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Free Exam Prep Resources For Microsoft Specialist Certs

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Microsoft's Specialist certifications are a great first step toward higher-level credentials, covering some interesting topics including Azure, Visual Studio, virtualization and more. Now Microsoft offers free exam prep for several Specialist certs.

Microsoft's Certified Specialist credential is a great entry point for those considering Microsoft's certifications. It's also somewhat of a catch-all category for topics that might not get their own higher-level certs (like Azure). Today, Microsoft offers Specialist certifications in Windows 10, Windows 7, Data Platform, Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Project 2013, Microsoft Dynamics and virtualization. By obtaining the Specialist credential, candidates also earn the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) status.

Recently, the Microsoft Learning team created a new page that offers some helpful exam prep videos, study groups and other resources for several of the Specialist certs, including Windows 10, Azure and Visual Studio. Let's take a closer look at the free resources Microsoft put together for these exams.

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Microsoft Specialist Exam Resources

Microsoft Learning's free exam prep videos, virtual study groups/forums, along with additional resources are currently available for several popular Specialist credentials:

  1. Windows 10: Although there is a Windows 10 MCSA now available, the 70-697 exam: Configuring Windows Devices by itself confers distinction as a Windows 10 Specialist. Candidates can take advantage of the exam preparation video from veteran instructor Chris Rhodes, which is just over an hour long. The page also includes access to a study group and an exam scheduler link that leads to Pearson Vue.
  2. Microsoft Azure: Microsoft offers three Azure Specialist credentials and all three now have exam prep videos, study groups and resources available on Microsoft Learning. Candidates can choose between exam 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions, exam 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Solutions and exam 534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions.
  3. Visual Studio: For Visual Studio, candidates can learn about Programming in HTML with JavaScript and CSS3 (exam 480) or Programming in C# (exam 483).

If only the company also included links to Microsoft Press titles and Authorized Testing Partner practice exams for the topics at hand, it would be a pretty complete set of resources! Nevertheless, the new Specialist page is worth visiting because of the broad range of topics, platforms and technologies you'll find represented there. 

I'd like to see Microsoft take this same approach with other certifications because it's such a simple and straightforward way of providing access to key information and resources for exam and certification prep. I would also have to guess that we'll see more offerings on this page soon, what with major releases pending for Windows Server, SQL Server, and lots of other related Server-based platforms later this year. You may want to bookmark this page to make it easy to drop back in later in the year to see what's new.