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70-640 Revision Techniques?

Discussion in 'Windows Server 2003 / 2008 / 2012 Exams' started by swatto, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. swatto

    swatto Byte Poster

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    Hello Everyone,

    I haven't been on here in a while (since I passed my A+ last year sometime) but I have now been given a development plan by my employer who would like me to pass one or two MCITP exams by the end of the year.

    I have started studying for the 70-640 using the Exam Cram book but I am finding it extremely difficult to remember the little pieces of information required - I find that writing the information down takes far too long (I tend to write the entire chapter out in my own words).

    I am a visual learner and find that reading/writing tends to 'go in' alot easier than audio. I also find 'doing' works well for me also.

    Please could I get some tips from other visual/practical learners about what works for them?

    Many Thanks :biggrin
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
    Certifications: BTEC Nat Dip: Software Dev, A+
    WIP: None Yet
  2. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Firstly, outside the box a little. The 640 is required for the Server Admin and Enterprise Admin MCITPs. These will require at least two MORE exams after this one to get an MCITP. All of the involved exams are quite tough. If you're routinely working with server administration you'll be fine - if not you'll struggle to pass these exams from memorising facts in books - it would be impossible for a lot of people.
    A lot of people's first MCITP (including my own) is the EDST (the 70-680 and 70-685) - this is still tough, but is much better suited for someone working in support kind of roles. I don't know what work you do, but unless you're working with servers, you should consider it. This also just requires two exams.

    Secondly, how to learn.
    Visual learners at an advantage over most - so you're lucky! Flash cards are a technique I use a lot. Pick out the details, acronyms, procedures and other bits you're likely to forget and write them on flash cards to review periodically (or if you're a lazy/busy nerd like me, dump them into Mnemosyne and let that take care of the scheduling - this thread has a few more details on how to do that)
    And don't pigeon-hole yourself too much as visual - the idea that "student A favours visual learning so you have to show her lots of pictures; student B is kinaesthetic so can only learn by catching a ball" has been pretty solidly discredited. Everyone has a mix of learning modes, and even if you strongly favour visual learning, there'll be times you learn more effectively through other modes. For instance, I'm fairly visual, but I still converted a lot of training videos to audio so I could learn on the daily commute.

    Also try a virtualisation app (I like vmware player), download the 2008R2 trial version ISO from the Microsoft and get yourself some servers running on your PC (this'll require a half decent processor and a fair chunk of hard-drive and RAM). Whenever you learn something, try it. And then try it again a different way. And then try to do something clever and totally bugger it up, and then reinstall it and try again. Playing around gives you mental pictures of all the steps, screens, wizards and processes. Buggering up helps you learn what it doesn't do, and what bad assumptions you made. Both are useful. A good book is basically a map - a virtual machine is (almost) the real thing.

    Finally, I would NEVER study from an exam cram book. These books are designed for after you've learned all the concepts, to help you in your final prep toward the exam. They are not designed to teach something from scratch.
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  3. swatto

    swatto Byte Poster

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    Thanks for the reply :)

    I do indeed work with Servers, I got a secondment for 6 months with my company to work in their 3rd line team - I have now been offered the job permanently but with a development plan attached.

    I do know all the concepts pretty much so it is just the nitty gritty stuff I need for the exam. I also have a HP Microserver at home running Windows Server 2008 and an exchange environment.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
    Certifications: BTEC Nat Dip: Software Dev, A+
    WIP: None Yet
  4. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I tend to do a lot of labs when studying... helps reinforce the information. Also training like CBT nuggets or Trainsignal can help a lot too, although its costly unless your employer is willing to pay.
     
    Certifications: A+ | CCA | CCAA | Network+ | MCDST | MCSA | MCP (270, 271, 272, 290, 291) | MCTS (70-662, 70-663) | MCITP:EMA | VCA-DCV/Cloud/WM | VTSP | VCP5-DT | VCP5-DCV
    WIP: VCAP5-DCA/DCD | EMCCA
  5. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Hear hear!

