Recommended materials for MCSA 2012?

kharkenkharken Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I'm currently employed and luckily we are moving from Windows Server 2003 to Server 2012 as our new DC. For me it's the perfect time to learn about it and it's actually one of the reasons why I want to get certified. Anyway, could you recommend any reading, video materials that would be sufficient enough in studying for this cert?

Comments

  • ErindErind Posts: 33Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Well ,

    For the moment im looking at the CBTnuggets video material for the MSCA and although they were the bees knees for CCNA im feeling lukewarm about this course, still its a good place to start. Second for your lab needs open a free account on Microsoft azure as they will give you a 200$ value to spend on their platfrom. Spin up a cheap VM ( its easy to set up) with win serv 2012 R2 and your're good (you can maybe stretch that 200 for 3 months) you get to learn about azure basics this way too.
  • kharkenkharken Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Alright thanks! It would be nice though if I could grab any book that thoroughly discusses the topics/objectives.
  • WastedHatWastedHat Posts: 132Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've been looking into materails for this course too. It seems there isn't any one book that will teach you everything for the exam, you'll need to study from multiple books, videos, technet, practice exams etc

    "Mastering Windows Server 2012 R2" is supposed to be one of the better ones. The offical guide / Sybex has bad reviews (not enough detail)
  • naldicatenaldicate Posts: 2Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm studying for this exam as well and I find the Sybex book quite difficult. The second chapter give for granted a lot of knowledge that I still don't have. Do you have any suggestions? I'm also using the TestOut videos.
  • poolmanjimpoolmanjim MCSE, MCSA: 2016, MCSA: 2012 KC, KS, USAPosts: 285Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    If you are looking at the sybex book, I would consider only getting the 410 content. The 411 and 412 sections were a waste of time.

    I highly recommend the Microsoft Official Academic Course books. They are more pricey than the others but they have a lot more content and even some obscure stuff that I didn't expect that ended up showing on tests. Just remember, no one book is going to get you through any of the tests much less the MCSA as a whole.

    You will want to spend a lot of time reading technets. Microsoft pulls most of their questions from technet pages so you're really passing up a good resource if you don't try to find a bunch of technet resources.

    You will also need to spend time labbing the content. If you don't have a lab at home, try to throw some extra RAM in your desktop and install Hyper-V or VirtualBox. Microsoft also has a number of free labs available that work pretty well. You can get a demo Azure subscription and do some work with that but I would actually recommend saving that until the 412 as you have to know some odd Azure stuff for that one.
    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
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Posts: 471Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    The materials I used for all of the MCSA 2012 exams were as follows:

    1. Pluralsight videos with Greg Shields and Jason Helmick (very good/one of the best of the materials I used)
    2. Infinite Skills videos with John Savill (also very good and filled in the gaps from what some of the Pluralsight videos were missing)
    3. Microsoft Exam Ref - Used for the 410 and 411 (Was great for the 410 but the 411 was more of a walkthrough how to do specific skills, which wasn't bad, but didn't go into much detail)
    4. MCSA 2012 R2 Complete Study Guide by Will Panek (Not good at all but perhaps worth reading through if you're very new to 2012. But don't rely on it as your only source of study materials for sure)
    5. MVA videos on Hyper-V - Used for the 409 (Excellent course that provided a ton of useful information about the 409 exam, which I opted for instead of the 412. I took a bunch of notes throughout and studied them as well)
    6. Transcender practice exams - Used for 410 and 411 (The 410 practice exam was perfect, but the 411 left something to be desired. I still think the 411 was worth it but it was lacking in some areas). They went into great detail to explain the questions and really helped you to learn about the technology rather than just take a practice test)
    7. Measure Up practice exams - Used for the 411 and 409 (They were both OK and worth the price but I feel like they could have done a better job with them. They provided explanations of the questions but don't go into as much detail as the Transcenders did)
    8. TechNet articles (I used these for every exam and in my opinion this is a must for passing the exams. Although the content can seem somewhat dry at times the way it's worded on TechNet, it is coming directly from Microsoft themselves so you can get an idea of THEIR best practices and how THEY expect a task to be done)
    9. Other internet research/Google (This is a MUST for passing the exam. Anything I didn't understand or feel like some of the other study material went into enough detail about I would look up myself. A lot of times I could find blogs or articles written about something that helped me to understand it better. When I was labbing something and would see a check box or tab for something I didn't know what it was I would look it up online to get an explanation of what it was. I can't stress enough how much this saved me during my exams)
    10. Powershell videos on Pluralsight and Infinite Skills (I can't remember the names of the authors, but I wasn't very versed at all in Powershell prior to taking these exams so I watched some introductory videos on Pluralsight and Infinite Skills. I only needed to watch about half or 3/4 of the courses because the MCSA exams don't go much into complex scripting or anything like that)

