How I Passed MCSD Exam 70-485

This past February, I wrote and passed Exam 70-485: Advanced Windows Store App Development Using C#, the 3rd exam of 3 to obtain my Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certification for Developing Windows Store apps in C#. This exam was definitely the hardest of the 3 for me, particularly due to the recent changes of the exams from Windows 8 to 8.1 and being able to get and organize the information between the 2 different versions.

My version of the exam had 2 case studies and about 90 questions with a time limit of 3 hours and 20 minutes. Again the test was very code heavy, which I expected after taking the previous 2 exams. The majority of questions required code reading and to answer questions about code given to you or to select changes to it, so it is very important to spend your time not only studying the material, but also reading and writing Windows 8 and 8.1 app code. I’ll give a couple of places to download sample code and projects below.

I once again decided to purchase the recommended book by Microsoft for the exam. It is:

Exam Ref 70-485: Advanced Windows Store App Development Using C# by Roberto Brunetti and Vanni Boncinelli

And once again, this particular book is somewhat outdated with the new changes from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 and related changes to the exam. However, the content is in fact still somewhat relevant because the exam tests both knowledge of Windows 8 and 8.1 material. It is just much more complex to find and remember all of the new changes and recommendations without having an authoritative source to learn the materials from. I ended up spending many hours on MSDN trying to find and understand the differences between Windows 8 and 8.1; a very frustrating experience. This experience, in fact, would make me encourage some people to delay their certification exams until there is a better organization of the material. If you need to go ahead, it is definitely possible, but be prepared for the inevitable frustration.

I also took full advantage of the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) Courses related to Exam 70-485:

Advanced Windows Store App Development Using C# Refresh

Advanced Windows Store App Development Using C# Jump Start (Retired)

Both courses are hosted by Jerry Nixon and Daren May, same as the MVA courses for Exam 70-486 and Exam 70-485. Both Jerry and Daren are highly knowledgeable in these areas, and their banter back and forth is highly entertaining. As a result, these videos are very watchable. Again, my only complaint is that they are too short! Microsoft should definitely get these guys to do a 5 day training session and put it up on MVA, especially when they so desperately want programmers developing for the Windows 8 platform.

There are a couple of places  where you can get code samples related to Windows Store development:

MVA Advanced Windows Store App Development Code Samples

Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows 8.1

Both of these links contain projects with a lot of code for you to do through and see how certain things are implemented.

Next, given that the exams are heavily code and API dependent, I created UML Diagrams of the important classes, methods and properties related to Windows Store App development. I found that the UML Diagrams were very helpful for me as it gave me a visual representation of the APIs, helping me to remember things easier. To create the UML Diagrams, I utilized Visual Studio’s UML Diagramming tool to create the diagrams, but definitely would have appreciated a tool that would generate a UML Class Diagram automatically from an assembly.

Finally, there are a couple other websites that provided some helpful advice. Here they are:

Exam 70-485 Wiki (Lots of good MSDN Links)

Exam 70-485 Forum

This means that I am now officially a MCSD! I’ll be writing up a summary of the entire process for me soon, but for now I’m looking at the MCSA certification to solidify my knowledge around SQL Server 2012. But I hope this series of blog posts help you get your MCSD!


One response to “How I Passed MCSD Exam 70-485

  1. Hi Shane, I stumbled upon your three blog posts about the exams leading to your certification as I’m due to sit 70-483 myself in a few weeks. Thanks you for sharing your experience and a big congratulations on getting your MCSD!

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