70-685 fail, need advice

Brandonm2Brandonm2 Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey everyone!
Well I took my 70-685 the other day and went in pretty confident of passing. As soon as I started taking the test I realized it was going to be harder than I originally thought. I got a 614 on the test. Needed 700.

I studied for the 680 since september last year and passed that at the end of march. Since then I have been working on the 685. I have no real world expireince but have set up my own 2008r2 server and clients and have labbed in that. I've spent a some time in group policy. I read both of the microsoft press books. And took the 200 question practice test on the self paced training book cd. Got about 70% the first time. Then went and learned why I got the answers wrong I did. I thought the test on the cd alot easier than the actual test.
So overall I feel I need to work on
1 how to answer case studys
2 group policy configuration.
Does anyone have any advice for me?

I kinda feel like microsoft is VERY specific with the questions they asked. I was thinking I would get more of the basic level questions but I left thinking "wow... They were not kidding when they said enterprise desktop support tech" (With all the different scenarios that were presented that were very much so enterprise related.)
Will real world experience help much? Or are the questions microsoft asking just too specific?
So again any advice in what to study would be much appreciated.

Thanks guys!


  • PsychoData91PsychoData91 Member Posts: 138 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm gonna be honest. I haven't taken any Microsoft exams ( yet :) I plan to start those late winter) BUT I have heard that MS is notorious for having tricky questions where everything hinges on a single fact.

    Especially with MS exams I always hear that it's important to take all the time you can and read the ENTIRE questions Thoroughly. You should do that on all questions and exams anyways, but MS especially.
  • MrJimbo19MrJimbo19 Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    If you search you will find this exam seems to be in the 50/50 realm of being either really straight forward or really terrible to complete. I tend to side with the people who think the questions border on the trick side more then anything else. To pass it you really have to buy into MS's theory of troubleshooting, ignore what you do on a daily basis and follow the examples they set out and the process they establish. When I passed it a few months ago I used the MS Press Book and technet mostly for reference.

    Since you passed the 680 you should have the foundation, now it is just a matter of building on it to get this one done.

    Good luck and feel free to ask questions, if there is something I know I will definitely reply.
  • Brandonm2Brandonm2 Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Probally my biggest question is how to answer the really long questions.(like the case studies based questions) Do you usually read all the case study info first and then read the question or do you read the question first. I feel like on some of microsofts questions there is so much info to read through to find the little piece of info that you need. Also having all the enterprise related info ex.group policies and user groups and ip settings and vpn's.... gets a little overwhelming...
    So ya my question would be... What should my stategy be to answer those nastly long in depth questions? That is the biggest thing I feel I need help with.

    Thanks so much for the reply's guys! I really really appreciate it!
  • MrJimbo19MrJimbo19 Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    The trick I have used to solve these is to read the entire question but focus on what the last part of the question asks. On the multi-parter questions where they give you a scenario and have multiple questions revolving around it just remember to reference the material they give. Normally the blatantly wrong answers can be eliminated pretty quick so you can focus on just the ones that sounds correct. You were close with a score of 614, when you look at your completion report what were you weak in?
  • Brandonm2Brandonm2 Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Ok so I inserted a picture of my exam results. Based on this do you think I am pretty close to passing? I've been debating if I should keep going hard after this cert... I would really like to have it done but since I don't have real world expirence yet I have been wondering if it is worth it or realistic.

    Yes, being concentrated on focusing on the last part of the questions would help.

    Also, so you said for the multi-parter questions that you normally read the question first and then look into the reference material section to help eliminate the wrong answers? For me it seams with those questions that there is so much info in the reference section that I feel like I need to more less skim the material and focus on the actual question being asked. So the next time I take it I should first read the actual question and then go back to the reference material to weed out the obviously wrong answers. Does that sound right? Like I said I felt like I did not have enough time to thoroughly go through all the material so I need to save time wherever I can. I probally just need some practice answering questions in that format...
    Again thank you so much for the advice! I need it! :D
    Also I found these couple practice questions online that I thought were very similar to what microsoft tests are like with the case study type questions. It may help other people with these long in depth questions. Really helpful I thought. 70-685 Study Guides

    Thanks again!
  • MrJimbo19MrJimbo19 Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Based on that I would assume you are on the right track, you scored roughly the same in 3 areas that if I remember had a lot to do with reading and spitting back out what they want to hear. It sounds like brushing up on the comprehension questions would serve you best. Odd question but how are you at reading and retention in general? My process was to read the initial scenario and then go over what I thought were the key points (domain, sites, connection etc...) then start answering questions. If I found a question I was lost on I would open the scenario and skim through it to the part relevant (site to site, ad control etc..) Labbing with these helps a lot with retention of the tools, for me it was necessary to have a small domain with 2 win7 clients running where I would go through various problem solution scenarios from books.

    I would probably do the following in addition to what you said above, I think you are on the right track though so most important is to keep doing focusing on what you are struggling with

    1. Lab, setup a few windows 7 clients in a virtual machine environment and go to town with how to access settings, configure network settings and anything else I was not comfortable with.

    2. Take notes on anything I was unsure on with the book(s) I used, everyone on this forum is a great resource and one of the common recommends you will see is to take written notes on the material to help with retention.

    3. Make sure I was comfortable with talking and using the various build in wizards and settings controls. Compatability wizard being one of them.

    Night before test day relax and do some light overview of your notes, get a good nights sleep and then go take the test and kick its butt.

