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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Default 70-686 - another bad exam

    I knew that 70-680 had a reputation for a toughie and certainly notices it when I took it, but I had not heard such things about 70-686

    Turns out, it is just as badly written as 680.

    Including:
    specific syntax questions, not listed in the official book
    commands not covered in the book
    vague/poorly-worded questions
    unrealistic scenarios
    scenarios with minimal explanatory information

    As you can guess, I failed. I'll admit that I failed because of a couple of errors on my part (one, forgetting the importance of a specific factor in a scenario and one question where the teaching from CBT Nuggets was actually wrong) and a couple of cases of misreading the questions or misunderstanding them.

    Had I got those right, I think I would have passed, even with the questions that weren't covered by the official course material.

    When i sat down, I ripped through the first 30 questions as fast as I could click. I was really happy, as it seemed a doddle. Then I hit a wall on Q30 and just never recovered.

    As with 680, a fun thing to do is when you get home after a test, try to remember a specific term/command used in the exam that you had trouble with, then see if you can find it in the official text book. I found 3 that weren't even present in the book.

    And as a final kick in the crotch, the test centre could not print out my test scores or work out how to get their printer working (so much for their technical skills). Prometric says it will take 5 working days to extract my score sheet from their server and email it to me. (so much for their skills as well)

    Sigh.
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    #2
    Sorry to hear you didn't pass. Sounds like you were pretty close.
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  4. Junior Member
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Psoasman View Post
    Sorry to hear you didn't pass. Sounds like you were pretty close.
    Thanks for the sympathy.

    Yeah, I think if I had not made a couple of very stupid oversights, I would have got through, despite some other questions not actually being in the course material.

    I think I was also a little unlucky in that questions relating to those areas seemed to come up more than once, compounding my mistake.

    I was definitely kicking myself when I got home and reread my notes on some topics. Some particular facts I knew backwards, yet for some reason, my mind blanked them out on the exam.
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  5. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #4
    Keep in mind that the course material is not designed to be 100% comprehensive.

    The web pages giving the exam objectives state that they may ask questions that are based more on experience than on the specific objectives listed. Passing any worthwhile cert without some real world experience can be very hard. Just consider this a practice exam - those are just as expensive in some cases - and jump back onthe horse. Now you will be better informed about the actual format.

    Also, in my experiece questions may *seem* poorly worded, but the people at MS learning are very smart and they know what they are doing. In most cases test takers who feel a question is poorly worded are making some sort of logic error. I have seen this many times when I was prepping people for the MCSA. They would read a question which would begin as if it were about X but then quickly divert to being about Y. For example the initial paragraph might talk about IPs and subnets but then in the diagram of the network they might clearly show that the DNS server setting is misconfigured. The student would already think it is IP related and they would see the DFG had a funny IP address (192.168.1.51 and not 192.168.1.1) and immediately think that was the answer without checking their logic. The fact that you are probably making a mistake is a good thing!!! This means if you just take your time you will eventually figure it out. If the question itself is poorly worded, there might not be a truely right answer...
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  6. Still a noob earweed's Avatar
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    #5
    RK is right on a lot of points. On my MCITP:EA exam I had questions where I had already formulated, inmy head, what the problems and answers might be but it's just that the people at MS learning like to throw in EXTRA info to throw you off. Don't forget that some questions on the test may also be ungraded beta questions.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
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  7. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #6
    And that is the way it is in the real world. You get a lot of extra info that is unimportant to solving the problem but could divert your attention. Ever try to get an explanation from an end user about a problem?
    Last edited by RobertKaucher; 04-21-2011 at 06:41 PM.
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  8. Senior Member Lord Nikon's Avatar
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    #7
    Poorly worded? I have to think microsoft would go the extra step to have things perfect. But I do see the point of them throwing in extra info to see if you are paying attention. Because who knows who you will be support and talking to another person they may give you three different ways of what's going on and its our jobs to filter out the crap and grab the bits we need to solve the problem.
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  9. Where am I? NOLAJ's Avatar
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKaucher View Post
    And that is the way it is in the real world. You get a lot of extra info that is unimportant to solving the problem but could divert your attention. Ever try to get an explanation from an end user about a problem?
    I couldn't agree more!!! Users are the WORST. I had one this morning, user calls, "Um.yeah, I was working all day on a spreadsheet yesterday, and all the changes I made are not there now." I respond, "Did you save it, and if so, where did you save it to?" "Of course I saved it, but now it's gone.">>>>>>>>Long story short, user accuses the network of sucking his spreadsheet up.
    Last edited by NOLAJ; 04-21-2011 at 08:08 PM.
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  10. Junior Member
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKaucher View Post
    Keep in mind that the course material is not designed to be 100% comprehensive.

