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  1. Senior Member AndersonSmith's Avatar
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    #1

    Default PASSED 70-410 First attempt! Here's What I Did

    Hello everyone, I've been following these forums for quite some time now while I've been preparing for my exams and the advice and tips I've gotten have helped me to prepare immensely. I've never posted before but wanted to do something to give back to the community that's helped me so much in my preparations. I've seen so many people struggling with the 70-410 exam that I thought by sharing my experience hopefully it would help others to prepare and be able to pass as well. I will NOT be breaking any Microsoft Nondisclosure Agreements so if you're looking for brain dumps or specifics on test questions you'll not find it in this post.

    Anyhow, I took the 70-410 exam a few days ago and passed on my FIRST attempt. Score was 791 which is a little lower than what I was hoping for but I'll take it!

    I studied for 11 weeks before sitting for the exam.

    My work experience:
    I have 8 years working in the IT field, a little over 3 of which are specific to managing Windows Severs. Of those 3 years, I have a little over a year specifically managing Windows Server 2012. Having experience in the field definitely helped, but I wouldn't say it's an absolute necessity to pass the exam.

    Previous certifications:
    I currently hold the Comptia A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications along with a Windows XP MCP certification. I can't tell you how valuable these were to my studying. If you're new to taking certifications and just starting with the 70-410 and having trouble I HIGHLY recommend starting with the A+, Network+, and potentially Security+ before attempting the 70-410. Security+ maybe isn't as necessary but A+ and Network+ for sure. I learned so many of the basics and foundational concepts from studying for these certifications that weren't covered in any of the study materials I used for the 70-410. I have also taken the Cisco Networking Academy several years ago although I didn't get the certification. I also have an Associate's Degree in Computer and Network Administration.

    Study materials:
    Pluralsight Training Videos for Server 2012 R2 with Jason Helmick and Greg Shields
    Infinite Skills Training Videos for Server 2012 R2 with John Savill
    Microsoft Exam Ref for Server 2012 R2 by Craig Zacker
    MCSA Server 2012 R2 Complete Study Guide (Sybex) by William Panek
    Transcender 70-410 Practice Tests

    In addition to the study materials mentioned above, I also researched a TON of extra stuff online. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL TO PASSING THE EXAM as there was probably close to 1/3 of the content on the exams that wasn't covered in any of the study materials I used. Any time I would come across something that was just barely touched on in the videos or books I would look it up on Technet or just Google for more information about it. Any time there was something I didn't understand from one of the aforementioned materials I would do the same thing. I took someone else's advice and also studied a little bit from the 70-411 but in retrospect I would have done more because it seemed like there were a few more questions on the 710 that were covered on the 711 objectives than I had initially anticipated. So for what it's worth, definitely study at least a little bit of the 711 content before sitting for the exam.

    Of all the materials I used, I'd say the Sybex book was the least helpful. But I'll still use it for the 411 since I've already got it although it looks like some of the chapters from the 410 are just copied verbatim to the 411 ones.

    My study habits:
    I studied for a minimum of 4-5 hours a day 5 days a week. These weren't always consecutive days, but I did always have 4-5 hours a day minimum that I studied. I started out watching all of the Pluralsight videos in order, then read the Sybex book starting at chapter 1 all the way through to the end of the 410 objectives, then watched the Infinite Skills videos, then read the Craig Zacker book from beginning to end. After I had done this I then would watch a Pluralsight video covering one objective, then afterwards read the content in the Sybex book covering the same objective, then watch a video for that objective in the Infinite Skills video, and then follow up by reading that objective in the Craig Zacker book. About a month before the test I bought the Transcender practice tests and started taking those. The important thing with them is to make sure you read the explanations regardless of if you got the question right or wrong. Most of the questions were nothing like what was on the actual exam (they were a lot longer and more drawn out) but they absolutely helped me prepare and I couldn't imagine not using them.

    Lab EVERYTHING:
    I also made sure to LAB LAB LAB EVERYTHING. Not only everything that is done in the videos and books, but I mean EVERYTHING that is covered by the objectives listed on Microsoft's website. If I didn't know how to do something I would look it up and figure it out for myself how to do it. Which brings me to another point - Powershell! I would first do every lab using the GUI method and then do it AGAIN but using the Powershell commands. Again, if I didn't know how to do it with Powershell I would look it up. I repeated the labs I did several times as well.

    I took the test on a Monday morning and used the weekend before to study for 12 hours each day. I went through EVERY objective and then went back and went through the ones I had the most difficult time with again. I did a lot of labs, reading, and Google searching. In addition, I went through and read the explanations on every single Transcender question and made sure I had a thorough understanding of each topic. The night before the exam I went to bed early, got up and had a good breakfast and then went and took the exam. It had been a long time since I had taken a Microsoft exam so I wasn't too sure of what to expect.

    It IS a difficult exam but with the right study habits and determination it IS possible to pass on your first attempt. I know this was rather long-winded but I hope by sharing my experience it will help someone else in their endeavors!

