3 06 2011

Failed the 70-646 exam that I took last Friday. With a 678, it was pretty close to a pass, but to be fair that’s irrelevant.

I was right to SWOT up on the changes in R2.. the exam is very much focussed on these. The CBT Nuggets video series for the exam is pre-R2, but still very useful.

A major difference to all previously taken exams, although expected as a result of practise tests and checking out exam forums, was the testlets.

I had 5-6 of these in the exam and the major difference is the time constraint.. You get 20 minutes for a 5 question testlet and 23 mins for a 6 question one. Although this was enough to answer the questions and check them over, you can’t go back once you’ve proceeded past the test let.

This added pressure to the overall experience. My test started off with 3-4 of them, followed by 22 standard format questions, and then another 2-3 of them.

I think the added pressure was a good thing.. this is a PRO level exam and it should be a step above the standard TS format.

I’ve already book a re-take, which is in a weeks time. This won’t be at the same test centre, something which i’m not exactly gutted about, as per my last post. Planning on hitting the study hard, and hopefully killing it this time round!

ADA Technology Services

27 05 2011

So, arrived a little early at ADA Technology Services in Burgess Hill (nearest MS test centre to Brighton.. Sort it out!) for my 70-646, to be asked to ‘come back in 25 minutes’ as there was no one on reception.

Asked if I could sit there to read my notes.. It’s slap bang in the middle of an industrial estate so not exactly many places to go.. But got a ‘no’.

Great customer service there, nice one ADA.

70-646 booked

7 04 2011

Booked the 70-646: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Server Administrator exam today, for some time round the end of May. Having taken 4 exams between late December and mid-February (and failing two – both the original attempt at the 70-662 and the retake – doh!), I thought it was time to ease the pace.

Already been through my CBTNuggets videos a few times, plan is to go through again more thoroughly, making notes as I go.

I’ll also be making lots of use of my home virtual environment – this is a Dell Optiplex 745 with 8GB RAM and VMWare ESXi – I use the licenses from my personal TechNet subscription for the servers. I’ve already built an Exchange environment on this kit; now I’ll be using it to install the roles and features that the exam tests on. Also got the MeasureUp practise tests for the exam, but sadly there are no learning resources available in the iPhone App Store for the 646.

MCSA Upgrade exam – 70-648

7 01 2011

As mentioned in a previous post, I have the retake for the 70-662 booked; this is late in February. However, I’m planning on taking the MCSA 2003 upgrade exam, the 70-648, first.

I’ve given myself a very short timescale for this, from the last week of December until halfway through January. I’m using a variety of resources for this, including the trusty CBT Nuggets series. I’ve got these for quite a few exams now, and they’re definitely my preference over reading from a 3 inch thick book!

My technique for these videos is to watch them all through first, and then watch them a second time, noting down any exam-specific tips that the instructor gives, in the notes, and highlighting them. This is a great way of picking out specific areas to focus on. For me, the DRM protection is an issue – my iPhone (and Palm Pre before that) doesn’t support WMA files, and they’re DRM protected, so I can’t use them for the train / tube when I work in the London office.

I do have the Microsoft Training Kit for the exam in e-book format saved on my phone – bought this from the Apple App Store for £5.99 – a massive saving on the hard copy of the book and much more portable. I’ve also bought a test exam from the App store – this is slightly flawed (IMHO) in that you have to go through all 100 questions before getting a score – most test engines I’ve tried allow you to choose how many questions they’ll contain.

The exam is very soon so time will tell if such a short timescale in combination with the above study measures is effective.