Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Microsoft's Transition from 70-640 to 83-640

You may have heard that Microsoft has updated the 70-640—Windows Server 2008 Active Directory—certification exam within the United States and some other countries to include performance-based questions. The new version of 70-640 is called 83-640. Both versions of the exam count equally toward the MCITP certification, but if you’re in the United States, you’ll only have the option to take the 83-640 when you arrive at the testing center.

What’s the difference between the two versions? Performance-based questions. The purpose of performance-based questions is to measure your realistic skills. Multiple-choice questions can measure knowledge, but performance-based questions go further and ask you to actually perform real tasks.

Even though Microsoft just added performance-based questions to their exam, LabSim has always included training for performance-based exams in our interactive, hands-on lab simulations. We want your training to be complete, no matter what type of exam you take.

Preparing for a performance-based exam requires more than just studying a book about the concepts in the exam. You’ll need hands-on practice to prepare for the hands-on evaluation. Marc Vaglio-Laurin of SAS made a great analogy about it: “When you learned to drive a car, you didn’t just read the book. You got behind the wheel and you practiced, and most of us don’t have our own car to practice on,” he said. “…IT performance-based tests are no different. You have to have seat time with the technology. You have to have experience driving. It doesn’t have to be with a live system. There are lots of training classes out there where they use simulators. ”

Vaglio-Laurin is right; “seat time with the technology” is crucial, but it doesn’t have to mean purchasing all the hardware and components to practice with at home. Training courses like LabSim and others offer simulated environments that prepare you for the performance-based evaluations you’ll face in 83-640. If you do have a home lab to practice with, use it in conjunction with a well-designed training course to ensure you’re fully prepared for the exam.

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