70-411 Failed, 70-411 Passed! Defeated by the Beast, but Got My Revenge!!!

Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Member Posts: 1,034 ■■■■■■□□□□

While growing up, I saw the damage that the 70-291 caused.
This is the 2012 version so I knew I was up for something. All in all, this test is BRUTAL.

I failed the 70-411 last Friday, March 17th. I was slaughtered with a score of 580/1000. I went in very, very unconfident as I glazed over topics that would soon get me. I knew I could cram in a little more. Having a student voucher at $82 was my only reason to go in. That and I wanted this thing gone! Things such as WSUS settings and DFS-R messed me up last time including a few other things that I labbed hard afterwards.

I was able to retake and PASS the 70-411 5 days later on March 22nd with a 770/1000! I was able to pass with one special thing I discuss later.

Like the 70-410, the wordings on the questions were really lengthy and at times had multiple correct answers. Many times, I would see “choose 3” with ALL counting as the correct answer. So savage! I got my fair share of “least effort” questions and quite some drag and drops and “where do you click” type questions. These where you click questions ruined me the first time. There are more menu options to remember than powershell options and there were plenty of Powershell questions. Way more than the 410. I will say that all of the questions were within exam objectives, just extremely in detail and beyond the book. I would’ve only known because of failing the first time. And one can only learn this from labbing.

As I said in my 410 post which I passed on January 20th, I took courses on the 410 and 411 at University of Maryland-University College from August to Christmas 16’. Fortunately, being in a class flooded me with discussions and assignments dealing with the topics. I spent 2 months in review. (more like 1 month. totally sat on my ass for like 3 weeks after the 410)

My resources for the 411 were:
  1. Official 70-411 Training Guide by Orin Thomas – This book was ok. Nothing special about it besides the fact that a lot of questions were not covered in the book. Maybe it is the way that Microsoft asks questions. I now know why this has low ratings. Makes me afraid of reading his 74-409 book next. I even saw a sample of the Exam Ref for 411, and it explained things better even though it was a review guide only.
  2. PluralSight 70-411 Videos - Greg Sheilds is great! Even better at 1.5x! Much much better than the James Conrad CBT Nuggets series. We all know how James Conrad can get at times. Photography, God, What I ate for dinner last night, how it looked in the toilet, what the weather is, what my wife is doing, etc
  3. TestOut Videos, Quizzes and Text - Shad is a great lecturer and has great demonstration videos. The quizzes are a little easier than the exam and the readings are more of a review.
  4. LabSim Simulator – This thing is so useful! I get to lab from anywhere and it is somewhat close to the real thing. I can barely tell the difference. The lab scenarios for each topic are well worth the price. Though it does have its limitations.
  5. Technet Articles – Helped me out when stuck, but very dry stuff. Do I really want to read 60 pages on DFS?
  6. Handwritten Notes – SO Crucial! Notes=retention! Use different colored pens!
  7. (GAME CHANGING MATERIAL) New CBT Nuggets 70-411 w/ Garth Schulte- THIS IS WHY I PASSED. Gone is James Conrad! WOOOOHOOO. I am clearly a fan with what CBT Nuggets have been doing lately! I signed up for a 7day trial and wow do I owe them! CBT Nuggets got rid of the long winded videos and replaced them with a more practical based lab environment. They use real Virtual Machines, hosted by the same people who host Microsoft Virtual Labs. You have full control for 2 hours at a time. There was no simulation restriction, everything’s set up and prepared for the video where Garth walks you through while you’re clicking on the same VM he is. One thing I liked in this versus Labsim is that I can literally break things, and reconfigure and go through every option. This is what failed me before. It’s the various options that I needed to simulate, not just set up one way. At the time of this writing there, are only 16 episodes up, but they were mostly on topics I wasn’t prepared on. This really helped me with FRSM, DFS, WSUS and WDS. They even just put out the RRAS section today! I encourage anyone doing their MCSA 2012 to sign up and try the virtual labs. It’s a cheaper and better bargain than Testout right now at 89$ a month.

My main method of learning each new topic/chapter had this particular order:
(You will notice that it is always easier to watch a video and THEN do the reading)
  1. Watch TestOut Video
  2. Read TestOut Text
  3. Do labs in LabSim
  4. Take Testout Quiz. By this time, I’ve done plenty of discussions and proposal papers for school.
  5. After completing the entire objectives, I began watching PluralSight Videos.
  6. I would take notes watching the videos at 1.5x speed.
  7. Read MS Training Guide Book while taking more notes. (I filled up a 70pg notebook).
  8. Redo Labs in Testout
  9. Take full practice quizzes on TestOut and the Book.
  10. Anything I didn’t know, I would supplement with Youtube or Technet.
  11. GAME CHANGER- After I failed, I ran through my notes, and used the New version of CBT nuggets which includes more quizzes, videos, and best of all Labs! I had all weekend, and Monday, Tuesday off.

