I have recently passed Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Exam that test the foundational level knowledge of cloud computing concepts such and different Azure services. The exam is intended for candidates who are just beginning to work with cloud-based solutions and services or are new to Azure. Many people asked me questions about the exam, the skills measured by the exam, the learning resources I used for my preparation, etc. so I decided to write this study guide that contains all the information you need to prepare and pass the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) exam.
Table of Contents
Overview of Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Exam
Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Exam is a beginner level exam as compared to other more advance role based certifications from Microsoft. This also means that to pass this exam you don’t require to have experience of cloud computing or Azure.
This certification is useful for:
- People who don’t have a technical background
- People involved in purchasing and selling cloud services
- People who want to validate their basic knowledge of cloud computing and Azure services and solutions
- People who has some background or experience of IT and want to learn cloud computing
- People who want to make sure they are competent enough to take on more advance Azure certifications.
If you have finished preparation of this exam, then make sure
- You have a clear understanding of cloud computing concepts and various cloud deployment models
- You have a clear understanding of available cloud services and their purpose
- You have enough knowledge and information about different type of Azure accounts and subscriptions and their pricing models
- You know how Azure data centers and regions are distributed across the Globe
- You know the general Azure concepts such as Management Groups, Resource Groups, Policies, Role Based Access Control etc.
Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Exam Details
Most of the exam information is available on Microsoft website and the contents of the exam are also regularly updated by Microsoft so I will recommend you to visit the official exam page if you are preparing for the exam. One thing I noticed on the official exam page is that it doesn’t show the number of questions and the duration of the exam so some of the details in the following table are based on my exam which I passed on September 21, 2021.
|Exam Name||Exam AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals|
|Exam Cost||$99 USD|
Price varies and it is based on country in which the exam is proctored.
|Total Questions||30-50 Questions|
The number of exam questions also varies. In my exam, there were 33 questions.
All technical exam scores are reported on a scale of 1 to 1,000 and are scaled such that the passing score is 700. Any score of 700 or greater is a “pass.” Any score below 700 is a “fail.” You can read more about exam scores and retail policy here.
|Exam Duration||90 Minutes|
|Languages||English, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Spanish, German, French, Indonesian (Indonesia), Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Chinese (Traditional), Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian|
One thing, I like about the exam is that your result sheet is printed right after the exam, so you can quickly examine the areas in which you are doing well and the areas in which you are weak.
How to Schedule Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Exam?
If you want to schedule the exam, then you need to visit the official exam page. Once you are on the official exam page, scroll down a bit to see the “schedule exam” section. There you can change the country to see the price of the certification exam accordingly.
You can use one of the buttons shown above to schedule the exam. Following are some common steps required for scheduling the exam.
- Login to your Microsoft account
- Make sure your profile information is correct especially your name which should match exactly with your Government issued identity card e.g. NIC, driving license etc.
- If you are eligible for any discounts, you can avail and verify the discount availability option
- You will also be asked to choose the exam mode you wish to take. You can either visit a testing center or take the online Proctor based exam from your home or office.
- You will also be asked to choose the exam language, e.g. English, Japanese etc.
- You will also be asked to choose the exam schedule date and time from the list of available slots.
- You will also be asked to make exam payment, most probably using credit card.
Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Exam Course Outline
If you are preparing for the exam, it is very important to review and understand the course outline of the exam. The outline is divided into six main modules and each of these modules has multiple subtopics. The percentage against each main topic represents its weightage in the exam.
- Describe cloud concepts (20-25%)
- Describe core Azure services (15-20%)
- Describe core solutions and management tools on Azure (10-15%)
- Describe general security and network security features (10-15%)
- Describe identity, governance, privacy, and compliance features (15-20%)
- Describe Azure cost management and Service Level Agreements (10-15%)
Describe Cloud Concepts (20-25%)
This module covers topics to identify the benefits and considerations of using cloud services. You need to learn the cloud computing benefits such as High Availability, Scalability, Elasticity, Agility, and Disaster Recovery, Fault Tolerance, etc. You should also be able to differentiate between the Capital Expenditure (CapEx) and Operational Expenditure (OpEx). This module also covers different categories of cloud services, e.g. IaaS, PasS, IaaS, etc. and you should be able to choose one of these service types based on different use cases. You also need to learn the type of cloud computing models, e.g. Public, Private and Hybrid.
