Top 6 Tips for Microsoft Certification Exam Preparation

Whether you are brand new to the exam topic or someone who has worked in the field for several years, taking a Microsoft Certification Exam can be a daunting task.  No matter your skill level, it is essential to prepare for the exam in an effective way.  Here are some preparation suggestions that will help you get ready for exam day.


1. An Introduction and Overview to the Exam

To begin, start off by investigating the full scope of the skills measured in the exam.  Each Microsoft examination has a webpage dedicated to the scope of the exam.  For example, here is such a page for Microsoft SQL Server Exam 70-764:

Embedded in this page is a section called ‘Skill measured’ which describes general topics with subtopics and relays the percentage of the exam dedicated to these general topics.  This site is a good resource to visit periodically throughout the process of studying for the exam to ensure you’ve studied each topic completely.


2. Take a Course

For those who have very little experience in the exam-tested field, this may be an excellent choice as a means to start exam preparations.  Through various training partners ( ), Microsoft offers courses that can be attended in person or remotely.  These courses supply literature on the exam subject, relevant demonstrations, and lab environments for practicing the skills taught. It is important to note that these courses do not comprehensively cover all topics tested in the exam.


3. Use Exam Preparation Literature

There are many reference and preparation books available for most Microsoft Certification exams.  The material found in these books is focused on all topics that will be covered in the exam and will include material that may not be covered in the courses mentioned above.  Here’s an example of literature available as a reference to exam 70-764:



4. Leverage Microsoft Docs

Microsoft Docs ( is the site for the consolidated Microsoft documentation for end users, developers, and IT professionals.  The documents found here include great supplemental information on all exam topics.  This site can be useful if you feel that you’re not getting enough topic coverage from the course or the exam preparation literature.


5. Take Practice Exams

Taking an industry accepted practice exam accomplishes three things.  First, it gives you a sense of how the exam is structured, such as questions types, syntax, question construction, etc.  Second, it gives you an idea whether you have gaps in your knowledge and whether there are topics that you should revisit in your studying.  Finally, it gives you an idea of your exam pace.  This is essential since you will have a finite amount of time to take the exam and therefore, it’s best to stay within those time limits.  You do not want to be in the scenario where you’ve ran out of time and left questions unanswered.


6. General Tips

  • Schedule the exam and then schedule the study time leading up to the exam, based on the topics needing coverage.
  • Stay engaged with the topics: It’s easy to get busy with our job duties, but it’s best to engage a new topic or review an old topic daily, to keep exam knowledge ingrained.
  • Don’t cram the day before the exam. Studying for this exam should be done over many days or weeks for the best knowledge retention.
  • SLEEP! This is essential the night before.  Again, don’t cram!


About the author:
Jennifer Ryan is a Microsoft Consultant with Indy Data Partners.

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