IT professionals no longer need full-time degrees to specialise in the use of a product, solution or platform. They can simply earn a certification by enrolling in an online training program and clearing the certification exam.
Of all the certifications out there that you can earn, a Microsoft certification is among the most rewarding ones. It tells your employers that you have expertise in the technical knowledge and skills that they require. It validates your understanding of specialised tools and applications.
Some of the benefits of getting a Microsoft certification are:
- You get hired faster compared to non-certified professionals.
- You get more growth opportunities.
- You have a deeper understanding of tools and platforms, thus increasing productivity and saving time.
- You earn an average of $80,000 per annum.
While preparing for a Microsoft certification can seem daunting, here are a few steps that can help you clear your certification exam.
- Know What You Should Know:
The difficulty level of a Microsoft certification exam is generally very high and not exactly fun. The exam gets into the minutest of details and throws questions and challenges at you that even very experienced professionals might not get right. Every question is arguably a trick question. The hardest part is that there is no way to know what will come in your exam. However, there are several domains covered depending on the tool or solution you choose. It helps if you know which domains are covered in your upcoming exam so that you can prepare your answers accordingly.
- Set up a Study Routine:
What you need is a structure of how you should be preparing. Prioritise what domains need more time and study each one accordingly. Find out at what time you are more productive and have greater attention and use that time to start new material. If you are studying with distractions around you, it’s better to use that time for revising what you already know.
- Review the Topics that the Exam Covers:
Microsoft certification exams involve great detail. The questions are intentionally designed to challenge your thinking skills and technical knowledge in a way that can make skilled professionals sweat. So writing anything and hoping for the best is not the way to approach this.
Microsoft publishes exam descriptions for all its certification exams along with their objectives. If you don’t know what to study, you should know why you’re studying and you’ll get some sort of direction to start. Every objective will show a set of required skills that will be tested, so make sure those are the skills you sharpen as you prepare.
- Get New Study Materials:
Find study materials from legit online sources that are pre-approved by Microsoft. The IT giant publishes its content online, besides the multiple online forums where you can find specific study materials from those who have already taken the exam.
There are also many platforms offering training for role-based certifications. Make sure you choose a platform that is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and has legit Microsoft courses to help you prepare. These platforms offer training for the Microsoft Power BI certification, Microsoft Azure certifications and SQL Server certifications to name a few.
- Make Notes:
Write out every technical or role-based detail that you come across while studying. Microsoft certification exams are highly intricate, so any detail could become a lifesaver. Note them all down and commit them to memory.
- Practice by Using the Technology:
The best way to prepare for an exam would be with hands-on experience with the technology. Answering theoretical questions and memorising them will only get you so far. It helps to have a real-world experience of what each function does. You won’t get this experience everywhere, but there are some loopholes you can use.
Certain platforms offer lab experiences where you can work with role-based technology and understand the nuances that you wouldn’t know from theoretical knowledge. You can also create trial accounts and familiarise yourself with most Microsoft products like Windows, Azure, Dynamics 365.
- Use Practice Exams:
Practice exams are a great way to get a feel of what the exam will be like. Treat these exams as the real thing, so that when you are giving the actual exam, you will know exactly how you should approach it. It is pretty normal to fail the first practice exam you give, but it gives you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses and helps you prioritise what you should focus on.
- On the Big Day, Stay Calm:
Exam days can be stressful. It is easy to get overworked, overwhelmed and have a meltdown as you anticipate the exam. You need to answer every single question seriously, but entering the exam stressed will do you no good. The goal is not perfection, the goal is completion. If you miss a question, occasionally guess your answers or misread a question, that is normal. If you don’t clear the exam the first time, you can retake it later.
Following all these directions can significantly increase your chances of clearing your Microsoft certification.