Conan Mercer Applied Scientist
My Road To Azure Fundamentals Certification (AZ-900)
27 Sep 2020 - Conan Mercer
The Road to Microsoft Azure Fundamentals CertificationOut of curiosity I decided to study and take the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification (AZ-900). Once passed, this exam demonstrates fundamental knowledge of cloud technologies, in this case related to the Azure offering by Microsoft. The exam is not difficult, but it does require about 10 hours of study to be familiar with cloud concepts, Azure services, security, privacy and pricing.
PreparationWorking in a company, or working on personal projects that use Azure will help to reduce the amount of time required to study for this certification. In total I spent about 10 hours preparing for this exam, the total time-box for this was less than 1 week. I spent 1 hour every morning for 5 days and 1-2 hours each evening (before and after work).
I recommend to sit and study for this exam in a defined and short period of time, do not spread the preparation out over a month or longer as a lot of the information needed is not easily retained, for example the pricing section.
The Microsoft Learn platform is a very useful resource for this exam. It goes through pretty much everything you will need to pass the exam. It is text heavy with not much visual stimulation. For this reason I would recommend creating a free Azure account and actually play around with the Azure portal. Do things like creating resource groups and initializing virtual machines etc. This practical element can be a bit dry if you are not actually using it for a real world problem, but trust me it helps a lot to solidify your knowledge of the platform.
In my opinion it is sufficient to use free resources to prepare for this exam. I would not recommend paid exam questions or courses. It can be tempting to purchase these in order to make success more likely, and you will find a lot of organizations and resources on the internet targeting you towards paid plans. For this particular certification, in my case, they where not necessary. Keep your money for a rainy day.
To fully prepare, I did the following:
- read the official exam structure from Microsoft and made sure I was familiar with all the terms mentioned
- took the AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals practice exam from Whizlabs 3 times
- watched the free Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Certification Course from freeCodeCamp.org once. Do yourself a favour and watch it at 1.75x speed to get through it quickly but still retain the important information
The exam costs, at the time of writing, 99 euros. You will need to schedule the exam on the Microsoft website here. If you take the online exam, you will be proctored during the exam by Pearson VUE.
The Day of the ExamPearson VUE is the platform you will use on the day of the exam. Before the exam starts you need to take a photograph of your government issued photo ID, this ID must match the name you used when scheduling the exam. You will also need to take 4 pictures of the room you are taking the exam in, the room should be sparse with no written material on show. If you have extra computer screens, they should be turned away from you and out of hands reach. Also, if anyone walks into the room during the exam, insta fail. So make sure you are in a quite place with no distractions.
During the ExamYou have exactly 60 minutes to complete all 30 questions. This gives you approximately 2 minutes to read, comprehend and answer each question. I finished all of the questions in about 20 minutes which gave me about 40 minutes to recheck any question that I had flagged. I flagged 8 questions, and when I reviewed them I changed the answer to 2 of them. I submitted my exam after about 30 mins. Time frame is not an issue for this exam, you should have plenty of time to answer each question.
To pass the exam it is required to score 70% or higher. This allows some wriggle room to get some questions wrong.