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Aspiring MCSA, 70-270 1st - Need study advise

Discussion in 'Windows Vista / 7 / 8 Client Exams' started by John Neerdael, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. John Neerdael

    John Neerdael Nibble Poster

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    Hey guys,

    I'm currently doing a 1 year study (day school) to become a system administrator. However we are not prepared for any certifications and the way our studies are setup our knowledge is rather limited. I'm currently the top of my class which made me realize I should aim higher and study further on my own. I wanted to start with the 70-270 exam (Windows XP) but I could really use help on what study material I should get and also some explanations on what that material consists of. For instance I have no idea what CBT Nuggets is and what it includes, or many of the other training materials. I'd love it if someone could give me a nice list of suitable learning material I can find on the net and what the material consists of.

    From reading here it seems the best study books to get are the Sybex 70-270 book aswell as the MS Self-Paced book with a slight edge towards the Sybex book which I also ordered yesterday from amazon so I can start studying soon. So what other study material do you suggest or what is better and complete so I can make sure to pass my exam on the first pass. (Since I'm just stepping in this e-learning thing I have no idea what simulations, labs, etc are although I guess the lab is just a vmware setup with a few xp's and some servers)

    Thanks for any help
     
    WIP: MCTS: 70-640
  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Hi & welcome to CF :)

    All you have to do is google it, CBT Nuggets is a brand name of Computer based training (CBT), see here. Other CBT vendors include Learnkey, Trainsignal & Testout (just to mention a few).

    A couple of things that may help you:

    1. Practice exams from vendors such as Preplogic, Boson, Transcender, etc...
    2. Practical experience, work thru the excerises in the MSPress books
    3. Do the end of chapter questions in both the Sybex book and the MSPress books.
    4. Have a virtual lab at home to practice on.
    5. Stay away from braindumps!
    6. Sign up for Microsoft's second shot, just in case :)

    And that's just to start you off with.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  3. John Neerdael

    John Neerdael Nibble Poster

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    I'm signed for Second Shot already, what is a braindump? Just so I know so I stay clear from it :) So Computer based training is more practical learning at your pc or simply videos instead of text like a book? And are these CBT's good as complete study material or just as additional study material?

    Thanks for the fast and helpful reply
     
    WIP: MCTS: 70-640
  4. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    See here to what a braindump is :)

    They are more than just videos, some of them have interactive sessions at the end of each chapter. Me personally, I use CBT's as an addition to studying from books, I do not rely on only 1 form of study material, studying this way increases my knowledge for the exam, as well as for work. However practice experience is also a must :)

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  5. John Neerdael

    John Neerdael Nibble Poster

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    Thanks for the link, that explained the braindumps well. I have no interrest in looking for those quick fixes, I'm passionate about IT so I want to learn, I dont just want the certs just to get work (I think I wont have a huge difficulty finding a job after finishing school). It would be nice to know what the benefits are for myself and my employer when continueing on to study and get those certificates. Is this just a bigger paycheck? Teachers at school even say it often doesnt have a influence on your paycheck, so what is a certificate worth?

    Thanks
     
    WIP: MCTS: 70-640
  6. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Trying to be realistic for a moment - that depends on when you finish, and the state of the job market then. Things are *very* tight at the moment. A sister company to ours just let a lot of people go - we picked up about 20% of them.
    Unfortunately - those teachers have a point. The main thing with a cert is to stand out from the people who don't have one. Which will improve your chance of an interview.

    Once you are in work then it will be experience that will start to improve your paycheck!

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  7. dalsoth

    dalsoth Kilobyte Poster

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    If i was looking for a new tech and had applications arrive with Microsoft certs and some without, i would definitely consider those with the certs first. It really would not influence the pay for that particular role as we would pay the same either way due to us being an education organisation, but it would definitely influence my decision (amongst other factors of course) when selecting the right candidate.

    I found the Testout video training a real benefit when studying. I also bought sybex and Microsoft books and the Exam Cram book for the 70-270. In the end, i found that going through the Testout stuff and then the Exam Cram a day before the exam was enough to pass comfortably. I did know the subject very well however as i have worked with it for many years. I even considered paying for Boson and other practice tests but my bank balance could not cope any more :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCP, MCDST, MCSA, ITIL v3
    WIP: MCITP EA
  8. dwhyte85

    dwhyte85 Nibble Poster

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    Hello, currently studying for my MCSA too, on 70-270 too.

    I am using Sybex, CBTNuggets vids & prep. tests although, i'm finding it's far better to connect to my laptop acting as a server 2003 eval. and following the sybex exercises, can put hamachi on and let you play around if you'd like?

    Budget wise, i'm quite lucky my work have lent me a couple of old laptops to setup and use so i'm setting up my own dns, dhcp etc - outlay for learning materials has been around £70.00 including exam prep. tests.

    I am planning to take in 2 weeks, i couldn't get an exam cram (gutted, they're really, really good) but the Sybex flash cards are very good (on the CD), I think after 2 weeks of studying and having done alot of it in practise I am almost ready,.
     
    Certifications: Bsc. Comp Sci, MCP, MCTS, MCSA, CCENT, MBCS
    WIP: ICND 2, CEH and converting MCSA to MCITP: Enterprise Administrator
  9. John Neerdael

    John Neerdael Nibble Poster

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    Thanks for that offer but I'm running a VMWare Workstation myself with multiple virtual machines. I've had great input from here and I'm now going with Train Signal CBT courses to study, they are really great and provide a case scenario that helps putting yourself in the shoes of a real network administrator. I'm going to put some more ram (4gb) in my pc so I can run more vm's simultanious specially since I also want to go train abit in Windows Server 2008.

