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Exam Profile MTA 98-349: Windows Operating System Fundamentals

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This article profiles the Windows Operating System Fundamentals exam (MTA 98-349), one of several exams that validate the fundamental knowledge needed to build a career using Microsoft technologies. Pearson IT Certification provides a variety of exam preparation tools to help our customers in their quest for certification. As part of our service to you, we have developed this Exam Profile series. Each profile is developed based on the testing experience of one of our trainers or authors. You won’t get exact questions or answers, but you will get a real feel for the exam. Each profile describes question forms, trouble spots, hints for exam preparation, and recommendations for additional study resources. Find out what you can expect to see on the exam and how you can better prepare for it.

In order to pass the 98-349 exam, you should have knowledge of fundamental Windows Operating System concepts in a Windows 7 environment.

There are no specific prerequisites that you must have for this test, but it is recommended that you be familiar with the concepts and the technologies described in this article. After you pass the Windows Operating System Fundamentals exam, you will have earned your Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Certification.

The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is Microsoft’s newest suite of technology certification exams that validate fundamental knowledge needed to begin building a career using Microsoft technologies. The MTA program is targeted primarily at students who attend high schools and two-year colleges. It provides an appropriate entry point to a future career in technology, but does assume that you have some hands-on experience or training but does not assume on-the-job experience.

Many people would like to pursue a career in technology, but lack the foundational knowledge necessary to pursue one of the Technology Specialist or Professional certifications. The MTA certification creates a new entry point to help those who have little practical experience get into the career field. This exam can be the first step towards becoming a Microsoft Technology Specialist (MCTS). The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is a new, entry-level certification designed to help individuals take the first step toward a career as an IT professional or developer. Also, when you earn an MTA Certification, you become a member of the Microsoft Certified Professional community. You will get access to members-only benefits such as special offers, the MCP transcript tool, and private newsgroups where you can network, find peer support, and share your accomplishments other certified professionals worldwide.

At this time, MTA is only available to students, faculty, and staff of an accredited academic institution that is an approved MTA testing center. MTA exams are only available at academic institutions that have purchased an MTA Campus License or MTA vouchers. MTA exams are delivered through an internet-based testing platform that allows delivery of exams anytime in any computer connected to the internet at a licensed academic institution. Educators are empowered as exam proctors.

The MTA validates 80% knowledge and 20% skills. The next step in the Microsoft certification path is Microsoft Technology Specialist (MCTS) which requires hands on experience with the Microsoft technology platform. Microsoft makes its complete developer toolset available for students to download and install at no cost through the DreamSpark Program.

Each MTA Certification exam will cover a broad technology area, including:

  • Software Development Fundamentals
  • Database Fundamentals
  • Windows Development Fundamentals
  • Database Fundamentals
  • System Administrator Fundamentals
  • Networking Fundamentals
  • Security Fundamentals

In order to earn an MTA Certification, candidates only need to pass one exam. The MTA Certification will expire after five years.

Exam Details

  • Number of Questions: Approximately 30-50 questions (Since Microsoft does not publish this information, the number of exam questions may change without notice.)
  • Types of Questions: This test format is multiple choice.
  • Passing Score: 70
  • This passing score does not mean that you must answer 70 percent of the items correctly in order to pass the exam. The actual percentage varies from exam to exam and may be more or less than 70 percent. There is no penalty for guessing. No points are deducted for incorrect answers. If a question specifies that you must choose multiple correct answers, you must choose the exact number of correct answers specified in the question in order to earn a point for that item. Some of the questions on the exam may not count toward the calculation of your score. Microsoft will often throw a question in that is meant to gather data that will help them improve the exam. If you do not pass the exam in the first attempt, there is not a waiting time before you may retake it. If you do not achieve a passing score the second time, you must wait at least 14 days to retake the test a third time. After that, a 14-day waiting period will be imposed for all subsequent exam retakes. If you have passed the exam, you will not be allowed to take it again.

  • Time Limit: 50 minutes
  • How to Register: Certiport

Trouble Spots

As with any exam, it will vary from person to person as to what is deemed to be difficult. Be sure that you are familiar with the topics listed below as well as the exam objectives.

Windows Defender—Defender is a free spyware product that Microsoft includes in Windows Vista and Windows 7. You can also download it for free for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. It is no longer supported for Windows 2000. Windows Defender provides real time protection and can be run with or without administrator privileges. Microsoft offers two free support incidents relating to Defender. It supports accessibility and is available on a 64-bit platform.

Windows Snipping Tool is another application included in Windows 7 and Windows Vista. It was originally released as a powertoy for the Tablet PC. The program allows you to capture screen shots, or snips, of an open window, rectangular areas, a free-form area, or the entire screen. You can then save the Snip as an image file or an HTML page.

MSConfig is a utility that has been included in most versions of Windows, but can be downloaded for those versions where it was not included. In Windows 7, it is called System Configuration. If you have never used this utility, it is a great way to troubleshoot the Windows startup process. Using it, you can disable or re-enable software, device drivers and Windows services that run at startup. If you use it to disable something at startup, it will require a reboot to take effect.

Windows Upgrade Advisor is a free download that can scan your PC for potential issues with your hardware, devices, and installed programs, and recommends what to do before you upgrade to Windows 7. A PC that can run Windows Vista can usually run Windows 7, but it is advisable to run the Upgrade Advisor before you begin the upgrade process. Before scanning your PC with the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, you should plug in and turn on any USB devices or other devices (such as printers, external hard disks, and scanners) that you regularly use with the computer.

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