Last week at Ignite Australia 2017 I had to use my MCP credentials to test out the on-site testing facilities, for which I was given a free double-shot exam voucher. Because I’ve already done all of the Windows 10 and EMS related exams that are available I thought I’d try my hand at the Windows Server 2016 70-743 exam, what was the worst that could happen?

Thankfully nothing bad happened, I got through it, but it did highlight just how big and complex Windows Server 2016 is. The updated feature set and the new capabilities in Datacenter edition were more than enough to sink my teeth into, but the thing that has become evident to me with exams like this over the years are that there are huge chunks within Windows Server that I have never really spent any time with. My day to day life with Windows Server doesn’t involve administration, it’s more of a toolbox that I get to play in, primarily hosting VMs, running AD FS, and AAD Connect instances.

These pieces definitely got me through the exam, but the lack of time allocated to preparation showed up with some of the questions, I knew they weren’t hard questions, I just didn’t know enough about the topics they were asking about. Considering that my exam prep involved running through a MeasureUp practice exam and looking at the related articles to the questions, it wasn’t as structured or as hands on as it should have been. I had allocated two full days of study, but the original exam center I had booked at cancelled the exam, so I had to move it to another testing center and do it a day earlier.

I normally try to sit exams on a Friday afternoon, that way if I pass, I don’t have to worry about them on the weekend, and if I don’t succeed, I’ve got some time to focus on the areas that caught me out. If I hadn’t gotten through this exam, it would have been because of some of the networking pieces, especially IPAM. This was reflected in the score report, which was only broken down as 740/741/742 results, rather than a more granular breakdown.

If you work with Windows Server 2012 R2 in a broad sense, I don’t think that upgrading your certs to Windows Server 2016 will be that tough, but you will need to know about the enhancements in 2016, especially in Datacenter.  Knowledge of PowerShell cmdlets and syntax is required, as well as knowing when you would use the different GUI tools.

I was just lucky that my lack of hands on over recent years was made up for with the time I had to spend with Windows Server 2016 over the launch period. If you think you might be able to sit this exam, just do it, maybe get a multi attempt exam voucher if you aren’t confident, but otherwise study up on the new additions, and you should be well on your way.