How to pass Microsoft Exam 70-486 (Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications) in 30 days

Before you continue reading this blog, you need to be aware of the following; This is not a “quick fix” or an “easy solution”.  I have not discovered some secret formula to guarantee you pass with 100% marks every time.  I am not trying to sell you anything.  The exam is genuinely challenging and the only way you are going to pass is by working hard!  You will not find any brain dumps here!  If you’re afraid of working hard to achieve your goals, you best leave now …

Still Here? Congratulations, you are taking your first steps towards passing the Microsoft exam 70-486 in just 30 days.  The purpose of this post is to link to all the resources that I used when revising for the exam myself.

So why 30 days? Well its important to set yourself a target.  Setting yourself a target motivates you.  If you are paying for this exam yourself (like I did), you’ll really want to make sure you give the exam your best shot (after all, £99 is a hefty amount of money!)

Know the exam objectives

Probably the most important thing you should do before starting studying for any exam is to find out what the exam objectives are.  Basically the exam objectives tell you what to study for! There is not much point in learning material that is of no relevance!

You can find the exam objectives under the “Skills Measured” section on the official 70-486 exam page.


Books aren’t for everybody, some people find it hard to sit down and read a book … I get that, but you should at least try.

Have a look at Exam Ref 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications

Developing ASP .NET MVC 4 Web Applications

This book was written by William Penberthy.  And its terrible not the best book I’ve ever read.

Pros; Each objective on the exam receives equal coverage.  There are some good insights into the various technologies at a high level, and the author is clearly very experienced in this field.

Cons;  This is the official book from Microsoft from the 70-486 exam, and it is somewhat off the mark.  The objectives/sections/chapters are disjointed and only covered at a very high level.  The book is severely lacking in detail and code samples/walkthroughs.

If you really want to read a book, I highly recommend reading Professional ASP.NET MVC 4, which was written by Jon Galloway, Phil Haack, Brad Wilson, Scott Allen and Scott Hanselman.  Five people who are leading experts in this field.  I learnt a lot from this book, it flows well, there are sufficient code samples and the book is very engaging.

Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) JumpStart

Microsoft has provided some great FREE training videos on the Microsoft Virtual Academy website, so its only polite that you fully exploit these resources.

You will want to start with the Building Web Apps with ASP .NET Jump Start video series.  Just a note, you will need a free Microsoft account to access the videos.

Pluralsight Training Videos

Pluralsight is a subscription (paid for) site offering training material for developers (and now IT professionals as well) at all levels, and in all stages of their careers.  If you don’t already have a subscription (??) you can get a free 10 day trial (up to 200 minutes) to give you a taste.  The subscription starts at a mere $29 (£17.62 ish) a month.

Here are some of the videos I watched whilst preparing for this exam; (Make sure you follow along whilst the presenter is talking!)

You may also want to scrub up on your HTML 5, JavaScript (jQuery) and CSS, as these are mentioned in the exam objectives as well.


It is possible to pass Microsoft exams in 30 days, assuming you have some background knowledge in the subject and are prepared to work (very!) hard.  Microsoft make a lot of training resources available to you for free, and there are online training providers that can help you out as well (for a small fee).  There is no “one size fits all” or “silver bullet”, so you’ll want to try a range of resources to find what works best for you.  Don’t resort to cheating or you will be caught and banned for life!

In case anybody is wondering, I passed the exam with a score of 94% in January 2014.

If you found this article useful, please leave comments below!

  • Thanks for sharing… I really was looking for that 🙂
    Thumbs up!!

    • No problem, I’m glad you found this helpful. Just remember this is not an exhaustive list of everything you should study, please review the full exam objectives for a comprehensive list. Thanks!

  • Thanks for sharing. One question: what is the mark to pass the exam? More than 70%? Thanks

    • It was my pleasure, yes the pass mark is 70%. Thanks!

      • sagar

        once we pass the exam can we get any mail with score on d day? or only the score appear on the screen after completion of exam is only the proof for pass?

        • In my experience sitting exams with Prometric … usually once you complete the exam you get the score displayed on screen, and you also get given a paper copy by the exam overseer. You can also order certificates from the MCP site ( Hope this helps.

  • speyburn

    I had no experience with MVC, no experience with Azure and no experience with unit testing, but I passed the exam (with exactly 70%…).
    So you see, it is possible – but like Jon said: you have to work hard!

    • And I’m sure you studied super hard for the exam!! 🙂

  • You’re entirely right about the Exam Ref 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications book. I agree that indeed each objective on the exam receives equal coverage, though I must admit I mainly used it more as road pattern map reference so to speak. I found the content was indeed a bit disjointed at some extent and the flow was not well structured enough. By that I mean It would start giving a short introducing description on a segment A and instead of going deeper and emphasizing more on it, it would jump to another segment B to finally come back to segment A.
    So I did a lot of extra digging gathering more informations to fill the gaps and did a bit of info restructuring on my own though respecting the 5 section pattern.
    To me it was a bit like training for a black belt in a way. It takes a lot of initiative and discipline.
    My rule of thumb is always to fairly master a topic before going onto the next one…
    If I feel tired at some point well I take a pause…the key is to go at your own pace and don’t overdo it…
    This was a very good exercise, the kind of logic revision mixed with exploration we always want to [and should…] do though we never gather the time to do.
    I’m sure all the informations I gathered will be helpful for a long time.

