Sunday, 17 May 2009

Microsoft 70-568 exam study guide

Several years ago (maybe 5 now) when I was studying for my MCSD.NET, I stumbled upon a site for MS 70-316, which contains lots of links to help study for the Microsoft 70-316 exam. Back then you had a lot of excellent books for these exams, like Amit Kalani’s study guides, which I thought were the best around at the time.

Roll on several years later I find myself studying for Microsoft 70-568. Currently there are no specific books for this exam. I’m not a fan of doing courses- I prefer reading and experimenting. So this post is my own lists of links and recommended books that a test candidate may find useful.

It turns out that the upgrade exams are a combination of 3 separate MCTS/MCPD exams (Scroll down to Gerry's comment on the prep guides).

Background Reading

Before starting your study for the upgrade exam, I recommend you do some background reading on what is new in .NET 3.5 for ADO.NET, Windows Forms and ASP.NET. Here are some links to get you started:

Skills measured

This roughly ties up with the skills measured page (as of 17th May 2009) on the MS site (the tabs don’t seem to work in the version of Firefox I use, so it is probably best to use IE to visit this page). The majority of the links point to MSDN, with a few linking to some excellent articles that I found. Of course this information is not 100% complete and subject to my own interpretation of the requirements. You should supplement the missing sections with your own Google search/book reading.

The official books

You might want to get the official MS Press books to help you study for this exam. I didn’t, as I choose to read non MS books instead- for that reason I don’t have an opinion of them. For completeness, these are what I believe to be the official MS Press books for the components that make up the exam:

Unfortunately I can’t find any sample chapters for these books- from the reviews it looks like they may be useful for exam, particularly for candidates with little experience.

The books I used/think are useful

I read a lot of tech books in order to try and stay up-to-date with technology, so I didn’t read all of these books just to pass the exam. Also if like me you have access to O’Reilly Safari, then you can read some of these books on there.

ASP.NET books

  • ASP.NET AJAX in action (this is a .NET 2.0 book but still mostly relevant). A very good book, but unfortunately out of date. I still found it very useful both for the exam and using ASP.NET AJAX. You also might want to consider Professional ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX, as this targets ASP.NET 3.5- I didn’t buy it, but if I was looking for a book now I would probably favour this one over the “in action” range, simple because it is out of date.
  • Professional ASP.NET 3.5. This is a nice easy to read book on ASP.NET 3.5. It would probably be most useful for people who haven’t done much ASP.NET, but have some .NET experience.
  • Essential ASP.NET 2.0. Brilliant chapter on Health Monitoring and Web events- the chapter is called Diagnostics. This book looks like it aimed at more experienced ASP.NET developers. I only read the chapter on diagnostics, but the rest of it looks interesting.
  • Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 3.5. Good coverage of authorization and authentication.
  • Programming ASP.NET 3.5, 4th edition. Another book with good coverage of authentication and impersonation.


Windows Forms

I didn’t use a Windows forms book to study for the exam, but I can recommend this one:


I didn’t buy any specific books on ADO.NET. However I know this framework exceptionally well, as it use it on virtually every project I work on. A book I found useful when upgrading to .NET 2.0 was:

A book that looks like it could be very good is “Professional ADO.NET 3.5”, though I’ve not read it myself.

General .NET

  • CLR via C#. This is the one book I recommend to any .NET programmer. For the exam it has an excellent chapter on performing asynchronous operations.

Of course you don’t have to use books at all (or you might not have the budget to buy books), in that case the next section is the most useful.

Extra stuff

You don’t need to this stuff for the exam, but I stumbled across it whilst revising.

Completely off topic, but I found it interesting- distributed caching:

Other interesting stuff:

Finally there is lots of useful programming information on Stackoverflow.


  1. Hi

    This is really useful. Do you know if you'll be posting something similar for 70-569?

  2. Hi B.

    I aim to have 70-569 up in a month or two- I am studying for that one now. I'm glad you found it useful.

  3. Thanks for share, really helpful..