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I have taken a lot of Microsoft certification exams over the last 20 years. I can’t say that I am ever excited to take an exam, but I have done well on them. Over the years I have developed an approach to taking exams and have generally passed many more than I have failed. In fact, as I started thinking about it, I have never failed an exam for which I have gone through the process that I am laying out herein. You do not need to follow this approach, but you definitely need an approach. Taking a Microsoft certification exam “cold” is a good way to end up retaking a Microsoft certification exam. AZ-500 Practice Test Questions Answers Step 1. Know what you need to know.
Microsoft certification exams are usually hard, really hard. They are generally not very fun to take. The exams dive into minutia, asking questions that people with years of experience can’t answer. Every question is a trick question so they are pretty hard to guess at. Azure Security Engineer Associate
So, how do you know what will be on the exam? The scary answer is that you can’t, at least not everything. No matter how much you study, you will likely encounter questions you have never seen any material on (more about this later). However, breathe a sigh of relief because there is one place to go to find out most of the topics that will be on an exam. Microsoft publishes exam description pages for every exam they administer. For example, here is an exam description for AZ-500 Practice Test
This is the first place I go when studying for an exam. The objectives shown in the screen shot break out into sub-objectives. Each sub-objective has a set of skills listed in paragraph form. I break out every skill that is listed into an Excel spreadsheet or a table in OneNote. This becomes my study guide. I make sure I understand the details of each skill in the list. This is, of course, a pretty fair bit of work, but it is better than not having any idea what to study. While you will encounter questions on skills not listed in the page, I have never failed an exam for which I was comfortable with this skill list. Step 2. Find good study material.
You need really good material to study.
As a Microsoft Certified Trainer, I have experience collecting and assessing which resources are the best for learners to get the most out of. Here are my top 3 recommendations for Microsoft study material:
Microsoft Certified Curriculum (MOC): I have access to Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) as a Certified Trainer, and therefore have an advantage, and can also shed light on its high value in preparing for exams. The MOC content is used in official Microsoft courses, is written by experts in the field and tends to align with the objectives in the exams. This doesn’t mean that exam questions will be written word for word directly from the content, but most of the concepts on the exam are covered in detail in the MOC course content. I have had students swear that a concept on the exam wasn’t covered in the MOC content only to go back and find that they had missed it or forgotten it. This is where having a list of skills is useful. I use the skills list as a guide to the content.
Publisher Study Guides: If you do not have the ability to take a Microsoft official course then there are a myriad of books out there as study guides. Be careful to get a study guide from a legitimate source. Most of the major publishers (MS Press, APress, Sams, etc.) have study guides for the more popular exams and MS Press has guides for most exams. There are also unsanctioned “brain dumps” that many exam candidates use. I will not go into detail, but I strongly advise against using them. Most of these sites violate Microsoft Intellectual Property rights and if you are caught using these resources, Microsoft may levy significant penalties against you.
Online Resources: An undervalued study resource for Microsoft exams is TechNet (or MSDN for developers). Microsoft publishes pretty much everything about everything Microsoft on TechNet and MSDN, so it is highly likely that any technical details that can be asked are covered in TechNet. Of course, the downside is that there are often thousands of pages on a given subject, so the enormity of information can make TechNet seem unusable. That is where having a list of skills comes in.
Step 3. Take notes.
If I wrote “click bait” this is where I would have the headline, “One simple trick to pass Microsoft Exam.” Seriously, it is that important. I jot down every technical detail I see while studying for an exam. Sometimes I use an honest to goodness pen and paper, but I usually use OneNote. Technical details can be anything — from PowerShell command lets to registry settings to configuration settings for .NET applications. I write down anything that could be a candidate for an exam question. Much of what I write down will not show up on an exam, but I cannot count the number of times I have seen a question and remembered the answer from the notes. Oh, and here is the cool part: I don’t even study the notes, ever. I never look at them once I take them. The act of writing (or typing) the information fixes it in my short-term memory. I have heard that there is actually science behind this, but I have never bothered to look it up because, well, it just works. If only I had discovered this before my last semester in college. Step 4. Practice. https://www.marks4sure.com/AZ-500-exam.html
With all due respect to a certain former professional basketball player, practice matters. It is important to actually set up and manage a system that you are taking a certification exam on. Likewise, it is important to develop some test-taking skills and have some understanding of what to expect when taking an exam.
