Best Way to Prepare for AZ 900 Exam

By Michael Warne 06-Apr-2023
Best Way to Prepare for AZ 900 Exam

Want to start a career in Microsoft Azure? Wondering how to take the first step? Curious about the best way to prepare for the AZ-900 exam? If yes, you are in the right place. In this blog, we have discussed all of this and more. 

Microsoft Azure is one of the market leaders in the industry, right behind AWS. The gap between the two is decreasing with the rising popularity of Azure, leading to an increased demand for Azure professionals. Microsoft offers many certifications to help people gain expertise in Azure. 

One of the foundation courses in Azure is AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals. Many people looking to get foundational knowledge about Azure start with this certification. If you are also aiming to get this certification but are confused or overwhelmed with the course, you are in the right place. 

In this blog, we have discussed the details of AZ-900 exam preparation along with the best way to prepare for the exam. 

What Is AZ-900 Certification?

Microsoft recommends that newcomers starting their career in Azure go for AZ-900 certification. It is a foundational level certification, suitable for beginners with no knowledge of the cloud, and is also useful for people who want to go for advanced-level Microsoft certifications. Having the AZ-900 validates your skills and expertise in fundamental cloud concepts and Azure fundamentals. 

Even though this is a foundational level certification, it is one of the highest-paying Microsoft certifications. In 2020, this certification helped people earn $126,653, as per Global Knowledge. 

The certification covers many fundamental Azure topics, including Azure services, workloads, and security. It also covers cloud computing topics like 

  • Network

  • Computing

  • Memory

  • IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Skills Covered By AZ-900 Certification

According to Microsoft, the AZ-900 exam tests your skills in these core areas.

  • Cloud concepts

  • Azure architecture and services

  • Azure management and governance

Prerequisites Of AZ-900 Certification

AZ-900 is considered suitable for beginners with no expertise in cloud computing or programming therefore, there are no prerequisites. The certification is beneficial for the following people.

  • If you buy and sell cloud services or are involved in the process, this certification will prove useful.

  • If you want a certification to validate your knowledge and skills in basic cloud computing and Azure solutions, AZ-900 is beneficial. 

  • If you want to work with Azure but do not know where to begin, this certification is a good start.

  • For people who want to pursue advanced-level Microsoft certification, they can do AZ-900 first. 

  • AZ-900 is also beneficial for people with basic knowledge of cloud computing. 

Course Overview

Before scheduling the exam, it is crucial to get a course overview to help determine how much time is required to complete the syllabus. Here’s the course overview that can help you in making a schedule.

AZ-900 tests your skills in three core areas given below. 

Describe Cloud Concepts - 25-30%

  • Describe Cloud Computing: Introduction to Azure fundamentals and cloud computing; shared responsibility model; cloud models; consumption-based model.

  • Describe the Benefits of Using Cloud Services: High availability and scalability, reliability and predictability; security and governance; manageability in the cloud.

  • Describe Cloud Service Types: Infrastructure as a Service; Platform as a Service; Software as a Service

Describe Azure Architecture And Services - 35-40%

  • Describe Core Architectural Components of Azure: Microsoft Azure; Azure accounts; Azure physical infrastructure; Azure management infrastructure; creating Azure resource.

  • Describe Azure Compute and Networking Services: Azure Virtual Machine; Azure Virtual Desktop; Azure Containers; Azure Functions; application hosting option; Azure Virtual Networking; configure network access; Azure Virtual Private Networks; Azure ExpressRoute; Azure DNS.

  • Describe Azure Storage Services: Azure storage accounts; Azure storage redundancy; Azure storage services; Azure data migration options; Azure file movement options.

  • Describe Azure Identity, Access, and Security: Azure directory services; Azure authentication methods; Azure external identities; Azure conditional access; Azure role-based access control; Azure zero trust model; defense-in-depth; Microsoft Defender for Cloud.

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Describe Azure Management and Governance - 30-35%

  • Describe Cost Management in Azure: Factors affecting costs in Azure; comparing Pricing and Total Cost of Ownership calculators; Azure Cost Management tool; the purpose of tags; TCO calculator.

  • Describe Features and Tools in Azure for Governance and Compliance: Purpose of Azure Blueprints; the purpose of Azure policy, resource locks, and Service Trust Portal.

  • Describe Features and Tools for Managing and Deploying Azure Resources: Tools for interacting with Azure; the purpose of Azure Arc; Azure Resource Manager; Azure ARM templates.

  • Describe Monitoring Tools in Azure: Purpose of Azure Advisor; Azure Service Health; Azure Monitor.

Related: Most In-Demand Certification : Microsoft Azure Certification Path 2023

Exam Structure

AZ-900 will have between 40-60 questions in MCQ format. You will get 85 minutes to complete the exam. 

While most questions may be in MCQ format, others will be case studies, brand reviews, build lists, repeated answer options, or drag and drop. You can answer any number of questions you want with no negative marking. 

Registration Fees and Languages Available

The registration fee of AZ-900 differs from place to place. For people in the US, the exam fee is $99. In India, it is 3696 INR. Since the exam is available in many countries and regions, you can check the registration fee on your region's official Microsoft page.

AZ-900 is available in multiple languages. These include the following. 

  • English

  • Japanese

  • Chinese (Simplified)

  • Korean

  • Spanish

  • German

  • French

  • Indonesian (Indonesia)

  • Arabic (Saudi Arabia)

  • Chinese (Traditional)

  • Italian

  • Portuguese (Brazil)

  • Russian

Passing Score

To clear the AZ-900 exam, you need to get a passing score of 700. Anything below this will be considered a failure. The good thing about Microsoft exams is that you get the result a few minutes after completing the exam. However, the full report will take a few days.