    Keep us updated, good luck!
  • Brandonm2Brandonm2 Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks man!
    Ya when I took the test I found myself having to read through some of the questions up to 4 times and up just to somewhat understand what the question was asking. So ya I was having a harder time with grasping the information as I was reading it. I feel like I can generally grasp info pretty well on other material. I would say I have not been the most comfortable reading through the questions on the microsoft tests though. I know they write the exams with all their microsoft lingo and format.... So ya, I think the main thing is getting comfortable with the question format and lingo and probably study up on a little more group policy stuff since I had a hard time understanding what policies applied to what users/computers/OU's. Do you know of any good resources off the top of your head for how policies are applied? I feel I need to work on that a little.

    If you or any one else can see any areas that you see that I could work on or any good resources that would help I would be very happy for the info! Thanks again MrJimbo19! That helped alot! I plan to keep studying for this test while looking for a good starter IT job. I plan to get into desktop and server support for now. I would like to get in with a company that manages alot of other businesses networks and computers. That way I get my hands on alot of different things and learn about alot of different technologies at the same time.

    I will be out of town tomorrow through the coming week so if you don't hear a reply from me that's why.

    Thanks man! I really appreciate it! :D
  • BucklesBuckles Member Posts: 69 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hi All, First time post here but I saw this Threat and I felt compelled to reply.

    I just failed my 70-685 exam today for the 2nd time. Exact same score as OP, 614/1000 icon_rolleyes.gif

    The irony of supporting an Enterprise Environment that uses an ITIL framework is that you probably won't support a lot of the stuff covered in this exam. You're so compartmentalised that a lot of the GP stuff is typically administered by someone else. No one I know of in large enterprise both supports desktop users directly and administers GPO's in 2k8 R2.

    The first time, I didn't lab, and didn't study enough in depth. After passing 680 and supporting an Enterprise environment, I figured It would be a piece of cake. Yea- totally wrong. Anyway- I ended up being sick on the day, was irritable and stressed- failed miserably.
    Fast forward to the 2nd attempt. I've studied hard for a solid 2-3 weeks. Lab work, Videos, Text books - admittedly could do more but had a solid understanding of GPO's. No kidding, the end of my thumb is numb from taking so many notes.. I even passed my practice test this morning with 81%.

    What I tend to find is, it doesn't matter what content you study, (In my case, Self Paced Training Kit from M$, Boson Labs Virtual Environment with Exercises, Preplogic Videos), there are questions you just won't have an answer for unless you've really tinkered with everything under the hood in GPOs, IE, etc. It's so frustrating to go through all that study material and have questions appear that aren't covered in any of the content I've been working to familiarise and memorise.

    Based off today's experience for myself:

    - Don't trust your study material to have all the answers- there is always more to the exam than this.
    - Reading and Comprehension are just as important as W7/2k8 R2 Knowledge. I may also say that it's more important.
    If you understand the problem and what they're asking- technical knowledge and a process of elimination will do the rest.
    - The Case Studies; read through all the information once and then just refer back to it for the questions. I typically had 4-8 questions per Case Study and a lot of the information is white noise you can get bogged down in to just answer a few questions that don't even relate to 80% of the spiel they've given you.
    - Double check, triple check before you're 100% satisfied you've answered the questions to the best of your ability. I don't know about you but my brain works in a strange way and sometimes, I find it worth while coming back to a question later because I'm convinced it's still bouncing around up there in my head with a potentially different answer.
    - Familiarise yourself the questioning interface. I'm not 100% sure but I think I could have missed out on some vital information during the test because I didn't click in the right spot. I'm not a big fan of the Pearson Vue interface but oh well.
    -They lock you out of changing your answers to case studies etc once you've jumped to a new set of questions so be sure you're happy with your answers...there is no going back once you click "next"

    Any way. That's my 2 cents. With the Christmas Break coming up, I'm not going to be able to re-sit again til January. Lots of time to pace myself through some more study icon_study.gif
  • Swift6Swift6 RHCE, RHCVA, RHCSA, LPIC-2, LPIC-1, SCA, Linux+, Network+, CWTS ScotlandMember Posts: 268 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Can't be easy for you Buckles. Just keep your head up and put in more prep.

    You are right some of the features in the exam are barely/not used in the enterprise. As intimidating as this may be, your knowledge in these areas is still required to be at a certain level in order to pass. Practical experience also comes in handy.

    I would suggest adding MeasureUp practise questions as part of your study routine. I've used them in the past and found to be really useful.

    As for the exam itself, I usually answer the questions I'm sure about then mark for review the ones I don't know/50-50. These are the ones to visit after the last question. Just make sure there's enough time left to think over them.
  • BucklesBuckles Member Posts: 69 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Yea, it's given my self esteem a bit of a beating. I've never been a big fan of exams period.

    I've been using the measure up practice exams as part of my study routine.

    The way I did it initially:

    Did two practice exams with the measure up software, 50 questions each.

    Reviewed my results and formulated a study plan based off that.

    Reviewed Preplogic videos, Did Lab exercises, Read through the relevant chapters in the MS Self Paced training kit, took practice measure up practice exams on each module I had completed and then after revising everything I'd made notes on, took one final 50 question practice exam on the day and passed, 81%. Admittedly, I don't think it's an accurate litmus test given some of those questions were ones I'd came across before.

    So- there's a couple of things I think are going on here.

    1) Exam Anxiety... That's something I need to deal with. Something I've had for some time.
    2) Not enough variation. Sure, I'm familiar with the content but probably not broadly and in-depth enough.
    3) I seem to falter on the Case studies. They're somewhat of a spanner in the works for me. I trip up on them I think.

    Can I ask, How do you prepare for these exams? Am I missing something? I think I've highlighted a few of my own weaknesses in posting this (kinda cathartic actually) but I really want to have confidence that next time I go in, I can pass. I went in last time thinking that and was somewhat wrong.

    I'm now not going to really have another opportunity to attempt this until early next year so I plan to keep revising and lightly studying til the last week or two and then really knuckle down again. Is that a good idea?
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