    I labbed EVERYTHING I could in the GUI, then tore it all down and re-created it in Powershell. Again, anything I didn't know or couldn't figure out I would look up online. There were certain tasks I just couldn't get to work in my lab environment but as long as I understood how it worked I felt comfortable not being able to get it to work exactly as it should have.

    I was able to pass all 3 exams on the first attempt utilizing the materials listed above. I dedicated several hours a day and most of entire weekends to studying and labbing.

    As others have said, labbing is the key to passing this exam.

    Good [email protected]
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • WastedHatWastedHat Posts: 132Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    @AndersonSmith I was looking for something like this! Thanks for the info
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Posts: 471Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    WastedHat wrote: »
    @AndersonSmith I was looking for something like this! Thanks for the info


    Hey WastedHat (and everyone else who is interested) for even more in-depth info about my study habits for the 410, check out my post here http://techexams.net/forums/mcsa-mcse-windows-2012-general/118385-passed-70-410-first-attempt-heres-what-i-did.html
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • Fulcrum45Fulcrum45 Posts: 600Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks, Anderson. I've seen this post before it has really helped me refocus my studies. Because I feel like I wasted so much time studying the wrong way I've since rescheduled my exam to Mid-March. I'm using ITProTV (good for an overall view but not thorough enough), Don Poulton's book (all 900+ pages of it) and I'm taking the Transcender Practice Exams (they're kicking my butt).

    Kharken, I'm in the same boat as you. We currently have a 2003 DC and we're upgrading it to 2012. I figured it was perfect timing to learn it as well.
  • kharkenkharken Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    The materials I used for all of the MCSA 2012 exams were as follows:

    1. Pluralsight videos with Greg Shields and Jason Helmick (very good/one of the best of the materials I used)
    2. Infinite Skills videos with John Savill (also very good and filled in the gaps from what some of the Pluralsight videos were missing)
    3. Microsoft Exam Ref - Used for the 410 and 411 (Was great for the 410 but the 411 was more of a walkthrough how to do specific skills, which wasn't bad, but didn't go into much detail)
    4. MCSA 2012 R2 Complete Study Guide by Will Panek (Not good at all but perhaps worth reading through if you're very new to 2012. But don't rely on it as your only source of study materials for sure)
    5. MVA videos on Hyper-V - Used for the 409 (Excellent course that provided a ton of useful information about the 409 exam, which I opted for instead of the 412. I took a bunch of notes throughout and studied them as well)
    6. Transcender practice exams - Used for 410 and 411 (The 410 practice exam was perfect, but the 411 left something to be desired. I still think the 411 was worth it but it was lacking in some areas). They went into great detail to explain the questions and really helped you to learn about the technology rather than just take a practice test)
    7. Measure Up practice exams - Used for the 411 and 409 (They were both OK and worth the price but I feel like they could have done a better job with them. They provided explanations of the questions but don't go into as much detail as the Transcenders did)
    8. TechNet articles (I used these for every exam and in my opinion this is a must for passing the exams. Although the content can seem somewhat dry at times the way it's worded on TechNet, it is coming directly from Microsoft themselves so you can get an idea of THEIR best practices and how THEY expect a task to be done)
    9. Other internet research/Google (This is a MUST for passing the exam. Anything I didn't understand or feel like some of the other study material went into enough detail about I would look up myself. A lot of times I could find blogs or articles written about something that helped me to understand it better. When I was labbing something and would see a check box or tab for something I didn't know what it was I would look it up online to get an explanation of what it was. I can't stress enough how much this saved me during my exams)
    10. Powershell videos on Pluralsight and Infinite Skills (I can't remember the names of the authors, but I wasn't very versed at all in Powershell prior to taking these exams so I watched some introductory videos on Pluralsight and Infinite Skills. I only needed to watch about half or 3/4 of the courses because the MCSA exams don't go much into complex scripting or anything like that)