The things I would reinforce going into the exam are:
  1. Active Directory/DC Cloning – This was my lowest scoring section. Know all your “Get-AD______” Commands and learn what info can be found from all of them. Start with Get-ADDomain and go from there.
  2. DNS – This goes a lot more in detail. Lab different zones, why you would need delegation vs stub vs forwarder vs conditional forwarder. Learn all the clickables in the zone properties such as SOA times and modifiers. Practice creating replication between the zones and advanced options like round robin. Also practice scavenging of old records. CBT nuggets has a great section on this with labs.
  3. HyperV- All you need to know for this is how to monitor it, aka counters such as logical cpu %, etc.
  4. RRAS – Learn all your Tunneling/Auth protocols, what they can be used for, what are the advantages over others. Learn setting up DHCP Scopes for VPN connections/Direct Access and Network Access Protection clients(got me last time), One tricky part was NPS(ms radius), and NAP(health validations). Make sure you know conditions vs constraints and connection request policies vs network policies. (insane I know) Know how to set up approvals on the NPS server and auth forwarding the client radius servers.
  5. FSRM/EFS/Bitlocker – This is a continuation of quotas from 410. I highly recommend knowing how to run and send reports, which tabs to edit such settings and what to do when thresholds are met. Disk Encryption with EFS is super easy, just know how to enable and setup/ transfer recovery cert/agent. For Bitlocker, know how it works with/without a TPM module and also the few Powershell commands.
  6. DFS- This was the toughest for me because I didn’t lab it enough. Know replication groups and referral settings. Know the types of topologies (hub vs spoke) and why you would use one over the other. Also know your scheduling and bandwidth options. Know your namespaces differences and how to set up replication targets..
  7. WSUS/WDS- Like DFS, I got rocked the last time because I did not know all the menu options. For WSUS, learn about controlling bandwidth with the help of WSUS replicas over WANs. Learn about what updates you can approve and how you can filter updates on things with approvals based on various factors. Learn Client Side targeting too. For WDS, learn PXE responses, types of images, learn answer .xml files, and multicast options. Make sure you also learn how to deploy drivers and packages. Learn about prestaging multiple computers in AD before you image them at once. Some vendors can email you all the MAC addresses of your order btw.
  8. Group Policy- Learn Processing, and precedence including security filtering vs wmi filtering vs item level targeting. Tough to differentiate at first IMO. Learn your migration tables and tehe backup/restore process. Lastly, group policy preferences weren’t that hard.
  9. Advanced Audit Policies (in Group Policy)- Man what a boring topic. We learned basic audits from 410, but this is more granular on the user level. Know all the modifiers to know how to log when x does y and where to click in GPME. Also where to enable object access on shares to trigger audits (advance prefs of security tab).

In conclusion, LAB LAB LAB LAB, SHELL, SHELL, SHELL. Do it until you aren’t human any more. Because that’s what MS expects from you. Gone are the general questions of the past with 3 stupid answers. It is much easier to lose the entire question by getting one bit wrong. Lots of drag and drops to mess you up, lots of which menu tab questions. There are lots of paragraphs to decipher. Good thing you get 2 and a half hour to read lol.
Compared to the 410, I think the concepts are easier and more interesting, but sadly this exam is just tougher on the question requirements. The 410 was a lot of topics which I can see new people suffering on. On the 411, these are fun awesome topics that just get tested to friggin hell lol.

Next Steps…
I am hopping right into 74-409 for Server Virtualization with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and System Center!
Kind of iffy on whether the 409 book will be just as light as Orin’s 411 book. I guess I know what I have to do next. LAB! LAB LAB!!! Or as Iris would say, Always be Labbin. WISH ME LUCK!

2019 Goals
CompTIA Linux+
[ ] Bachelor's Degree


  • greg9891greg9891 Member Posts: 1,189 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Congrats! I hope to destroy this beast as well in 2 to 3 weeks.icon_cheers.gificon_thumright.gificon_cool.gif
    Upcoming Certs: VCA-DCV 7.0, VCP-DCV 7.0, Oracle Database 1Z0-071, PMP, Server +, CCNP

    Proverbs 6:6-11Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
    When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep, So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler And your need like an armed man.
  • AndersonSmithAndersonSmith Member Posts: 471 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congratulations Cisco Inferno, great job!
    All the best,

    "Everything that has a beginning has an end"
  • njclay2004njclay2004 Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□

    You're totally right - Garth's new Server 2012R2 material over at CBT are a game changer. I love his style and I love the virtual lab environments that he set up. Can't wait until he's done with 411!
  • p@r0tuXus[email protected] Member Posts: 532 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congratulations and thanks for a stellar write-up!
    Completed: ITIL-F, A+, S+, CCENT, CCNA R|S
    In Progress: Linux+/LPIC-1, Python, Bash
    Upcoming: eJPT, C|EH, CSA+, CCNA-Sec, PA-ACE
  • VeritiesVerities Member Posts: 1,162
    I've never been a fan of Microsoft exams because they intentionally try to confuse you. However, I do have a lot of respect for those who can pass their exams though. Congratulations and excellent post exam writeup.
  • scoobydoesscoobydoes Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Awesome write up and great job in persisting to reach your goal!
  • AvgITGeekAvgITGeek Member Posts: 342 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Very nicely done Cisco Inferno! This one was surely a PITA.

