How to pass your first Microsoft exam and get certified

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Here are a few tips on tackling a Microsoft exam, especially for those new to Microsoft certification or for someone that hasn’t taken an exam in quite some time.


There are no shortcuts to preparing for an exam, it takes hard work and dedication but if you put in the hours and know your stuff you should do well!


So, my story was I wanted to get a Microsoft certification that reflected my skills and could demonstrate that I was knowledgeable, in this case with Office 365.  I also wanted to not hang around, so I challenged myself, I booked the exam on the 12th February, with the exam fifteen days later! I hadn’t taken a Microsoft exam in a quite some time.


Tip #1 Get Exam Replay and the official practice exam


At least for your first exam, getting Exam Replay gives you the confidence to take the exam perhaps earlier than you might otherwise. The official practice exam will help you feel exam ready and will help identify areas that require further study.




Putting some structure around your studying is important, otherwise it’s easy enough to drift and not stay on point.  The easiest way to do that is buy the companion Microsoft Press book for the exam, assuming there is one available. The book will guide you through the main concepts and be a springboard for further study. 


Practice as many of the exercises as possible on a test system, in my case an Office 365 dev tenant, explore similar functionality, look at the official documentation, cross reference everything with official sources to get the best information possible.


Tip #2 Get a good study routine


Find a good place to study, with minimum distractions, have the best equipment that’s available, a PC that’s reliable is important, I also recommend dual displays, in my case I used an iPad open all the time with the MS Press book.  I also recommend a music subscription, if you don’t have one to have some suitable background music that can be useful to have.  You’ll find plenty of study playlists available!




Give yourself a time budget, an estimate on how much time you think you will need to be exam ready.  I roughly estimated I’d need at least 30 hours of study minimum, with really 40 to 50 hours all together to be more confident.  Keep a rough estimate on how much study time you complete as you go along.


Tip #3 Note-taking


It’s important you take notes as you go along unless you have a strong preference use OneNote.  Create a new notebook at the beginning of your studies, create sections for each area of the exam.  Create pages in every section to organize the information as you go along.




When you have reviewed most of the material, it’s time to use the practise exam, treating it like the real exam.  Going through the questions, do the best job you can.  Explore which questions you didn’t get right, look at the explanations and do further study, refining your notes as you go along.  Familiarize yourself with the different question types and the variations in how Microsoft present questions.  


Exam day


Do some light revision on the day if you can, nothing too in-depth, just summary information.  Give yourself plenty of time to get to the testing center and to get the housekeeping out of the way.  Have your ID and everything ready.


Tip #4 Time management


An important factor is managing your time well once the exam starts, some parts of the exam are in sections and you won’t be able to go back to change your answers, there could also be case study questions that can be time consuming as they present a lot of information that you have to sift through.


Careful review all the information available and how much time left, when you can mark questions for review when your want to come back to them but otherwise make your way through the exam and leave enough time to complete all the questions. Review any questions you marked and finish the exam!




If you pass the exam, well done! I was really pleased I passed the exam, it was suitable challenging but it's worth remembering Microsoft want you to pass, as long as you are knowledgeable, the exam questions won't try to trick you but it will test the breadth of your knowledge and skills.


What if you don't pass the exam? Not to worry, use the experience as a positive, that you put yourself up for the challenge and focus on the areas that perhaps you need to spend a bit more time with.  The transcript will show you how you did and areas of interest.  Book the exam again, don't leave it too long, give your self a couple of weeks, maybe less even and you will succeed!  


Keeping the momentum going, once you have one exam under your belt, so to speak, look at what you could do next MCSA, MCSE for example. 

3 Replies
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Great tips in this post.

I just passed the 70-346 exam about a week ago and it was a stressful time for me.

I felt scattered in my preparation and had no structure to my study plan.

It was a monster task for me but I got the exam replay with the practice test and I'd say that was the best decision I made.

I went into the exam not feeling to much pressure as I know I had another chance, I went in there with the mindset that I'm going to fail but I'll to see where I'm at and how much more work needs to be done.

I was amazed when I passed and I'd say it was because I didn't feel as much pressure.

That's the biggest tip I can give, even if you don't use it, get the exam replay!

Well done passing the exam! That's the same exam I took on Tuesday! I completely agree with the exam replay, it's really useful to have for the reasons you have mentioned.


It's a learning experience, finding out what works best for you and coming up with a good study strategy.  The great thing is you can then apply that to the next exam!  For example, I used flashcards once I realized how many PowerShell commands there were going to be and that proved helpful.

i have my MICROSOFT CERTIFICATION exam on 14th of this month, can you please tell me that whether MCQ'S are in exam or not, can you please tell me pattern or something related to that,



i shall be very great full to you,

God bless you