    I labbed EVERYTHING I could in the GUI, then tore it all down and re-created it in Powershell. Again, anything I didn't know or couldn't figure out I would look up online. There were certain tasks I just couldn't get to work in my lab environment but as long as I understood how it worked I felt comfortable not being able to get it to work exactly as it should have.

    I was able to pass all 3 exams on the first attempt utilizing the materials listed above. I dedicated several hours a day and most of entire weekends to studying and labbing.

    As others have said, labbing is the key to passing this exam.

    Good [email protected]

    Thank you! This will help us a lot!
  • drakerdraker Posts: 54Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    The materials I used for all of the MCSA 2012 exams were as follows:
    I labbed EVERYTHING I could in the GUI, then tore it all down and re-created it in Powershell. Again, anything I didn't know or couldn't figure out I would look up online. There were certain tasks I just couldn't get to work in my lab environment but as long as I understood how it worked I felt comfortable not being able to get it to work exactly as it should have.

    I was able to pass all 3 exams on the first attempt utilizing the materials listed above. I dedicated several hours a day and most of entire weekends to studying and labbing.

    As others have said, labbing is the key to passing this exam.

    Good [email protected]

    How much experience with Windows Server did you have before studying? I am wondering because I actually have several years experience with all of this stuff covered in the 410. But I just started studying for the exam about 3 months ago.
    Break time..!
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Posts: 471Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    draker wrote: »
    How much experience with Windows Server did you have before studying? I am wondering because I actually have several years experience with all of this stuff covered in the 410. But I just started studying for the exam about 3 months ago.


    When I first started studying last year I had a total of 8 years in the IT field with around 3 of those managing Windows servers. Of those 3 years, I had about a year specifically with Server 2012 R2. Like you, I also had done most of the things covered in the 410, which belive me was very beneficial, but it wasn't enough to pass the exam. Microsoft tends to have very specific ways of doing things and certain steps you have to memorize in a certain order which sometimes is different from the way a lot of SysAdmins do their jobs. There is also a lot of things you have to memorize such as upgrade paths and all that kind of stuff. Having experience definitely helps though; I know it helped me. It's just that there is SOOOOOOO much packed into these exams that most of us even with years of experience still have a hard time with them. Good luck!
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • drakerdraker Posts: 54Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    When I first started studying last year I had a total of 8 years in the IT field with around 3 of those managing Windows servers. Of those 3 years, I had about a year specifically with Server 2012 R2. Like you, I also had done most of the things covered in the 410, which belive me was very beneficial, but it wasn't enough to pass the exam. Microsoft tends to have very specific ways of doing things and certain steps you have to memorize in a certain order which sometimes is different from the way a lot of SysAdmins do their jobs. There is also a lot of things you have to memorize such as upgrade paths and all that kind of stuff. Having experience definitely helps though; I know it helped me. It's just that there is SOOOOOOO much packed into these exams that most of us even with years of experience still have a hard time with them. Good luck!
    Yeah Based on the practice questions I've done, I get a sense it's gonna be tough! I don't expect to pass the first time.. but would be awesome if I could pull it off. We'll see! thanks for that input.
    Break time..!
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Posts: 471Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    draker wrote: »
    I don't expect to pass the first time.. but would be awesome if I could pull it off. We'll see! thanks for that input.

    Oh you can totally pass the first time; I did! With your prior experience and plenty of dedication you can pass all 3 of the exams on the first attempt. Don't sell yourself short; it's totally doable!
    All the best,
    Anderson

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
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