Exam futility

Discussion in 'Microsoft Certification' started by Reuben, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. Reuben

    Reuben Guest

    Is there any sort of record for failing a particular exam over and over?
    Failing miserably (200+ points) is one thing, but coming close time after
    time but not passing is nearly insane.
     
    Reuben, Dec 5, 2007
    #1
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  2. Reuben

    Reuben Guest

    OK, maybe I should have rephrased or asked a different question. But here
    goes ..... how many times has someone taken an exam and failed before they
    eventually passed it? But from the looks of most people in these M$ Learning
    Newsgroup forums, it looks like everyone has lived a charmed life, was able
    to get whatever experience they need, and probably passed all their cert
    exams on the first try. Wished I was that damned lucky.
     
    Reuben, Dec 8, 2007
    #2
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  3. Reuben

    John R Guest

    "Reuben" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > OK, maybe I should have rephrased or asked a different question. But here
    > goes ..... how many times has someone taken an exam and failed before they
    > eventually passed it? But from the looks of most people in these M$
    > Learning
    > Newsgroup forums, it looks like everyone has lived a charmed life, was
    > able
    > to get whatever experience they need, and probably passed all their cert
    > exams on the first try. Wished I was that damned lucky.
    >


    It's been said before, but certifications are all about certifying
    experience. They were not intended to get your foot in the door.
    Unfortunately, too many employers these days are asking for certs for entry
    level positions, which is putting more and more people like yourself in a
    bad place. How to get experience without the cert, how to get the cert
    without experience. Both can be done, but I think the latter is more
    difficult.

    As to how many, you probably don't want to hear my answer to that.

    Best of luck to you.

    John R
     
    John R, Dec 9, 2007
    #3
  4. Reuben

    Reuben Guest

    Well, how do you get rxperience if no one wants to give you an opportunity to
    gain experience??? I have some experience and I want to build upon that!!!
    Of course, most of you folks who post on here seem to live charmed lives
    without ever having to struggle or suffer.
     
    Reuben, Dec 9, 2007
    #4
  5. Reuben

    John R Guest

    "Reuben" <> wrote in message
    news:D...
    > Well, how do you get rxperience if no one wants to give you an opportunity
    > to
    > gain experience??? I have some experience and I want to build upon
    > that!!!
    > Of course, most of you folks who post on here seem to live charmed lives
    > without ever having to struggle or suffer.


    There are ways. Volunteer for a Non-Profit Organization for example. More
    importantly, get education first. That is the single best way to get your
    foot in the door somewhere.

    As to us folks never having to struggle or suffer, let's just say we put up
    a good front. Most of us have struggled through working our way into our
    positions, struggled through supporting XP and 2003 before there were books
    on the shelves, struggled through finding answers to support issues. A lot
    of us gave up way too much family time so that we could read little blue
    Microsoft books. And when our friends were out drinking, we were at home
    testing DNS, RAS, WINS, etc on our home networks. So yeah, when we finally
    took the cert exams, those struggles that preceeded the exams helped us
    pass. Note, I said "preceeded".

    Don't think for one minute that anyone here was simply handed a system admin
    job, and learned what we needed by osmosis.

    We struggled then, you are struggling now. Welcome to the club.

    John R
     
    John R, Dec 10, 2007
    #5
  6. I have posted extensive comment about this in the past. But it comes down to
    one thing; "Luck has nothing to do with it!"

    I've had to prepare for certification exams with minimal particle experience
    (hands on at a customer site). I go my hands on with my own test lab. I
    purchased a couple of low-end DELL servers a while back and use Beta, Trail,
    and Not for Resale software on them. But before that all of my test
    equipment were old PCs that I picked up for around $25 each.

    These exams can't be learned simply by reading a book. Or at least, I can't
    learn enough that way. You must have hands on. And if your company (or
    customers) don't use the product, or you can't get transferred into that
    group, then you have to create the environment for yourself.

    I always try to get at least two reference books, one being Microsoft
    training kit. Download every white paper and follow every TechNet article
    link in the books. But most importantly, do every lab. Some you'll want to
    do more than once. And you can't do this on a production system. So you must
    have your test own lab.



    "Reuben" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > OK, maybe I should have rephrased or asked a different question. But here
    > goes ..... how many times has someone taken an exam and failed before they
    > eventually passed it? But from the looks of most people in these M$
    > Learning
    > Newsgroup forums, it looks like everyone has lived a charmed life, was
    > able
    > to get whatever experience they need, and probably passed all their cert
    > exams on the first try. Wished I was that damned lucky.
    >
     
    Harvey Colwell, Dec 10, 2007
    #6
  7. Reuben

    Reuben Guest

    Yeah, putting up a good front ..... how about being honest for once! I know
    there are some people out there who have struggled with these exams and
    failed. Question is, did these people keep on taking these exams until they
    passed and for how long? I know there are some sould who keep on trying and
    succeeded irregardless of what you "perfect people" on these boards say and
    think!