Describe Core Azure Services (15-20%)
Microsoft Learning Path about this module
This module covers the core architectural components of Azure. You need to learn about Azure data centers, regions, region pairs, availability zones, resources, resource groups, resource manager, subscriptions and management groups. Azure has a huge list of services (resources) and this module will cover almost all core services available in Azure such as Virtual Machines, AppService, Container Instances, Virtual Networks, VPN Gateway, ExpressRoute etc. You also need to learn about Azure storage tiers and services such as Blob, Table, Disk, File storage. Furthermore, the module will cover services such as Cosmos DB, Azure SQL Database, SQL Managed Instances, etc. and many other services.
Describe core solutions and management tools on Azure (10-15%)
This module covers the core solutions of Azure and you need to learn about IoT Hub, IoT Central, HDInsight, Databricks, Synapse Analytics, etc. You also need to learn about the benefits and usage of Azure AI and Machine Learning services including the Cognitive Services. You can also expect questions on Azure DevOps, GitHub actions and DevTest Labs. This module also covers some tools related to Azure management and monitoring such as PowerShell, CLI, Cloud Shell, Advisor, Azure Monitor and Service Health.
Describe general security and network security features (10-15%)
This module main focus is to cover Azure security features including the Azure Security Center, security alerts, policy compliance, etc. You need to learn the functionality and usage of Azure Key Vault, Azure Sentinel and Dedicate Hosts. The module also covers the topics related to Azure network security features that includes Network Security Groups, Firewall, DDoS protection, etc.
Describe identity, governance, privacy, and compliance features (15-20%)
This module covers Azure Identity services and related concepts. You need to learn about the functionality and usage of Azure Active Directory, Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-Factor Authentication. The module also includes Azure governance features such as Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Resource Locks, Tags, Policies, Blueprints and Cloud Adoption Framework of Azure. You should also expect questions on Azure privacy and complianceresources such as Online Services Terms, Microsoft Privacy Statement, Data Protection Amendment (DPA) and Trust Center. Azure Government cloud services and Azure China cloud services are also included in this module.
Describe Azure cost management and Service Level Agreements (10-15%)
This module main focus is to teach you about different methods of planning and managing costs. You will learn about the factors than can affect costs such as services, locations, resource types, ingress and egress traffic, etc. You will also learn about the factors that can reduce cost e.g. reserved instances, reserved capacity, hybrid use benefit, etc. The module also consists services such as Pricing calculator and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator, Azure Cost Management. The module also covers Azure Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and service lifecycles. You will learn the purpose of SLAs and the actions that can impact an SLA such as Availability Zones. You should also expect questions about Azure service life cycle, e.g. Private preview, public preview, General availability, etc.
Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Exam Learning Resources
As it was my first cloud computing exam so I have done lot of research about the good learning resources about this exam. The following section will give you the list of all the learning resources I used to pass this exam with 900 score in first attempt.
If you are new to cloud computing or Azure then these official Microsoft learning modules series teaches you the basic cloud concepts, provides a streamlined overview of many Azure services, and guides you with hands-on exercises to deploy your very first services for free.
In my opinion, this is the best Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Exam course on YouTube. The instructor Adam Marczak is Microsoft Certified Trainer and a Cloud Architect and in this course he has explained about all cloud computing concepts and Azure services with very easy to understand illustrations and presentations. Another great thing about this course is that every video episode has links to Adam’s website where you will not only find the notes related to each episode but you will also find some practice tests. I highly recommend this course to everyone new to cloud computing or Microsoft Azure.
If you have very short time and you want something that can help you prepare for the exam then this short 2 hour long video course is perfect for you. This video course is available on Udemy, and so far over 21 thousand students have enrolled in this course.
If you have an adequate amount of time and can attend in-depth explanatory videos, then this cloudacademy.com course is for you. In this 6-hour long video course, you’ll learn about every element that is linked with the Azure platform.
This is another quality free resource to prepare for Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certifications. Created by Andrew Brown, a leading AWS and Cloud expert, this 3-hour course is perfect to prepare for Azure Fundamentals certification in quick time.
One of the fastest selling Azure courses on Udemy. This course starts from very basics but by the end of this course you will be familiar with all major services in Azure. One of the best thing about this course is that it doesn’t just cover the theoretical knowledge about the Azure and its services but it will give you step by step guidelines about building a full blown modern cloud system on Azure.
Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Exam Practice Tests
Although the website says it is free, it actually requests you to pay after 50 questions. The good thing about this practice test is that it provides the explanation of each question.
There is a free practice test and 13 paid test on Whizlabs. They also provide answer and explanation for each question.
AZ-900 Practice Quiz (Free)
This practice exam is slightly more difficult as it covers many Azure services which other exam normally don’t touch. It is designed to assess your readiness for the exam and questions are almost similar to real exam questions.