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70-680 Study Time

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Greens85, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Hi All,

    I am currently studying towards my 70-680 cert. and have been since December 2012. I work full time (the company are actually putting me though this) so my study time is limited to week nights and weekends. I am pretty much studying flat out from getting in from work till it's time to hit the hay! That equates to about 3 hours (max) a night. I'm using the official MS press book, professor messers videos and labbing.

    I've done a couple of test exams from the press book already and I scored 76% on the first (2 questions off a pass) and 96% on the second (only 2 questions wrong). These results look OK on the whole but my concern is - how much of this is down to just knowing the questions in the press book (inc. format) and how much do I actually know the content.

    Just really looking for guidance from people who have been their - and how long it took them etc. Clearly I appreciate everyone is different. I'm using some of this stuff in day to day work but not as much as I thought I would have been.

    Can anyone offer some advice?

    Thanks in advance!
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  2. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    As your practice tests so far suggest, it can be difficult knowing what the actual exam will be like and everyone is completely different. You could go in and get a set of questions that play to your strengths and only get 2 questions wrong, or you could go in and get the complete opposite and fail by 2!

    Have you thought about using a third party practice test suite such as Transcender or Boson? They're not cheap, but well worth the money in my opinion. You could even ask your company to folk out for it if they're supporting you through the process? What they would give you is a clear indication of where your weak areas are, and then you can re-visit them. They will also give you a different 'exam style experience', which can only be a good thing.
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCSA 2003 (270, 290, 291), MCTS (640, 642), MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  3. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Hi,

    Many thanks for your reply!

    I have looked at other providers of exam questions including Transcender but as you say they are quite expensive. The company wouldn't be paying for any additional things as they have already paid out all they will for this course. I am more than willing to pay from my own pocket if it's worth it. That said, my concern was that the questions would be based around those in the press book. I checked out some demo's on the Boson website and they look to be almost identical to the MS press book - which as I say is my concern. It seems you have used Transcender and think it's value for money so I may bite the bullet on that one.

    I think my doubt pretty much stems from not knowing what format the exam will throw at me! As an example, in many area's I am comfortable with the subject area overall but maybe couldn't perform the tasks by command line if requested. Therefore if I got to the exam and it started asking me to command line questions - I may fall short. This is obviously just one example.

    In the meantime I will just keep cracking on - it can't only improve my knowledge!

    Thanks again!
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  4. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    My biggest wake-up call was realising how much server side stuff I needed to know for a client-based exam.
    I was lucky enough to product test the Boson exams so never paid for them, but they were so much closer to the real thing than the MSPress practice exams. Pretty close in terms of difficulty imo.
    Maybe I was unlucky and got a pile of server-side questions, but when I failed the 685 (didn't think I was ready for it, just tried to squeeze it in before starting a new job) I also got the same: MSPress book was client-side oriented, exam was server-side oriented.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  5. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    That's certainly a concern... obviously the MS Press Book covers things like Branch Cache which is server side. I wouldn't say there was a great deal of Server side stuff in there though.

    What kind of server side questions did you get on the 70-680? I can see you currently hold it.

    I'm half tempted to just book myself in for a few months time just as an attempt to get a feel for what it's going to be like... but at £100 a pop, that may not be the best idea! :eek:
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  6. BB88

    BB88 Kilobyte Poster Gold Member

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    I'm in the process of studying for it at the moment as well.

    I have the Microsoft Press book as well as Don Pulton's book which is a better read. I use CBT Nuggets, Professor Messer and ITFreeTraining on YouTube.

    I have ordered the Boson Practice Exam and Lab Environment pack also.
     
    Certifications: AS Computing, A+, Network+, 70-680, 70-410
    WIP: MCSA: Server 2012
  7. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Unfortunately, he cannot answer that question, due to Microsoft's NDA.

    I would say that giving yourself a goal by booking the exam is always a good idea, but only when you really know when(ish) you will be in a position to take it.
    Remember to also add 2 or 3 weeks onto the end of your study time to take dummy tests and then go over the subjects again that have been identified as your weakest areas.

    If you are looking for a (very) rough estimate of how long it takes before being in a position to take a test, I'd say, for someone who is able to study on a regular basis, 3-4 months. This is obviously very subjective.

    There was another (longish) thread asking the same sort of questions - I shall try to dig it out...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Found it easier than I'd thought...

    http://www.certforums.com/forums/windows-vista-7-8-client-exams/48502-70-680-duration.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
    Certifications: B.Sc.(Hons), MBCS. MCP (271,272), MCDST, MCTS (680), MCITP:EDST7, MCSA:WIN7, MCPS, MCNPS
    WIP: 70-686, then onto MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure via MCSA: Server 2012...
  8. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    Transcender is good, although I have found it better on some exams then others so it can still be a little hit and miss.

    Talking of just having a punt at the exam, it is worth remembering that at the moment you will get a free second shot attempt, incase you were not aware of that? More information can be found here. 8)
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCSA 2003 (270, 290, 291), MCTS (640, 642), MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  9. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Some great and useful responses here... thanks to all who contributed thus far!

