MCSA 2012 Upgrade Exam 70-417

April 12, 2014 4 By Eric Shanks


If you have an MCITP or similar certification from Microsoft on Server 2008 and want to keep your certifications up to date, chances are you will need to take the 70-417 exam.  I recently sat this test and wanted to share some of my experiences with you.

My certification background in Information Systems started with my journey to become an MCSE 2003 so Microsoft is kind of my first love when it comes to certs.  I deal a little bit less with the day to day configuration and maintenance of Windows, but Windows Server will always have a certain place in my heart and I try to keep up to date with my credentials.


My initial expectations with the exam were that I would read up a bit on the new features of Server 2012 (and 2012 R2) and rely on my prior knowledge of things like DNS, DHCP and Active Directory to carry myself through the exam.  Uh….well….. let’s just say that this isn’t a good strategy.

On a non-related note, you might check out the Second Shot opportunity offered by Prometric and Microsoft.  NOTE: You must purchase this second shot by May 31st and take the exams before the end of 2014.

Yes, as you might have guessed, I failed my first attempt at 70-417 and had to rely on my second shot.  The second chance at the exam I nailed after actually doing some studying.

I found out that there are a lot of new features of Server 2012 that I really wasn’t fluent with.  During my studying I wrote about many of them after building them in my lab, such as Direct Access, Offline Domain Join, IP Address Management, and Central Access Policies to name a few.

Exam Format

The exam consisted of three sections.  Each of these sections was timed separately and you were not allowed to go back and review previous sections once you completed it.

The three sections really covered the non upgrade exams:

Each of the three sections was scored separately and the lowest score was used as your exam score.  So if you got a 680 on any of the three sections and aced the other two, you still fail the exam.



If you haven’t been staying up to date with the newer Windows Server services, don’t plan to rely on your previous technical skills to coast you through this exam.  Since this was an upgrade exam, I thought that I would breeze through it, but it turned out to be a pretty challenging cert.  Use the second shot opportunity and study for it.