    On to the 411 for me now. I'm hoping to have this one done within a couple of months and may even amp up my study habits a bit!

    All the best,
    Anderson
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  3. They are watching you NetworkNewb's Avatar
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    #2
    Gratz! I'm kinda of debating of going after the MCSA again with option to buy 5 attempts at it for $200 (failed it before and quit). Kinda of thinking of just doing the Azure specialization though.

    Curious, what did you use for your lab? I was debating on buying a physical server to play around with and install everything on. Even though I know it isn't necessary to do so...
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  4. overpaid L2 Piers's Avatar
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    #3
    Well done, congrats!
    Office 365 70-347 / 698 later
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  5. Senior Member AndersonSmith's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkNewb View Post
    Gratz! I'm kinda of debating of going after the MCSA again with option to buy 5 attempts at it for $200 (failed it before and quit). Kinda of thinking of just doing the Azure specialization though.

    Curious, what did you use for your lab? I was debating on buying a physical server to play around with and install everything on. Even though I know it isn't necessary to do so...
    NetworkNewb - No need to buy a physical server. I actually just installed Virtual Box on a laptop and created some Server 2012 and Windows 8 VMs. For the Hyper-V stuff I installed Server 2012 on an old desktop computer and it worked just fine for the purposes I needed it for.
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  6. Senior Member Louie1277's Avatar
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkNewb View Post
    Gratz! I'm kinda of debating of going after the MCSA again with option to buy 5 attempts at it for $200 (failed it before and quit). Kinda of thinking of just doing the Azure specialization though.

    Curious, what did you use for your lab? I was debating on buying a physical server to play around with and install everything on. Even though I know it isn't necessary to do so...
    I was debating this too. I have failed it 4 time already but I'm afraid that If I pass the exam this time around i lose the other 4 chances. Still thinking about it. I been off for about 2 months was very upset the last time I took it. Took a long break from it so now i'm starting all over once again.


    I'm thinking of following your structore on what material you have.

    Pluralsight Training Videos for Server 2012 R2 with Jason Helmick and Greg Shields
    Infinite Skills Training Videos for Server 2012 R2 with John Savill
    Microsoft Exam Ref for Server 2012 R2 by Craig Zacker
    MCSA Server 2012 R2 Complete Study Guide (Sybex) by William Panek
    Transcender 70-410 Practice Tests


    I believe I have the book but need to really get Pluralsight training access. The infinite skill i will have to look into that.
    Last edited by Louie1277; 03-25-2016 at 08:20 PM.
    2017 Goals: 70-410 [X], 70-411 [],70-412 [] 410- Passed!!!!!!

    My Goal for the Future
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    2018 - *CEH* / 2018 - * Pen Tester*
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  7. Senior Member DAVIS NGUYEN's Avatar
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    #6
    Congrats!
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  8. Senior Member ccnpninja's Avatar
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    #7
    Congrats!
    من طلب عزائم الأمور ، هان عليه بذل النفس فيها - محمد إبن ابي عامر
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  9. California Kid JoJoCal19's Avatar
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    #8
    Congrats on the pass!
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, GCIA, GSEC, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, BSBA - University of Florida, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: MS Cybersecurity, Learning Python
    Next Up:​ None
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  10. Senior Member gncsmith's Avatar
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    #9
    Congrats!
    2017 Certification Goals: 70-410 []

    View My LinkedIn profile
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  11. NOC Manager / Instructor bohack's Avatar
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    #10
    Congratulations
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  12. Member
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    #11
    Question, if I may.

    I searched of Plural for the 410 series and come back with 9 videos!! Is that it?
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  13. Senior Member AndersonSmith's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Micronewb View Post
    Question, if I may.

    I searched of Plural for the 410 series and come back with 9 videos!! Is that it?
    Yes, they all should be by Greg Shields and Jason Helmick.
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by AndersonSmith View Post
    Yes, they all should be by Greg Shields and Jason Helmick.
    Sweet! Got it just hate how they are NOT in order so now I have to figure it out what order to watch.
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  15. Senior Member AndersonSmith's Avatar
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    #14
    If you watch the first one that's titled "Windows Server 2012 R2 (70-410) MCSA and the 70-410 Exam" he tells you the order the videos are to be watched in. Just write them down somewhere so you can reference it. I agree though that it is annoying that they're not in order.
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Micronewb View Post
    Sweet! Got it just hate how they are NOT in order so now I have to figure it out what order to watch.
    They are now if you go to the "Paths" link on the left side of the window. Then pick MCSA: Windows Server 2012R2 and they are all in order now. This is a new feature they added to the standard non-business accounts. (It popped up last week after I had finished the 410 videos.)

