MCSA Server 2012 R2 - Study Books - Which is best?

Carljohnson1983Carljohnson1983 Posts: 18Member ■■□□□□□□□□
Looking at the reviews on Amazon some of the books are very lacking in their content.

I have mostly seen these two to use


Can anyone comment on the above two or at tell me if there is anything else out there?
I will obviosuly using technet, but also CBT Nuggets as well.




  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Posts: 471Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    The first link didn't work so I'm not sure what it went to and I didn't use the 2nd one, but I can tell you to stay away from the William Panek books. They're almost completely useless.
    All the best,

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • ArkrainArkrain Posts: 55Member ■■■□□□□□□□
  • madurhammadurham Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I used the official cert guide and another that I can't remember for the 70-410.

    I'm currently using the Panek book for the 411 and the 412 if I pass the 411.
    ... but I can tell you to stay away from the William Panek books. They're almost completely useless.

  • madurhammadurham Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    (I haven't worked out how to edit posts)

    The Panek book is full of superfluous info. Many pages on dial-up and the history of technologies throughout before he get's to the actual exam content. Maybe that will help some people understand the content in context better but for me it's useless, I just want to understand the exam topics.
  • stunnedsoupstunnedsoup Posts: 120Member
    I'm not a fan of the Panek book. Some of the explanations were lackluster. I wanted to read more about Profile Properties in WF w/ AS. The explanations were pretty much copy pasted from what the dialogue box showed in Windows (ex: Specify behavior for when a computer is connected to a public network). I ditched this for the OCG, and found the OCG to give me a better explanation for this particular example.

    Albeit, I could have googled for a better explanation. I just wanted to point out, using a quick example, why I personally favor the OCG over Sybex.
    Cisco: CCENT COLOR=#ff0000]✔[/COLOR CCNA COLOR=#ff0000]✔[/COLOR || MCSE: 70-410 COLOR=#ff0000]✔[/COLOR 70-411 [ ] 74-409 COLOR=#ff0000]✔[/COLOR 70-534 [ ] || VMWare: VCP [ ]
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Posts: 471Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Panek even points out in the first chapter that the exams are very Powershell heavy and that he's going to go into further detail throughout the book. However, he BARELY ever touches on the topic again after that, which is strange to me. I agree with Madurham that his book seems to go into too much history and useless info (as far as the exam is concerned) rather than focus on the specific exam objectives. The labs in the book are also very lackluster in that they only provide a brief overview of what the technology actually does and they don't get too detailed. For example, there is a lab on how to create a user in Active Directory, which in itself isn't a bad thing to learn how to do but it's a very dumbed down version of how to do it and once again it doesn't give any info on Powershell. The other thing I really disliked was how so many chapters were copied from others verbatim. I know there is at least one chapter in the 411 content that was exactly the same as a chapter in the 410. It was the Group Policy chapter if I remember right. It *kind of* makes sense in that both exams cover Group Policy but it just struck a nerve with me for some reason. This book would be great for someone completely new to Windows Server and/or someone completely new to IT in general who needs a good introduction to the technologies and is interested in the history and background, but it shouldn't be viewed and marketed as a study guide for the exams.
    All the best,

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • poolmanjimpoolmanjim MCSE, MCSA: 2016, MCSA: 2012 KC, KS, USAPosts: 285Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I agree with many of the comments. I found Panek's book to be woefully inadequate. For the 70-410, the content wasn't bad but once I went beyond that it was completely just a rough overview and waste of time. He left out critical topics and glossed over some of the most important content in favor of backstory or focusing on an area that isn't heavily weighted on the exam. I found myself wondering what his plan was as I read it.

    The Mastering Windows Server book is good. However, it is not a "pass the exam" book. It is a deep dive into Windows without any regard for the exam topics themselves. Don't get me wrong, the exam topics are covered but not in the same way a study guide book would cover them. I used this book as a reference book to go back and re-enforce some understanding.

    My suggested book, despite the price and the lack of "questions and answers", is the MOAC (Microsoft Official Academic Course) books. The physical copy is a little pricey while the Kindle edition is much more reasonable. These books cover the content in pretty good detail and include a lot of the powershell. Don't be fooled, however. No one book is going to assure a pass of the exams. Each book is a part of the study process. You need to use technets and labbing to round out the topics covered in the books.

    Good luck.
    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
  • AvgITGeekAvgITGeek 70-410, 70-411 Posts: 338Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I used the Pearson (Poulton\Camardella) book for 410 and really liked it. For the 411 I bought the Sybex (Panek) book and thought it was awful and even the practice exam from sybex had questions about 410 material so I ended up primarily using Pluralsight and TechNet to pass the 411. I highly doubt I'm going to send any money sybex's way for their 412 book. I'm still looking for something good for that exam if I end up going down that road.
  • usernickusernick Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yes, it's a shame that there aren't going to be books published for 70-411/412 by Poulton... Apparently, there will be similar books published for the Server 2016 exams...

    In lieu of the lack of a Poulton book for 70-411, what are people's best studying techniques for that exam? Are the MOAC books (as Poolmanjim mentioned above) any good? I won't be studying until April at the earliest (currently studying for the VMware 6 DCV exams whilst I still can - before they replace them with 6.5!).

    I agree that the Panek book isn't that great - I unfortunately bought the "all-in-one" variant of the book, and it's vaguely useful as a reference guide, but I wouldn't use it to study!

    It could be (as I have a CBT Nuggets subscription) that Greg Shulte updates the 70-411 course with labs/Powershell exercises as he's currently doing for 70-410. If that happens, that'll give me more options but he'd better get a move on! ;)
  • usernickusernick Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    usernick wrote: »
    It could be (as I have a CBT Nuggets subscription) that Greg Shulte

    *Garth* Shulte, not Greg! :)
  • AvgITGeekAvgITGeek 70-410, 70-411 Posts: 338Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    70-411 I relied heavily on TechNet and PluralSight. I'd watch the PluralSight content and then start digging around in TechNet to get more detail. Also the following two links helped out quite a bit.

    Lab, lab, lab. I'm a very hands on learner so anytime I can see things in action is very important for me. My current Hyper-V lab consists of 15 servers, 1 server configured as a router and 1 workstation. They aren't all running at the same time.
  • usernickusernick Posts: 7Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Oh definitely labs.

    Although I've got c. 25 years of experience with various Windows Server products (from NT to 2000 to 2003 to 2008 and now 2012), the specifics in each exam (mainly, Powershell) definitely *require* hands-on-labs. For the CBT Nuggets videos, I undertook *everything* in Powershell, and then looked at the other commands (both Powershell and non-Powershell, e.g. dsadd, etc) as alternative ways of performing the same task.

    I'm assuming - having recently taken the 70-410 exam - that the 70-411 (and probably the 70-412) exams also rely *heavily* on Powershell?
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