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MCSE / MCSA Certification Exam Prep Software

By Navy Moose ·
Hello Everyone,

I recently made an investment with a firm who publishes Microsoft (and others) test prep software.

I picked up the Microsoft Self Paced Training Kit for XP (70-270) read the book cover to cover and took the subtests in the book. Once I was done with the book I took the subject area tests with the software. I did notice seeing the same questions repeatedly through the tests, sometimes only the order of the answers was different.

My fear was that I was not learning the material, I was almost memorizing the questions being asked of me.

I took one of the simulated exams in this software and failed it miserably. I took another using the test prep software which came with the Microsoft book and got a similar score.

What I would like to hear from my fellow IT professionals is their experiences with test prep software, good and bad. Along with advice on the best way to study for this exam.

I've put in six weeks studying for this exam and my test date is 26JUN06. I have a voucher from Microsoft for a free retest if I bomb it too badly.

Thank you.

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Hope its not too late

by RknRlKid In reply to MCSE / MCSA Certification ...

I've taken the MCSA exams for Windows 2000. The best test prep software I used was by Transcender, hands down. The simulation of the test was almost 100%. I also used the ones that came in the Exam Prep books, by PrepLogic.

The main thing about these tests which helped me was learning how to manipulate the testing software. The first time I took a computerized test I was completely thrown off and flunked. Learning to navigate the exhibits and the differences between buttons and boxes is vital to whether you can pass a test the first time or not. (Buttons = single answer, box = multiple answer, btw)

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Buttons and boxes.....

by Navy Moose In reply to Hope its not too late

Thank you for your reply. I learned that early on with the original software I purchased. I am using Exam Force as my primary. I am also playing with MeasureUp, from the Microsoft book.

I have noticed the exam questions are very different from the subject area questions.

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get a test network to play on

by CG IT In reply to MCSE / MCSA Certification ...

the practical experience of setting up DNS, DHCP, AD, do some member server dcpromo promotes, demotes, create a RIS server and do some deployments, backups restore from backups.

the practical will go a long ways in being able to understand the questions being asked on the test. The new Microsoft format for tests does require you to go through steps to configure "stuff". Example: there are a couple of ways in which to accomplish the same task, but the test might ask "how do you do it with the least admin effort". the least admin effort is the key to answering the question right.

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Passed on first attempt with 905

by Navy Moose In reply to get a test network to pla ...

I was pretty amazed by my score when I saw the results. The first half the test I was nervous, after that I relaxed.

I saw a bunch of questions that was on the MeasureUP CD. I saw nothing from the ExamForce CD.

I primarily used the Microsoft Press book to study by and it did well by me.

Tommorow, I start studying for the 70-290 exam.

Navy Moose

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Please listen

by seanc In reply to MCSE / MCSA Certification ...


The fact that you are asking the right question is good. You already recognise your weakness and are honest enough to admit it.

There is more truth in the saying that "You get out what you put in !!!!!".

If you want to just pass the exam, continue on your path until you have memorized all the exam questions enough to pass.

In a couple of weeks you would have forgotten all that you tried to memorize which will make the cert worthless... In turn, your usefullness in a job.

If you want to build a solid and deep understanding of the material you have to build a cheap lab and PLAY !!!!!

If you do this, you will NEVER forget what you have learned. You will be able to pass the exam with ease. And more importantly you will truly be a PRO :)

Go forth and conquer !!!!!

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I'd love to have a lab but space and $$ prevent it

by Navy Moose In reply to Please listen

In the case of the XP exam, having a test box wouldn't have made a huge difference. I use XP Pro at home and the office.

I'm going to download the trial version of a server simulator and this weekend I'm going to start using it for the 70-290 and the rest of the exams. I don't work with AD, and I really need to practice the labs.

I was trying to avoid memorizing the questions. I recognized questions the exam which I saw on the MeasureUP CD. My goal is not to memorize the questions to pass, but rather to learn the material. I've been in the IT field for six years and my customers are appreciative of the service I provide them. In order to give them more bang for their buck and be a bigger asset to my department I decided to go for my certs.

Thanks for the advice and have a great long weekend.

Navy Moose

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Please listen 2

by seanc In reply to I'd love to have a lab bu ...


I know where you are going. You mentioned that you want to give your customers "more bang for their buck". I know that there are limitations to what you can have but if you truly want to achieve this, you must have a setup to see what happens in a "live" environment. Simulations are static and limited. There will be error messages or things that do not work when they are supposed to. These will not be in the books because everything works on paper. If you have space and cost issues, how about getting one reasonably powerful machine from ebay or somewhere else. You can run Virtual Server and Virtual PC and load both the server and XP O/S's. You can fire up AD, DHCP, DNS etc..and see how they work.

How about asking your department to donate a PC to you so that you can pursue your studies. I remember when I didn't have a dime in the NT days in the late 90's. My then Supervisor told me that I can build a lab with 2 spare machines. I ran NT4 Server on one and NT4 Workstation on the other. They were connected with a crossover cable.

I'm not trying to tell you what you should do. Only you know best. I just wanted to give you another alternative.

Good luck and have fun..

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Please Listen, part 3

by Navy Moose In reply to Please listen 2

Hi Sean,

I tried logging in over the holiday but I was able to.

I'm running a virtual server application and have a Windows 2003 Enterprise Server and XP Pro machines running virtually. I've configured AD, according to the labs in the book and have done the labs for the skills I don't practice regularly.

I decided upon the virtual server application after reading negative reviews on simulator software from Sybex for the reasons you mentioned.

Thank you for your advice.

Navy Moose

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On your way to victory

by seanc In reply to Please Listen, part 3


I'm glad to assist :). You are on your way to absolute success.

Well done !!!!


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Save your money!

by jmiguy In reply to I'd love to have a lab bu ...

If you're already in IT, save your money. You don't need certifications. All they do is prove that you let Microshaft suck your wallet dry just like they do to everyone else.

Follow the advice of the other poster, set up a lab and "learn" at your own pace. Microsoft exams are set up so you will most likely fail, then they can charge you for re-takes, upgrade testing, new technology testing, etc. It's a big scam and a bigger waste of your time and money.

Learn what you need to know to do "your" job well. Your results at the office will speak volumes over a worthless certification.

I wish someone would have given me the same advice long before I wasted thousands of dollars and countless hours studying useless information to get my certs. They haven't made any difference in my pay scale and much of what I learned I've forgotten because I never use it in the real world.


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