Technology Practice: It is increasingly difficult to pass a certification exam without actual, honest to goodness hands-on experience. On the one hand that is good — certifying people who have just studied for an exam and have not ever touched the product devalues the certification. On the other hand, people may not have access to sandbox datacenters with multiple servers to set up lab environments. There are a couple of solutions to this. The first is to take a course with Global Knowledge that aligns to your exam. The MOC labs often cover processes that are on the exam. It is very difficult to get a question related to a complex process correct unless you have completed that process. Our lab environment is available 24/7, and in most cases, it is available for 12 months after you take the course. This means that you can complete all labs multiple times, and you can usually also set up your own scenarios to test other skills that may not be covered with a formal lab. If you do not take a MOC course, an alternative is to get a trial Microsoft Azure account. You can easily spin up multiple virtual machines in Azure and can set up networks and domains. If you do set up a lab environment in Azure, be sure to shut down your VMs when not in use, as multiple VMs will quickly use up any credits you have.
Exam Practice: Knowing how to take a Microsoft exam is crucial to passing a Microsoft exam. I know people who have squeaked by an exam that they weren't completely prepared for because they are good at taking tests, and I know people who know everything there is about a technology but have failed because they didn’t know how to take a Microsoft exam. There are a couple of reputable companies that produce authorized practice exams for Microsoft — Transcender and MeasureUp. As mentioned above there are nonauthorized sources but I strongly advise against using them. You may want to check the exam description page from Microsoft for additional sanctioned providers. Generally, both Transcender and MeasureUp produce practice exams for the most popular certifications, although sometimes one or the other will have exams that the other doesn’t. Some people prefer one vendor to the other, but I find both typically do a reasonable job. I use practice exams more as a way to prepare for the process of taking an exam, rather than for studying the content for the exam. I will often use the explanation of a particular question as a source of information, but the process of going through different types of questions and practicing my approach to taking an exam is more important. An alternative is to use the certification exam itself as practice. Treat the first time you take the exam as a practice run and expect to fail. Use it to get a gauge on what the exam entails and where you have weaknesses. Microsoft often runs a free retake promotion, and even if they aren’t running one, the exam is usually only marginally more expensive than the practice exam. There is no better practice than taking the exam itself. Of course, if you get freaked out because you took the exam and scored a 400 (out of 1,000) that might backfire.
Step 5. Relax.
At this point, you are probably ready to either laugh at me or hunt me down. I have spent paragraphs going over how difficult Microsoft exams are, and now I am telling you to relax. Seriously? Seriously. It is possible to pass Microsoft exams, and occasionally even pass them on the first try. When you finally get in to take an exam, there are a few things to remember:
It’s OK to miss a question. In more than 20 years of taking exams, I don’t think I have ever had a perfect score. I know some instructors who have, but I suspect they are either just lucky or geniuses. I am neither but usually pass the exams. Instructors sometimes joke that if you get a higher score than is necessary to pass, you have wasted time studying too much. OK, that really doesn’t seem particularly funny, but the point is valid — Microsoft exams are pass/fail so missing a few questions isn’t the end of the world.
It’s OK to have no idea what a question is about. Sometimes questions are so out of left field that an experienced professional will not know what they are about. Sometimes questions are poorly worded and difficult to understand. Don’t let that ruin your exam. I know people who have failed an exam because they had no idea what the first two questions were about and got completely flustered. It didn’t matter that they may have known everything else on the test.
It’s OK to guess. There is no penalty for guessing. When you don’t know an answer, try to narrow the options down as much as possible, then pick the answer(s) you think best. If you are not sure, always go with your first choice. Supposedly there is research that backs this up, but it is just a good rule of thumb. I still remember failing an exam by one question, and I am pretty sure it was because I changed an answer when I was reviewing my answers. I really want that one back.
It’s not OK to be sloppy. While you want to relax and not freak out, it is also important to take every question seriously. Read each question and answer carefully and always look for any keywords or phrases that indicate the meaning of the question. I treat every question as a potential trick question. This makes me pay attention.
Step 6. Manage your time when taking the exam.
Finally, the last one. This one is easy, and it is possibly the most important tip I can offer. When you start an exam you will be given the total number of questions and the amount of time available. Do a quick calculation (you will have something to write on) and figure out how much time you have per question. While I don’t time myself on each question, I keep this in the back on my mind to make sure that I do not run out of time. I know a lot of exam candidates who have failed because they realized that they ran out of time and guessed at a number of questions. If you spend a couple of minutes on a question and don’t have the answer, make a guess, mark it and move on. If time permits go back and review the question, but only change the answer if you are sure of the right answer, or you are sure the guess you made is wrong. So that is my approach to taking Microsoft exams. This approach has served me well over many years and many exams. I hope this helps you out.
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Research at the University of Liverpool, using computer models to reconstruct the jaw muscle of Tyrannosaurus rex, has suggested that the dinosaur had the most powerful bite of any living or extinct terrestrial animal.