The scorecard provided by Microsoft contains things like your result, exam performance, important categories performance, and how to understand the exam result. 

Retake Policy

If you have to retake the exam, there is a criterion for when a candidate can retake it. If you cannot clear the test on the first attempt, you must wait for at least 24 hours before giving it again. If you cannot do it the second time, you must wait for at least 14 days before retaking it for the third time. 

From every attempt after the second one, you must wait at least 14 days. However, a candidate cannot give a specific exam more than 5 times a year. Therefore, if you fail 5 times, you must wait 12 months from your first attempt to give it the sixth time. You have to pay the fee to retake the exam. 

Cancellation and Rescheduling Policy

If you want to reschedule your exam, you must do it at least 24 hours before. Otherwise, your fee will be forfeited. The same condition applies to canceling the exam.

Follow the below steps to reschedule/cancel your exam.

  • Login to your Learn profile and select Profile from the menu.

  • Click on Certifications in the Profile menu.

  • Find the exam appointment you want to reschedule/cancel and choose the applicable option.

  • Clicking on the reschedule/cancel will redirect you to the exam delivery provider’s site. 

Prepare for the AZ-900 Exam

The key to cracking any exam is to be well-prepared for it. While AZ-900 is a foundational exam, it can be difficult, especially for beginners. However, by combining hard work and smart work, you can surely crack the AZ-900 exam. 

Here is a complete guide you can follow while preparing for the exam.

Online Courses

Online courses are extremely useful for preparing for the AZ-900 exam. While Microsoft has official training material and sessions, they can be very expensive. On the other hand, online courses are an inexpensive and great way of preparing for the exam. 

Most of these courses are regularly updated to match the latest exam curriculum. They have their study material, interactive labs, flashcards, and practice tests. Since these courses are typically video courses, it gives you a better idea of the concepts. Look at the course reviews before selecting a course. 

Reading Material

Books and materials are other good ways to prepare for the exam. Some of the most useful books for preparing for AZ-900 include the following.

  • Microsoft Azure for Beginners by Adney Ainsley.

  • Microsoft Azure for Beginners by Dennis Hutten.

  • Microsoft Azure Ultimate Beginners Guide by Kennan Bismar.

  • Beginner’s Guide to Microsoft Azure. 

Exam Simulators and Practice Papers

Always take practice tests before giving the exam. Practice with Simulator is highly beneficial as it gives you an accurate idea of what the exam will look like. Other than that, plenty of practice papers are available in the market. Taking them will help you understand your preparation.

You can also identify the areas which need more practice and focus by analyzing the papers. However, remember to choose only high-quality practice tests. 

White Papers, Analyst Reports, and Ebooks

Microsoft publishes various analyst reports, white papers, and ebooks that can help you prepare better for the exam since they come from Microsoft itself. Make sure to remain updated with all the latest developments in Azure.

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn is the online learning platform of Microsoft. You can find all certifications' learning paths and modules, including AZ-900. The learning path is free. You can use this to study for the exam.

Microsoft also has the option of instructor-led training. It includes lectures, hands-on labs, and demonstrations, among other things. However, it is a paid resource. 

Related: Microsoft Azure Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters

Tips to Follow Before and During the Exam

  • Make a timetable and study plan before beginning preparation. Use the Microsoft study guide and syllabus to decide how much time you will need to finish the syllabus.

  • Study from the official content provided by Microsoft. The content includes both videos and written material.

  • You can also choose the instruction-led training offered by Microsoft for practical experience. Doing a topic practically will help you understand and remember the content for a long time. 

  • Many online courses help you prepare for AZ-900 certification. They will help you get a thorough understanding of the course. 

  • When you are done with the syllabus at least once, do some practice tests. Practice tests will let you know how prepared you are for the exam.

  • Use the practice tests to evaluate your preparation. Analyze the topics that require you to do more practice. According to that, study your syllabus again.

  • Start doing practice tests with time in mind. The more practice tests you do, the better you will get at time management. 

  • Many test books are available in the market that will help you get some time away from the screen. You can use them to refresh your mind. 

  • Time management is crucial during the exam. And to do that, learn how to analyze the questions and eliminate options in MCQs. 

  • During the exam, try not to panic. Take a deep breath and calm yourselves before looking at the questions. Remember, you won’t get much time for each question.

  • Since there is no negative marking, feel free to ask as many questions as possible. Of course, do the questions you know well first. 

  • When you do MCQs, eliminate the wrong options approach. This comes in handy when you don’t know the right answer.  Go through the options and eliminate the ones you definitely know are not the answer. 

  • For some questions, you may have the option to ‘review’ them. This will allow you to skip the question for the moment and come back to it later. Do this if you are unsure of the answer and concentrate on the questions you know well. 

  • The secret to attempting case study questions is first going through the questions and then reading the case study. This will help you attempt the case study questions quickly. 

There you go! Now you know the different resources and ways to prepare for your AZ-900 exam. So, what are you waiting for? Prepare for the exam and be ready to enter a world of endless opportunities.

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Michael Warne

Michael Warne is a tech blogger and IT Certification Trainer at Koenig Solutions. She has an experience of 5 years in the industry, and has worked for top-notch IT companies. She is an IT career consultant for students who pursue various types of IT certifications.