    The web pages giving the exam objectives state that they may ask questions that are based more on experience than on the specific objectives listed.
    Yes, I am rapidly finding that to be true.

    What does annoy me is where the book specifically states that a particular topic will only be tested for at a high level and yet there is an exam question that asks for a very specific configuration syntax answer.

    And after all, in the Real World, if I have an unusual configuration issue with a specific service, I'll do a very quick google search and apply the first result for the appropriate soution. Memorising rarely-used switches/settings isn't an essential part of troubleshooting - knowing what to look for is.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKaucher View Post
    And that is the way it is in the real world. You get a lot of extra info that is unimportant to solving the problem but could divert your attention. Ever try to get an explanation from an end user about a problem?
    I think my big issue with this is that the question is not an accurate representation of the real world.

    To take your example of a user being able to reach the web: As an administrator, I would know a lot more than the facts stated in the question. I'd know at least some of the following:

    Whether the problem exists for other users/computers
    Whether changes have been made recently
    What settings are known to work
    Whether the user has a history of problems
    Whether the setup was tested when implemented
    What client settings are usually used
    What network settings are usually used
    etc, etc

    Now, sure I know that a lot of times you won't get all this info - but you'd usually get enough of it to guide you in the right direction.

    But MS isn't giving you a full picture (to be fair, it's not feasible to do so) - they are cherry-picking facts and presenting a very small subsection of them. In some cases, they are deliberately choosing misleading facts - whilst deliberately removing helpful facts which would be there in the real world.

    I dunno...maybe I am just annoyed their problem-solving questions never include the option 'a) try turning it off and on again' and accepting it as a right answer for 80% of the problems.
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  11. Senior Member Jander1023's Avatar
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    #10
    MBH,

    May I ask if you are using any practice test questions, such as Kaplan online practice test questions or Measure Up? Or are you just using the test questions that come with the MS Press book?
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  12. Junior Member
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jander1023 View Post
    MBH,

    May I ask if you are using any practice test questions, such as Kaplan online practice test questions or Measure Up? Or are you just using the test questions that come with the MS Press book?
    No, I did not use any additional practise tests and I wish I did. I did ask if there were any free resources, but got no help.

    There's a definite knack to reading the questions. I found that what you have to do is mentally list the keywords and find the matching solution.

    Things such as 'minimise network traffic' means the answer will include 'deployment media' or 'hosted application'

    What you should not do is to read the question like a real world situation - you look for the key words and give the appropriate answer. Not think how you would solve the situation if it were real.

    It got to the point of listing notes on the scratch pad and ticking/crossing off bits.
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  13. Senior Member Jander1023's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by My_Brain_Hurts View Post
    No, I did not use any additional practise tests and I wish I did. I did ask if there were any free resources, but got no help.

    There's a definite knack to reading the questions. I found that what you have to do is mentally list the keywords and find the matching solution.

    Things such as 'minimise network traffic' means the answer will include 'deployment media' or 'hosted application'

    What you should not do is to read the question like a real world situation - you look for the key words and give the appropriate answer. Not think how you would solve the situation if it were real.

    It got to the point of listing notes on the scratch pad and ticking/crossing off bits.
    Well, I know people that get "free" questions through file sharing applications. However, I prefer to pay for them. Why? Because when you pay you get current questions. I usually pay for the 30 day online access at Kaplan and also at Measure Up. Both are good.

