Sorry for the lack of posts lately… I have been focusing on passing the above mentioned exam which I did today (31/3 2016). I have several semi finished posts in the pipeline and have several plans for new topics also so I hope to compensate with that.
Meanwhile I can share some hints on what I did to pass the exam.
- For starters – the book of course. One should bear in mind that this book is quite dated now and will not contain information of all components in the test.
- The Virtual Academy is a good introduction for each of the exam sections. If you have access to it you’ll find it here https://mva.microsoft.com/en-US/training-courses/architecting-microsoft-azure-solutions-8655 but is also somewhat dated.
- The measure up practice tests. While not perfect they train you in the type of questions received on the exam. Especially the case studies which contain a lot of information and you need to train on how to pick out relevant keywords out of the requirements to later answer questions on these scenarios. The case studies was the one thing on the exam that caused me the most problems.
- Test some Azure PowerShell commands if you haven’t done so before. Note that the book has left out the Select-AzureSubscription command that let you select the subscription to use with subsequent commands https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn495203.aspx. Make sure you understand the syntax in PowerShell and I think you should be able to use common sense to solve most exam questions.
- Learn the limits of the components. I learned the differences between free, shared, basic, standard and premium for each service. For VMs i learned the configurations (CPUs + Mem), SQL Database limitations for each (logins, DTUs etc).
What I should have studied more
This is of course individual and depending on the questions that you get (randomly chosen) and your own experience. My shortcomings was in the areas of
- More machine learning. Think the whole flow from feeding with data to learning.
- I got some questions on disaster recovery for more complex scenarios than was mentioned than in the book. Learn the limitations and requirements for the disaster recovery services.
Hints for taking the exam
The exam consisted of 41 questions. You have 2.5 Hours available which is quite a lot.
It started with 3 case studies with only 5 questions each. These had a lot of text and you should give time to really read these thoroughly before you try to answer any questions. I took a lot of notes (keywords) to try to memorize the most important information but if you have a good memory or have English as your mother-tongue you might not need to follow this process.
You probably need less than an hour for the standalone 26 questions so take your time for the case scenarios. Spending 10 minutes reading and 10 minutes answering each scenario still leaves you with plenty of time for the rest of the test.
Don’t let the case studies discourage you. My first scenario happened to be difficult both from an understanding perspective and knowledge wise. I think I recovered a lot from the standalone questions in the end so don’t give up should you have a difficult start.
Once you finish a case scenario you cannot revert back and review your answers. So review each case study individually and take your time with them. Once you end a case scenario – you have effectively submitted your answers. The trailing standalone questions allowed for review.
Hope this gives you some hints on how to pass this exam…