19 May 2013


Microsoft’s ALM Certification – Part 2 of 3

Welcome to the second of my three part series on Microsoft’s new MCSD – Application Lifecycle Management certification. In the first part of this series I provided information about the certification as well as some guidance on how to prepare for the 70-496 exam. In this article, we’ll move on to how to prepare for the 70-497 exam. NOTE: You do not need to complete the exams in a specific order. I’d suggest you start with the one you’re most confident on and then move through the remaining two.

Exam 70-497: Software Testing with Visual Studio 2012

This is Microsoft’s first exam focusing primarily on Microsoft Test Manager (MTM) 2012. While this is the second version of MTM, it is the first time there has been an exam for it.

You can find the specific details of the exam on Microsoft’s exam page for 70-497.

The audience identified for this exam on the exam page is “Developers”. I would question this based on the skills being measured section of the exam page. I suggest that this exam is more directed at full time manual testers more so than developers.

Exam Details

Exam code: 70-497
Exam title: Software Testing with Visual Studio 2012
Release date: September 25th, 2012
Pass mark: 700
Questions: Approximately 45
Time: Approximately 145 minutes

Exam Preparation Best Bets

Finding a single fast-path to help you prepare for this exam is difficult. This exam focuses on your hands-on knowledge of how to use Microsoft Test Manager. Here’s a list of three options for you to consider.

Practical One of the best things you can do to prepare for this exam is to use Microsoft Test Manager and become familiar with all of it’s features and capabilities.
eBook Testing for Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio 2012 from the Microsoft Patterns and Practices group.
Formal training If you want to get up to speed quickly, may be attending a formal training course might be an option. Take a closer look at this course if this is a path you might consider.


Exam Preparation – a closer look

The 70-497 exam comprised three key topic areas. As I did in part 1 of this series, lets look at each of these areas and try to find some helpful information in the MSDN library to help you study.

Before we look into each of the areas, one thing I will point out is that the majority of the exam focuses on the planning and management of your testing effort. Only 35% focuses on actually executing your tests. Remember this and apportion your study accordingly.

Another tip I will share with you is that at the time of writing this article, both TFS 2012 Update 1 and Update 2 have been released and Update 3 RC1 is available. The first two updates introduced a number of big improvements and new features to Microsoft Test Manager. Eg. the web-based Test Hub, cloning test plans and more. The exam has been written to match the RTM version of the product so you need to “forget” any features added in post release updates.

Create and Configure Test Plans (31%)

This topic covers the following high level areas.

  • Create test plan properties.
  • Configure test settings.
  • Define configurations.
  • Create Test Suites.
  • Configure Test Suites.

Much of the information for this topic can be found on the MSDN Library under a topic titled “Defining a Test Plan” (http://examcr.am/14CCryh). Make sure you read all child nodes underneath this topic on MSDN. 

Manage Test Cases (34%)

This topic covers the following high level areas.

  • Create Test Cases.
  • Create Test Steps.
  • Define parameters.
  • Manage Shared Steps.
  • Manage requirements.

The MSDN Library link for this exam topic is titled “Creating and Managing Tests”
(http://examcr.am/UD8bNY). Remember to read all child nodes underneath this topic on MSDN.

Manage Test Execution (35%)

This topic covers the following high level areas.

  • Run Tests.
  • Perform Exploratory Testing.
  • Manage bugs.
  • Use Lab Center.
  • Analyze Recommended Tests.
  • Perform analysis.
  • Manage Work Items.

The third and final exam topic area has two primary locations on MSDN for you to focus your study. Firstly look at “Running Tests in Microsoft Test Manager” (http://examcr.am/12DgK0W) and then “Performing Exploratory Testing” (http://examcr.am/10Dh0wW).

Good all-purpose resources

The following three books represent great resources, not just for the exams but for anyone working with or supporting Microsoft Team Foundation Server.


Testing for Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio 2012
(Free eBook) (Physical book on Amazon)
Authors: Larry Brader, Howie Hilliker , Alan Cameron Wills

ProALM thumbnail Professional Team Foundation Server 2012
Authors: Ed Blankenship, Martin Woodward, Grant Holliday and Brian Keller.
ProTFS thumbnail Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2012
Authors: Mickey Gousset, Brian Keller and Martin Woodward.

That concludes part 2 of this series. In my final post in this series, I’ll provide guidance on exam 70-498: Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio 2012 Application Lifecycle Management.