    The combination of the two will cost you about $150. It's an additional expense but I've yet to fail an exam while using both sets of practice questions. I am 4 for 4.
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  14. Senior Member Jander1023's Avatar
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    #13
    Also, I read the questions backwards; from bottom to top. I find that knowing the final question helps be decipher what information I need. Microsoft is well known for providing excess and useless information.

    Good luck with your next try. Did you have a second shot voucher?
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  15. Gaming Tech Expert Dakinggamer87's Avatar
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    #14
    Sorry you didn't pass

    Good luck on next attempt!!
    2017/2018 Certification Goals: MCSE (70-410,70-411,70-412,70-413)
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  16. Junior Member
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jander1023 View Post
    Also, I read the questions backwards; from bottom to top. I find that knowing the final question helps be decipher what information I need. Microsoft is well known for providing excess and useless information.

    Good luck with your next try. Did you have a second shot voucher?
    Funny you should say that, but that is is how I learnt to read the question successfully: bottom to top, then decide which fact to cross out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dakinggamer87 View Post
    Sorry you didn't pass

    Good luck on next attempt!!
    Thanks to both of your for your kind wishes...they seemed to have worked for the second attempt.

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  17. Senior Member Jander1023's Avatar
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    #16
    Congrats! What was your score? Any words of wisdom for those of us preparing to sit this exam in the next few weeks?
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  18. Junior Member
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jander1023 View Post
    Congrats! What was your score? Any words of wisdom for those of us preparing to sit this exam in the next few weeks?
    Hmm, let me think (without breaking NDA)

    1) As mentioned before: read the question carefully. Break it down into individual lines and decide if they are relevant or not. Don't rush.

    I think that was where I went wrong the first time: lots of easy questions at the beginning that I sped through, then suddenly ones that gave me problems. I didn't slow my mind down and concentrated.

    2) Anything with a network topology involved in the question: pay attention to whether the links are fast or slow and so, what solutions will work or not and what you need to make them valid.

    3) Some questions you will just not know the answer to because you didn't cover the answer in your training..Don't panic, accept it and take a wild guess

    4) Read all the answers twice before answering. MS seems to enjoy giving 2 answers that are nearly identical and if you don't check every word, you may pick the wrong one.

    5) Pick up on key words such as 'administratively easy' when choosing your solution. Remember that MS doesn't take into account the cost of their products when preferring solutions. Only the facts in the question are to be considered...not the real world.
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  19. Nidhoggr, the Net Serpent Claymoore's Avatar
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by My_Brain_Hurts View Post
    3) Some questions you will just not know the answer to because you didn't cover the answer in your training..Don't panic, accept it and take a wild guess.
    I can't comment on what is or is not in the training material as I didn't use any of it, but I found this test to be simple and straightforward. How much experience do you have and how closely did you match the audience profile for the exam?

    Audience Profile
    Candidates for this exam should have a minimum of three years of experience installing, configuring, and administering clients in a Windows networked environment and also have experience deploying operating systems and applications. Candidates should be familiar with the client administration capabilities of Windows Server and with management tools such as the System Center suite of products.
    You should have been exposed to the topics through your daily work if you match up to the audience profile.

    Quote Originally Posted by My_Brain_Hurts View Post
    5) Pick up on key words such as 'administratively easy' when choosing your solution. Remember that MS doesn't take into account the cost of their products when preferring solutions. Only the facts in the question are to be considered...not the real world.
    This is an enterprise exam and, in the real world, enterprises have Enterprise Agreements with either the core or enterprise CAL. Many of them also have Software Assurance and even the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (with App-V and MED-V). This isn't a test geared towards a mom-and-pop shop with some OEM licenses floating around, this is a test that covers the big boys and all their toys. You don't need to know how to configure all those products, but you do need to know their features and when to leverage them.

    Ease of administration is more important when you are supporting 15,000 workstations instead of 15. That's why configuring a setting through a GPO is the right answer instead of making a user an admin and emailing him instructions on how to set it himself.
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  20. Junior Member Registered Member
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    Just wanted to say Thanks to Jander1023 & My_Brain_Hurts for your comments and recommendations... I have to take the test NLT June as my job is requiring it. Reading your comments have been a huge help to me mentally! I will continue studying...
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