    One last thing I wouldn’t waste my money on so called practice question and answer exam kit… The key is to practice, practice and practice…

    • Thank you for your advice and words of wisdom, we all truly appreciate it.

      Regarding you last point about using question and answer kits… I have had a mixed experience here. I have used these kits in the past (no names :)) and whilst they are quite detailed with the questions/answers/explanations you are given … I’ve found that I have been lured into a false sense of security. I have in the past felt ready for the exam after using one of these kits, only to find that completely unrelated questions have been on the exam, in completely different areas of study.

      I highly recommend that if you are going to use these kits, then proceed with precaution and only as a supplement to your normal learning plan.

  • I believed it was indeed good for us to point out that even if some sites may pretend to offer key solutions with Q&A guide, don’t be fooled a lot are just fakes… and as you mentioned may be misleading.

    Also for those of you who are preparing to take the 70-486 exam in a relatively near future I just want to remind you that some changes regarding updates to MVC 5, Visual Studio 2013, and Windows Azure tasks topics content will be effective as of April 30, 2014. This is not to discourage anyone so please don’t worry nothing is lost and nobody’s back on square one, mainly a few new added features such as SignalR … Though nothing special mentioned about OWIN and WebAPI 2 …
    So I would invite you to check on Prometric site for further update details. Hope it helps.

  • Hello Jon…thanks for sharing your views for this exam through this helpful article…
    I had been looking out for some information for this Exam as I am almost ready to give it in coming week !!
    I had prepared for it …but still want to make sure I didn’t miss anything… 😀
    Yeah and one more thing ..What is your opinion on the dumps/questions that we get in web site …?..are they sufficient if we go through all of it ?
    Just want to know your thoughts on this…

    And Thanks Again !!

    • I’m very pleased you find this information helpful … best of luck with your exam please do let me know how you get on.

      As for brain dumps/questions … I have a 100% zero tolerance policy on this. If you cheat then you are only cheating yourself. Don’t give in to the temptation. These sorts of websites should be shut down.

      • falconmick

        The only issue I have with this point is that I was stung pretty bad by the JS exam. I don’t really sit exams well. The first time I sat it I studied for a long time, wen’t from 0 js/html/css to a point where I was confident. Got into the exam, and it’s asking me if I want to do x with b, do i use potato or potata. I really think that an exam is a crappy way of giving validation to a person ability to program, when I program I don’t answer multiple choise. I then used a dump to get a grasp on what they actually are likely to ask and event though the questions weren’t all the same and even the brain dump had errors in it, It helped me understand what in the hell they were actually going to be examining. js/html/css is kinda a behemoth, and I don’t think that the guidelines really gave enough clarity on what part they would be tackling.

        Now I have just got off of an 8 month project using MVC to build a website and I made the mistake of setting doing the exams as a goal while I am in downtime. It would really infuriate me if I got into the exam and the first question was:
        I want to add a global filter, do I use:

        Because under exam conditions I am prone to pick the most horribly wrong answer because my brain doesn’t like me. You say don’t cheat yourself, but it would really be a slap in the face to after spending 8 months on a MVC project, fail by getting 68% because I didn’t know that a tomato was a fruit

  • Thanks for the invaluable information. I have read a few reviews and they seem to be suggesting the same, regarding the Exam Ref book.

    I recently sat the 70-461 (Querying SQL databases), using my subscription to safari books online as well as using the MVA and also using the Plural Sight and I cannot agree with you more… Hard work and making sure you understand and cover the Measured Skills, then you will be fine.

    I will be embarking on the 70-486, shortly and look forward to going through the references that you have suggested.

  • Thanks a lot!. This was really very valuable information. And yes Professional ASP.NET MVC 4 book is really good one for learning MVC. To understand MVC what kind of practice should i do ? I mean to say that example which are shown in book or ASP.NET website are they enough, do i need to work on some real life example and what kind of practice did you do to achieve high score ?

    • jpreecedev

      If you really want to become a great ASP .NET MVC dev, the best thing you can do is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! I literally cannot stress this enough. Put down the book and start coding. Think of an idea, even if it has already been done a thousand times before, and get to work. Don’t worry, the site doesn’t ever have to go live (but you easily could do this using a free instance on Windows Azure). Use the book to fill in the blanks/answer any questions you have. You can’t achieve a high score without practical experience. Hope this helps.

  • Thank you for putting some valuable information here. I just want to ask, did this exam certification (70-486) helps finding a better job? I am in Web development field from long time but I stick to php/mysql. I have seen jobs with the requirement of ASP.Net developer, so now I am interested in doing MCSD certification and my first step will starting with

  • aaruthra

    hi jon. . Iam a fresher to .net field and i have been asked to do certification in 486.. just wanna know whether preparation based on the book ll be sufficient along with practice or should i look for more dumps ? ? ? awaiting your reply. . .

