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Server 2012 – How to pass Exam 410 – Windows Server 2012 r2


The trio of Windows 2012 r2 exams are certification exams 410, 411 and 412.

Basically pass these, and an employer will feel comfortable with your base knowledge of Server 2012.  So what’s the step by step procedure to passing exam 410?

Step 1 – Best book

The best book that I’ve found so far, is the Microsoft Academic Press book by Craig Zacker.  There’s a 2012 and a 2012 r2 version.  They’re expensive, so buy them second hand or from a discount seller.  It’s almost 600 pages, so you’ll need to set aside an hour a day, to read it.  However there’s lots of screenshots, which are great for visual learners and memory retention.

exam 2012

Step 2 – CBT Nuggets for Exam 410

These keep being recommended.. yet I’ve never used them – so this time, I’m going to.  The site states that exam 410 comprises 31 video’s, and 19 hours of training.  IMHO, these are probably best to view at a time when you’ve too tired to read, or just need something to unwind too.  It’s either this or Lady Gaga on Youtube.  So no contest there then…

Step 3 – Transcenders – ACTIVE LEARNING

The “Mandatory” step.  Transcenders are a test engine… which offer “ACTIVE LEARNING”, through a questions and answer format, similiar to the real certification exam.  They cost approximately £90 – but are cheaper than failing an exam.

So why am I a die hard fan of the Transcenders test engine?  It’s because their format provides ACTIVE LEARNING, in a format identifical to the real exam.  You’ll learn to “read” the question, understand the question and learn to time yourself.

Most importantly Transcenders will identify your weak areas.  Previously I’ve put back a certification exam by a month, if I’ve got a weak spot.. to allow extra time to revise that topic.

In certifications such as Linux, Transcenders are mandatory.  I’ve had a Transcender question that didn’t appear in 6 separate Linux Certification books.  So you can have EVERY book on a certification topic, and Transcenders will still catch you out.  It’s better to be caught out in a test engine that during the real certification.

A lot of Certifications are not complex, but require you to remember a lot of information.  Give yourself time to read, understand, memorise and apply this information.

Step 4 – 3 months later

University courses run induction from the end of September and lectures start the first week of October.

So you decided to buy the certification book… buy it September/October and by the end of 3 months you should have read all 600 pages and started to cram and prepare a lab to test your skills.

Around mid December get your Transcenders ready and start to answer questions… what scores are you getting?  Where are your skills and knowledge weak?

Step 5 – Christmas Holidays

The Christmas holidays are no excuse to stop revision.  Just like in University, the Christmas holidays are a time to double your workload.  You must start revising between 2-3 hours a day at a minimum during the Christmas break.

If you wake up at 6.00 am, you can revise for 1- 2 hours before anyone will realise –  Stay in bed with your books…

A key question is what time of day is your best time to revise?

Some people memorise best, first thing in the morning (myself included), some find it best to revise at night (which is a waste of time for some of us).

Do you need to be warm or cold (I have to be very warm for some reason).

Do you need total silence or have music on (I need total silence).

Get to know the “conditions” that you need to revise well.  Adapt your routines to suit your body clock.  There is no single answer to this – *YOU* must find what works for you…  If you find that your memory retention is “useless” regarding what you read at night… then stop revising at night.

On to the Timetable…

You should begin testing using the Transcenders over Christmas.  When you find yourself failing a topic – get out the books and start studying everything you can about that topic.  Understand why this topic is so important.

Step 6 – Sit your exam mid to end of January

The University timetable will schedule exams for mid to end January.

Keep this timetable in your real work certification.  During January you will sit exam 410 Windows Server 2012.  This focus on a deadline will keep you motivated.

If you aren’t getting a 100% pass rate in Transcenders, then put back your exam to February.  This will give you some extra revision time if you think you’re going to fail.

Final thoughts.

During the long cold winter, revising a certification in bed in the mornings means that you:

1. Get to stay in bed longer

2. Get to drink your morning coffee in bed – every day!!

3. Get to read the book – when your mind is empty, and able to take in new information.

4. Get to study your Certification, rather than wishing you could find the time to do them.

5. Even passing a single Certification is better than having none at all.  So chip away at them.  Just like learning a musical instrument, prepare yourself with an hours practice a day.

Study from 6 am to 7 am every morning, if that’s the only time of the day that you can. All those “an hour a day” mount up – VERY quickly.  Within 2 months you’ll become “addicted” to the revision and passing. It’ll become a routine – that will make you more effective at work, and more qualified – it’s a win win.  But you need that “hour a day” to turn it around.

So what’s your New Years Resolution?

To drink coffee in bed every day and pass those certifications?

One Comment
  1. Mark-William Lanahan permalink Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2014 12:37:14 +0000 To:


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