The team artificially scaled up the skulls of a human, alligator, a juvenile T. rex, and Allosaurus to the size of an adult T. rex. In each case the bite forces increased as expected, but they did not increase to the level of the adult T. rex, suggesting that it had the most powerful bite of any terrestrial animal.
Previous studies have estimated that T. rex’s bite had a force of 8,000 to 13,400 Newtons, but given the size of the animal, thought to weigh more than 6,000kg, researchers suspected that its bite may have been more powerful than this. Liverpool scientists developed a computer model to reverse engineer the animal’s bite, a method that has previously been used to predict dinosaur running speeds.
An animal’s bite force is largely determined by the size of the jaw muscles. Using their computer models, researchers tested a range of alternative muscle values, as it is not precisely known what the muscles of dinosaurs were like. Even with error margins factored in, the computer model still showed that the T. rex had a more powerful bite than previously suggested.
The smallest values predicted were around 20,000 Newtons, while the largest values were as high as 57,000 Newtons, which would be equivalent to the force of a medium sized elephant sitting down on the ground.
Researchers also found that the results for the juvenile T. rex had a relatively the weaker bite than the adult T. rex, even when size differences and uncertainties about muscle size were taken into account. The large difference between the two measurements, despite the error margins factored in, may suggest that T. rex underwent a change in feeding behaviour as it grew.
Dr Karl Bates, from the University’s Department of Musculoskeletal Biology, said: “The power of the T. rex jaw has been a much debated topic over the years. Scientists only have the skeleton to work with, as muscle does not survive with the fossil, so we often have to rely on statistical analysis or qualitative comparisons to living animals, which differ greatly in size and shape from the giant enigmatic dinosaurs like T. rex. As these methods are somewhat indirect, it can be difficult to get an objective insight into how dinosaurs might have functioned and what they may or may not have been capable of in life.
“To build on previous methods of analysis, we took what we knew about T. rex from its skeleton and built a computer model that incorporated the major anatomical and physiological factors that determine bite performance. We then asked the computer model to produce a bite so that we could measure the speed and force of it directly. We compared this to other animals of smaller body mass and also scaled up smaller animals to the size of T. rex to compare how powerful it was in relative terms.
“Our results show that the T. rex had an extremely powerful bite, making it one of the most dangerous predators to have roamed our planet. Its unique musculoskeletal system will continue to fascinate scientists for years to come.”
The elimination of ground-level vegetation is bringing another of the world’s tiger subspecies to the brink of extinction, according to Virginia Tech and World Wildlife Fund researchers.
The Sumatran tiger, native to Indonesia, could be the fourth type of tiger to disappear from the wild. This is due, in part, because of deforestation and the loss of thick groundcover, also known as understory cover, said Sunarto, lead scientist on a study that is the first to systematically investigate the use of both forests and plantation areas for tiger habitat.
Although tiger’s prefer forest to plantation areas, the study found that the most important factor was that availability of thick ground-level vegetation which apparently serves as an environmental necessity for tiger habitat, regardless of location.
“As ambush hunters, tigers would find it hard to capture their prey without adequate understory cover,” said Sunarto, who earned his doctorate at Virginia Tech and now is a tiger expert for the World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia (WWF-Indonesia). “The lack of cover also leaves tigers vulnerable to persecution by humans, who generally perceive them as dangerous.”
Within forest areas, tigers also strongly prefer sites that have low levels of human disturbance as indicated by their preference for areas closer to forest centers and farther from human activity centers such as bodies of water and areas bordering plantations and towns.
Tigers occupy only around 7 percent of their historic range. Estimates place the current wild tiger populations at as few as 3,200 tigers, including only about 400 Sumatran tigers, which are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
“These study results indicate that to thrive, tigers depend on the existence of large contiguous forest blocks,” said study co-author Marcella Kelly, an associate professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Sunarto’s graduate advisor.
The Indonesian government has set aside many areas and national parks for the conservation of endangered species but about 70 percent of tiger habitat in Sumatra, an island in western Indonesia, remains outside these protected areas. The preservation of such habitats, which requires support from government, landowners, and concession holders, is critical for conservation of the species, the study authors emphasize.
A recently published Indonesian presidential decree on land use in Sumatra points out the importance of building wildlife corridors between critical areas, where commitments from concession owners are key to successful implementation.
“Even with current legal protection for the species, tigers are not doing well in many places, especially those outside protected areas,” Sunarto said. “As long as forest conversion continues, tigers will require active protection or they will quickly disappear from our planet.”
