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MCTS 70-680 Training and Exam

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Greens85, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Hi All,

    A few month ago I attended an interview for a 2nd line service desk engineer, unfortunately I was unsuccessful but the IT manager was a really nice guy and was kind enough to offer me some very useful advice. He basically suggested while I had quite a bit of potential and enthusiasm for the role I may just be lacking the qualifications to back things up and maybe could do with a little bit more experience. He was also the person who pointed me in the direction of this forum.

    His advice was that I should study for and undertake the MCTS 70-680 Exam, then apply for some relevant 1st line support roles. As I already have a degree in ICT (albeit more web/multimedia based) he suggested that I would be best of self studying as I have previously looked at going down the college route. My main question is how long do people on here think I should be allowing myself to get up to speed before taking the exam as obviously I want to book a test date and then work towards that?

    While my degree is in Web Development/Multimedia, I should note that I do have some experience in networking and would suggest I am far from a complete novice. In my currently role I am solely responsible for the running of the whole ICT network, although it should also be noted that it is a very small set-up; comprising of 4 Workstations, a Windows 2008 Server and a CISCO ASA Firewall. I deal with every single ICT related queries from lack of connectivity to MS Office problems etc. I was also responsible for buying in and setting up the network as the company had no infrastructure prior to my arrival.

    I hope this insight into my current role will be enough for someone to give me a rough idea of how long they think I should allow myself to study for the MCTS 70-680 Exam...

    Any help or advice would be very much appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Greens85
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  2. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Hi & welcome to the forums,

    my suggestion would be to start self-study using (if possible) more than one type of resource as this will give you an idea of how much study-time you have per week which, in turn, will give you an idea of how long it will take before you feel ready for the exam. It will be different for everybody and if you've not taken any MS certs before it will be difficult to gauge what the necessary time allowance would be for you personally.

    When you feel you are around 6 weeks away from readiness (remembering to include between 1 and 2 weeks at the end of your study to take practice exams and go over the 'weaker' parts that this identifies once more), then book the exam as this will give you a definitive goal to aim for.

    (As an aside and purely out of interest, I'd say this one's 'do-able' in 4 weeks but possibly only for user's that have been configuring Win7 regularly for a year or so AND have experience of previous MS Certs. Other's, I'm sure, have views on this too...).

    HTH & good luck!
     
    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...
  3. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Hi Richy,

    Many thanks for your rapid response!

    The gentleman who interviewed me was also kind enough to provide me with a number of links to resources, which I will recycle here in case they are of use to others reading this thread.

    [edit] I was going to post the resources but it seems as new member I am prohibited from doing so...

    The top link is to the "MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Windows 7 Book/CD Package" which I was planning on using for the basis of my study along with the other links he provided then any other resources I find/stumble across along the way.

    With your advice I think I will be best placed to start studying, and get a feel for how it is going. We do have one Win 7 station currently but I haven't really had a need to do much with it to be honest and this will be my first MS cert. I was originally looking at doing the CISCO CCENT/CCNA but obviously was given some better advice at interview.

    Once again, many thanks for your advice.
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  4. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    OK, with all of that info. I have one question, do you work with Windows 7? I ask this as the 70-680 is technology specific to Windows 7.

    You've asked how long should you allow yourself, well if you already have experience, I would say shorter than the amount of time you'd need to study for the exam if you didn't have Windows 7 experience.

    It isn't a race, for some people it can take a month for others it can take a year. It depends on the learning style, the resources (including time) available to the person, etc... Just don't use braindumps.
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  5. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    One of the client machines is running windows 7 however I rarely get problems reported with the machine so haven't had to deal with much as such. We also run terminal services therefore the 7 machine is running a remote desktop anyway, so should any issues be encountered by the user it will normally be related to the remote desktop i.e. server 2008.. so I guess in short, I've not had much dealings with windows 7.

    I have done certain things on windows 7 such as joining the client to the domain etc, and configuring it on a static IP but I also appreciate that these are the very basics.
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  6. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    You should check out Professor Messer's site, he has a free 70-680 course. If you use that to supplement the MSPress book you'll be on the right track material-wise.

    With no real experience in W7 you may struggle with certain aspects of it so you'd be best to review the material and gauge for yourself how long you think it might take before booking the exam.

