Hi folks, this blog post comes to you as part of the Azure Back to School community event ran by Dwayne Natwick.
Many thanks to Dwayne for allowing me to take part.
You can read more about the event on the official website
I am talking to you today about Azure Certification Prep, let’s not waste any more time and dive right in.
Whether your starting your Azure certification journey or along ways down the road the first thing you need to do is some homework on the exams:-
- Which exam is the right one for you at this time?
- Have you read the official exam page from Microsoft?
- Have you read up on any changes about the exam that may have taken place?
I always suggest people start with the AZ-900 Azure fundamentals exam and this is for everyone, including experienced Azure users. This exam will set you up for the following if you are new to the exams or haven’t done any exams in a while:-
- Learn to study (learn to take notes and try to remember the content you’ve read)
- Get you into the habit of reading, trying to recall information, sitting practice tests.
- There is also the no small feat of booking the actual exam and sitting it, lots of people put this off and dread exams.
This area is key to your success in the actual exam, the content in this section is in essence what Microsoft will be testing you on, ensure you are comfortable with all of this content before taking the exam. Exams are usually broken down into 4 maybe areas and you’ll see a percentage scoring next to each section. An example of this would be the AZ-900 exam which has the following:-
Describe Cloud Concepts (15-20%)
This means that 15-20% of your exam will be on this subject area, some exams have areas as much as 35-45% so this is the area you want to be very sharp on as lots of questions will be around this area.
Whilst studying you tend to get a feel for how it is going, I would advise you try some practice tests and try to gauge from them if your ready or not. Book your exam as this will then help concentrate your mind and ensure you study, nothing like an exam deadline coming up to make you want to read the content, learn and pass your exam.
So a this point we have checked out the official exam guide, we know what topics we are going to be tested on, lets assume we are sitting the exams at home, we have to know what to expect when sitting an exam from home.
Sitting an exam in your house
There are some rules which you need to adhere to when taking an exam from your office / home and some of these are as follows: –
- There is no bit of paper allowed for taking notes so if you need to take notes then there is a way to do this on-screen within the test, get familiar as you may need this.
- No one is allowed to enter the room at any time during your exam, and you cant leave either.
- You’re not allowed to read the exam questions out loud, cover your face or leave the webcam perimeter box for any reason, if you do you’re very likely to fail.
- You have to take photos of your identification and the desk your siting at, behind where you are sitting, to the left, and to the right of where you are sitting.
- The rules are there for people to read so be sure you know what you can and cannot do otherwise you run the risk of an instant failure which would not be fun.
Ensure your pc / laptop is charged, arrive 30 minutes early and go through your identification steps as soon as you can as it can be a little unsettling at times and you don’t want to be flustered before the exam begins.
I always go in search of good learning resources for an exam and I always start off with Microsoft Learn. Here you will find learning paths for your exam and you can go through them at your own pace, make sure not to miss these as they really are excellent.
My favorite Learning Resources
- Microsoft Learn for Certifications – Microsoft Learn for Certifications
- Build5nines Free Azure Certification Exam Self Assessment Tool – https://build5nines.com/free-oss-exam-self-assessment-tool/
- Microsoft Partner Training – https://partner.microsoft.com/en-US/training/assets#/?type=Exam
- AzureCharts – just go check it out (all of it) – https://azurecharts.com/
- Cloudfamily Azure Study Guides – https://cloudfamily.info/study_guides/
- Github Azure Resources – https://github.com/gsuttie/AzureResources
Whilst studying I always think its a good idea to do some knowledge checks, you may read some content week 1 and forget it week 2, practice tests help reinforce my learning and help me recall things I need to know for each exam. I have used practice tests from several different places and here are some of the people who have good training as well as good practice tests:-
- Skylines Academy – https://www.skylinesacademy.com/
- Pluraslight – https://www.pluralsight.com/
- Udemy – https://www.udemy.com/
- A Cloud Guru / Linux Academy – https://acloudguru.com/
- WhizLabs – https://www.whizlabs.com/
- Clouskills – https://cloudskills.io/
- Don’t start studying and then put it off would be my advice, you’re likely to forget some of what you learned.
- Book the exam 2 weeks out and then this will focus your mind.
- Read the questions carefully even in the practice tests.
- No exam question has answers which are wildly wrong, Microsoft don’t do this anymore so you wont be able to rule lets say 2 from 4 answers right away for being wildly wrong with regards to the question.
- Take the exam once your fairly confident you know what the answers to most of the questions, you wont get them all right but try to wait till your at least some what confident in your knowledge.
- ALWAYS check the official exam page in case the skills measure area has been updated – exams are updated regularly and you don’t want caught out.
No one likes sitting exams, but just think of the amount of things you have learned, and don’t be afraid to fail an exam, I have failed 3 and it just made me more determined to pass the next time and learn what I didn’t know the first time around.
If you need advice about anything exam related, please do reach out on twitter.
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