Passed the 70-412!!

poolmanjimpoolmanjim Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hello Everyone,
Well today I completed this part of my Microsoft journey and I passed the 70-412. Scored a 788 on my second attempt. I'm not even going to pretend, this test was tough.

File and Storage Solutions coupled with Identity and Access Solutions were my worst areas by far. I struggled with some of the random content they threw on File and Storage Solutions and the stuffy covered by identity and access is brutal on the best of days. I did fare well in the Active Directory Infrastructure though (perfect score!).

My total study time stretched probably just over a year in total from start to finish though I really have been dedicated in the past 9 months (passing a test about 1 every three months). I did it because I wanted to get certified before my wife and I start having kids. I also figured it could only help me keep moving into more intense roles at work and prove that I really do know what I am talking about when I tell my boss "Don't do that." The whole thing was entirely self funded without a scrap of help from my job so I will say to those of you who are struggling to get the cost covered, its doable if you can set aside cash over time in particular.

My future plan is to take a break. I imagine it would be at least a 6 month journey for an MCSE and my wife really wants a break from me studying 4-8 hours a night (not kidding there). I may go for one at some point but not right now.

I also want to offer any guidance and help that I can (that the NDA allows) to anyone else in their journey. I have my email going to an account I don't check often but I tend to check here once or twice a day so I'd pick up on any PMs. I may not check as much now that I am done but this stuff is hard and I always felt bad asking questions.

Below is a wall of text describing my resources. I hope it helps point out what was involved.

My resources for this test were somewhat scattered and some I acquired from earlier tests but I'll list what all I had/used to provide some insight.

Practice Tests (and Labs):
Boson Practice Tests (and Lab)
So Boson was running a deal and gave me like 15% off a package deal if I bought a practice test and the supplemental lab content. I have had good luck with Boson tests and find them to be an actual measure of my ability and they tend to mirror my test scores closely. I'm not super fond of their answer descriptions but the technets were generally relevant. The labs were a little lacking (no Hyper-V labs) so that was kind of a let down but the stuff they had really helped me get it labbed and understand it in a more controlled environment. I struggled with Federation Services. No matter how hard I tried or what directions I followed, I could never get a working lab. This allowed me to play in the interface some and understand some of what I was doing. I found this kit to be worth it and would recommend it for the 412 at least with its super-obscure concepts.

Microsoft Official Academic Course: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 R2 Services
This was my bread and butter for this exam and I highly recommend it. It wasn't fully comprehensive but it covered more detail and more sensible labs than any of the other content. The biggest downside was the review questions at the end: no answer key. Its hard to know how you did without being able to look up the answers. It had more Powershell in it than any other book I looked at and really helped me understand some of the content. Great reference. The cost is prohibitive but you can get it through Amazon as a "rental" that is more reasonable and fits well within a study period if you stay focused.

Sybex Complete Study Guide MCSA Server 2012 R2
This book I found to be helpful in some areas and useless in others. The practice questions they provided are not even remotely helpful. The content itself is similar to a quick one over without too much depth. It feels like they threw all their time into the first section for the 410 and then gave up on trying after that. If you don't already have this book, I don't recommend it for the 411 or 412.

Mastering Windows Server 2012 R2
This book is freaking comprehensive, at least when it comes to describing the different technologies. Truth is though, I'm not fond of this book's layout. It felt hard to find anything and the sections didn't really line up with what I was looking for. It is good material when you get to it and should be used as more of a reference or something you read before doing anything to cover absolutely everything you can. I recommend having this as a reference book. It did help clarify some topics.

Windows Server 2012 R2: Inside-Out

I got this one on sale with my 40% off MCP coupon for passing the first test. It is a good supplement to the Mastering Server 2012 book. I found it to be better organized than the Mastering book but not as deep in some areas. Like the Mastering, this one was a guide. I would suggest to most using this as a reference. You also don't need both this and the Mastering Windows Server book. They overlap a lot. Also another determent is this is two volumes instead of the one that the Mastering book is.

Training Videos:
I chose pluralsight simply for the cost. They are a decent review of the concepts for a reasonable cost.

Lab Environment:
AMD Phenom 2 Quad Core (3.2GHz)
1TB HDD (Storage/VMs)
Server 2012 R2 Standard (Hyper-V installed for labs)

Intel Core 2 Duo
Server 2012 R2 Standard (Hyper-V installed for labs)
2019 Goals: Security+
2020 Goals: 70-744, Azure
Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT


