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In this post I would like to introduce you formally to what I suggest should be your first exam in your MCITP: Server Administrator journey: Exam 70-640, TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring.
Passing this exam will grant you the following:
- The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) title
- An Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) ID
- Access to the MCP secure site
- A terrific sense of accomplishment
Without further ado, let me give you the low-down on exactly what this exam is, how it works, and how you can pass it with the least amount of effort.
What is Exam 70-640? ^
I would define Exam 70-640 as your basic, “garden variety” Windows Server 2008 certification exam. This is a computer-based test that consists of the following attributes:
- Number of questions: approximately 65
- Time limit: approximately 3 hours
- Passing score: 700/1000 (70%)
- Question types: Multiple-choice, no simulations
Microsoft publishes the 70-640 exam blueprint on their Microsoft Learning Web site. Rather than simply reprint that blueprint in its entirety, allow me instead to give you only the top-level exam domains along with their relative weightings:
- Configuring Domain Name System (DNS) for Active Directory (17%)
- Configuring the Active Directory infrastructure (17 percent)
- Configuring Active Directory Roles and Services (14 percent)
- Creating and maintaining Active Directory objects (18 percent)
- Maintaining the Active Directory environment (18 percent)
- Configuring Active Directory Certificate Services (15 percent)
If you are a math geek like me you probably observed that the above domain weightings add up to 99 and not 100 percent. What’s up with that? My educated guess is that Microsoft counts its ungraded “experimental questions” as the remaining one percent of the test.
No, Microsoft will not let you know which items are graded and which ones are ungraded. My best advice to you is to give every single question on the test equal consideration.
The R2 issue ^
What threw all of us in the IT certification community for a loop about a year ago was Microsoft’s decision to sprinkle new questions on Windows Server 2008 R2 into all of the MCITP certification exams.
The problems with this decision were two-fold:
- Microsoft did a very poor job of announcing this change
- The vast majority of study material on the market predated this change, leading exam certification candidates into a false sense of security that they knew all the material
To my mind, there is not much that is worse than sitting down to a certification exam after months of study, only to see questions dealing with subject matter you had no idea was covered.
Therefore, please be double-dutch advised:
The 70-640 exam includes coverage of R2-specific features. Be certain to include this material in your exam study plan.
How to register ^
To register to take the 70-640 exam, you need to purchase an exam voucher and schedule your appointment through Prometric. As of this writing in December 2011, each exam attempt costs $150 USD.
Make sure that you periodically check the Microsoft Learning Web site because Microsoft offers exam discounts and related offers fairly regularly.
Also, you should consider subscribing via RSS to the Microsoft Born to Learn blog. The Microsoft cert team posts announcements and other informational tidbits that we in the cert community can benefit from greatly.
The next several blog posts I put up here at 4sysops will offer you a detailed analysis of representative exam questions from the 70-640 test. Of course, I will not break my (and every test-taker’s) non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Microsoft and use so-called “braindumps.” Instead, I will craft original, realistic practice questions that give you the “flavor” of the real exam items.
In the next part I will cover the Configuring DNS zones objective.