Monday 1 December 2008

Exam tips for 70-528..ASP.NET Web Applications MCTS

This exam is aimed at ASP.NET Web Developers who are using the 2.0 version of the framework. So, by the name you can guess that it requires quite a bit of knowledge of the IIS, the ASP.NET web.config file and also standard web protocols.

The ASP.NET exam is a bit varied; it is not just concerned with how to develop ASP.NET web applications but also how to deploy them. This is what sometimes catches people in this exam as it expects you to know how you would publish your application to the web once you have it developed. And what are the reasons you would use a particular tool over another.

So with that in mind, you should take a look at the exam landing page, which details what is expected for this exam.

So what should you be doing?

Take a look at this post and it should help you test your readiness for the exam. If the exam landing page looks ok, have a go at one of the practice exams from and see how you score. This will give you a good idea of where you are in relation to passing the exam.

After that, you should have a copy of Visual Studio 2005. As this exam is aimed at the 2.0 framework, it is better to use the specific tool for it rather than using Visual Studio 2008. Even though VS2008 supports multi targeting of the different frameworks, it has additional tools and functionality not in 2005 and the exam was designed around that.

Now the following is a question that I am sometimes asked in relation to VS2005 and this exam. Are the Express Editions sufficient to use for understanding the UI and tools? And I always answer, I don’t know as I have never actively used any of the Express Editions to any great extent. So I can’t answer with any certainty if all the tools are included in those editions as compared to the Pro editions.

Next thing I would be doing is getting hold of the 180 day trial of either Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 and installing it in on your virtualisation software of choice. Having this will allow you to test your deployments and also remote debugging etc. If you use Server 2008, you will need to configure some extra bits such as IIS6.0 compatibility so that your web apps will work.

Also you will need a book. I used the MCTS Training Kit from MS Press and supplemented it with information from MSDN and blogs where I saw the need. One of my tricks here was to download the exam matrix to an Excel file and add links to different topics when I needed them so that I would have them on file. Unfortunately I have lost that excel file, but I will recreate it and publish it when I can.

The main key points you need to take away before you sit the exam would be

Understand the web.config

  • Security using IIS and web.config, also with ASP.NET applications and the implications of using the different types
  • The web deployment tools supplied with VS2005
  • Web controls and how to implement them
  • Master Pages, implementation, use, reasoning etc.

While this is not meant to an exhaustive list, it gives you an idea of what you should be looking at when you are studying for this exam. There are other aspects to the material which needs to be given sufficient time but the points above are standard parts of the whole of the toolkit that are expected in any ASP.NET developer.

More information on preparing for your exams can be found here and also some information on doing the exam (here)

1 comment:

Dustin Hoffman said...

Thanks for the post! I'm on my way to take the exam this morning, and I'm all kinds of nervous. This will be my fourth Microsoft Certification exam, working toward the MCPD Enterprise cert. The next one I'll be taking is on Distributed Application Development. If you have any tips or advice regarding that exam, let me know.