I had 17 years old when I heard for the first time about the Microsoft certifications. From that time I started to think about having one. But there were 2 problems: 1) I didn't speak English; 2) I didn't know where I could find the materials to study. Few years later, already speaking English, I finally found a way to organize the materials to study for the certifications.
Basically, a certification exists to prove your knowledge in some certain topic. But if we talk about the Microsoft certifications, there is an idea that the person who has it only passed the exam because he/she got brain dumps. Of course, many people use this way to make the exams. And, not criticizing who does it but, is this person a good professional? I mean, anyone can pass the Microsoft exam (as long it's from your field) since it is not as complicated as it looks. With that said, I will show you how you can reach your certification. [more]
Organize your study material
The Microsoft website lists everything which will be asked on the exam you will take (for example: 70-515 - TS: Web Applications Development). From the moment you have this list, collect all necessary material for your study: Look for PDFs, buy books, bookmark all websites with relevant information you see... Everything is worthy at this point. Try to have everything before you start to study as you can't waste time looking for anything during the studies. But, in case you need to complement some topic, avoid wasting time on the internet. If you open another tab on your browser you are risking to start to procrastinate.
Organize your time
You have no time. At least you always complain about that when there is something interesting to do. Actually the problem is: Some people are unable to give up some things for themselves and they don't notice how their time is misused. For example: Why not use the 30 minutes you spend on the way to work to study? Or when you go to the doctor? Or, the most obvious, during the weekend you would go to some party...
Once you finally got time to your studies, you have to get the study material (already organized) and start to work. Remember: It can happen that you have a free weekend to study and some of your friends call you asking to go to some amazing event. So, you have to make a decision: Go to the beach/party/whatever with your friends or make your shine a little bit more? You must have in mind that a certification now can result in a salary raise in the future, depending on the company you are working at. Or make easy to find another job. Thinking in this way you will see how it's easy is to have any decision.
Practice, practice, practice
Ok, this isn't new but remember: Always practice what you are learning. Today you only know that 2 + 2 = 4 because you were practicing it when you were young. When I started learning for my certifications I decided to build this blog only because I wanted to practice ASP.NET MVC. All development was following everything I was learning. Obviously I had many problems but I but that's what made me learn. And I only made the exam when I say that I had covered all study plan. As result, I have passed with 100%. Magic? No, practice.
It looks complicated but, as I said, it isn't. Each question of the exam has multiple choices. And since some questions contain answers for other questions I would recommend you to read the exam before start to answer. Another thing is: If you go ready for the exam you will not waste time thinking about the answers. Sometimes they are obvious and you will know the answer right away. Just study and practice and everything will be alright.
Be sure that a certification on your resume will attract the attention of hiring managers. ;-)