Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to study for the 70-536 Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation exam

As I passed my 70-536 exam today, I thought I’d write this blog post to try to help out everyone else out there studying for the exam. Before starting though, remember one thing: This way of studying worked for me, it might not be the best way for you!

Also, Microsoft states that “Candidates should have at least two to three years of experience developing Web-based, Windows-based, or distributed applications by using the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.0, the .NET Framework 1.1, the .NET Framework 2.0, or the .NET Framework 3.5.

That’s really not necessary, I have 6 months of experience and I managed to pass it without too much hassle. It will save you a lot of study time if you have more experience than me though!

Before you start studying you should get an overview of the ‘Skills measured’. Highlight all the topics you know you’re unsure of, and be honest with yourself! If you find yourself thinking “I might know this”, you should assume that you don’t know. You’re not fooling anyone but yourself.

Do the same thing with the contents overview in the Self-Paces Training Kit.(Mind that this exam is exactly the same for .NET 2.0 and 3.5)

After doing this you’ll have a good overview of what the exam covers and how much you know.

The next part is where you need some self control: the studying itself. In my world there are two ways of doing this:
  1. First study for the topics you don’t know, then have a look at those you do know (just to check that your knowledge covers everything)
  2. First have a look at those you do know, then study for the topics you don’t know
If you go for #1, by the time you’re done studying for the things you don’t know, you’ll probably be sick of studying and skip the part where you have a look at what you actually know. So #2 is the best way to go (trust me!)

When having a look at what you do know, quickly browse through the relevant topics in the book. If you see anything you don’t recognize, read it. If you don’t understand it after reading it, you should put it on your ‘Don’t know’ list.

So now you’ve covered everything you do know, and it’s time for the time consuming part: Learning what you don’t know. Read the highlighted topics, and if you don’t understand what you’re reading Google and Bing are your friends.

Each time you’ve covered a new topic, test your knowledge by doing a MeasureUp test (in custom mode - selecting the relevant topic)

And finally, when you’ve covered all of the topics: Do the MeasureUp test in the certification mode. If you don’t pass, you’ll get a nice overview over which topics you don’t know well enough and you can have a look at these topics again. And surprise, surprise: This step repeats itself until you know all the topics well enough!

And one last tips for all the procrastinators out there: As charming as procrastination is, it’s not very helpful. Make a schedule and stick to it! Some blood, sweat and tears later, and you’ll be certified :)

Next time: Tips and tricks on doing the exam itself


  1. Well done for passing the exam Karoline and thanks for the advice. I'm hoping to take the exam in three months time and your advice is appreciated.


  2. Thanks :) Good luck with the studying and your own exam!

  3. Nice Post, I took the exam around the same time as you, I've did a write up as well with my advice and a few links, I'm going to look at adding your blog to it as well.


  4. Thanks Luke, that would be great! :)

  5. HI Karoline,

    I have MCTS Exam 70-536 Self-Paced Training Kit by Microsoft. This is the only book (along with its lab and practice test ) I will use to prepare for the exam. My question: is this training book enough resource to pass the exam?
    Your feedback is appreciated.

  6. Hi Ali,

    I didn't use any other books than the training book, and I passed without problems. I found some of the chapters to be a bit confusing though, so make sure you google the things you don't understand and you should do fine :)
    I recommend taking a MeasureUp test though, as this test is more similar to the actual test than the practice test in the book is.

    Good luck on your exam!

  7. Hi Karoline,

    Thanks for the advise. I have found this test preparation software.

    I am not sure what difference between this and MeasureUP.

    By the way, since I am just starting preparing for the MCPD, shall I go for MCPD 2.0 or MCPD 3.5? I got a feedback from a .Net developer that it would be better to go for MCPD 2.0 where I can learn more than the 3.5 track. I am interested to hear your opinion