be overly concerned if you didn’t, the questions in this practice test are fairly broad and not necessarily indicative of what you’ll face in 70-667).

So that covers it. In the end I actually found the exam a little harder than I expected. I thought I’d blitz it but I’m glad I put the effort in to learn all the content being tested, not only as I picked up a few things I didn’t know but it definitely helped me pass in the end. The final piece to the puzzle will be 70-668 which I hope to attempt some time soon, but until then, all the best achieving 70-667!

How I passed 70-573

Today I sat and passed exam 70-573 – TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development. That means I now officially have the certifications of MCTS: SharePoint 2010, Application Development and MCPD: SharePoint Developer 2010. It may seem a little strange that I did the exams in the wrong order, but there was a method to the madness. Primarily it was to do with the requirement of attaining gold partnership with Microsoft which required the PRO exams to be completed – hence that took priority.

The difference in difficulty between the two developer exams was quite significant – but I guess that’s to be expected. There seemed to be far less ‘gotchya’ questions that needed a sharp eye to weed out the incorrect answers, and more that you just knew. I still ended up putting in a fair amount of study – probably half as much as I did for the 576 exam – but in hindsight I don’t think I even needed that much. Still, the main benefit you get from sitting these exams is solidifying the knowledge you already have and increasing your breadth of knowledge via the study required to pass.

This post will be shorter than my previous one simply because I used less resources. If you want a wider selection of materials you can use to study to pass both exams (including hands-on labs and tutorials) then take a look at my post How I passed 70-576.

Due to the success I had with my previous study method I decided to take the same approach. This involved tracking down a site which would conveniently link me off to all the various MSDN and TechNet resources I would need to read to study each individual element of the exam. It didn’t take long to find one – a quick search for 70-573 delivers you to Becky Bertram’s post SharePoint Exam 70-573 Study Guide with the second result, which was exactly what I was after. While some of the topics linked off to even more, and some of the content could be considered overkill for this exam, it was still a valuable process to undertake.

The second part to my study was re-viewing the exam-cram video series by Ted Pattison and I can’t stress enough how helpful that was. It surprised me a little sitting the exam immediately after watching the 3 parts of the series that were relevant to 70-573 – he literally hands you the answers to a bunch of questions in the exam. In case you don’t feel the need to view my 70-576 post here are the relevant links you’ll need:

Cram Session Part 1
Cram Session Part 2
Cram Session Part 3

And that pretty much sums it up. I’ve been back in the MOSS world for a while now at my current client with minimal exposure to 2010 but still had no troubles with this exam. If you’ve had a bit of experience with 2010, have learnt a bit about the new development features and done a little bit of study on the topics being covered, you should have no troubles at all passing this one.

Once again, Good luck!

How I passed 70-576

I had the good fortune today to sit, and thankfully pass, exam 70-576 – PRO: Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Applications. Aside from the fact the computer tried to tell me I was a no-show even after turning up half an hour early, it all went rather smoothly.

I’ve had a bit of experience sitting the Microsoft exams in the past. Going back as far as June 2008 sitting the core .NET and Winforms exams and then moving on to 3 of the 4 2007 SharePoint exams in 2009/2010, so I figured I kind of knew what to expect. This is probably the most amount of study I’ve put into a cert as well and as such I’ve learnt more than I ever have before – definitely the main benefit you get out of sitting the exam is the amount of content you learn to pass it.

But anyway, back to the point. I discovered a lot of different valuable resources that assisted me along the way to passing this exam. A few I didn’t end up getting to but i’ll include them anyway for the sake of completeness – they may come in handy.

Blogs: Rather than create these types of posts which was my original intention, I thankfully found some existing blogs that covered off what I wanted – namely breaking down the exam into it’s components and either explaining or linking off to MSDN/Technet content. The most useful I found was Martin Bodocky’s set of posts but beware – it’s definitely not for the short of time. This formed the majority of my study, and while the content could be found on MSDN/Technet directly – his posts saved me a lot of time!

Another blog I read towards the start was Pedro Pinto’s guide to the exam – it covered a reasonable amount of content and would be more attractive to those short on time or allergic to constant link-clicking in MSDN.

Training and Labs: Admittedly I never got to any of this content. I would eventually like to, but time didn’t permit. As it turned out, I didn’t really need it to pass the exam – but i’m sure it would suit those more inclined to hands-on learning rather than reading.

Videos: Now this is where I struck gold. Watched all of these and they were well worth it. The exam-cram series by Ted Pattison is a must see – shout out to my colleague Elliot Wood for tracking them down.

That about covers it. I’ll sign off with a bit of my own advice. Read the questions carefully – very carefully. Use process of elimination – there will be the obvious 1 or 2 incorrect answers but more important to see is (on some occassions) the 1 word in the question that makes all the difference to the answer. If you want advice on how to pass 70-573 then take a look at my post How I passed 70-573.

Good luck!