Sure, it sounds like a great idea at first. Pass Microsoft Exam 70-240: Microsoft Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs certified on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, and you get to skip four, that’s right, four Windows 2000 exams. “Sign me up!” you say? Not so fast, Mario.

Do you qualify?
Do you realize there’s a prerequisite to taking this exam? We’re not talking “have a year of experience with the OS before you sit for this exam.” We’re talking “demonstrate your considerable Windows NT 4.0 enterprise expertise even to have a chance at sailing pleasantly through this one.”

Being an MCP isn’t sufficient. Show up with just an MCP, and the testing center will show you the door, if you even get that far.

Here are the examinations a candidate must have passed before registering to take Microsoft Exam 70-240: Microsoft Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam for MCPs Certified on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0:

  • Microsoft Exam 70-067: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0
  • Microsoft Exam 70-068: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 in the Enterprise
  • Microsoft Exam 70-073: Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0

It’s not one of the three, or two of the three, but all three a candidate must pass to be eligible to take the 240 test.

Happy hunting
Why’s that, you ask? Because Redmond doesn’t want any misunderstandings. The accelerated exam is going to be a bear. It’s going to be a long and exhaustive exam, and it’s not one that most candidates will probably be able to walk right in and pass. Even IT professionals with several years of hands-on expertise, those used to fighting the day-to-day administration wars, aren’t likely to experience success without some preparation before this exam.

The reason? It’s not just a “What’s new in Windows 2000?” test. This exam tests an intimate understanding and knowledge of network architectures, naming conventions, TCP/IP usage, distributed enterprise network management, Windows 2000 administration and configuration, familiarity with NT 4.0 migration issues, and much more.

In fact, the accelerated exam is so difficult that members of Microsoft’s Official Curriculum development team told me the four Windows 2000 tests that this exam covers equal the entire Windows NT 4 MCSE track.

I’ll stop while you reread that last sentence. That’s how big this exam is. It’s a behemoth.

Oh, and one more thing. You only have until Dec. 31, 2001, to pass the exam.

Your rewards
While it’ll take significant expertise to achieve, the rewards of passing 240 will be great. Upon successfully completing 240, you’ll be excused from the following Windows 2000 exams:

  • Exam 70-210: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Exam 70-215: Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Exam 70-216: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
  • Exam 70-217: Implementing and Administering a Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure

Add a couple of current electives (which you may already have) and another Win2K exam, and guess what? You’re a Windows 2000 MCSE!

Who should give 240 a go?
If you’re certified in the prerequisite exams, and you’ve conducted comprehensive experiments with Windows 2000, then 240 is for you. If you’ve passed the three exams, but you haven’t tested Windows 2000, the time to get going is right now (as in today).

Let’s say you’ve passed only the Windows NT Server 4 and Windows NT Server in the Enterprise exams. What then? I recommend you prep for the Workstation 4 exam and go polish it off, as the skills tested on its exam are so closely related to the server test. Then, get yourself up to speed as quickly as you can on Windows 2000.

What if you’ve passed the Server and Workstation exam? What should you do? In this situation, I’d recommend receiving your network architectures and distributed enterprise network computing education on the Windows 2000 platform, as it is considerably different than in Windows NT 4. The only exception is if you know you’ll be working with Windows NT 4 in a large-scale enterprise, such as a multinational corporation. Just be sure you’re developing your Windows 2000 skills now, as the final exam will soon be released.

Erik Eckel is no stranger to Microsoft training. He’s invested hundreds of hours in Microsoft training classes, gone seven-for seven on MCSE exams, and read numerous vendor and third-party training guides, manuals, and courseware binders. He’s earned MCP, MCP+I, and MCSE designations.

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