Failed 70-640 for the 2nd time today!

Discussion in 'Active Directory Exams' started by dan9385, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. dan9385

    dan9385 New Member

    Hi guys,

    I've been a member on this forum for some time but this is my first post, so hi! :D

    Unfortunately I failed my 70-640 exam again today. I took it about 10 months ago and failed with a score of 657. I took it again today and failed again with a score of 548! I was quite surprised by this as I felt the actual test went quite well. It's bad enough to fail an exam twice but to fail it a second time with a lower score is a kick in the teeth!

    I've been actively employed in the world of IT for about the past 10 years and toward the latter years I've earned the CompTIA A+, N+ and the 70-620 certifications. I started the Server 2008 Server Administrator MCITP certification path a while ago, and the 70-640 exam is the first server exam I've taken. I found the CompTIA exams and the first client exam fairly straight forward, but needless to say I'm finding the 70-640 pretty heavy going. I don't use Active Directory as part of my current job role and don't have any real world experience using it, but I wanted to earn a server cert in a bid to make myself more employable and because I find it interesting.

    I've been using the MS Press 70-640 book, the MeasureUp prep test that comes with the book and the Transcender online prep tests to study for the exam, and I've been scoring highly in the prep tests and getting what I believe would be a passing score, 80-90% I've been through all the practice exercises in the book and set up virtual machines to gain some actual experience with the technology.

    According to the score reports, my weak areas are DNS and Certificate Services. I've been through all the prep tests I have access to and concentrated on the DNS and Certificate questions. I've been able to answer all these questions no problem at all, yet I don't seem to be able to get these questions right on the actual exam. I can't describe it, but the actual exam feels a lot different to taking the prep tests. The questions seem really different, in as much as they don't seem to give you enough information in the question text to be able to determine the correct answer. I find I spend a lot of the time trying to figure out what the question is actually asking before I can select an appropriate answer.

    A lot of the questions I got on the most recent test were collections, I.e. 5 or so questions in series that had the same possible answers but different questions. There were 10 possible answers for these, A-J, which meant if I didn't know the answer straigt away, finding the corect answer via process of elimination was virtually impossible.

    A couple of questions I got were identical. I triple checked the question and possible answers and they were exactly the same, which I thought was odd!?

    I also got a question which asked how to create a new UPN suffix. The most obvious answer to that in my mind is via Active Directory Domains and Trusts, yet that wasn't one of the answers! I think one of the Powershell cmd-lets was the only other sensible choice from the list that was given.

    Another question asked about importing a CSV file of user accounts using Powershell and wanted you to select the correct syntax for the task.

    The questions seemed a lot harder than those I've experienced on the prep tests, and in some cases a little draconian I felt. For example, I really don't see why you would put yourself through the pain of memorising multiple shell commands or Powershell commands to create a new UPN suffix when you can very easily do this via the UI!? Maybe if the question asked how you would do this on Server Core, then fair enough, but there was no mention of that.

    Has anyone else here taken this exam recently (or any other server exam in this series) and found it excessively difficult? Can any who may have taken this exam recently offer me any advice with regard to my shortcomings for the DNS and Certificate Services questions? I'm really at a loss as to how to proceed from here and would really appreciate any advice anyone may have to offer.

    Thanks in advance,

    Certifications: CompTIA A+, CompTIA N+, 70-620, 70-640
    WIP: 70-642, 70-646
  2. BigG

    BigG Nibble Poster

    Hi Dan - I've recently (last 6 months) done this exam - A few pointers
    1. Are you using the 2nd edition of the book? Things have changed a bit between V1 and v2 (e.g. 2008R2 stuff)
    2. Are you reading all the extra links in the booK (assuming MS Press books) - I seem to keep finding the "if you are interested read here" technet links end up teaching you some obscure thing that ends up on the exam.
    3. As you have just found out they have changed the format since your last exam. I had 3 testletts followed by random multi-choice. It's translating the question to the information of the scenario of the testlett that makes the difference. On my last exam the testletts had obvious answers and "obvious answers that were actually superseded by some additional requirement" in another part of the text. To me the scenarios are testing not only your knowledge but the ability to find conflicting information and then answer the question, which seems a little mean to me.