    Now instead of making a new topic maybe I can ask this here, I'm looking for a good CBT course to accompany the course we are having now in the class. We are basically now getting theory lessons about networking, starting from the basics; in other words what hubs/switches/repeaters/bridges and everything else are and how they work. Our teacher however isnt very experienced and I feel I would learn it quicker and better from a good CBT course. Unfortunately I have no idea what kind of course (or for what certification) I should look for that includes these basic theory lessons about networking. Is this maybe Comptia Network+ that I should look a course for?

    Just to keep you up to date I'm doing alot of things at once and received my Sybex 70-270 Study Guide 2 days ago from amazon.com so I'm gonna start soon on Windows XP, I'm now also following a short 2hour Train Signal Training on TCP/IP just for more basic knowledge and doing a 6 hour Introduction Training to Windows Server 2k8 since we learned all the basics of 2k3 in the classroom I'm hoping these shorter CBT's will give me a quickstart.
     
    WIP: MCTS: 70-640
  10. dwhyte85

    dwhyte85 Nibble Poster

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    Hello, have my 70-270 wednesday morning, feeling confident with it.


    I tried to kill 2 birds with one stone by learning 70-291 with 70-270, although I know basic networking which does help, i used the CBT Nuggets 70-291 and then tried to put it into practise with my VM machines, made it a whole lot easier using dhcp server first hand, anyway... the best method i found was to try break some configs of VMs, eg assign wrong subnet mask, wrong IP for subnet and trying to see what wouldn't work - i found it better than being told.


    GL - you'll be fine if you put the time in, i think it helps when we (or atleast I) put it in perspective, you wont be a godlike SysAdmin with just the MCSA it takes experience, this is a fundamentals course - solely learning from books, lectures and CBT wont be enough to make you a king admin, I know guys ex-army with skills to pay the bills and minimal training - then again, they're 40+ years old.

    I'm sure you'll be fine
     
    Certifications: Bsc. Comp Sci, MCP, MCTS, MCSA, CCENT, MBCS
    WIP: ICND 2, CEH and converting MCSA to MCITP: Enterprise Administrator
  11. John Neerdael

    John Neerdael Nibble Poster

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    Good luck on your exams wednesday, as I understand it right you will do both exams on wednesday or just the 70-270? If you are going to do the 70-291 aswell on wednesday have you also used any other study material apart from Nuggets, I'm really interested in knowing how good one knows his stuff if you learn only from cbt's cause I have to admit the cbt courses are ten times more fun and practical then the 1000 pages study guides.

    Let us know how it went wednesday, I'm sure you'll pass. I havent started properly yet but if I put my mind to is I'm sure I'll pass aswell in a few months :)
     
    WIP: MCTS: 70-640
  12. dwhyte85

    dwhyte85 Nibble Poster

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    Hello,

    I passed 70-270 - very easy, after reading the books and playing around + my experience. Although, disapointed with 873 - I got some obvious questions wrong.

    70-291 on Monday, have to say i've alot to review, it's looking hairy probably a bit of a dim thing to do book so near.

    Thankfully I didn't do them both on the same day otherwise i'd have been frazzled!!
     
    Certifications: Bsc. Comp Sci, MCP, MCTS, MCSA, CCENT, MBCS
    WIP: ICND 2, CEH and converting MCSA to MCITP: Enterprise Administrator
  13. Big_nath

    Big_nath Kilobyte Poster

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    Nice job on the pass, 873 is a good score. How do you know which ones you got wrong? Good luck with the 291, i have just started this, it is quite tough i think!
     
    Certifications: MCP, MCSA, MCSA:M, MCSE, MCTS
    WIP: A few
  14. dwhyte85

    dwhyte85 Nibble Poster

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    I only meant the test seemed easy and I thought I knew the answers but still got them wrong, I think probably an issue of not reading the question properly! I don't have any insider knowledge for the wrong Q's!

    7/10s of the way there for 291, Will report back Tues :P
     
    Certifications: Bsc. Comp Sci, MCP, MCTS, MCSA, CCENT, MBCS
    WIP: ICND 2, CEH and converting MCSA to MCITP: Enterprise Administrator
  15. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Congrats!
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  16. dwhyte85

    dwhyte85 Nibble Poster

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    Managed to pass 70-291 with 953/1000 - was really shocked, I can't go into detail about the exam but it wasn't as Comp Sci as i'd expected.

    70-284 and i'm done for a few months, well will be reading CCNA material and preparing my mini-lab but that's not hardcore.

    70-291 materials used: Exam Cram, Sybex & CBT
     
    Certifications: Bsc. Comp Sci, MCP, MCTS, MCSA, CCENT, MBCS
    WIP: ICND 2, CEH and converting MCSA to MCITP: Enterprise Administrator
  17. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Crikey you passed the 70-270 on the 6th February 2009 and then the 70-291 which is one of the hardest exams on the MCSE route three days later!

    How the hell did you do that? cause I must be going seriously wrong somewhere with my studying!
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  18. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Congrats :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  19. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    It's not a race mate, knowing the material and being able to apply it properly in your job is the ultimate goal here. 8)
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  20. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Couldn't agree more, but if this chap has some tips I'm ready to listen :D
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5

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