    I know there are those who failed and failed on cert exams and did NOT quit
    until they succeeded. This is the club I want to join.
     
    Reuben, Dec 10, 2007
    #7
  8. Reuben

    John R Guest

    "Reuben" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Yeah, putting up a good front ..... how about being honest for once!


    Where have I not been honest with you???

    > I know
    > there are some people out there who have struggled with these exams and
    > failed. Question is, did these people keep on taking these exams until
    > they
    > passed and for how long?


    Did you ever stop to think about why nobody is posting "Yeah, I took that
    exam eight times and finally passed" ?

    > I know there are some sould who keep on trying and
    > succeeded irregardless of what you "perfect people" on these boards say
    > and
    > think!


    I am far from perfect, just ask my wife. I have never implied that you
    should not try. I implied that maybe you need some more experience with the
    technology before you take another test attempt. Personally, I was front
    line desktop support for over six years and a system admin for over eight
    years prior to taking MCDST and MCSE respectively. I am not saying that
    everyone should have that experience, but you should have some.

    > I know there are those who failed and failed on cert exams and did NOT
    > quit
    > until they succeeded. This is the club I want to join.


    Again, nobody implied that you should quit. What I am implying is that
    maybe you should work a little smarter.

    John R
     
    John R, Dec 10, 2007
    #8
  9. Reuben

    Reuben Guest

    I've been doing PC work and desktop support work for 14 years. It's not like
    I just graduated from tech school or have fallen off the turnip truck! Heck,
    I've even passed 70-271 w/no trouble whatsoever (799). Unfortunately, exam
    70-272 nhas been the opposite!

    I have taken the 70-272 exam three times now and have came up short of
    making that 700 mark everytime (651, 675, 651). Heck, I probably passed on
    all those attempts if I hadn't changed an answer or two. I don't do well on
    multiple answer or multiple choice exams and I have a tough time judging that
    "first instinct" when answering questions. Everytime I take these exams I
    use up most (at least 90%) of the alloted time I am given to complete the
    exam.

    I have tried all sorts of retooling and reorganzing. Am gonna even do more
    "lab work" this time around. Short of braindumps and cheating ( Iwouldn't
    know what to do with a braindump if it even fell in my lap and by the way, I
    hate cheating as much as anyone else on here), I have not found anything that
    works! I look at the score sheets on each exam and look at weaknesses. I
    have used multiple study guides in the past. Even looked at some of the
    70-270 and 70-271 material for things that may crossover into 70-272.

    The Achille's heel from my last exam was "Resolving Issues Related to
    Application Customization." Did very strong in "Resolving Issues Related to
    Usability" and "Configuring and Troubleshooting for Applications". Some
    improvement in "Configuring and Troubleshooting Applications and "Configuring
    Application Security" definitely wouldn't hurt a bit!

    I am going to take this exam a fourth time thanks to the free M$ "Second
    Shot" deal in late January. So, since I've got a free retake in my pocket,
    then why give up??? Just gotta figure out how to get those 50 extra points
    and then some, and, work on improving those weak areas. Though, I know what
    the weak areas are, I can't forget the other areas. No stone shall remain
    uncovered.

    I am sure there are those in the "same boat" as myself. I'm not giving up
    and I'm hoping those others in the same situation won't either.
     
    Reuben, Dec 10, 2007
    #9
  10. I doubt you are anywhere near the record :p

    But heed John R's advice. He is not trying to mislead you at all. His
    advice comes from a great deal of experience taking exams.

    I may be one of the "charmed" people, because I have passed all my exams
    thus far. Well aside from an NT 3.51 exam I took in 1996 or so. But when
    I say charmed I mean I spent at least 3 months studying for each exam,
    setting up labs, testing myself every night on the material, reading two
    books on the subject, staying away from distractions (broke up with my
    gf...lol) and taking practice exams from measureup.

    I would assume most people here are like me - not "charmed" - but worked
    extremely hard on their exams and busted their a$$ to make absolutely
    sure they knew all their material before they stepped foot in the exam
    room. I may fail exams in the future, that is a given. But hopefully I
    am as prepared as I have been up to this point. And nobody (well aside
    from you) is going to boast "It took me 6 tries to pass 70-291!" For the
    most part they will simply state "I passed the 70-291 with a 812" or
    something of the like.

    Good luck next try.

