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MCSE 2003 review

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by Sparky, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    As Zimbo has already suggested I thought I would post a brief overview of the exams I took for the MCSE and some of the lab work. Rather than post everything I did to pass each exam feel free to ask and perhaps some of the other members can help as well. 8)

    70-270
    Even if you have been using XP for years you will learn something from this exam. I used the MS Press book and created a lab with a DC, RIS and one PC which had a PXE NIC which meant I could test the RIS server. I also installed XP a few times so I could use answer files and use some tricks rather than installing the whole OS manually which I had done 5000 times before.

    The exam wasn’t too difficult (no sims) but a few screenshots and “where should you click” type questions. If you are taking this exam after completing the A+ and Network+ then be prepared for a different style of question as there is much more text and some BS thrown in so you have to take the info you need to answer the question. Who cares if the network admin is called Dave!

    70-290
    Getting into the server side of things now. If you have skipped the A+, Network+ and either 70-270 or MCDST then turn around and do them first. Even though I had a couple of years of server admin behind me when I took this exam I still think the A+ and Network + helped me out. The 70-270 also helped for this exam. For a lab I had a DC and one PC basically so I could test some GP on a PC and create groups etc. in AD.

    This exam introduces sims. Everyone seems to freak out if they haven’t taken an exam with a sim and wonder what they are like (I know I did!) but they are nothing to be concerned about and if you have prepared for the exam and personally I think it’s a easy way to rack up some points. In the sim you have the question displayed down one side of the screen and you can go back to the sim later if you want to get the other questions out of the way first. Also if you make a mess of it hit ‘reset’ and you can start over.

    In addition to practising server admin make sure you know some of the command line features to create users and also importing from .csv files. You may not use these day to day but are very helpful when creating loads of users at once. Again I used the MS Press book for this exam.

    70-291
    There is a big jump from the 70-290 to the 70-291 in terms of difficulty so make sure you put in some extra time for this one. Also make sure your study materials are up to date as some books do not cover WSUS sufficiently, which caught me out the first time I took this exam.

    More info and what I did to pass this exam can be found here...
    http://www.certforums.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=14156&page=2


    70-282
    First of all if you don’t use SBS or don’t have any intention of using SBS in the future then don’t do this exam. I installed SBS Premium for this exam as it gives you SQL and also ISA to play around with. Even a SBS guru will pick up a few useful things from this exam. For example there is an excellent migration tool that pulls workgroup computers into the SBS domain and then logs the PC on with the user account automatically. This saves time when migrated to a SBS domain.

    The style of questions in this exam are mixed from troubleshooting to basic consultancy style questions. No sims are included and all in this is a relatively short exam especially after the 70-291 epic!

    70-293
    If you have put the time into fully understand the topics in the 70-291 then this exam should be fairly straight forward. Clustering and certificates need to be fully understood and feature heavily in the exam. I installed Server 2003 Enterprise edition to get a better understanding of the clustering config although without clustering hardware you won’t be able to get a cluster online. I have installed loads of certificates but if you want to practise then you can get a free trial from verisign so if you have a static IP you can publish your own website with a secure SSL section if you wanted to.

    The lab had a DC, 2 node cluster and a client PC. I also configured an additional server with RRAS which was configured differently depending on what I was testing, I configured it as a NAT server, router and also a VPN server during my studies for this exam.

    70-294.
    This exam kinda gives you an intro for the 70-297. You will look at network design from the top level such as how domains should be structured, replication config and compatibility between different domains and what domain level they are running. This helps design migration strategies as you will understand how to migrate to the server 2003 platform while running the existing the infrastructure. I have seen many network engineers completely reinstall domains when migrating when they could of installed the new Server 2003 infrastructure into the existing domain and migrated user accounts etc. This means migration projects minimise disruption for end users as the live domain is always up and running.

    The lab had one root domain with a child domain. I also had another domain set up which had a trust to the child domain. I played around with DNS and also move one computer account and user accounts between domains with ADMT.


    70-297
    This exam is completely different to all of the previous exams. Basically you have to read a case study and answer a few questions before moving onto the next case study. It sounds easy enough but you have to read very quickly to get through all the text and then answer the questions. To pass this exam you need a solid understanding for the criteria to configure a child domain or to keep everything in a single domain (this is just one of the things you need to know btw!). If you mess up the domain design then the chances are you have misunderstood the domain requirements and you will end up answering the remaining questions incorrectly to back up your design (e.g DC placement and name resolution design).

    No lab work for this exam! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  2. UCHEEKYMONKEY
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    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Wow :ohmy That's a good thread, very informative, clear and concise!8)
     
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  3. zimbo
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    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    Brilliant! Pinned! 8)
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  4. NightWalker

    NightWalker Gigabyte Poster

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    Excellent post Sparky. 8)

    How long did you take to do your MCSE? One thing I realised after doing my A+ and Network + was just how much work was involved in getting the MCSE. I bought my course from NITLC, not really knowing how much there was to learn. I think if I had known more about it all I would have gone for an MCSA course and reviewed the situation after that. However, it’s bought and paid for and I am bloody well going to finish it! It’s no small undertaking, this is why MCSE’s are sought after and respected. Unfortunately you also see it as a requirement on some job advertisements from companies that aren’t all that IT savvy, it’s a bit of a buzzword HR folks use without really understanding what level of education an MCSE actually has. I am two MCPs away from my MCSE and have been studying for just over three years. I have taken the odd month break here and there for Christmas and moving house et al, I am aiming to be an MCSE by early next year.

