Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tips for Attending Exchange MCM Training

I've gotten the following tips about attending the Exchange Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) training in Redmond from previous attendees.  I plan to update this list after my own experience.

Logistics
  • Stay at the Homestead Suites - Redmond.  It's supposed to be pretty bad (paper thin walls, sparse rooms, terrible Internet access), but it's within walking distance of Building 41 and offers a basic kitchen and full size refrigerator.  It also has coin operated laundry on site.
  • Arrive at least a day before training starts and scope out where the grocery stores, convenience stores, and restaurants are.  Stock up the refrigerator with food and drinks.  There will be plenty of snack food and caffeinated beverages in the training room, so you won't need that.
  • Bring two or three canvas grocery bags for hauling groceries back to your room and for shuttling clothes back and forth to the laundry.
  • Bring lots of quarters for laundry.  The front desk won't make much change for you.
Preparing
  • Study the Exchange 2010 SP1 CHM file, which contains the offline version of the Exchange 2010 SP1 documentation available on TechNet.  Just as importantly, understand it's layout so you can quickly access it for reference.
  • Study the Hub Transport pipline diagram.  Know all its pieces and parts.
  • Learn to use OneNote for note taking.
Words of Wisdom
  • If you don't pass any of the three exams that lead up to the qualification lab, shrug it off and move on.  You will have the opportunity to retake the exam.  Don't get hung up on it.
  • There is no such thing as a stupid question.  If you don't understand something as well as you'd like, ask the trainers.
  • Listen closely to the trainers for hints about the Qual Lab.
  • Work as a team to create a huge OneNote for the Qual Lab (which is open book).
  • Figure out your study style.  Some like to join study groups with their classmates.  Others prefer to study alone.  Find out what works for you.
  • If you stay at the Homestead Suites, head back to the training room to study.  It's a lot more comfortable.  And walk everywhere you need to go - it'll help clear your head.
  • Don't plan on doing ANY other work while you're there.  It's not possible.
  • Try to get out on a Saturday evening to maintain your sanity.
  • There's no real guideline for attire.  Be comfortable - you'll be in a classroom for 11-12 hours a day.  Be aware this is Redmond and it can rain at anytime.
3:30 PM