    My last exam took me 2 attempts :(

    Good luck next time

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
    Certifications: BSc, Prince2 Practitioner, MCSA Win7, MCSA 2008
    WIP: Vmware, ITILv3 on the back burner
  3. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

    Hi Dan

    I've not tried the 70-640 but I agree with what G has said - if you haven't picked up the newer materials covering R2 then you would be better off doing so as you'll be missing some nuances on the new materials.

    Also, with the newer server flavours Microsoft are putting more and more of an onus on powershell. If you're not comfortable with commands or the logical order that commands are likely to run in, then I'd concentrate on that. Eventually something goes "click" and you start seeing things in a more natural way, instead of forcing it - think the Matrix ;)

    I would also recommend the Technet Library, especially to polish up on wider subjects such as DNS. At the end of the day these are Microsoft products and they don't *want* people to fail their exams - there are no trick questions (although there are often some badly worded or poorly edited ones!).

    If you haven't already got these ones, also take a look at the CBT Nuggets and focus again on the areas you're having difficulty with :)

    HTH - and shout out if there's a concept you can't get sitting right in your brain. That's what internet communities are for after all :)
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  4. dan9385

    dan9385 New Member

    Hi guys,

    Thanks very much for your replies. There are some useful tips there. In answer to your questions, yes I am using the MS Press book, 2nd edition including the changes in R2. I did start off with the first edition of the book. I've had various things going on in my life over the last 5 years or so which I won't bore you with the details of, but it has hampered my progress on gaining this cert somewhat. During the time I've been studying this material, Microsoft released R2, updated the exam objectives and didn't seem to publicise it very well. The National IT Learning Centre, who I've been with since 2007 didn't make me aware of this change either, so I pretty much had to start from scratch which didn't help matters. The support they offered as part of my course has long expired.

    I think I've been a bit naive in thinking, or hoping, that the "additional info can be found here" links to Technet in the book really were for additional info and wouldn't be an integral part of the exam. That has recently come to light with a question that I got on the most recent exam about ADRMS and how to configure it for use with Windows Mobile 6 devices. The question asked which file to modify to allow anonymous access from Windows Mobile 6 devices, the answer to which I obviously had no idea on! A quick Google search when I got home and a Technet article read later - I found the correct answer, and yes I did choose the wrong answer on the exam! :) I guess that pretty much proves your point. It's such a heart sinking feeling now knowing that I've got to read all the extra Technet articles to get through the exam, but if that's the level of understanding Microsoft expect I guess that's what I'll have to do.

    I have used the CBT Nuggets and TrainSignal video series, and also another free training series I found on YouTube by ITFreeTraining. The CBT Nuggets video series seems the most comprehensive, but it still really only goes into the same level of detail as the book I think. There is a short "101" in the TrainSignal series which gives you an insight as to what ADCS does and what it's used for, but then promotes the MS Press book and says you should read that. The free series I found on YouTube is also quite comprehensive but is currently a work in progress, so there are parts of the exam objectives that have not yet been covered.

    I take your point on Powershell. It seems to be the way to go these days so I'll do my best to learn about it in more depth. There certainly were a few questions that I can remember that appeared to be testing knowledge of Powershell on the exam.

    With regard to areas I'm struggling get my head around, they really are...

    DNS. Particularly with regard to replication. I don't remember the exact question I got on the exam, but the essence was there was a root domain and a child domain. DNS servers were on domain controllers. A delegation had been set up in DNS in the root domain/zone for the child domain, and the question was asking how you would make sure there was a writable copy of the root zone in the child domain. Replication of DNS in general I find confusing and how you choose which domain controllers or DNS servers you want to replicate to and the different scenarios where you would want to do this.