    You are right regarding the questions. They aren't trying to trick you at all. You need to at least have seen a majority of the cmdlets and know what options are available in the GUI. To pass this one, you have to know your way around Server 2012R2.
  • roninkaironinkai Member Posts: 307 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks for the info. I'm going through the CBT stuff for 70-417, and yea, Conrad gets a little annoying. I'm glad they're making some improvement. Ive been looking for a good lab setup for this. Ill check it out.
    浪人 MSISA:WGU
    2020 Level Up Goals: (1) DevSecOps Learning Path (2) OSCP
  • Cisco InfernoCisco Inferno Member Posts: 1,034 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Thanks everybody!

    I began my Hyper-V studies. This looks so interesting. The concepts transfer to VMWare and Citrix.
    I am taking this not because it obviously is easier, but because it is more interesting to me than ADCS and other identity services that no one uses.

    I've made a conclusion by looking at the exam objectives.

    The 409 seems to be Hyper-V and VMM topics from the 70-410, 70-412, and 70-414! Is this right?

    I've been using the Microsoft Virtual Academy jump start course. They do go all over the place though.
    I also have been using Pluralsight videos for the 410/412/414. More Greg Shields woowoo!

    I may also use CBT nugget's 414 videos. They are by Chris Ward. He seems as giddy as Jeremy Ciaora! (good thing!)

    Going hard and will gauge myself after 2/3 weeks.
    2019 Goals
    CompTIA Linux+
    [ ] Bachelor's Degree
  • drdeanydrdeany Member Posts: 11 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for sharing all this great info! 70-411 is my next exam. I just finished 70-697 Configuring Win10--What a beast! Sound like Microsoft uses similar testing methods for 411. On to more PowerShell learning and GPO studying!
  • Louie1277Louie1277 Member Posts: 505 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Awesome write up.... I been looking around to see what material I should invest in. I have plursight for a couple weeks then my membership is over. Material to read they are hard to find so been looking around. Need to find material i could read and follow. I do better that way just like videos.

    Thanks for sharing and good luck!
    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*
  • PsoasmanPsoasman Member Posts: 2,687 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Congrats on the pass and thanks for the write up.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    Congrats and thanks for the write up. Somehow I think that write ups by people who've failed are better than someone who 'easily' passed. MS exams are tough in my experience.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • chopstickschopsticks Member Posts: 389
    Congrats to OP!
  • drakerdraker Member Posts: 54 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Great write up! I will be referencing this for sure! hope to take the 411 in the next 4-6 weeks.
    Break time..!
  • craig88craig88 Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Also referencing this myself, thanks for the write up. Currently watching the Garth Schulte videos myself after watching all the James Conrad videos. The Garth stuff is great.

    Not sure if the videos and labs alone are enough for me to pass though? Although I do work on Server 2012 daily, managing around 20 2012 servers between us for a mixture of customers plus lots of other OS's. Some of the objectives focus on technologies I've never worked with in the real world.

    How do the Transcender exams compare to the real thing? Are they a good indication if I pass them?
  • NetmicsNetmics Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Am equally planning to get MCSA as well.
    But this is my intended study guide for the 70-410 exam.
    1. Get Don Poulton study guide
    2. Subscribe to CBT nuggets by Garth
    3. Technet materials for further explanations
    4. Transcender practice tests but i think is included in the cbt nugget package
    5. Then Lab as much as i could.
    Will 8 weeks of 2hrs study per day be enough?

    Will the above study materials enough to pass 70-410 being a first timer to sit for MS exam?Though have been supporting Windows for some years now and have basic knowledge of networking.

    Will appreciate comments from experienced professionals in the forum and perhaps info or video on how to set up my lab with VM.
  • craig88craig88 Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'd say that’s enough time to study for the exam. Yes you get Transcender practice exams on CBT Nuggets. I failed first time then manage to pass using CBT nuggets (James Conrad) videos, the practice exams and lots of labing. I'm now studying 70-411 using the Garth Schulte videos and with the new built in labs it’s a lot easier, I won't even be setting up my own labs.
  • NetmicsNetmics Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    @craig88, how did you set up your lab for the 70-410? And if i get you right, it seems with the new CBT nugget package, there might be no need for me to set up my lab except for personal practice.
  • Louie1277Louie1277 Member Posts: 505 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I been reading 70-411 Administering Windows Server 2012R2 official Academic Course book. I have to say that's helped me by following the material. This time around i'm taking my time when reading the material and going over the lab examples. Once I'm finish with the book I will start to review or locate some videos to go over.
    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*
  • NetmicsNetmics Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I learnt that it will be fine if i can read the 70-411 study guide as well in preparation for the 70-410 exam. To what extent should i delve into the materials?

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