    • hello. I think you should avoid dumps at all costs. They tend to be inaccurate and untrustworthy and ultimately you are just kidding yourself because you’re just cheating your way through and eventually you will be caught out. Apply yourself, learn the material, revise, and most importantly practice and you will achieve your goal.

      • Karthik Sachin

        good answer jon

  • Saied

    I am a subscriber and I am looking forward to get a Microsoft 70-486 Certification.Can you suggest to me the courses I should take in instead of the pluralsight.Thanks you 🙂

  • Diego Luiz

    I just fell in this article today!
    I have already known about the book, MVA and Pluralsight, but I needed a motivation and a belief that it’s possible to pass with that.. I think motivation is a key factor for any kind of exam..
    Anyway, thanks a lot 🙂

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  • Leandro Otani

    Hello Jon!

    Just a quick question:

    I’m starting to look into MCSD web developer certification path and, about the exam 70-486, is there any main reason you chose Professional ASP.NET MVC over Pro ASP.NET MVC 5 (by Freeman)? I’m really in doubt about which one to pick. Thank you!

    • I haven’t actually read Pro ASP .NET MVC 5. I picked Professional ASP .NET MVC because I have been a fan of the authors for many years. I’m sure that both books are very thorough, professionally written and engaging, so I don’t think you can lose either way.

      • Leandro Otani

        I see!
        Well Jon, thank you for the info and Great Blog! I will keep following.

  • Alexandr

    The books and training videos are really useful in preparation for this exam. But for me it wasn’t enough. I used also online test simulation and training questions and answers.

  • Karthik Sachin

    jon preece is that possible for me to get sample question for 70486 exam? there any websites providing for the free of cost?

  • Andres Dras Tiko

    Nice post friend! I will work hard for pass the exam, regards!

  • Mikhail S

    I would rather change the book Professional ASP.NET MVC 4 to ASP.NET MVC 5

  • Ahmad

    Passed the 70-486 yesterday. Thanks to Jon for this clear and descriptive article that helped me to create my learning road map en to hold on to it. What i found is that the book “Professional ASP.NET MVC 4” is good for practical samples that hepls you solve the code questions on the exam, bu you also need to practice on your own MVC apps in VS, while the ref book has a big value for the theoretical part of the exam.

    I found the IClaims Identity videos very useful and easy to understand, that helped me too in my exam. I can repeat what Jon mentioned, you have to work VERY hard!

  • Hi! I didn’t find anything on test 70-486 which version of #ASP.NET Identity is used: V1,V2 or V3?

  • Bharat

    I have recently cleared the certification exam 70-486 and i have written a series of blog posts in my blog with all resources which i have used to easily clear this exam.

    For perfect study guide to easily clear the certification exam 70-486 refer to this blog post

    This blog post gives access to the resources for all the topics which are tested in this certification exam 70-486: Developing mvc web applications.

    • Vinicius Rocha

      Nice compilation!

  • tommy86r

    Great article, when do you think Microsoft will update the exam for the newest technologies – MVC 5 (or 6) ?

  • Adam Clarke

    Im sure you can pass in 30 days if you prepare it well. Best of luck mate.

  • Karen Goytizolo

    Thanks for the certification tips! It is pretty useful! I just have 30 days to take the the exam, let’s see if works for me too.

  • Neha Pednekar

    I recently passed the Microsoft 70-486 ASP.NET MVC Web Applications exam with an awesome score of 914.
    Below given are some of the references I used as a major part of my prep.
    1. Pluralsight Videos :
    Pluralsight Videos are the best source of knowledge and moreover the foundation to nail this certification.
    The below given link gives you a complete learning path to crack the 70-486 certification:

    2. Professional ASP.NET MVC 5 (byJon Galloway, Brad Wilson, K. Scott Allen, David Matson)
    This book is another awesome bible to nail this exam. It provides you with the topics in detail and goes well even if you are a beginner. I would recommend you to start referring this book before you go ahead with the Exam Ref.

    3. And last but not the least , Exam Ref 70-486 Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications (MCSD), Book by William Penberthy
    This book is the high level overview of MVC released by Microsoft Press. This book has those minute details that can be related to a very important question of your certification exam.
    My Experience:
     3 case studies in the beginning
    1. Case Study 1 : 4 Questions
    2. Case Study 2 : 5 Questions
    3. Case Study 3 : 6 Questions
    4. 33 MIX Questions
     Total Questions Asked = 48 (Time : 2.5 hrs)
     I took 40 days to prepare for this exam. I am working as a Professional Web Developer and wanted to learn this architecture. I assure that this is the best platform to kick start your goal to be an MVC Web Developer
     Note: You have to submit all the answers belonging to each case study one at a time and you cannot change them later. The submission is considered as a final submission.