The study concludes that in order to protect tigers, it is critical to stop clearing Indonesia’s remaining natural forests for plantations. With adjustments in management practices on existing plantations to include more understory and riparian forest corridors, tigers could use a mosaic of forest patches across fragmented landscapes.
“We hope that plantation managers and concession owners can use the recommendations of this report to apply best management practices to further protect Sumatran tigers from extinction,” said Anwar Purwoto, director of the Forest, Freshwater, and Species Program at WWF¬Indonesia.
“Ensuring that tigers are able to roam freely in natural forests and restored habitat is crucial to their survival,” said co-author Sybille Klenzendorf, head of WWF’s species program, who earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in wildlife science from Virginia Tech. “This study is a reminder of just how important it is for us to protect the natural forests that tigers and other animals rely on.”
The report was published in the Public Library of Science’s online journal PLoS ONE on Jan. 23, and was a collaboration between the university and WWF, with support from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry.
From gannets to seagulls, puffins to penguins, all seabirds suffer the same drop in birth rates when the supply of fish drops to less than a third of maximum capacity. That’s the result from an international study on the relationships between predators and prey in seven ecosystems around the world, published in the magazine Science and coordinated by Philippe Cury, an IRD researcher. Based on nearly 450 cumulative years of observation, the research team compared the growth in fish supplies and the reproductive patterns of 14 species of coastal birds. These birds mainly feed on sardines, anchovies, herring and prawns, all of which are victims of over fishing. Below the critical level of one third of the fish biomass, the birds — and the stability of the entire ecosystem — come under threat.
These studies also provide a reference level for the sustainable management of fisheries, so as to safeguard the bird population, which is often imperilled, and so as to maintain the healthiness of marine environments.
From the Arctic to Antarctica and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, when the supply of fish is reduced, seabirds stop reproducing. Previous studies had uncovered the relationships between the availability of food to birds and their reproductive rates, but this new international study (1) has just made a monumental discovery. Coordinated by Philippe Cury, an IRD researcher, and published in the journal Science, the study identifies the level of a critical supply of fish below which the stability of the bird population is endangered.
A third’s the limit
Gannets, terns, puffins, seagulls and penguins: taking all the species together, if fish supplies drop below a third of their maximum size, then the number of baby birds born drops precipitously. Everywhere in the world. Once the amount of their prey falls below sufficiency, the seabirds fail to reproduce (2). Yet above this level, their reproduction rate doesn’t increase. Abundance in the food supply didn’t produce the expected result as other factors limit reproduction, such as the fact that nesting areas fill up quickly.
By demonstrating such a singular phenomenon, these studies validated empirically — i.e. from data rather than from models — that ecosystems, over the long term, obey similar laws. Until these studies were carried out, the basic principle of living ecologies remained theoretical. Now, for the first time, scientists have achieved a model of predator and prey behaviour based on actual observation in marine environments.
Almost 450 years of data
The research team compared almost 450 years’ worth of data from all over the world to see how the supply of fish correlated with the reproduction of seabirds. To do so, the scientists concentrated on 14 species of birds in seven ecosystems around the globe. The species selected feed mainly on sardines, anchovies, herrings and other small coastline fish that fishermen regularly catch and whose populations are under pressure. Each of the ecosystems was studied for periods ranging from 15 to 40 years; and the study showed that it generally takes 13 years of data to form an accurate notion of what the maximum fish supply is in a given ecosystem.
This is the first time that so much data on the relationships between predators and prey have been brought together over such a long period of time. The scientists stressed cooperation between specialists from the north and the south made it possible to bring together such a vast quantity of information. Scores of research specialists have devoted countless years, sometimes their whole career, to these studies.
Over fishing can kill ecosystems
This study makes it plain that over fishing endangers the survival of higher-level predators such as birds. In fact, they are in direct competition with human fishermen: both groups consume about 80 million tonnes of fish per year. Small bait which are used to make meal and oils in fish farming — such as sardines, anchovies, herring, smelt and capelin — make up 30 % of today’s catch worldwide. As global demand rises, these findings make it possible, at last, to achieve a standard against which to measure the sustainable management of fish, so as to sustain populations of seabirds, over the long term.
Seabird populations are one of the best ways to judge the health of marine ecosystems — which the European Commission, for instance, wants to be able to monitor — and are one of the easiest measurement barometers to use. These bird species are among the most endangered, owing to the lack of food but also to climate change and the destruction of coastal habitats where, once again, they are in competition with humans for space along the water’s edge.
In order to understand the dynamics of ecosystems, it is essential to determine the key relationships between predators and prey. International authorities today have few tools by which to gauge and restrict fishing. The limit of one third of the fish population set forth by this study may not be a hard number in all cases, but it can certainly serve as a guideline for fishery management policies.