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MCSE Study/Test Prep suggestions/opinion

By hyperplasma ·
I'm looking for the best material/classes for
the MCSE and would like suggestions,
opinions, warnings, etc. from those of you
who took the MCSE exams. How are the
books/tests/web based coursed from Sybex,
Que, SyngressOsborne, ExamCram, Beachfront
Quizer, Omniworldwide.com,
hardcoremcse.com, wavetech.com, others?

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MCSE Study/Test Prep suggestions/opinion

by rickh9 In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

I don't think that there is any "difinative" answer but I can tell you what works for me. Since I don't have access to instructor lead so I used a combination of CBT, Books, Study Guides and experience.

For CBT I have used The "Mastering Computers" Series and found them to be generally useful but slow paced with frequent outdated references. I have also used the "Smartcertify" Series and continue to. There are several annoying "features" like the popup boxes that you cannot turn off and with the lack of audio I sometimes lose focus. Generally good quality. and they do include mentoring along with free measure-up tests online.
As far as CBT material included with books the quality has been dismal overall. Barely useful. As far as books goes I have used the O'Rielly books (check the web site for eratta) and the Sybex books have been usable if not wordy. The best and most useful to me are the "Dummies" series of books and for me the flash cards since they include a "Palm" version. Exam Cram are good as a runner up but their flash cards are stinkers..... VERY disapointed with Prentice Hall. Snygress/Osborne are usefull for reference while studying. Check out the reviews on Amazon. Leapit.com offers free online courses and Brainbuzz/Cramsession is an absolute MUST....
To prepare for my next exam I will be using a Smartcertify course, Leapit, Cramsession, Dummies + flashcards, and O'reilly.
Of course the single most important thing is to have the real thing in front of you... I have the advantage of having the run of the shop here so I can set up and beat the crap out of everything before I even consider the exam. In my case I work with these systems everyday but I know that many people can't. I would look heavily into Microsoft's web site as well as hitting up friends etc. for demos and 120 day evals.

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MCSE Study/Test Prep suggestions/opinion

by hyperplasma In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

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MCSE Study/Test Prep suggestions/opinion

by rickh9 In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

Continued:
For practice tests Transcender and EasyCert are good and Petri tests are only 5 bucks each. But NO practice test is anything like the real test. They are however very good at putting in the exam frame of mind.
In your travels you will likely come across a braindump or two.... Mostly pure junk... If you don't have a thorough understanding of the material the bad answers can easily lead you down the wrong path.
The main thing for me is to stay with the material until you think you understand it well and then spend the last week with practice tests and drills.
Good luck

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MCSE Study/Test Prep suggestions/opinion

by hyperplasma In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

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MCSE Study/Test Prep suggestions/opinion

by avachon In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

Hi, I agree with the above post concerning CBTs.I have not found them to as detail rich as they should be (since they are a training vehicle). I have used microsoft's self-paced training materials and augmented that heavily with individual searches (i.e., technet, win2000 mag., etc.). Examcram is okay as a method of review; I would not recommend it as a primary study source. It condenses material and quizzes you. Beachfront - well, I tried a couple of their tests and I found many questions camefrom microsoft's training/self-study guides (some of beachfront's questions were directly lifted from microsoft questions). I also have used wavetech (only a little) and I was not impressed). I use transcender tests (which test a wide range of material which is what you want). I've also pulled study guides off of examcram, examnotes and cramsession. However, I do make my own study guides (complete with diagrams, work on my home office to test, practice, break things and get it all working again). I can do at home what I can not (or should not) do at work. Hope this helps.

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MCSE Study/Test Prep suggestions/opinion

by hyperplasma In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

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MCSE Study/Test Prep suggestions/opinion

by donaldsimpson.co.uk In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

Yeah
I think everything that Rick (above) said was spot on, although I did find some of the 'Braindumps' useful. I also did a lot of Trancender tests etc, and made sure I was getting >90% before each exam.
My employers paid for me to do a 'Boot Camp', which I did with only 3 weeks warning, followed by two weeks of intensive study, training & exams. I would really advise agianst that route, as you will retain a lot more from doing things at a more reasonable pace, and can spend time looking into the areas that interest you, even if they aren't in the exams.
As a somewhat bitter MCSE, I would also suggest you look into other certs - CISCO etc, and see if they may be more suitable.

Good luck,

Donald
PS Has anyone tried the free exams at Brainbench.com, and if so, what do you think of them?

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by hyperplasma In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

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MCSE Study/Test Prep suggestions/opinion

by dwcreech In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

I went from "negative-knowledge" of networking to Network+ and MCP+3 in six weeks. On to SQL Server 7 and MCSE/MCDBA. I had several instructor-based courses. Although very beneficial in terms of interaction, I felt that they did little to prepare me for actual exams. I followed up with CBT - with TestOut! being my favorite. Good mix of text and audiovisual as well as lab simulations. Also, you MUST have access to a Network - no substitute for hands on. I used the ExamCram series (didn't like the tests, though) and Transcenders and studied until I felt prepared for the exam before reviewing braindumps. That way, if I saw something new, I'd go find more info on it.

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by hyperplasma In reply to MCSE Study/Test Prep sugg ...

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