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Chris Neale

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NOW WITH LABS! - An Updated Exam and Exam Format

I sat the AZ-103 exam at the end of July, blog post is a little late due to some family stuff, but back on it now. I missed the deadline to do the transition exam, but that wasn’t a big problem as they had replaced the previous requirement of two exams to get Azure Administrator (AZ-100 + AZ-101) down to just one in AZ-103

This exam felt very familiar. The questions were not vastly changed from 70-533 which I sat last year, and the format was the same as AZ-302 in that the exam is divided into sections:

  • Traditional Multiple choice
  • Scenario based multiple choice, where the same scenario will be offered for many questions and different solutions proposed. You have to answer if the proposed solution will meet the requirements
  • Labs. Where you actually log in to an Azure Portal and do things. (These are by far the best part and can’t be faked/cheated or braindumped)

So 70-533 questions with the new AZ format. I’ll come on to one aspect of what I think was question reuse later.


Format and Exam Day

I have the same ritual every exam day. I get there 1hr+ early and park up at a nearby coffee shop and cram last minute bits of knowledge in for the sections I'm not familiar with. This time was no exception. The format although supposedly the same as AZ-302 felt very disjointed. There seemed to be a lot of jumping around between the question formats. You'd do a few questions, then a scenario, then labs, then back to a scenario, then another lab, then some questions, then another scenario. This meant it felt very hard to track your time as each section lists the time for that section and total questions in that section. I kept thinking I was close to finishing and ahead of time, but wasn't really and only finished 1hr early.

Preparation/Study Resources and the advantage of Udemy/Scott's update policy

As usual I used Scott Duffy’s Udemy Course as my main prep. https://www.udemy.com/70533-azure/
“Wait a minute Chris, you’ve pasted the wrong link”. No I thought something similar. I logged in to Udemy to buy Scott’s AZ-103 course only to find it said “you have already bought this course”. Then I realised that Scott had updated the content for the AZ-103 exam. So It saved me another £13. If you didn’t buy 70-533 I’d still recommend Scott’s courses, they are great to fill in the gaps

As the questions were soooo similar to 70-533 it felt like some I had seen before. However when 70-533 was out it may have not been possible to simply say “I’ll have the default size of resource X” and be able to meet the requirements. But as Cloud is always moving on, now it was definitley possible to answer some of the “same” questions without having to do additional work. I do wonder how Microsoft manage the portal constantly updating with new VM sizes, disk iops, network speeds and still keep questions static. So hopefully they have that in hand.

Objectives and Changes

The list of objectives and split can be found here
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-az-103.aspx

The Result

I got 839/1000, where 700 is the pass mark. I was pleased with the pass, but it was expected as it was not vastly different to 70-533

Summary

If you’ve passed 70-533 this will be a simple refresher. If not then Scott’s course and 1-2 years experience should give you what you need along with some practice and self study around any areas that didn’t seem easy in Scott’s material. The format of the exam may need to be that way, to allow the automated script to mark your labs…but I don’t like how it jumps around. I would really prefer a bit more continuity or at the very least an overall timer and section complete tracker to make it easier to manager overall time.

Where next? Now I have AZ-103 and AZ-302 I can do the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOPs Solutions. I may attack that or the AZ-500 Security exam first. Not sure

For a great resource to show the new AZ certification paths, checkout Ian Fieldings Tube Map of Azure Certs
https://iainfielding.com/azure-certifications/