  • Ifound404Ifound404 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congratulations! Very impressive, and thank you for your opinion on the study guides.
  • seth479seth479 Member Posts: 84 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats, great job! Definitely take a break, I just finished the MCSA and jumping right in to an MCSE but rethinking it right now lol.
    LinkedIn |
    In Progress - MCSE: Messaging [] 70-341 [] 70-342
    Up Next - MCSE: Communication
    2016 Goals: MCSE: Messaging / Communication, CCENT, LPIC-1
  • gncsmithgncsmith Member Posts: 459 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats! Thanks for the resources and feedback.
  • DAVIS NGUYENDAVIS NGUYEN Member Posts: 1,472 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • powerfoolpowerfool Member Posts: 1,663 ■■■■■■■■□□
    2023 Renew: [ ] Terraform Associate [X] AZ-204 [X] AZ-305 [ ] AZ-400 [X] AZ-5002023 New: [ ] AWS SAA [ ] AWS SAP [ ] CKAD
  • Brain-DBrain-D Member Posts: 134
    Congrats! Great job!!! icon_smile.gif

    Thanks for the write-up!
  • Dakinggamer87Dakinggamer87 Member Posts: 4,016 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Congrats!! icon_thumright.gif

    Good luck on the MCSE if you decide to pursue it
    *Associate's of Applied Sciences degree in Information Technology-Network Systems Administration
    *Bachelor's of Science: Information Technology - Security, Master's of Science: Information Technology - Management
    Matthew 6:33 - "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

    Certs/Business Licenses In Progress: AWS Solutions Architect, Series 6, Series 63
  • Louie1277Louie1277 Member Posts: 505 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats on passing the whole exam. I little bit jealous you passed it. I know sooner I will have it like yourself. Just having issue passing the first exam.

    Wish some times I didn't have kids myself for this exam. haahha just for that moment but it's hard with fully family. If you remember how was your study habit for 70-410 exam?
    2018 Goals: 70-410 [X], 70-411 [],70-412 [] :bow: 410- Passed!!!!!!

    My Goal for the Future
    2012 - *MCSA*(WHO KNOWS WHEN) KEEP FAILING!!!! Not enough time to pass the last 2 exams.
    2021 - *Security+*
    2022 - * Pen Tester*
  • poolmanjimpoolmanjim Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    For the 410, I had to break up my study some. I started studying probably in late December of 2014 or in early January of 2015 but ended up taking most of February and March off to get married. I then studied at least 2-3 hours a night on average up until about one month before the test and then I pretty much dedicate 100% of my free time to studying usually investing at least 5 hours a night on average. I did make sure and take a break at least one day a week to keep my sanity.
    2019 Goals: Security+
    2020 Goals: 70-744, Azure
    Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
    Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT
  • bohackbohack Member Posts: 114
    Congratulations! There are many different choices for MCSE at this point. Private Cloud, Desktop Infrastructure, Server Infrastructure, etc... Keep learning!

    NetworkedMinds -
    MCSA / MCSE Educational Channel
  • Ugly-051Ugly-051 Member Posts: 63 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Impressive study plan, good effort. I’m taking this next, not any easy exam by the looks of it.
  • AdrianITAdrianIT Member Posts: 18 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats! great stuff! ....where do you go from here?
    \\2015: [x]ITIL [x]Become a dad [x]Move out my parents house! :)
    \\2016: [ ]70-410 [ ]70-411 [ ]70-412 [ ]Sec+ [ ]CISSP
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 Mod Posts: 2,834 Mod
    Congrats on the pass!
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, OCI Foundations Associate, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: Python, OSCP Prep
    Next Up:​ OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (Python), Bash Scripting, Virtual Hacking Lab Coursework
  • poolmanjimpoolmanjim Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @ Everyone:
    Thanks for the praise and congratulations. This community was a big help!

    @ AdrianIT
    Well like I said, I'm holding off on my MCSE for awhile. My wife is very tired of me spending all my free time studying instead of hanging out with her. I still plan on studying off and on for stuff but without really any solid goals in mind yet. With that though, I feel like I need a little more experience before an MCSE will do me a lot of good on a resume. I have about 5 years of experience working with servers.

    Right now I'm relaxing and for at least the next 6 months, that is what I plan on doing. :)
    2019 Goals: Security+
    2020 Goals: 70-744, Azure
    Completed: MCSA 2012 (01/2016), MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (07/2017), MCSA 2017 (09/2017)
    Future Goals: CISSP, CCENT
  • PiersPiers Member Posts: 454 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats on the MCSA!
    :study: Office 365 70-347 / 698 later
  • TechStrikerTechStriker Member Posts: 131
    Passed SNIA - SCSP
    Working on VCP4
  • joeswfcjoeswfc Member Posts: 118 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Good Work!

    I would say that the 70-412 is the hardest Microsoft exam I have done, and I have just recently passed the first exam of the Exchange MCSE. 70-412 took me 3 attempts and I still didn't feel confident on my third one.
    It is the random content that you are probably never going to come across in your career that got me the most. Like you said, I also really struggled with the identity and access part (ADFS, RMS etc).. The questions that ask you to put things in order of what you would do I hate, you can do them in more than one different order most of the time but the questions wants you to answer the 'Microsoft' way.

    Anyway good luck with whichever MCSE you choose to do when you get around to it!
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