    https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/certificate/mcsa


    Just to add on, in case you cannot access this part, the videos for the 70-410 are in this order.
    1: Windows Server 2012R2 MCSA and the 70-410 Exam
    2: Windows Server 2012 R2 Install and Configure Servers
    3: Windows Server 2012 R2 Core Network Services
    4: Windows Server 2012 R2 Administer Active Directory
    5: Windows Server 2012 R2 Server Roles and Features
    6: Windows Server 2012 R2 Manage Group Policy
    7: Windows Server 2012 R2 Configure Hyper-V
    Last edited by MeanDrunkR2D2; 06-30-2016 at 02:54 PM.
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by MeanDrunkR2D2 View Post
    They are now if you go to the "Paths" link on the left side of the window. Then pick MCSA: Windows Server 2012R2 and they are all in order now. This is a new feature they added to the standard non-business accounts. (It popped up last week after I had finished the 410 videos.)

    https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/certificate/mcsa


    Just to add on, in case you cannot access this part, the videos for the 70-410 are in this order.
    1: Windows Server 2012R2 MCSA and the 70-410 Exam
    2: Windows Server 2012 R2 Install and Configure Servers
    3: Windows Server 2012 R2 Core Network Services
    4: Windows Server 2012 R2 Administer Active Directory
    5: Windows Server 2012 R2 Server Roles and Features
    6: Windows Server 2012 R2 Manage Group Policy
    7: Windows Server 2012 R2 Configure Hyper-V
    thanks man!!! I appreciate the info!
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    #17
    How about the CBT nuggets training videos for 70-410? Are they good for passing the exam or the pluralsight and inifite skill are the recommended ones?
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  19. Senior Member AndersonSmith's Avatar
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by doublehunter View Post
    How about the CBT nuggets training videos for 70-410? Are they good for passing the exam or the pluralsight and inifite skill are the recommended ones?
    I never used the CBT Nuggets so I can't comment on them. I've heard mixed things from others on this board but it seems like most people agree that the instructor is kind of annoying and goes off on things that aren't relevant to the exams. Plus they're something like 3 times the price of Pluralsight and Infinite Skills. I think they have a week free trial or something though so if you're interested in them I'd say give it a try and see what you think.
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  20. Junior Member roger101's Avatar
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by AndersonSmith View Post
    I never used the CBT Nuggets so I can't comment on them. I've heard mixed things from others on this board but it seems like most people agree that the instructor is kind of annoying and goes off on things that aren't relevant to the exams. Plus they're something like 3 times the price of Pluralsight and Infinite Skills. I think they have a week free trial or something though so if you're interested in them I'd say give it a try and see what you think.
    IMHO, Pluralsight contains many short videos which helps you to understand each exam topic. I have used CBT Nuggets as well but I do not like the style or the way that the instructor presents. This is my opinion and you may have different views after you give it a try.

    I believe that there is a free three months premium membership for pluralsight.
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  21. Senior Member Louie1277's Avatar
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Micronewb View Post
    thanks man!!! I appreciate the info!

    I love the way pluralsight put the videos together. I been following it for the last 1 month, just waiting on there beta questions they will be offering for users.

    I really need to get into the GPO and users permission , and policy permission. That's what I feel my weak points are .
    2017 Goals: 70-410 [X], 70-411 [],70-412 [] 410- Passed!!!!!!

    My Goal for the Future
    2017 - *MCSA* / 2017 - *Security+*
    2018 - *CEH* / 2018 - * Pen Tester*
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  22. Member Kuvuli21's Avatar
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    #21
    Awesome deal man! Is PluralSight really that good? I just got a subscription and am going for the 70-680 and 70-686 path then will upgrade with server. Did PluralSight help that much?
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  23. Senior Member
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    #22
    For the MCSA Server 2012, yea, it's good and it did help to have someone explain these sections out to understand and see what they were doing.
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    #23
    Well done mate
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  25. Senior Member Louie1277's Avatar
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Kuvuli21 View Post
    Awesome deal man! Is PluralSight really that good? I just got a subscription and am going for the 70-680 and 70-686 path then will upgrade with server. Did PluralSight help that much?

    Following the videos yes it helped me in some of the place i didn't know to much. I'm really looking forward to the GPO section and users part.
    2017 Goals: 70-410 [X], 70-411 [],70-412 [] 410- Passed!!!!!!

    My Goal for the Future
    2017 - *MCSA* / 2017 - *Security+*
    2018 - *CEH* / 2018 - * Pen Tester*
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  26. Senior Member
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by AndersonSmith View Post
    I never used the CBT Nuggets so I can't comment on them. I've heard mixed things from others on this board but it seems like most people agree that the instructor is kind of annoying and goes off on things that aren't relevant to the exams. Plus they're something like 3 times the price of Pluralsight and Infinite Skills. I think they have a week free trial or something though so if you're interested in them I'd say give it a try and see what you think.
    Personally I found CBT nuggets pretty useful. Although yes he can be annoying at times and get distracted, I sometimes find this a good thing as it makes it more relaxing. I used trainsignal for one of my exams (this is the same as plural sight I believe), I found it a bit monotone and got quite bored with them.

    Again, just my opinion, I know different people prefer different ways to study!
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