    And Swatto, sounds like you should be okay then. Just make you sure you have a look at the objectives. I know from my own work, that some stuff you work with a lot becomes second nature (for me GPOs, deployment, etc), while there may be gaping chasms you need to fill before the exam (for me it was mostly certificate services and ADFS)
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  6. hunterx

    hunterx New Member

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    I posted some of this in the "newbie" area...but it seems more appropriate to pose the question/comments here.

    The 70-640 book pretty much requires that you are hands on with a machine to build a server and setup AD forest(s), correct? I just received my book and it doesn't seem like I can get away with reading and memorizing. Most chapters are built in a way that requires you to do lab work at the same time as reading the information.

    I am going to install VMWare Player (free), and then I think Microsoft has a 180 day free trial. Does this sound like the way to go?
     
  7. GSteer

    GSteer Megabyte Poster

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    Yes, although I'd use Virtual Box instead of VMPlayer myself. Bear in mind that for the server exams they expect you to have been working on the server platforms for around a year to have the required experience in using them.
     
    Certifications: BSc. (Comp. Sci.), MBCS, MCP [70-290], Specialist [74-324], Security+, Network+, A+, Tea Lord: Beverage Brewmaster | Courses: LFS101x Introduction to Linux (edX)
    WIP: CCNA Routing & Switching
  8. hunterx

    hunterx New Member

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    Now you've got me rethinking my MCITP:SA choice...at this time I am only working with AD domains. There's that hard line of unable to find jobs without having experience, yet unable to get experience without jobs. You think it will be that difficult to pass the 640, 642 and 646 without actively handling/managing servers on a daily business? Studying and working with them in VM presents difficult challenges?
     
  9. GSteer

    GSteer Megabyte Poster

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    Working in the VMs and studying the material will give you a good grasp of how things are working server side but the real world experience gives familiarity to the interfaces and issues that crop up.

    I would maybe aim for completing 70-640 first and see how you go with that.

    Having said that, what current experience / certifications do you have?

    The server side certs are more aimed at the level 2 tech area where it is unlikely for people to walk into a job with certifications but no experience. That's not to say don't look at them but it might be a better use of your time to look at the more entry level certs. All this is conjecture that depends on the answer to the previous question.
     
    Certifications: BSc. (Comp. Sci.), MBCS, MCP [70-290], Specialist [74-324], Security+, Network+, A+, Tea Lord: Beverage Brewmaster | Courses: LFS101x Introduction to Linux (edX)
    WIP: CCNA Routing & Switching
  10. hunterx

    hunterx New Member

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    I don't have any Microsoft certifications. I have the typical comptia a+ and network+.

    I've been in the IT industry officially for about 5 years. I started at the Help Desk level, then Desktop/side support. About 2 years into that I moved into a more jack of all trades role, having a bit more duties with servers and setting up file shares for users at our site. That would have been more enjoyable, though I still dealt with the hands-on deskside support at the same time. In December 2010, I moved to Florida and have been working in more of a Security/Access Management role. It's my responsibility to "audit" requests that come in to us and provision accounts/groups to servers if they are within compliance and have the proper approvals.

    I enjoy working with Active Directory, managing users and groups. I am able to work remote part time, but I want to do that more full time as well. I am about to start studying for the entry level MCITP:Server Administrator (640, 642, 646). I feel that this exam, combined with my variety of experience in other fields, should assist me in getting at least an entry level job in Server Administration.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  11. GSteer

    GSteer Megabyte Poster

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    Looks like you answered all the queries and ticked all the boxes, if you've already got hands on server experience then the VMs and books are the way to go imo. In fact that's what I'm doing right at this moment, 70-640, few VMs fired up and a book full of text to chew through.
     
    Certifications: BSc. (Comp. Sci.), MBCS, MCP [70-290], Specialist [74-324], Security+, Network+, A+, Tea Lord: Beverage Brewmaster | Courses: LFS101x Introduction to Linux (edX)
    WIP: CCNA Routing & Switching
  12. swatto

    swatto Byte Poster

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    @GSteer - Well if you figure out a good way of remembering all that text please do let me know :)

    I would say though that it is more important to actually understand concepts and how they fit together than just memorising a bunch of text and facts. Practical scenerios definitely help with this, I have found a good way to study is to actually read the questions at the end of the chapter first and then go back and find out why an answer is what it is.

