Exam 70-743, Upgrading MCSA Windows Server 2016 experience

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I will explain quickly my experience regarding the Exam 70-743, Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA: Windows Server 2016 exam from Microsoft I took last April.

It’s been a while since I took an exam from Microsoft (the latest was in 2013 I think) where you probably know that these kind of exams are multiple-choice or single-choice.

Through my career, I saw a lot of people cheating with these exams by memorizing the questions you can find on the internet and finishing it in just 20 minutes.

Despite I envied these persons because they weren’t putting the same effort as I did, in the end, this was translated in almost no knowledge about what they practiced nor familiar with all the features that Windows Server offers.

So, I encourage you to study the materials and practice in order to learn and bring value to yourself if you want to use these technologies from Microsoft.

The blueprint and webpage for this exam is the following one: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-743.aspx


About the exam

In my case, although I am experienced with Windows Server this kind of upgrade exams, which consists in a 3 in 1 exam, can be scary for someone who’s new or hasn’t touched many roles that Windows Server has.

Even I installed almost all roles from Windows Server 2016 there are some of them that aren’t so common and you should practice it in a homelab (best way to stick in your mind).

There are around 60 questions (the quantity may differ) chosen from the following exams:

Regarding the questions there is a mix of Drag and Drop, Radio buttons, Checkboxes, …you know, the usual ones in this kind of exams.

Important: Be aware that the feature “Nano Server” was removed/deprecated in Windows Server 2016 time ago, here is the official post from Microsoft: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/deprecated-features

Also read the changes that this exam suffered, in the official change document that Microsoft provides (is in the blueprint): https://query.prod.cms.rt.microsoft.com/cms/api/am/binary/RE2IoQP

So, even if you see a lot of information about Nano Server in guides or courses in my case I didn’t find any question in the exam related to it (as it was deprecated years ago).


Resources and suggestions

As a resource, I mainly used this course from Pluralsight (not free): https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/certificate/upgrading-your-skills-to-mcsa-windows-server-2016-70-743

There are a lot of videos there, I checked the ones I felt more insecure and practiced in the lab. Also, I do recommend that you use Powershell to install and configure everything you can and in this way, you will get used to it.

As this is a 3 in 1 exam, the range of features and roles to know is huge, knowing a bit of everything will help you to pass but, without practice, you won’t get anywhere…

Having experience helps a lot but if it’s not your case, focus on the roles and features you never used or are not used to use (ADFS, NPS, RRAS, Hyper-V, etc.).



To conclude, I can say it’s a fair exam and a bit challenging maybe but if you practice a lot with all the roles that Windows Server 2016 offers and know the differences from Windows Server 2012 R2.

Also, the most important I think…practice with Powershell. It won’t only help you with the exam also, in your future!






VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam experience

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Hi! I am going to talk about my VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam experience.

I thought about making a huge post about the VCAP6-DCV experience (resources, notes, etc.) but, I don’t want to overwhelm you know. Hence, I am going to make another post for that, hence this post will be shorter and more readable.

1st attempt (Java error at the beginning)

At September, 21st I sat down to take my first attempt in a VCAP exam. I was confident because I was studying the previous 10 weeks approximately and I covered all the objectives.

Well, my exam was scheduled at 10:00 AM, I sat down and my exam starts. The interface is exactly the same as the HOLs, so, if you familiarized with it, you will gain a lot of time!

The lab was deploying and the manual on the right side showed some information but as soon as the lab finishes to deploy…bum!

A Java error appeared: Java error: Unhandled Exception, then I pressed OK and my exam finishes itself!

I contacted the TA and she told me that my exam was finished, and I was like “What? In 2 minutes?”. After spending some hours with Pearson VUE, the TA (Test Administrator) opened a case with Pearson VUE and I left the Test Center.

I left with a feeling that this test center has serious issues, the TA didn’t know how to speak in English (I was taking it in Barcelona, Spain) and finally, I ended talking my self with Pearson VUE and explaining the problem. They couldn’t do anything as my exam was finished (it wasn’t my fault obviously)

A week later I received a voucher code for my crashed exam.

2nd attempt (Manual stuck in loading)

This second attempt was scheduled at October, 5th. I rescheduled in another Test Center as I didn’t trust the TA for that Test Center.

The problem you face with the VCAP exams is that they are delivered in fewer Test Centers, therefore, there are  less available spots to take it. I found another Test Center here in Barcelona, so I scheduled there even I didn’t know that one.

Well, my exam started at 10:00 am, the server’s console loaded correctly after the lab was deployed (nice!) but, the manual didn’t appear, there was only a grey window without content.

