Tips for passing Microsoft “role” based certificate exams (that helped me)

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I passed both of these, but they weren’t an easy task. You need on comprehensive set on knowledge from various aspects.

MS-500 skills outline:

  • Implement and manage identity and access (30-35%)
  • Implement and manage threat protection (20-25%)
  • Implement and manage information protection (15-20%)
  • Manage governance and compliance features in Microsoft 365 (25-30%)

Sc-300 skills outline:

  • Implement an identity management solution (25-30%)
  • Implement an authentication and access management solution (25-30%)
  • Implement access management for apps (10-15%)
  • Plan and implement an identity governance strategy (25-30%)

And the content will be updated on September 24, 2021 for both exams. Usually there isn’t a lot of changes, terms change, something goes away and more weight of current technologies.

Both tests are somewhat similar, but SC-300 depends more on Azure B2B and collaboration with external identities and governing the identity landscape on our environment.

MS-500 will be covering all the aspect of SC-x00 exams. I had multiple question about Defender and Sentinel. So for this test you really need a wide variety of skills.

Prepping for the test

I always like to make exams tests online and noting out the areas that I see hardest for me. Then I do some Googling for the aspect of interest. First I look at Microsoft official documentation and then seeing other peoples blogs. There is insane amount of information out there, but it isn’t always accurate. There is old versions used, bad instructions etc so don’t always blindly trust what you read.

Testing in lab

Online service providers make this one easier to accomplish. You can provision a virtual Windows Server almost in any one of them. I use Azure for testing because I get free credits thru my MCT certification.

For Microsoft partners there is also one other excellent place for demo purposes. You need to login with our corporate credentials to access the content.

If you can provisioning a pre-hydrated environment with users and data. It makes easier to see how the solutions function in real-life.

Brake stuff, fix them, try again and repeat. You don’t have to be too sensitive with anything, be curious about different scenarios and google google google then repeat again.

Reserving the exam

This a really simple process, at least when you have done it couple of times. The hardest part is to reserve the time that you want, until you have done the credit card process (if not using vouchers) the time isn’t locked for you. One time I wanted a certain time and tried to book it over 15 times and failed.

The process is simple go to

then browse and find your exam from the list.

On the pic above you can see the exam and the certification that it will give when you pass.

Then go down on the page and choose “Schedule with Pearsion VUE”

During Covid Microsoft made possible to make a test as an un-employed or as a student. I won’t be covering this one as it is in a completely different portal, but excellent offer from them!

When you schedule you will need the Microsoft Account. You will get your MCP ID when you pass the test and it will be associated with that specific MS Account.

Then you have to fill your personal info, choose the EXACT name in your driving license, it will be hard to change afterwards.

Next you can choose the vouchers if you have them and you can link your organizational account to see the vouchers your employer has made available for you.

Then you will choose your prefered location for the test.

And see what is needed.

Notes from the field (Online test)

Couple of things about the area and the do not’s in during the test.

  • Video and microphone must be on during the whole test.
  • Papers must not be near. They will check from the floor also.
  • If there is a TV in the room the cables must be removed.
  • Any possible tattoos could be checked.
  • 360 pictures will be taken of the room where the test is performed in the beginning.
  • You are not allowed to use mobile hotspot. If your network fails during the test, you don’t have a way to change the network connections. So you better make it available and working during the whole test.
  • Driving license or passport and picture on both sides before starting the test.
  • No one can enter the testing space or you could be revoked.
  • Don’t speak anything out loud, English isn’t my native language so I tend to read out loud the questions for my Finnish brain to realize them. This apparently isn’t allowed.

When you are done with the booking you will get an email with the time and instructions how to attend.

Notes from the field (Classroom test)

  • When performed on site, your eyeglasses are checked for cameras.
  • No drinks or food will be allowed.
  • Also no telephone in the room. There is lockers where your can leave your personal stuff.
  • There will be note equipment in the test space, which is not allowed to take with you after the test.

Classroom test providers in Finland are (not all of them in this list) they also provide technology training.

And only for training purposes this is an excellent partner.

In both cases you will get the result immediately after the exams, only beta exams will provide the result later on.

The test itself

The exams consist of multiple-choice questions, case studies (which cannot be returned once you have answered) and labs (not during Covid) Usually there is five different categories. 700 / 1000pts is required for passing and the score remains in your knowledge and won’t be shared externally. You have about 3-3.5hrs to do the test, but you can finish quicker if you feel smart that day.

Planning your certification path

If you want to plan your certification path you can see Microsoft Certification Poster which contains all the paths that there is and it is constantly updated, last update was on August 2021

If you want to plan your certification path you can see Microsoft Certification Poster which contains all the paths that there is and it is constantly updated, last update was on August 2021

Renewing the certification (Online during Covid)

As of today the certifications will be good for period of 1 year, but you can renew them with online test.

Why to get certified, what it means to you

I will get employed or just define your know-how for yourself, employer and customers.

When Microsoft changed tests to role-based they show more what you do best.

Of course you can challenge your self and try to certify for stuff that you don’t know, but if you don’t practice those within your work, your will loose the competence real quick.

What is means for your employer

Microsoft partners get benefits from the competencies. Competency level is a combination of sales, consumption and skilled people who have certificates.

Here is the catch for your employer, they will be seen to Microsoft and even customer cases need certified people.

Final thoughts

So there are many benefits on becoming certified, there is really no reason not to. If you do Microsoft as your work, you should.

I booked yet another test for myself because I want to keep learning and sharing info.

Over and out,

Author: Harri Jaakkonen

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