Microsoft 365: Deploying SharePoint Hybrid (MS-301) Exam Prep Guide

This blog is part of a series. For more exam prep guides check back in the future

To note there are already great guides out there for MS-301 like these by Rene Modery and Vlad Catrinescu. The resources outlined in this blog are the ones I personally used to pass the exam

I am not a hybrid SharePoint expert. In passing this exam, its fair to say that I am still not a hybrid SharePoint expert.

Yet of all the exams I have taken over the course of the last year, this is the one where I have learnt the most. It’s also the one I came out the other end having a far greater appreciation of both the technology and the experts who do this on a day to day basis.

You see, when the Teamwork Associate was first announced – back before the betas in the MCT Town Halls between Inspire and Ignite (2018), I’ll be honest  – I was aghast that I would have to sit this in order to get the certification. I mean, seriously. All things considered, I didn’t have the exposure or what I considered a great deal of experience with deploying SharePoint on-premise or extending it into hybrid. Whilst I have been in the industry since – what – SharePoint 2 I never worked with it until years later when I managed migrations to Office 365. These were typically migrations to SharePoint Online involving decommission of the old on premises servers. Extending into Hybrid popped up maybe once on a quarterly basis. Today, I work with Partners whose customers are pretty much all SMB’s who – for cost or management reasons, never really consider on premises or have never had it previously. I can’t think of a single conversation I’ve had in the past few years which actually made it to discussing things like Minrole and farm topology.

So, a little part of me believes that 301 would work better as an expert level exam similar to the old 70-339 – like how 70-339 took the 365 MCSA up to MSCE Productivity. Microsoft could have potentially structured it in such as way that doing MS-300 or MS-300 with a second exam meant associate and then MS-301 upped to the expert. My fear here is that there will be a good few out there who are going to rule this out, and therefore rule Teamwork Associate out for reasons such as lack of exposure and experience. This is a an example of one of the downsides of role based certifications: a role based cert is based upon a role, an abstracted role whereas your role – even if it has the same name – could be, and is likely, different.

But there is another argument to all this – one I think wins out. And that is that SharePoint, ultimately, exists online and on premises. That’s how it is and how it has been for many years. Like SCCM, hundreds of thousands of organisations across the world still use on-premises; as many again are configured in Hybrid and – in addition to there being significant demand for it, others can’t just lock stock move to SharePoint Online for reasons such as compliance and past investment. Therefore, to put Teamwork administrators in the best position from a skills, longevity and employability perspective 301 doesn’t just work – it’s essential. Looking at it from this perspective, if you haven’t got the exposure and experience it pretty much boils down to this: if you have the will to do it and are open to learning it then you can absolutely nail it daunting as it may seem. In my personal case, it was a real simple combination of spinning up 2019 on Azure with my MSDN subscription, and Microsoft Tech Community. Today, you should be able to get content on learning sites such as Pluralsight and Udemy. Vlad Catrinescu’s book on deploying 2019 is also available and the other exam guides – together with everything else above should be enough, given a reasonable amount of time, to get you over the top.

So best of luck!

Link to Exam: Here
Released: 14th January 2019
Practice Test: Available later in 2019
MOC Course: MS-301TO1A/TO2A/TO3A/TO4A

Important Note: this exam prep guide should be used to supplement your own resources and should not be used for the whole of your learning. Some of the resources may be not completely cover the requirements especially if the requirement is vague. If you find better articles than the ones below, please feel free to reach out and I’ll amend.

Status: I passed this exam in May shortly after it came out of Beta. I had the short type exam (43 questions) and this is designed to be heavily weighted in the configure and manage SharePoint on-premises area. I feel it is important to point out that I scraped this exam with a 700 pass mark – right on the threshold. To reiterate I did it using a combination of deploying SharePoint 2019 on Azure with my MSDN subscription, (about 2/3 of the links below) and Microsoft Tech Community. There is now more materials coming out including Pluralsight, Udemy and Vlad Catrinescu’s book on deploying 2019. You may have found some other great materials to use too – but I would heavily advise with this one getting practical experience of deployment. Without this, the odds of getting a pass are pretty slim.


Configure and manage SharePoint on-premises (55-60%)

Plan a SharePoint farm

Manage and maintain a SharePoint farm

Implement authentication

Manage site collections

Plan and configure Business Connectivity Services (BCS) and Secure Store

Plan and configure managed metadata

Manage search

Configure and manage hybrid scenarios (30-35%)

Plan a hybrid configuration and topology

Implement hybrid teamwork artefacts

Implement a hybrid Search Service application

Implement a data gateway

Migrate to SharePoint Online (5-10%)

Migrate data and content

  • Determine course of action for data and content that cannot be migrated
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