    With that in mind, my personal advice would be:
    1. Get the MSPress book and get an idea of the scope of the material and technologies.
    2. Fire in to Prof Messer's course (It wasn't available when I did the 680 but has some good things said about it on this forum and, more importantly, I can't remember anyone posting anything negative about it)
    3. Check out your local prometric test centre and see what the availability is like in 2-4 weeks so you know how far in advance you need to book to get a slot that suits you.(Top Tip: My one is always rammed on a Friday. The lure of a long weekend and no working the next day with a celebration hangover are logical reasons for this)
    4. Study like a demon
    5. Book the exam
    6. Pass FTW
     
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  7. TheMagician

    TheMagician Nibble Poster

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    Underestimate 70-680 at your peril!

    A lot of people probably look at the name of it and think, "Oh, I've been using Windows 7 for 2 years, it'll be a piece of piss!"

    It won't. It catches a lot of people out this way, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that its pass rate is lower than some of the server side certs.

    It requires a rather in-depth knowledge of deploying Windows 7 amongst other enterprise level features which probably won't be familiar to you if you have only been supporting a very small desktop environment. It's nothing that can't be overcome with plenty of study and labbing however.

    Not sure I'd be wanting to book the exam before even starting on this path though. I've never found it a problem booking an exam for the day after next anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
    Certifications: MCSA 2012, MCITP: EA, SA, ITIL
  8. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    I would heed that warning on the difficulty if you have no real experience with the W7/2K8R2 combo.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  9. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I have to echo the statements about difficulty.

    Since the (sad) demise of the XP-based MCDST and the consequent move 'away' from the MCP exams you are left with Vista-based MCTS/MCITP (aimed now at the 'Consumer' support market by MS) or the more difficult Win7-based MCTS/MCITP (following the 'Corporate' or 'Enterprise' direction). Leaving you (or anyone starting-out on MS Cert. paths for that matter) with only really the older 70-270 XP-based MCSA/E core MCP exam or the newer MCTS 70-680 'Windows 7, Configuration' which in many peoples opinion is rather more demanding, as a path to 'meaningful' MS Certs.

    It sounds as if your Win7 experience would have been a good starting position if it had been in XP and the MCDST exams were still on offer. Sadly it will not really scratch the surface of the newer Win7 ones however.

    I would be inclined to start studying with book/vids and see how far removed it is from your day-to-day needs/usage and go from there.
    You may find it incredibly dull and doubt its worth in your circumstances; it's also possible, of course, that you'll get a taste for it and, as it has done for me, leave you wanting to learn more...

    Good luck with it!
     
    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...
  10. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    IMO, the 70-680 is MS most difficult client OS so far, compared to 70-210 (2000), 70-270 (XP) and 70-620 (Vista).
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  11. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Hi All,

    Many thanks for the all the advice... very much appreciated and very useful.

    The main sentiments seem to be do not underestimate how hard the exam will be, which I don't feel I was doing anyway. I have no idea what to expect if I'm honest so being told that this exam is sometimes underestimated is very useful to know. It seems in terms of preparation time, it will be a "play it by ear" job and I will only get a rough idea once I start to study for it.

    I guess all that's left to say is thanks once again and let the studying begin!
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA
  12. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

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    There are plenty of materials, videos for this exam out there if you look for them on the googe.

    Ive had no problems finding alot of material for this exam.

    I am suprised he interviewed you for a 2nd line position - maybe he thought you had promise!? If so you learned from the interview on with the next. A degree may not nessarily help now but later in life as you head up the career ladder it can be required or desirable to have one.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.
  13. Greens85

    Greens85 Bit Poster

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    Hi Jiser,

    He was a really nice guy as it goes and basically offered himself as a personal contact for advice/questions etc. as I try to gain this cert, gave his email address and so on. He also asked to keep my details on file for if/when a 1st line position arises... not sure how much of this is company procedure or if there is genuine interest in having me at the company, hopefully the latter. In addition to this as mentioned he also provided me with additional useful material but I'm sure as you say GOOGLE will reveal much more to accompany what I have so far!

    My degree may not necessarily be relevant to 1st line support but at the same time I'm sure it won't do me any harm so all is good on that front I guess!
     
    Certifications: BSc (hons), MCP, MCTS
    WIP: CCNA

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