Passing AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Certification

It has been over 15 years since I took a Microsoft Certification exam. Last time I took the exam, it was a MCSD for .Net Architect certification. Two days ago I decided to check out Azure certification exams. I have been dealing with few Azure Managed Certification Providers for last 3-4 years. I am working on putting together a cloud migration project plan for our group as well. While preparing the project plan, i had an impulse that I am going to take the certification exam. Based on my experience with MCSD exam, my thought process was that if Microsoft philosophy and exam pattern has not changed, then if you have hands on experience with a technology and understand the fundamentals, one can pass the exam.

It was around 11:00AM when the impulse hit me. I went to Microsoft website to know about what is covered in the exam. I started the registration process and by 11:30AM I was registered to take the exam very next day at 3:30PM. Luckily the exam center is only 5 miles from my house. I had little over 24 hours to prepare for the exam. There were lot of posts talking about registering for certain course materials, taking bunch of sample tests, watching bunch of videos etc. I was like does one really have to go through this. That did not sound right. If Microsoft is testing your ability on certain aspects of a technology, then their guidelines and course material provided by it should be more than sufficient.

Here is what I did for preparation of this exam.

Goto Microsoft's website and goto AZ900 exam details page. Towards the bottom, there is a section Two ways To prepare. Look at the tab Online - Free. This is Microsoft provided material for this exam. This covers all the topics of the exam with some hands-on exercises. Do not be concerned that you will need to spend any money to create resource in Azure to do the exercises. During the course, you will sign up for 12 month free account. As you go through the course material, Microsoft will create Sandbox for you to create resources and work with them. Microsoft lets you create 10 sandbox instances during a day. Each instance lasts for 4 hours. There are only few exercises that will require actual subscription. That is not going to cost you anything. Free account gives you $200 credits for 30 days. That is more than sufficient. I will strongly recommend not to skip creation of free account. There may be questions in the exam that can test some aspects of this free account and limitations associated with it. Following are some pointers for preparation for the exam.

  • Start from the first section of the material and follow along.
  • Do not skip any hands-on exercises. You will learn some aspects of the technology that you may not have used before or stumble upon some issue that will lead you into reading about some additional aspects of Azure. Most important is that you will learn about very specific information about that topic. There will be questions in the exam that will talk about some specific numbers about limitations. Those questions are very targeted.
  • Pay very close attention to information related to topics that say things like "There are 5 options available". Do read very carefully about those 5 options. The exam will test you on this to see if you know the different between those 5 options.
  • Do not skip any section of the course material. Some topics are verbose and may not be interesting. Do not skip.

After you have completed the course material, goto Azure documentation website. On the left side, you will see navigation tree of all Azure products. Click on each of these sections. Each product has an Overview page. Read that page. AZ900 is all about knowing the overview of each product and service. There is some additional information about each product that is not covered in the exam course material.

That is all I did in 24 hours. Good luck!

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