Microsoft 365: Messaging Administrator Certification Transition (MS-202) Exam Prep Guide

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

Mail is in the genes of the organisation I work for. To this day it still has one of the largest Hosted Exchange platforms in the country and some of the very best Exchange engineers in the business. I find these Exchange engineers – meaning those dedicated to Exchange management on a day to day basis, some of the most deeply passionate people I have met in all of IT. They love what they do – absolutely mad for it. I encourage anyone to talk to them about DAG’s or SMTP Configuration, or TNEF, or Delegate Permissions, or Mailbox Protocols, or SmartHost integration, or Replay Queues, or RAID, or Jetstress or least cost routing paths.

Just a Bunch of Disks (JBOD)?

There is a real art to it. Truly.

Having worked with Exchange for over ten years and managing an eye-watering amount of migrations for five of those, you could say it’s given me somewhat of an advantage here. That’s true – but that advantage is nowhere near as big as you may think. Today, I work across the whole of the Microsoft 365 stack, and mainly cloud only, and if I were to identify apps I touch the most then its really the collaboration apps – Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer and Stream, as opposed to Exchange. That’s the way my career seems to be headed. Doing the transitional MS-202 exam has largely been because I passed 70-345 but also because it’s a grand tipping of the hat to where I came from in IT. Its very much a belief of mine that you should never forget where you came from and what made you. This has, by all accounts, been a very personal affair.

So the first thing to note – right off the bat – is that MS-202 is an exam that is only worth doing if you have passed 70-345, and pulls content from MS-200 and MS-201 that covers the gaps. As a transition exam, it’s open for a short period until Microsoft retires it and MS-200/201 becomes the only path to earn the Messaging Administrator Associate. What’s probably less well known is that transitional exams are shorter than other MCP exams – only about 25-30 questions as opposed to 50-60. This doesn’t mean the questions are any less difficult – simply more focused. The focus here is the deployment and management of Exchange Server 2019, the configuration of Hybrid between on-prem and Online and modern security features – mainly EOP and ATP.

What that means for you is that you’ll need to know about the preferred architecture of Exchange 2019. You’ll need to know about how to setup and configure Mailbox and Edge Servers and the consolidation of the Client Access and Mailbox server roles. You’ll need to know about DAG’s, shadow redundancy and safety nets. You’ll need to understand least cost routing paths. You’ll need to know about the Hybrid Configuration Wizard and routing between Exchange on premise and Exchange Online. You’ll need to know about all the staple exchange resources such as mailboxes, DL’s, Security Groups, Public Folders, Archive Resource and Shared Mailboxes, Permissions. You’ll need to know – and I would highly recommend this – as much about Exchange Online Protection, Advanced Threat Protection (particularly safe attachments and safe links) – and retention/DLP policies as is humanly possible. I would also throw in there Connectors, Journaling, Client Access Rules, Types of Migration to Exchange Online and logging – all the types of logging such as transport and circular.

Its fair to say that I came out of MS-202 thinking that if this is reflective of MS-200 and 201 then they are going to be right up there as some of the hardest of the associate exams. For me, this had a very similar feel to MS-301 (SharePoint Hybrid) going for depth rather than breadth. Like 301 its probably more of an expert exam rather than an associate. You need to either do this daily or go hard with the study even coming from an Exchange background.

Get in there quick – time is running out to take this one.

Best of luck

Link to Exam: Here
Released: 7th January 2019
Practice Test: N/A
MOC Course: N/A

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. The exam was around 28 questions and was evenly weighted across all areas. As said previously, this is a transition exam and so is shorter than a regular MCP exam. Pricing for a transition exam ought to reflect this.


From MS-200: Planning and Configuring a Messaging Platform

Manage modern messaging infrastructure (20-25%)

Manage databases

Manage messaging infrastructure lifecycle

Manage mail flow topology (5-10%)

Plan the transport pipeline

Manage recipients and devices (10-15%)

Manage recipient resources

From MS-201: Implementing a Hybrid and Secure Messaging Platform

Plan and implement a hybrid configuration and migration (20-25%)

Plan a hybrid environment

Deploy a hybrid environment

Secure the messaging environment (35-40%)

Manage message hygiene

Manage Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) for messaging

Manage compliance