I recently managed to pass the Microsoft Certified : Identity and Access Administrator (SC-300) exam.
This time around I prepped a little differently.
I attended the Microsoft SC-300 training course last week (Monday through Thursday). I took the evenings off to let my brain relax. I also took time to relax on the Friday (public holiday) then jumped into iterations of Practice Tests followed by additional study on weak areas - that was my Saturday!
That said, I was not at all confident going into the remote proctored exam that I had booked for Sunday - I found that the questions coming up in the practice tests were broader and deeper than what was covered in the official training course and in the MS Learn paths.
I found the same with the exam on Sunday morning and when I nervously clicked Finish Exam, I was pleasantly surprised (and a little relieved) to find out that I had passed!
I’ll go into general exam prep in a future post, as I’m currently adjusting my approach as I study for and sit other Microsoft exams. (For this one, I opted to still log into work at my usual start time (1 hour before the course started each day) and also let myself get distracted by work at points. All of that was on me, there was no pressure from my bosses to do that - I’m really bad at switching off, I’m always mulling over things I need to resolve or things I want to achieve.
Next time I won’t do that - work is work and training is training!
I also plan to do either MS Learn, Udemy or John Savill content related to the exam before the official Microsoft course. I’ll let you know how that strategy pans out of course!
Obviously, pay keen attention to the Exam Skills Outline from Microsoft.
Couple of pointers from me:
- Don’t underestimate this exam: in my head this was going to be significantly easier than AZ-500… wrong!
- The scope is wider than you might think. It’s not just Azure AD - especially where Conditional Access is concerned.
- Know your licensing - Azure AD and M365.
- Know the basics of Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps (MDCA) - formerly Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS).
A couple of takeaways though that I think are relevant for all Microsoft exams (this is a repeat from post on the AZ-500 exam, but worth repeating):
- Read the exam outline thoroughly. Pay attention to the weighting given to each section, they are not all of equal value in the exam!
- Work though the Microsoft Learn paths for the exam a few times including the labs using the sandpit environments - its all FREE!
- Use video based learning resources that are available to you - I’m lucky enough to have several via my employer, but you should also check out John Savill’s Technical Training on YouTube - his content is amazing and FREE
- Use any practice tests that you can get access to - WhizLabs and MeasureUp are particularly good and MeasureUp are the official practice test provider.
- Check if your employer is part of the Enterprise Skills Initiative from Microsoft - If so, you’ll benefit from free courses, free exam preparation sessions and free practice tests!
- After each practice test, review the areas you didn’t do as well in - spend extra time studying up in those areas before further practice tests and the exam itself but remember the weightings in the exam outline - prioritise extra study in the areas that will score higher in the exam.
- Take your time - whilst you don’t want to run out of time in the exam, you don’t want to answer a question incorrectly because you misread the question.
- This sounds like a contradiction but don’t spend too long on any one question and run out of time. I have a tactic for that…
- Mark every question for review as soon as the question loads. At the end of a section, you’ll be given the chance to review and change your answers on the questions you marked for review. So those ones that were irking you, you can come back to once you’ve answered every question in that section. Again don’t spend too long, the clock is still running.
As ever, thanks for reading and feel free to leave comments down below!