How to prepare for Microsoft Exam 70-480 :Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3

TL;DR; Always plan your next exam as a tool  to learn new things or strengthening the concepts you already know. If your intention is just to pass the exam then this blog might not be very helpful to you.

This article is regarding preparation of Microsoft exam titled “Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3”. Paper code is 70-480. Passing marks is 700 out of 1000. You can get more details here. I cleared the exam last year on November 10, 2017. My score is reflected in this LinkedIn update. I’ll take up this blog in five parts:

  1. What areas are important?
  2. What Resources to refer?
  3. How to prepare?
  4. Caveats, Gotchas and pitfalls
  5. Exam tips

What areas are important

You can clearly see three keys in the title of the exam itself namely “HTML5”, “JavaScript”, and “CSS3”. Of course all three are important but I think we need to put more energy into JavaScript (JS) initially as compared to other two.  The reason behind this is the fact that JavaScript is the programming language with the help of which you achieve the other two parts. Programming language is the channel through which you accomplish things. e.g. let’s say you want to use a new feature of HTML5. But would you be able to use it if you don’t know JS language. You can’t. So a good control on basic fundamentals and internals of Vanilla JS is really required to pass this exam.

What resources to refer

See, first of all there can be various types of resources that  you can use to learn for exam or learning in general. Here is a small list of categories but it is not limited to:

  1.  Books
  2. Tutorials
  3. Online videos
  4. Blogs etc.

Each type of resource has its own relevance and importance but for me, somehow books have been the best bet. Here is the list of resources I referred when I was preparing for this exam:

  1. Title : You don’ t know JS
    Resource Type: Book
    Publisher: O’Reilly
    Author: Kyle Simpson
    Details: This is required for building and strengthening your Vanilla JavaScript skills from ground up. You can read this book directly from GitHub here. It is also downloadable in pdf format from other sources on internet. If you don’t get it just shoot me an email.
  2. Title : Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
    Resource Type : Book
    Publisher: Microsoft
    Author : Glenn Johnson
    Details: You’ve to read this book in entirety without doubt. The idea is that, this book gives you a crisp and clean refresher of the entire course curriculum. Consider it like a main course book. You can also get its pdf format from internet. I doubt anyone can clear the exams without reading this book.
  3. Title: JavaScript roadmap
    Resource Type: e-mail course
    Publisher: <NA>
    Author: Zell Liew
    Details: Zell Liew is an amazing front-end developer from Singapore who loves to share his knowledge like anything. I came across his profile through a blog which was shared by one of my friends in office. What we need to do is to go to the home page of his website and register for JavaScript road map which is free.  You can find the link for that course even in the middle of the earlier blog that I mentioned. He will send you a series of five emails within a span of 7-10 days. Work on each of his email passionately. Don’t rush! His e-mails has all the instruction on what needs to be done. This will help you validate your knowledge of JS. If there are any gaps they will get filled.
  4. Title: Measureup practice test
    Resource Type: Sample/practice questions
    Author: <NA>
    Details: Once you’re done with all the preparation you certainly need to practice multiple choice questions. I did it through measureup practice tests. I bought them as a package while registering for the exams. When you buy it while registering for the exam as a bundle then you get it in a lot cheaper price.

How to prepare?

Go through the resources in the order I’ve mentioned in the previous section. Only place where you can save some time and it might also be boring for you is learning JavaScript if you already know it. So, if you’ve been a front-end developer all your life and if you rate yourself 4 – 4.5 on a scale of 5 in JavaScript then you can skip reading the book mentioned in point # 1 in previous section.

To practice things and learn the concepts by heart you require discussion. You must involve your friends, colleagues and acquaintances into this learning routine. Best deal is if you can encourage someone else as well to take up this exam and prepare along with you. Pair up with him/her for the entire preparation season. The more you discuss about things,  the better imprints you will get into your brain. Other technical people bring new perspective of looking at concepts. Read any topic then discuss it with you friends. Do some sample questions when you are fresh reading a topic. So key points here is:

  • Study regularly
  • Involve people and friends. Pair up!
  • Practice sample questions

Caveats, Gotchas and pitfalls?

Below two features which were part of initial draft of HTML5 have become non-standard. So they might be present in book but makes no sense to read from exam perspective. From historical significance and knowledge stand-point you should definitely know them:

  • File System API as mentioned in this post on SO.
  • Web SQL Database as mentioned in this post on SE.

Exam tips

  1. When you book for exam, look for free shots during the registration process. Just by paying some extra bucks, Microsoft gives you 1+1 attempt for the same exam paper. Same registration has an option to buy measureup practice test as a bundle.
  2. Exams can be rescheduled if required. So don’t hesitate making a registration of exam well in advance. Check the exam website for complete and up-to-date details.
  3. Reach  the center at least 1 hour in advance. Many a times technical glitches at the center spoils the mood. If you’ve reached center in advance then that gives the test center people some additional time to take corrective measures well in time.
  4. Reading the questions correctly is most important. Read the question twice if you’re in doubt.

Exam score that you get will remain in the mark-sheet. Knowledge that you obtain out of preparation will remain with you for ever and you will come out with flying colors in your next assignment in office. All the best!

Stack Overflow question checklist

Jon Skeet's coding blog

Note: this post is now available with a tinyurl of

My earlier post on how to write a good question is pretty long, and I suspect that even when I refer people to it, often they don’t bother reading it. So here’s a short list of questions to check after you’ve written a question (and to think about before you write the question):

  • Have you done some research before asking the question? 1
  • Have you explained what you’ve already tried to solve your problem?
  • Have you specified which language and platform you’re using, including version number where relevant?
  • If your question includes code, have you written it as a short but complete program? 2
  • If your question includes code, have you checked that it’s correctly formatted? 3
  • If your code doesn’t compile, have you included the exact compiler error?
  • If your question doesn’t include code, are you sure it…
  • View original post 388 more words