One of the most frequent questions that I get is “how do I prepare for a beta without preparation materials?” Because exam development typically occurs more quickly than that of associated learning materials, it’s not uncommon for us to release an exam to beta that doesn’t have many (or any) learning materials. We can do this because certification exams are independent evaluations of skills; they don’t rely on learning materials. That being said, however, you can take a number of steps to prepare. I recommend the following:
Step 1: Review the exam details
Start by determining whether the exam is right for you. Review the audience profile section (the very first paragraph) on the exam details page. The most important thing to remember is that beta exams are intended for people who truly have the skills and experiences defined in that section. Because of the limited preparation resources, your potential for success might be determined by whether you meet this minimum bar.
Step 2: Review the skills measured and practice
If you have the skills and experiences listed in the audience profile, your next step is to review the “Skills measured” section and to download the more detailed skills outline. Carefully evaluate your skills in relation to those being assessed on the exam. Can you perform the tasks listed? If someone asked you how to perform the task, could you explain to them what you’d do and why? Perform the outlined tasks. Note any challenges that you encountered, and keep practicing. Hands-on experience is essential to passing our exams. Practice, practice, practice—and then practice some more. Ask others how they perform those tasks. Do they perform them differently? If so, understand why they do.
Step 3: Take advantage of learning content (if available)
Finally, there might be some learning resources available that are directly aligned to the skills measured in the exam (although I should mention that this is rare for most beta exams). If any are available, they’ll be listed in the “Two ways to prepare” section on the exam page. (Check out that section on the AI-900 exam page as an example.) We’re working closely with our practice test provider to have practice tests in market as soon as possible after an exam is live. However, it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll be available while an exam is in beta.
Check out additional learning paths on Microsoft Learn, where you might find learning activities related to the skills measured on the exam. There might not be a learning path that maps perfectly to the exam, but there might be options that can help you prepare. Any resource that causes you to think through the tasks and skills being assessed can help your learning process.
Beta exam preparation in a nutshell
- Do you have the skills and experiences described in the exam details audience profile?
- If so, take a closer look at the skills measured on the exam. Which tasks can you perform? Which ones are beyond your skill set? Be honest.
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Ask experts how they perform the tasks. Understand how and why they do them the way they do. Are there any situations when they would perform the tasks differently? If so, why?
- Do a Bing search for white papers, Microsoft Docs articles, or similar resources for other insights into the skills and tasks covered by the exam.
- For learning options related to skills being measured by the exam, explore Microsoft Learn.
- Take the exam.
- GOOD LUCK!