    =?Utf-8?B?UmV1YmVu?= <> wrote in
    news::

    > OK, maybe I should have rephrased or asked a different question. But
    > here goes ..... how many times has someone taken an exam and failed
    > before they eventually passed it? But from the looks of most people
    > in these M$ Learning Newsgroup forums, it looks like everyone has
    > lived a charmed life, was able to get whatever experience they need,
    > and probably passed all their cert exams on the first try. Wished I
    > was that damned lucky.
    >
     
    Red Swingline Stapler, Dec 12, 2007
    #10
  11. Reuben

    Reuben Guest

    Well, at least it is somewhat comforting to know that I am not the only
    person on the planet to suffer from "continual exam failure." The main idea
    behind this thread is to see if there are other folks that have been (or are
    presently going through) "streaks of exam futility" and what they did get
    through it as well as maybe what inspired them to keep on with the good fight.

    I got through A+, Network+ and 70-271 just fine, but 70-272 has thrown me
    for a loop! Just when you think you know something, sometimes reality hits!
    And when the scores run about the same (close to passing but just not
    enough), it's very aggravating. I really need to do more "lab work" (Office,
    IE, OE, Outlook, etc.). Am always looking for ways to get this stuff to stay
    inside my head!

    Been doing PC tech work and deskside support work for almost 15 years. Have
    done more hardware work than software, but it definitely pays to know some
    things about software. Will definitely NOT quit, but if I keep failing these
    tests, then maybe I need to wait a while to try again. But, here's hoping
    for a passing score on 70-272, then I can take my sweet time to figure out
    what's next in regards to cert exams. Heck, I may just take a break.

    "Red Swingline Stapler" wrote:

    > I doubt you are anywhere near the record :p
    >
    > But heed John R's advice. He is not trying to mislead you at all. His
    > advice comes from a great deal of experience taking exams.
    >
    > I may be one of the "charmed" people, because I have passed all my exams
    > thus far. Well aside from an NT 3.51 exam I took in 1996 or so. But when
    > I say charmed I mean I spent at least 3 months studying for each exam,
    > setting up labs, testing myself every night on the material, reading two
    > books on the subject, staying away from distractions (broke up with my
    > gf...lol) and taking practice exams from measureup.
    >
    > I would assume most people here are like me - not "charmed" - but worked
    > extremely hard on their exams and busted their a$$ to make absolutely
    > sure they knew all their material before they stepped foot in the exam
    > room. I may fail exams in the future, that is a given. But hopefully I
    > am as prepared as I have been up to this point. And nobody (well aside
    > from you) is going to boast "It took me 6 tries to pass 70-291!" For the
    > most part they will simply state "I passed the 70-291 with a 812" or
    > something of the like.
    >
    > Good luck next try.
    >
    > =?Utf-8?B?UmV1YmVu?= <> wrote in
    > news::
    >
    > > OK, maybe I should have rephrased or asked a different question. But
    > > here goes ..... how many times has someone taken an exam and failed
    > > before they eventually passed it? But from the looks of most people
    > > in these M$ Learning Newsgroup forums, it looks like everyone has
    > > lived a charmed life, was able to get whatever experience they need,
    > > and probably passed all their cert exams on the first try. Wished I
    > > was that damned lucky.
    > >

    >
    >
     
    Reuben, Dec 13, 2007
    #11
  12. "Reuben" <> wrote in message
    news:...

    > Heck, I probably passed on
    > all those attempts if I hadn't changed an answer or two. I don't do well
    > on
    > multiple answer or multiple choice exams and I have a tough time judging
    > that
    > "first instinct" when answering questions. Everytime I take these exams I
    > use up most (at least 90%) of the alloted time I am given to complete the
    > exam.


    Reuben, given your experience level, I'd be inclined to think this
    intimidation of multi-choice questions may be the primary culprit in your
    passing-the-exam challenges, and *not* your technical expertise.

    IIt's an accepted fact that Microsoft exam questions are sometimes written
    in such a way that "overthinking" a question can cause you to select a wrong
    answer, even though when presented with a situation in real life the
    candidate would do exactly the right thing every time.

    > I am going to take this exam a fourth time thanks to the free M$ "Second
    > Shot" deal in late January. So, since I've got a free retake in my
    > pocket,
    > then why give up??? Just gotta figure out how to get those 50 extra
    > points
    > and then some, and, work on improving those weak areas. Though, I know
    > what
    > the weak areas are, I can't forget the other areas. No stone shall remain
    > uncovered.


    Might I suggest focusing on the skill set to read, analyse, and answer cert
    exam questions, rather than the technical knowledge itself.