After waiting for 5 minutes, I spoke with the TA, and he told me to wait another 5 minutes. So, as expected, the manual was stuck loading and even trying to stop and start the exam didn’t fix the problem.

Hence, the TA contacts Pearson VUE and Pearson VUE fixed the problem this time! But what happened with all the time I lost in my exam? Well, the TA told me Pearson VUE would contact with VMware and the time will be added meanwhile I am taking it.

At that time, the exam started again but I had a weird feeling about.

In the exam, I finished writing down each question number and a brief description on the erasable board, in this manner, I could check quickly which questions I can take first and cross out which I have done.

It was curious that at times, backspace and shift keys worked in Putty. Also, occasionally, during 5-10 minutes I experienced quite delay with the Web Client. I continued with the exam, contacted with the TA about the time but no response from Pearson VUE and time was running out…

The time isn’t going to be added, hence, I had to left like 4 or 5 empty questions because I didn’t have more time (I lost 30 minutes) and the exam finalizes automatically.I felt bad because the 30 mins. would be nice to try other questions.

After that, I spoke with the TA and he opened a case with Pearson VUE about the time lost. One hour later, I received my score report, 278/500 (almost got it!).

After a few days, Pearson VUE reviewed my case and, as I was close to passing the exam (remember that you need 300/500), I suppose they decided to give me another voucher code, so I felt good about the free re-schedule but bad for the score and the time lost.

3rd attempt (Redeployed lab and final attempt)

Well, this is really a lie, because I “took” 2 exams in a row. Let me explain…

On October, 16th, my exam was scheduled at 10:00 AM, I studied a bit the previous night just to remember some things. My last attempt was 11 days ago and I was focused on other things so, it’s always good to brush up some concepts.

Well, the exam started and the lab was deploying itself… then, it appeared a notification like “Query not found”. This time the manual loaded correctly, but the pop-up appeared all the time, appearing and disappearing, and the console didn’t load as the error appears instead.

Therefore, the TA contacted Pearson VUE and for my surprise, Pearson VUE this time could contact VMware quite fast. The TA told me that VMware was going to redeploy another lab (Now my time wasn’t wasted at all!) and I could try in 30 minutes.

Finally, I tried again and it worked correctly, the manual and console loaded correctly so, I took the exam. The connection seemed a bit better so I can’t complain about. Also, the backspace and shift keys worked as in my previous exam, therefore, I took advantage of it.

Now, I tried to answer all questions (I left 1 answer empty because I didn’t want to lose more time) and I finished my exam (well the lab finished and it closes automatically) with a good feeling.

In 1 hour approximately I received the email and…a PASS! Couldn’t be happier! Finally, a full exam without issues made me pass the exam!


I can do a recap of what I learned about my experience with that exam and all the issues I experienced:

  • If you have any problem, contact your TA, don’t waste time to wait for the manual or console to load.
  • Test if backspace and shift keys work! I was concerned that these keys were blocked but I was able to use it and avoid the On-Screen keyboard, maybe it can work for you.
  • Manage your time, manage your time. Everything you will read about this exam (or new ones) is about managing your time and I couldn’t agree more.
  • Use the erasable board! I used to write down each question number and a brief description, it helped me to know if I was running out of time and focus in the “easy” questions.
  • Be aware of the dates, it was like a month ago since I scheduled the first attempt, so, if you are going to take it because your certification is expiring, be sure to schedule it in advance.

I am not going sugar coat the fact that I was happy with the exam’s delivery because I suffered many issues…but, finally, with some patience it was paid-off.

I hope this can be helpful for someone and I will write another post about the resources and how I prepared my self about this exam.


Thanks for reading!

Dan Belmonte

VCP6-DCV achieved!

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I am going to start talking about the exam VCP6-DCV from VMware. The main resource you should use is the VMware site: http://bit.ly/1PLshWR

There you can check a path to achieve VCP6-DCV (there is a newer version VCP6.5-DCV). I took path 1, as I wasn’t certified.

Later, I took one official training course, VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V6].

Next, I passed the vSphere 6 Foundations Exam (2V0-620) months ago and finally I did VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Exam (2V0-621).

And finally, last week I passed!

The first exam is an introduction of VMware and I didn’t find it difficult. The second one is more difficult and there is a lot of content to study..

Here you have a list of the resources I used for VCP6-DCV (2V0-621):

Paid resources:

You can use the free trial period and try to study as faster as you can.

Free resources:

But, In fact, what really helped me was to do the Hands-on-Lab (HOLs) and test things in my own lab (create your own ESXi hosts, vCenter, create a cluster, test DRS, HA, FT and so on).

And well, that’s all!