    Anyone else agree?
     
    Certifications: BTEC Nat Dip: Software Dev, A+
    WIP: None Yet
  13. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Absolutely agree that reading the questions first can be a good way to focus. IMHO, the ideal - and I'm not saying I always do this, just that it works when I do - is read the book once for concepts and ideas. Do lots of questions to spot weaknesses and see the kind of things you need to learn. Skim the book again picking out the bits you need.
    For Microsoft I'd also use a lot of VMs. I mean what with TechNet and trial versions of everything, Microsoft throw resources at you. And with free virtualisation tools - you'd be daft not to try stuff out.

    @GSteer: Why Virtual Box? I've never tried it. What does it bring to the table?
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  14. GSteer

    GSteer Megabyte Poster

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    From memory, and bear in mind it was quite a while ago that I tested Virtual PC vs VMWare vs Virtualbox, Virtualbox had more network options, ie different internal virtual switches, it also supported VMDKs, VHDs and it's own VDI drive formats. Support for OSX as a VM was good which the others didn't have.

    It generally felt like it had the most features of the bunch, ie the network switches, multi file formats, greater OS support, cmdline controls via VBoxManage, USB pass through etc.

    Again, these differences maybe negligible now but they mattered when I made the choice and I've never looked at switching to anything else.

    The entire manual is here if you're interested: https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/UserManual.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
    Certifications: BSc. (Comp. Sci.), MBCS, MCP [70-290], Specialist [74-324], Security+, Network+, A+, Tea Lord: Beverage Brewmaster | Courses: LFS101x Introduction to Linux (edX)
    WIP: CCNA Routing & Switching
    The Zig likes this.
  15. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Cool. I'll give it a look in some time. I think I saw Professor Messer using it. Also, just spotted it's open source, which is always something I like to see.
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  16. jvanassen

    jvanassen Kilobyte Poster

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    Very nice thread, was just looking in the AD section of this forum and could see there hasnt been a post in there for ages then just came across this in the server exams section. As you might of seen from another thread of mine im also looking to get stuck into something a bit more advanced after securing my first IT role and i think an AD exam is the way to go.

    Downloading Virtual Box now and guna start playing around with it. Already got the CBT Nugget videos for the 70-640. Just need to order myself a book to work through now.

    I can see theres one by Don Poulton: MCTS 70-640 Cert Guide: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring Cert Guides: Amazon.co.uk: Don Poulton: Books

    or thers a Microsoft one which was released sooner: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit Exam 70-640 : Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Book/CD Package, 2nd Edition Self-Paced Training Kits: Amazon.co.uk: Dan Holme, Nelson Ruest, Danielle Ruest, Jason Kellington: Books

    Can anyone recommend?
     
    Certifications: CompTIA A+, Network+, CCENT
    WIP: ICND2 200-101
  17. The Zig

    The Zig Kilobyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I used the Microsoft one. It was a little dry, but effective. You definitely need to get hands on with it, so a virtual set up is worthwhile. It has exercises you can follow along with through the book.

    Can't comment on the other one, has anyone else used it?
     
    Certifications: A+; Network+; Security+, CTT+; MCDST; 4 x MTA (Networking, OS, Security & Server); MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Support; MCITP - Enterprise Desktop Administrator; MCITP - Server Administrator; MCSA - Server 2008; MCT; IOSH; CCENT
    WIP: CCNA; Server 2012; LPIC; JNCIA?
  18. GSteer

    GSteer Megabyte Poster

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    Nope, using the MS Press one myself.

    Oh, and sorely tempted to stick Windows 8 on my home machine as well as the works one for Hyper-V, I'm really liking the option to run my VM's on the same type of system we use in production.
     
    Certifications: BSc. (Comp. Sci.), MBCS, MCP [70-290], Specialist [74-324], Security+, Network+, A+, Tea Lord: Beverage Brewmaster | Courses: LFS101x Introduction to Linux (edX)
    WIP: CCNA Routing & Switching

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