    BB88: I've heard a lot about the Poulton book with many people suggesting it is better than the press book. I may well give that a shot - I guess more material can never be a bad thing! I'm also tempted to go for either Transcender or Boson - this could get expensive!

    RichyV: I wasn't aware of the MS NDA - I hope I haven't breached forum rules here! You say a basis of around 3-4 month for someone who is able to study on a regular basis. Do you class that as full time study (i.e. like you would being a full time student) or including someone like myself who is hitting around 3 hours a night?

    nXPLOsi: Thanks for the heads up the free retake - I didn't know about that at all. It certainly makes me more tempted to book one for a couple of months time and 'see what happens'. If nothing more it will get me familiar with the exam structure. I know it can't be discussed but I'm not expecting multiple choice with 4 answers like you see in the press book! I would also guesstimate a lot of weight is put on the imaging section. My feeling (and I could well be wrong) is that just knowing how it will be presented will give me a massive edge - if that means failnig one exam to know that, it might well be worth it!

    Once again, cheers for the responses guys.
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  10. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    No, not full-time as I would expect that would be weeks rather than months.
    Someone who can regularly give time (at least 1 hour, 5 times a week) is who I was targetting. This doesn't mean that if someone is taking longer there's something wrong (everybody studies differently) but, in my experience, overly-long study times can be an indication that something isn't quite 'clicking' and if it takes 6 months for someone who is able to give 10 hours a week then I would expect to see a fail (or very marginal pass) as they either are not working with the technology regularly enough or are being overly cautious and this can cause a 'gap' in knowlege on the contents of the earlier parts of the course.

    Please remember my caveat - this is highly subjective and not written in stone by any means...

    HTH.
     
    Certifications: B.Sc.(Hons), MBCS. MCP (271,272), MCDST, MCTS (680), MCITP:EDST7, MCSA:WIN7, MCPS, MCNPS
    WIP: 70-686, then onto MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure via MCSA: Server 2012...
  11. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Thanks for another great response Richy.

    I've got my exam in the next couple of weeks - I'll be sure to post the outcome on here (good or bad)!

    I've now studied the material in and out in terms of books (press book and poulton), I've also watched the videos (prof. messer and itfreetraining). I'm fairly confident that I've covered about as much in book form as possible. I have done some labbing but sense I maybe haven't done as much as I should have. This is mainly because I struggled to find a way to tackle it. I've done the labs in the books but find then (and this may come back to bite me) a bit simple... I feel maybe I should know more command line stuff.

    How did you guys go about labbing for the 70-680? Any advice, I'd like to labbing a lot over the next couple of weeks leading into my exam.

    Thanks.
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  12. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Hi All,

    As promised I said I would post back after my test which was today pass or fail. Fortunately I did manage a pass with a score of 760 - despite being very under confident going into the exam! Clearly I am limited in what I can say due to the NDA but I have to say it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be at all. I personally found it less tricky than the practice exams to be honest.

    Anyway - that one done and dusted, next up CCNA (as planned out by my company). Although I will now pursue the CCNA, I would be interested in gaining MCITP in my own time. A quick question if anyone can answer it... I know the 70-680 is being phased out quite soon, so can I still use this towards my MCITP or not?

    I'd just like to say a big thanks to all who have contributed with advice, links, reassurance etc... it's been much appreciated and helped no end!

    Time for a few beers I think!
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  13. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Hi,

    no, the 680 is not being phased-out, it is the MCITP certification that's being retired. Most will be going during this year, the ones for Windows 7 retire at the end of January 2014. After this you would be working towards the new MCSA cert. (at the moment, you receive both MCITP & MCSA for 680 + either 685 or 686).

    HTH
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
    Certifications: B.Sc.(Hons), MBCS. MCP (271,272), MCDST, MCTS (680), MCITP:EDST7, MCSA:WIN7, MCPS, MCNPS
    WIP: 70-686, then onto MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure via MCSA: Server 2012...
  14. rocdamike

    rocdamike Byte Poster Gold Member

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    Congrats on the pass! Did you use Transcender in the end?
     
    Certifications: CCNA R&S, CCENT, F5 101 Application Delivery Fundamentals, ITIL Foundation (2011), CompTIA (A+, Network+), MTA (Windows OS, Networking, HTML5)
    WIP: CCNA Security
  15. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Oh and, BTW, congrats on the pass...:)
     
    Certifications: B.Sc.(Hons), MBCS. MCP (271,272), MCDST, MCTS (680), MCITP:EDST7, MCSA:WIN7, MCPS, MCNPS
    WIP: 70-686, then onto MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure via MCSA: Server 2012...
  16. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Cheers guys.

    I didn't use Trancender in end. My source material was the Don Poulton book / CD, the Official MS Press Book / CD, Prof. Messer Vids, and Free IT Training Vids on You Tube. Then pretty much just labs from the aforementioned books.

    I'd imagine by the time I get my CCNA and get round to adding another MS cert, I will be getting the MCSA cert! We'll have to see how it pans out I guess. Great to have the first one under the belt though :D
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA

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