Why I failed the Microsoft exam AZ-204: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure
Last week I failed my first Microsoft certification exam. While falling short in life is rarely a confidence booster, I was actually able to use the experience as an opportunity to reflect on something important in my life that I had been ignoring.
Why I took the exam in the first place
In June, I did the Azure Developer Challenge, and upon completion, I received a voucher to take a Microsoft Certification exam (valid until December 31st 2022). The challenge itself was very easy, I just had to watch a few videos and answer some questions to win a free certification (why not, right?)
Challenge completion email
For someone just getting started in using and building apps on the cloud, the best route is to do the AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals first.
Microsoft certification roadmap
The thing is that upon seeing the exam rules, I found out that I could only choose among a few exams certifications options. So I chose the most logical and "easy" for me, the AZ-204: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure.
Not everything free is actually free
In theory, the exam was free since I earned it by completing the Azure Developer challenge. So I was thinking, "I'm going to study for it, and if I pass, great; if I don't, that's ok."
But then I had a very enlightening talk with Carol, a great friend of mine, who told me, "Julia, this certification is not actually free because you're paying for it with your time. Your time is valuable, and while you're studying for this exam now, you could be doing something more important/urgent/that matters more to you."
Carol got me thinking that I had more important things to do than study for an exam that probably wouldn't matter much to me (at least right now). I had more important things to do like prepare for the interviews I had lined up, tackle some of the many things I had on my to-do list, create more content, spend time with family and friends, and most of all, take care of my mental health.
Sometimes I have the problem of wanting to do everything that comes my way and I spread myself too thin. I need to learn how to say no and only commit to what I know I can and should do.
Once I decided it wasn't worth putting all my efforts into the exam, I started postponing it. From June, I postponed it until December 24th, seven days until the exam expiration date (phew😅). And I barely studied for it. On the day of the exam, I woke up at 5:30 AM and reviewed many old exam questions through Exam Topics. It didn't do the trick.
Note: I like studying for exams with older exam questions because you see the format and type of questions previously asked. Exam Topics is a great website and has most certifications questions and answers/discussions about them. I suggest you check it out!
About the exam
The exam has a duration of 120 minutes with random 40–60 questions in different types use-case scenarios, programming codes, true/false, and more questions related to development with Azure. See some examples below (extracted from Exam Topics):
Drag and drop question
The passing score is 700 out of 1000. Booking the exam costs $165 USD.
Since this Microsoft Certification is designed and intended for Software developers or cloud engineers, you can expect it to be more technical and not as easy as a fundamentals exam. This exam requires its exam-takers to be experienced in development with Microsoft Azure for 1–2 years.
Taking the Exam at home (Proctored at home)
On the day of the exam, you need to check in at least 30 minutes before your exam to get settled in. There are technical requirements that you need to follow, as well as having a valid ID available.
Ensure you don’t miss the preparation guide and instructions for your test environment — like what things are not allowed during the exam. For example, it is not allowed to speak while taking the tests or have headphones, extra screens might not be allowed, and more! You also need to de-clutter and make sure your testing space is clean.
What you should do if you want to take the certification
Decide how you want to take your exam (Online — Proctored or Testing Center)
Check your schedule and book the exam via Microsoft Learn Certification Website
Ask your Company or Employer — if your company or employer is a Microsoft Partner, you might be able to take these exams and get Microsoft training for free through the partnership
Book your exam
When you have booked your exam, devote time to study.
DO NOT waste your money on exams questions on content to study. There are plenty of resources available online for FREE.
So the conclusion is to think twice about the things you’re going to take on and learn to say no. Know your priorities and stick to them.
Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Sometimes more is less.
Meanwhile, you can help yourself (and help me) by checking out my Youtube channel. I post great content there and have even better videos coming up!