Having passed this exam a number of different Microsoft exams myself, I thought some people may find it useful to get some feedback and guidance from someone who’s been there and done it. Now obviously I’m not going to give away any answers or suggest what the questions may include due to the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that goes with taking Microsoft exams. What I can do is point you in the right direction regarding what you need to revise and show you the content that is out there and available to help you get through this exam.
Detail of the “Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager” 70-243 exam can be found on the Microsoft website here:
I don’t personally believe there is a hard or an easy exam, it’s simply about what you do or don’t know. When talking about various exams I’ve been told by people in the past things like:
“It’s an easy one, I finished it in about half an hour”or”I found that tricky, those simulations were impossible”
For me it really does depend on the individual, if you haven’t done something before then you’re not going to know it well. Different people know and remember different things in different ways.
Before you start
The first thing I would say, and this may sound obvious, is to check through the exam web page. So often do people just look up the exam code, skim the skills measured and go book the exam. Take a few minutes to read through the full page to make sure the exam is what you think it is and use it to set out what preparation you need to do in order to pass it.
The Overview section gives you an ‘Audience Profile’. Take a read through it and just satisfy yourself that have the accompanying background knowledge to be able to pass this exam. For 70-243 you need to know a bit about SQL, Powershell, mobile device management and application configuration. If you’re wondering what Powershell is then maybe there’s your starting point. It’s not a Powershell exam but you should at least be familiar with it, know what cmdlets are and know a few common cmdlets that are used with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. The same applies to SQL, can you perform a basic query and are you familiar with the various SQL components that are used with Configuration Manager?Does your job title fit with the kind of jobs that are listed in the audience profile? This is obviously not a hard and fast rule but you should be able to fit yourself in amongst some of those titles in at least your job responsibilities.
What to revise?
The real important part of the exam webpage is the ‘Skills Measured’ section. This in theory is what can be covered within the questions you are going to be asked and each section has a relevant weighting. That said, each subsection has “This objective may include but is not limited to” at the start of the sentence so don’t be startled if something else is in there. But generally speaking if you are comfortable with what’s in the skills required then there shouldn’t be any surprises. In the 70-243 exam, each section has the same weighting at 10-15% so in theory you need to know each area equally. The sections are as follows and I have included some links to suggested study material:
Design and Plan System Center Configuration Manager InfrastructureWhy not check out the Infrastructure Planning and Design guides for this - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/ee395430.aspxYou should also be familiar with any new features of the product - http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2012/03/08/the-biggest-changes-in-hierarchy-design-in-configuration-manager-2012.aspx
Manage Operating System Deployment (OSD)Be familiar with OSD processes and practices - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682108.aspxDeploy Applications and Software UpdatesKnow the differences between an application and a package and the limitations of each. Check out the Microsoft Virtual Academy - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/video/video/microsoft-virtual-academy-module-3-system-center-configuration-manager-2012-overview-and-infrastructure-application-management-part-1 and http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/video/video/microsoft-virtual-academy-module-4-system-center-configuration-manager-2012-overview-and-infrastructure-application-management-part-2Look at App-V deployments - http://blogs.technet.com/b/keithmayer/archive/2013/01/04/managing-app-v-5-virtual-applications-with-system-center-2012-configuration-manager-service-pack-1.aspxKnow about software updates - http://wmug.co.uk/wmug/b/r0b/archive/2013/05/13/wmug-event-software-updates-overview-with-robert-marshall-mvp.aspx
Manage Compliance SettingsIt’s all about Configuration items and Configuration Baselines - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682139.aspx and http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg712268.aspx
Manage SitesUnderstand how sites work together, how communication flows between them and the limitations - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh427336.aspxKnow how to configure role based security - http://blogs.technet.com/b/configmgrteam/archive/2011/09/23/introducing-role-based-administration-in-system-center-2012-configuration-manager.aspxKnow how to monitor your site health - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh427342.aspx
Manage ClientsUnderstand the different methods of deploying clients and the different types of clients - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg699391.aspx
Manage inventoryHardware Inventory - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg699374.aspxSoftware Inventory - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682049.aspxManage Reports and QueriesKnow some basic WQL and select statements for console queries - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg712323.aspxKnow the basics of SQL reporting services and how to create and modify reports - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682105.aspx
Outside of those web links you can often find videos which will show you how to perform certain tasks or explain how certain things work. The Microsoft Virtual Academy is a brilliant place for this. You can also find demonstration videos on other well known video websites.
If you want specifically tailored training then you should look to the “Preparation Materials” section of the exam webpage. This identified the Microsoft specific training courses that will cover off the objectives outlined for the exam. For 70-243 (at the moment) there is only classroom training available. As an alternative to this you can purchase video training from vendors such as CBT Nuggets or TrainSignal.
Booking the exam
Microsoft use Prometric as their testing partner, if you’ve taken Microsoft exams before then you’ll know the procedure. If not then it’s a simple process, just follow the instructions on the Prometric website, choose your exam and pay for it. Don’t forget to look out for Microsoft promotions such as Second Shot which Microsoft run from time to time. Once you’ve passed the exam you’ll receive and email from Microsoft with a welcome pack and it’s at that point you’ll get assigned a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) ID.
That should just about cover it. Don’t forget to keep reading the WMUG blogs, forums, follow the twitter feed and sign up as a member as we have some of the most knowledgeable System Center experts around including Microsoft MVP’s. If you have any specific questions – post a comment!