    It took me a long time to acclimate myself to being able to deal with the
    quirks of Microsoft exam questions, and I've found those skills very
    helpful. In fact, I would suggest that the skills to handle the =question=
    are almost as valuable as the technical skills required for each specific
    cert exam.

    > I am sure there are those in the "same boat" as myself. I'm not giving up
    > and I'm hoping those others in the same situation won't either.


    Good for you! I would recommend not giving up -- particularly if it's
    something you really want.

    As for question answering skills... some 'tips' to consider:

    [1] If you hit a question you don't know the exactly correct answer to, mark
    the question for review, press on with the exam, and come back to the
    question.
    Two reasons:
    [a] *Sometimes* you'll encounter a similar question later in the
    exam, and the questions and answers can be tied to one another, allowing
    both questions to be answered correctly by applying logical analysis (I've
    posted a very generic example of this scenario below that I recently
    encountered and used to my advantage.)
    By not distracting your thought processes on specific
    challenges, you keep your brain free to deal successfully with the easier
    and well-known questions, then, after completing the majority of the
    questions you *know*, you can return to the marked questions, with the
    following: A general knowledge of the number of questions already
    successfully answered (which contributes to the confidence level that these
    remaining few answers are not a significant in scoring as you might think if
    it was the second question on the exam), and the reminders of the breadth of
    knowledge of the skillset from the answered questions.

    [2] Learn to distinguish the fluff from the key questions in an exam
    question scenerio. Quite often key phrases like "...in the most efficient
    manner possible.." or "..with the least expense..." or "..least cost.." are
    key phrases. Many times in those questions there will be more than one
    technically correct answer, but the correct answer for the exam is depedent
    on the analysis in the additional criteria -- cost, efficiency, etc.

    [3] Learn how to recognize the obviously incorrect answers, and then focus
    on the scenarios presented by the possible answers. It's much easier to
    analyze a situation when you know there are only two choices, rather than
    when you're trying to consider all four.

    A tutorial, or personal coach, can likely offer many more tips.

    I got a lot of my current insight from a touring workshop on the 70-282
    hosted by Harry Brelsford earlier this year.



    Now.. for my "use one question to answer another" example:

    Q1. Which of the following subfunctions needs to be turned off at a
    downstream server?
    [a] Subfunction 1
    Subfunction 2
    [c] Subfunction 3
    [d] Subfunction 4
    [e] Subfunction 5

    By itself, this question is dependent on pure knowledge of which
    subfunctions are controlled at the downstream server (, versus which are
    controlled at the upstream server an implied complement to the question).
    Plus it's a select-more-than-one question. Typically the MS exams will tell
    you how many you must select, and in this case, the question requires three
    answers to be selected.

    Now, add this question:
    Q2. How do you disable all subfunctions at a downstream server? (This
    question is a select ONE correct answer question.)
    [a] Disable subfunction 2
    Disable subfunction 4
    [c] Disable subfunction 1 and 2 using Tool A, and subfunction 5
    using Tool B.
    [d] Disable subfunction 1, 2, and 4 using Tool A.


    This second question gives us some insight into the first question. We
    already know that [a] and are incorrect responses, because Q1 tells us
    there are three subfunctions. That leaves us options [c] and [d], which, if
    answered correctly, also now gives us the answers to Q1. So now, rather than
    focusing on the subfunctions, consider the Tools (A, B). Does Tool A
    actually control subfunction 4? Does Tool B control subfunction 5? In this
    particular case, we know that Tool B isn't used on a downstream server, even
    though we cannot remember (or perhaps honestly do not know) which
    subfunctions exist. Thus, we can then conclude that subfunction 5 cannot be
    a correct answer to Q1. In this scenario, the correct answer to Q2 is [d],
    which gives us the answers to Q1 ([a], , [d]).






    --
    Lawrence Garvin, M.S., MCBMSP, MCTS, MCP
    Senior Data Architect, APQC, Houston, Texas
    MVP - Software Distribution (2005-2007)

    MS WSUS Website: http://www.microsoft.com/wsus
    My Websites: http://www.onsitechsolutions.com;
    http://wsusinfo.onsitechsolutions.com
    My MVP Profile: http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile/Lawrence.Garvin
     
    Lawrence Garvin, Dec 26, 2007
    #12
  13. Reuben

    LiS

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    I agree with the above - when I did my first MCSE back in the NT4 days, I struggled to get my head round how the questions were phrased. Sometimes it seemed that the answers were deliberately written to make a wrong answer contain all the obvious things, with a bit sneaked in that would stop it working.

    I found that the Transcender practice exams really helped me get used to the format and the way the questions were phrased. They might help you too?

    Li

    PS Good for you that you haven't thrown the towel in!
     
    LiS, Dec 29, 2007
    #13
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