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Like this article? We recommend 4. Be practical.

4. Be practical.

When it comes to laying out your resources for your chosen Microsoft examination, the inclusion of a lab environment for hands-on practice is essential. Many of the Microsoft exams available include the use of simulation-based questions, so if you haven’t had the hands-on practice prior to sitting the exam then you are going to struggle.

And Microsoft makes it pretty easy to get a test lab started. If you buy the official Microsoft examination textbooks, then a trial version of the software is included. If not, then the trials are available for download from the Microsoft website. Once downloaded, you can load the software onto a virtual client or some spare hardware. Unofficially, when the trials end, there is nothing to stop you wiping the hardware or virtual machine down and starting again.

The main reason that this is so key to your study preparation is that it allows you to work with the actual product, apply what you have done, and work through any errors which occur. In the real world, there are often errors the Microsoft documentation doesn’t cover, which then leads you research the product further. Often the answer is then found on a related topic, which requires further configuration. Microsoft knows this and will expect you to know the ‘gotchas’ within their products, often in relation to other Microsoft services, and they are not adverse to questioning you about them in the exams. Learn by doing is the key study skill for any Microsoft examination.

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