Case Study Exam Strategy
Most test-takers find that the case study type of exam is the most difficult to master. When it comes to
for a case study test, your best bet is to approach each case study as a standalone test. The biggest challenge you'll encounter is that you'll feel that you won't have enough time to get through all the cases presented.
Each case provides a lot of material you'll need to read and study before you can effectively answer the questions that follow. The trick to taking a case study exam is to first scan the case study to get the highlights. Make sure you read the overview section of the case so you understand the context of the problem at hand. Then quickly move on and scan the questions.
As you are scanning the questions, make mental notes to yourself or notes on your paper so that you'll remember on which sections of the case study you should focus. Some case studies might provide a fair amount of extra information you don't really need to answer the questions. The goal with this scanning approach is to avoid having to study and analyze material that is not completely relevant.
When studying a case, read the tabbed information
. It is important to answer each and every question. You will be able to toggle back and forth from case to questions, and from question to question within a case testlet. However, after you leave the case and move on, you might not be able to return to it. I suggest that you take notes while reading useful information to help you when you tackle the test questions. It's hard to go wrong with this strategy when taking any type of Microsoft certification test.
Fixed-Length and Short-Form Exam Strategy
A well-known principle when taking fixed-length or short-form exams is to first read through the entire exam from start to finish, answering only those questions that you feel
sure you know. On
, you can dive into more complex questions more deeply, keeping in mind how many such questions you have left and the amount of time remaining.
There's at least one potential benefit to reading the exam completely before answering the trickier questions: Sometimes information supplied in later questions sheds more light on earlier questions. At other times, information you read in later questions jogs your memory about facts, figures, or behavior that helps you answer earlier questions. Either way, you'll come out ahead if you answer only those questions on the first pass that you're absolutely confident about.
Fortunately, the Microsoft exam software for fixed-length and short-form tests makes the multiple-visit approach easy to implement. At the
corner of each question is a check box that
you to mark that question for a later visit.
Here are some question-handling strategies that apply to fixed-length and short-form tests. Use them if you have the chance:
When returning to a question after your initial read-through, read every word again;
, your mind can
important details. Sometimes
a question after turning your attention elsewhere lets you see something you missed, but the strong tendency is to see what you've seen before. Try to avoid that tendency at all costs.
If you return to a question more than twice, try to
to yourself what you don't understand about the question, why answers don't appear to make sense, or what appears to be missing. If you think about the subject a while, your
might provide the missing details, or you might notice a "trick" that points to the right answer.
As you work your way through the exam, another counter that Microsoft provides comes in handy ”the number of questions completed and outstanding. For fixed-length and short-form tests, you should budget your time by making sure you've completed
one quarter of the questions one quarter of the way through the exam period, and three quarters of the questions three
of the way through.
If you're not finished when only 5 minutes
, use that time to guess your way through any remaining questions. Remember, guessing is
than not answering. Blank answers are always wrong, but a guess might
out to be right. If you don't have a clue about any of the remaining questions, pick answers at random or choose all As, Bs, and so on. Questions left unanswered are counted as
incorrectly, so a guess is better than nothing at all.
At the very end of your exam period, you're better off guessing than leaving questions unanswered.
Adaptive Exam Strategy
If there's one principle that applies to taking an adaptive test, it's "get it right the first time." You cannot elect to skip a question and move on to the next one when taking an adaptive test because the testing software uses your answer to the current question to select whatever question it plans to present
. You also cannot return to a question because the software gives you only one chance to answer it. You can, however, take notes as you work through the test. Sometimes information supplied in earlier questions can help you answer later questions.
Also, when you answer a question correctly, you are presented with a more difficult question next, to help the software gauge your level of skill and ability. When you answer a question incorrectly, you are presented with a less difficult question and the software lowers its current estimate of your skill and ability. This continues until the program settles into a reasonably accurate estimate of what you know and can do.
The good news is that, if you know the material, you'll probably finish most adaptive tests in 30 minutes or so. The bad news is that you must really know the material well to do your best on an adaptive test. That's because some questions are so convoluted, complex, or hard to follow that you're bound to miss one or two, at a minimum. Therefore, the more you know, the better you'll do on an adaptive test, even accounting for the occasionally
or unfathomable questions that appear on these exams.
Because you can't always tell in advance whether a test is fixed-length, short-form, adaptive, or a combination, you should prepare for the exam as if it were adaptive. That way, you will be prepared to pass, no matter what type of test you take. If the test turns out to be fixed-length or short-form, remember the tips from the
section, which will help you improve on what you could do on an adaptive test.
If you encounter a question on an adaptive test that you can't answer, you must guess an answer quickly. (However, you might suffer for your guess on the next question if you guess correctly because the software will give you a more difficult question next!)