MS-500 – I Passed!

As we all know now, we are in unprecedented times. But with the lock down in place here in the UK, I wanted to come out at the other end in a better form than what I was in when it first started, the start of that was studying and passing another Microsoft exam. Staying productive whilst working remotely at home can be challenging, and I am quite lucky that I have a good work from home setup as well as no pets or children to interrupt me!

At the start of Lock down I began to turn up the study on my next Microsoft certification, the MS-500 Microsoft 365 Security Administration badge. Thankfully with my current job as a Sys-Admin, a lot of the security practices that are common throughout the exam, we have already implemented in our company, and are starting to enroll more and more devices into Microsoft Intune (Soon to be EndPoint Manager). These come up a fair bit throughout the exam, so it was nice to see I already had some of the knowledge.

Studying for MS-500

Comparing the Azure (AZ-Based exams) to the MS-based exams, there are definitely a lot more sources for study for the Azure based courses. After some googling, There are several blogs out there that became quite helpful to studying. Most provide links to the Microsoft Docs website,  Which is the key place for study. I have the link to the blogs I use below.

Microsoft 365: Security Administration (MS-500) Exam Prep Guide

Preparing for the MS-500 Microsoft 365 Security Administration Exam (February 2020 Update)

Microsoft Partner Network – MS 500 training (Free webinars!)

At first I was a bit unsure on purchasing the official practice exam, this was down to the one 1-star review and also the overall cost of the practice exam (Over £80 for a 60 day pass), this added with the exam cost can soon add up! The practice questions became a lifeline in studying for the exam and got me settled into the routine of doing a quick round of 10-20 questions each night a week before the exam.

Link to Official Practice Test

Also a big shout out to Sly Gittens who provided a good overall review of passing the MS-500 exam. Sly also provided me with a study guide for the exam also. I believe if you message him over on LinkedIn he will provide you with a study guide also! Sly also has some nice short videos on different aspects of the exam, check out his YouTube channel below:

Taking the Exam

Thankfully with Microsoft exams, Online proctoring is available, therefore I took this exam at the comfort of my home. Overall the setup of the exam was relatively straight forward, but I recommend completing the Hardware/Network check before the day of your exam. The exam was mainly multiple choice questions with 2 case studies at the end of the exam.

A Special note is that the practice test sets the pass mark to 80%, on my exam it was the usual 70% (700/1000) pass mark. This was helpful to be honest as it set the bar a bit higher for me, which was nice.

Unlike the Azure based exams, I got notified that I passed as soon as the exam finished, probably due to not having any lab style questions where you had to complete objectives in the Azure portal.

So what’s next?

I was made up with passing the Ms-500 exam to be honest. I was glad to see I could pass another associate level exam in a slightly different “Path” to the Azure based certifications. So what’s next? I think I will have a short break from studying and then prepare to take the expert level 365 exams, MS-100 & MS-101. If I could pass these next two exams before the end of the year, I will carry on with the Azure based certifications.

Overall, the Ms-500 exam was a nice exam to take and to study for, and I would recommend looking at it at least if you support a 365/Azure Active directory environment. Its nice to see I can add another Microsoft badge to my Acclaim and also this site! Its now down to Tom, the other IT Bod, to take and pass his next exam, which is the MS-700 Microsoft Teams related test.



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