How I cleared my 70-534 Exam – All the shortcuts you need to know!

This is Part -2 (and the final one) of the 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions Exam Series. Click here to Access Part -1.

Well, sorry if the title misguided you - there is no real shortcut, however with some sincere effort and some logical thinking it’s very easy to pass this exam with flying colors.

Who is this exam for? This is for both IT Pros and developers who are aspiring to become Cloud Solutions Architect, or for those who just want to understand and appreciate the breadth of Azure.

Let me take my case as an example – I have worked on very specific Azure Services over last 2 years or so – Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Service Fabric, IoT. So how much of this is covered in the exam – 5-10% (take a look at the exam objective - Design Azure Web and Mobile Apps), and the rest 90% - I had to prepare. The score to pass the exam is 700 out of 1000 and I scored 865 in my first attempt.

Look at my previous blog for some challenges in consolidated study material for this exam.

My consolidated documentation has a few Hands-on Labs, I did these simple hand-on lab exercises (shortcuts below), 19 of them, and each shouldn’t take more than half hour.

  1. Getting started with Azure PowerShell
  2. Create your first Azure Resource Manager template.
  3. Create network security groups
  4. Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Graph
  5. Deploying Active Directory Federation Services in Azure
  6. Encrypt and decrypt blobs in Microsoft Azure Storage using Azure Key Vault
  7. Azure AD B2C
  8. Transparent Data Encryption with Azure SQL Database
  9. Custom Roles for Azure RBAC
  10. Web API 2 in an Azure Worker Role
  11. Run Background tasks with WebJobs
  12. Set up staging environments in Azure App Service
  13. Configuring App Service application to use Azure Active Directory login
  14. Service Bus Topics
  15. Azure Scheduler
  16. Azure Machine Learning
  17. Integrate and App with a Virtual Network
  18. Back up files and folders in Resource Manager deployment
  19. Powershell Workflow Runbook

Here is how to prepare in three easy steps:

  1. Read the Azure documentation (as in my previous blog) and make short notes. Like my notes here.
  2. Do the hands-on lab exercises (Listed above).
  3. Go through these videos and tips from Mark Grimes just the day before your exam and co-relate them to your notes.

Just two important tips to keep in mind during the exam:

  1. Time management:
    1. Always keep an eye on the timer – if you don’t know an answer, click on the ‘Review Later’ checkbox and move on.
    2. Case studies take up a lot of time, so be prepared:
      1. Case studies are usually about Apps; they are net new for Azure or need to be migrated to Azure.
      2. Write down some short notes in your erasable notepad about each App in the case study by quickly going through the business requirements and the technical requirements. This is important – For questions following the case study you will need to know the context when attempting to answer. Ex: You are asked to choose between Storage Queue and Service Bus Queue, now unless you got to know from the requirement, which told you that the application must store over 80 GB of messages in a queue, you wouldn’t know the right answer.
      3. While quickly skimming through to get some context is important, don’t spend too much time (no more than 10mins on each case study), you just need to know where to find info when you see a related question.
  1. Elimination: For several questions, use logic and try to eliminate some of the wrong answers. Some answers are far from truth making your life easier.