Published on Feb 01, 2014. 5 minute read.

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
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. Summary 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!


Jon Preece

About the author

Jon Preece is a professional front-end development specialist.

For over a decade, Jon has worked for some of the biggest and best UK based companies, on a wide range of products. Get in touch via Twitter.