    ADCS. This topic is so large it seems like it could have it's own dedicated exam! :S I'm ok with the basics and the stuff that is covered in the book and by CBT Nuggets, but I had a series of questions on the last test asking about delegation and how you would give a particular security group permission to be enrollment agents and enroll smart card certificates, and only issue smart card certificates for all other users in the domain. It mentioned that the enrollment agents should not have permission to do anything else but that particular task.

    ADFS still seems a bit of a dark art to me. ADFS is covered in quite some detail in the CBT Nuggets video series, but it's ADFS v1, not v2.

    FFL/DFL and which level is required as a minimum to support a particular role or feature. I'm also struggling with remembering under which circumstances you should run adprep /forestprep and adprep /domainprep.

    I've found a good suggested reading list of Technet articles over on the forum. I can't post the link to it because I'm a new user and I don't have permission, but that should keep me busy for a while :)

    I'll go through the CBT Nuggets videos again and really try to get into the knitty gritty of these concepts by putting some labs together to play with.

    If anyone has got any pointers with regard to the areas I've identified I'm struggling with above, I would be really appreciative. It's good to know there are others out there I can talk to who have had similar experiences to me.

    Thanks again,

    Certifications: CompTIA A+, CompTIA N+, 70-620, 70-640
    WIP: 70-642, 70-646
  5. l4ter

    l4ter Nibble Poster

    Dan, sorry to hear about your fail - it takes a brave man to admit failure (I've failed this exam) but that was February and had no time to hang around (I'm gonna pm you some helpful tips - although it sounds like your covering all areas
    Certifications: BSc Computing, A+, N+, MCITP Enterprise
    WIP: Level 4 Cyber Security apprenticeship
  6. Gingerdave

    Gingerdave Megabyte Poster

    I failed it the first time as well. What I would say is dont leave so long between your exam attempts as all the work and revision you'll have done will be out of your head if you leave it 2 months down the line.

    Good luck
    Certifications: A+,MCP, MCDST, VCP5 /VCP-DV 5, MCTS AD+ Net Inf 2008, MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  7. dan9385

    dan9385 New Member

    Hi guys,

    Many thanks for all your replies. I'm pleased to report that I passed the 70-640 on my 3rd attempt today with a score of 906! :D A big improvement on my last two scores. I got pretty lucky this time as there were only a few questions that I didn't really know the answer to. On to 70-642 now...

    I've discovered that Microsoft have set the retirement date for this series of exams to 31st January 2104 so I've got to pass the 70-642 and the 70-646 before then to earn the MCSA! Wish me luck!


    Certifications: CompTIA A+, CompTIA N+, 70-620, 70-640
    WIP: 70-642, 70-646
  8. RichyV

    RichyV Megabyte Poster

    Congrats BTW! :)

    I believe that the MCITP Certification that these exams make up is being retired on this date. But the exams themselves, along with the new MCSA Certification for them, currently has no end-date...

    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...
  9. Kopite_21

    Kopite_21 Gigabyte Poster

    Congrats on the pass!

    So we have 91 years to pass this exam then lol
    Certifications: National Diploma IT Advanced ECDL
    WIP: A+
  10. Kitkatninja
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Kitkatninja aka me, myself & I Moderator

    Congrats and good luck for the other ones :)
    Certifications: PGDip, BSc, HNC, LCGI, MBCS CITP, MCP, MCSA, MCSE, MCE, A+, N+, S+, Server+
    WIP: Master degree
  11. GSteer

    GSteer Megabyte Poster

    Congrats Dan, the hard work paid off!
    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. rocdamike

    rocdamike Byte Poster Gold Member

    Certifications: F5 CTS, LTM | F5-CA | CCNA: Sec | CCNA: R&S | ITIL Foundation
    WIP: AWS Solutions Architect

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