The New Microsoft 365 Expert tests should not be taken lightly…
Let me start by saying that I am a MCSE NT, 2000, 2003, 2008 and most recently a 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert. I have taken a total of 20 Microsoft tests in my 25-year career including many electives. My first test, believe it or not, was Understanding Windows 98 in 1998.
After the first few tests I got into a groove of studying and passing became a process. As time went on, the answers to about 80% of the questions were available as more and more people took the tests. The process almost became easy; If you study the appropriate amount you should pass the test.
On June 30th, 2020, Microsoft officially discontinued the MCSE, MCSD and MSCA certification tracks. There would be no new tests offered for Windows Server 2016 or 2019, SQL 2016, etc. This appears to be an obvious intended shake up of certifications (as Cisco did recently) and a clear push to cloud based certs. Certifications will now also expire after 2 years from the date when you achieve the certification.
One your certification has expired; you can take an upgrade test in that area to extend the cert another 2 years. Along with this cloud push, Microsoft has also made their tests and certifications much more role based, which is a good idea. They now have 3 basic tiers of tests, Fundamental (1 star), Associate (2 star) and Expert (3 star). People that are new to the cloud or Microsoft tests are encouraged to start with the fundamental tests where the advanced and experienced are instructed to take the higher-level tests achieving higher certifications.
I just passed my 3rd new Microsoft test to become a 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert. To become an Enterprise Administrator Expert, you must pass a minimum of 3 tests (and possibly 4 depending on which certs you may currently have and what track you choose). There are 2 required tests, MS-100: Microsoft 365 Identity and Services and MS-101: Microsoft 365 Mobility and Security. I decided to take MS-500: Microsoft 365 Security Administration to complete the certification. If you already have a current MCSA or MCSE you may be able to use this as an elective (along with MS-100 and MS-101) to attain the certification as well.
All 3 tests were in my opinion, difficult. I passed each one by literally 2-3 correct answers and failed MS-101 once (by only 2 incorrect answers). In my experience, these tests are much harder than the original MCSE tests because of a few reasons. One reason is that these tests are fairly new, so the feedback compared to other more popular tests that have been out a while is limited. These 365 tests also use several different types of questions, which is different from the original MCSE tests that offered multiple choice, and some choose the steps questions. These tests have multiple choice with multiple answers, a lot of scenario questions (which include real world environments and requirements), hot area, drag and drop and even actual simulations of 365 admin tasks. Also, a lot of the main 365 areas are going through upgrades (flow became Power Automate, Intune became Endpoint Manager, etc.) and the tests reflect these new areas and concepts.
Bottom line is do not take these new Microsoft 365 tests lightly. They cover a vast range of new areas as the product changes and expands quickly. You should understand the concepts and hopefully have some 365 experience before tackling these tests. Good Luck!