The complexity of certification exams is climbing up lately – up to the clouds. Gone are the days where a simple 3 VM lab was enough to try out every new tech release to newer versions of some product – SQL Server in this case.
Read it, do it. Practice, practice, practice. You can even try some PowerShell on this setup.
You can try this too: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtuallabs (I will do it myself later).
You can always go the DIY route and use VMs on your home computer, but it is good to get a feeling for administering something in the cloud – there are clouds everywhere lately, really.
PS: but I will do it in my home too, of course, so I won’t loose my setup in case of rain…