As a CRM trainer, I have to stay on top of all the courses & exams that have come out last 90 days for CRM 4.0. MCTs must keep all the certifications up to date, too. Once I finished the reviews of all of the new CRM 4.0 courses: 8911, 8912, 8913, it was time for me to check out all the new exams for the courseware so I can focus for my students planning certification. The 3 new exams are the trifecta for certifying your company as a CRM partner with Microsoft.
This week I spent the time to take them all myself and refresh my CRM certifications. The three exams for Microsoft CRM 4.0 that are currently available are: MB2-631 Customization and Configuration for CRM 4.0, MB2-632 Applications for CRM 4.0, and MB2-633 Installation and Deployment for CRM 4.0.
I figured I knew quite a bit about CRM 4.0 since I teach the CRM Microsoft 4.0 classes, am certified for the CRM 3.0 exams, and have written CRM 4.0 user training courses. So without thinking too much about it, I scheduled all three exams this past Tuesday. (Can you see that my ego might be ripe for a fall here?)
Great Morning: I had just taught the Microsoft official curriculum 8912 course: Customization and Configuration for CRM 4.0 in the last few weeks and do a lot of customizing. I took the MB2-631 exam, and passed it with an 88%. Lots of focus on new stuff like multi-currency, multi-deployment, and multi-language, but it’s all covered in the courseware. A reasonable test if you know your stuff.
Bad afternoon: Then I took MB2-632 CRM 4.0 applications exam. I was confident at the beginning: I teach end users CRM every week. As I worked my way through the exam, I realized that there was a lot of questions on this exam that required a lot of in-depth knowledge, not the kind of stuff you get by just reading the book quickly. I flunked that one with a 64%, missing a passing score by three questions. The third exam that day, MB2-633 I flunked with score of 66. The bottom line was that I wasn’t prepared. I went home that night frustrated with the fact that I hadn’t passed all three exams in one day, rather than being happy that I passed one of the three certifications for CRM 4.0.
Getting serious: Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m stubborn. I got the Trainer Packs out for the two exams that I hadn’t passed, rescheduled the MB2-632 apps exam for Thursday, and buckled down. I used the test results to focus on the areas where I had problems. I reread every courseware chapter related to the sections that I did poorly in. I did all the labs and went through the test your knowledge questions again. Things I didn’t understand, I tried out in our CRM system.
Second try: On Thursday afternoon, I passed MB2-632 with a 76% on my second try. I am not happy with that exam, but I passed. The bottom line here, is it the MB2-632 CRM 4.0 Applications exam is really tough. There are a number of questions that really test if you understand how CRM works, not just whether or not you understand the material. There’s a focus on this exam (and all the new CRM courseware and exams) about the new functions of CRM 4.0 which is entirely different from the 3.0 exam. I read a lot of negative remarks on the web about this exam and I will agree that this exam is probably tougher than any other exam that I taken for CRM, SQL, or Windows server. There are some questions that are subjective, so you must really focus on the Courseware and work with CRM to truly understand the concepts. This test is passable in its current form, but it’s not easy. Given the number of comments I’ve read about this test, perhaps there will be an update for the Courseware and the exam coming up from Microsoft sometime soon.
Finish it off: Today, I sat the second time for MB2-633 (install and deploy) and passed it with 90%. All in all, if you’re current on the material and know how to handle the trickier stuff beyond just a simple single server implementation, you can do well on this exam. Again, be sure to focus on what is new or different in CRM 4.0.
I’m certain that anyone who takes 8911 and 8912 Courseware should be able to sit for and pass the MB2-631 and MB2-633 exams. I think the sequence of exams should be: MB2-633, MB2-631, and finally MB2-632 (especially if there is a refresh coming). Passing the MB2-632 CRM 4.0 Application exam will take some serious focus on understanding how CRM really works from a user perspective.
Have a great weekend and good luck on your exams!
Steve Noe, MCT, MCBMSP-CRMx2