    Congrats Sparky, it’s a top level achievement. 8)
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCP, MCSA:M 2003, ITIL v3 Foundation
  5. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Great contribution Sparky, well done and couple more like you we'd be alright on CF:)
     
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  6. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Cheers guys :biggrin

    I passed the 70-270 in June 2006 and finished the 70-297 in May this year. Most of the exams took me around 3 months but the 70-297 took longer. The exam format is different and I failed first time but I struggled to get a suitable time to take the exam again, I was ill one time and another time I was stuck in London for a network install and there was no way I was gonna make it back in time.

    When I took the 70-291 I realised the MCSE was going to be a marathon but I found the exams after the 70-291 slightly easier and also I guess you have a few exams out of the way so the end is in sight so to speak! I also just concentrated on one exam at a time and put the other books away in a cupboard, I used to have all the MCSE MS Press books lined up but when I looked at it I would always think there was no way I was gonna get through them all!

    I know many people think the MCSE is a waste of time as there are loads of techs who use brain dumps and there are ‘paper cert’ techs out there but if you have enough industry experience that compliments the MCSE then it is a great cert to have on your CV. I know this for a fact as I applied for a couple of jobs after I passed the MCSE and I got a phone call for both of them and they both offered at least an extra £5k on what I was already earning. :eek:

    For anyone starting out in IT reading this and think the MCSE will get you big £££ then you will be disappointed, it doesn’t work that way. If you roughly fall into Microsoft’s recommendations for a MCSE candidate then go for it, its hard work but very rewarding when you put what you have learnt into a live network install.

    Not to end on too much of a controversial note but a few posts have been made about open source software being “the future” and people should learn those products. Choice is a great thing but MS products aint going anywhere for a loooooooong time so let’s not burn our MCSE certificates and start over! :biggrin Sharepoint , Office Communications Server, Mobile devices, data security, and virtualisation ( Server 2008 ) are what customers are demanding just now (well the ones I deal with anyway) and all of these need a solid Windows infrastructure to run on. The MCSE cert will help you achieve these goals. 8)
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  7. Methodman85

    Methodman85 Byte Poster

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    At $125US per exam.. you'd think MS could put some effort into constantly changing the questions so that the certs don't get tarnished by Brain Dumps...
    Would people actually still use BDs if there were over 1000 possible questions per exam? I'd hope not!
     
    Certifications: MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, CCNA, MCDST, N+
    WIP: 70-680
  8. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    There are over 1000 questions on the latest CCNA braindumps. Do you think that dissuades people from braindumping Cisco exams? No, not at all.

    How much do you think it costs to write exam questions, create the exam delivery software, create simulations, and maintain the ENTIRE certification program? As someone who works in the IT certification industry, $125 is CHEAP, my friend. Microsoft has to pay for qualified writers, pay for qualified programmers, pay for people (like Trika) to work for Microsoft Learning, pay to keep the roof over their heads, **and** give Prometric their cut of the pie. If I had to guess, I'd say they're probably breaking even, if that. It's certainly not the cash cow that you seem to think it is.
     
    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!
  9. Methodman85

    Methodman85 Byte Poster

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    Can't argue with that, you're right, I take back what I said.
    I find it baffling that people would memorize 1000 questions instead of studying.
     
    Certifications: MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, CCNA, MCDST, N+
    WIP: 70-680
  10. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    To them, it's far easier to remember to answer Choice A when they see Scenario 123 than it is to actually understand the logic behind what makes Choice A right.

    In truth, they don't have to memorize them (though many do)... they just have to read through them just enough to get them over the pass mark.

    To me, it is even more astounding that someone would rather just pass an exam than truly understand the material. They mistakenly believe that getting the paper is the key to being in IT. But that puts the cart before the horse.
     
    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!
  11. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    What? You mean that MS and Cisco don't even move the answers around between, say, A, B, C and D? If they did, that would cause the Braindumpers a bit more of a headache... :biggrin
     
  12. zimbo
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    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    Guys please can we stick to the topic of the MCSE review and not talk about braindumps *again*

    Thanks
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  13. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    In truth, what I meant by "Choice A" is "the thing that is typed next to Choice A". So they're memorizing a word, not understanding a concept (or memorizing a letter).

    Some vendors do shuffle... but sadly, most do not.
     
    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!
  14. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Dude... braindumps are huge in the MCSE realm. The more light we shed on braindumps, the better.
     
    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!
  15. zimbo
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    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    Yes but why ruin the topic? Someone will come along looking for a MCSE review and instead they will find the usual gander about braindumps. How about we have more reviews on people who completed their MCSE than how bad braindumps are?
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  16. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Someone made a comment, and I responded to it. If you don't like that, there's a little ! icon where you can report my post. Or delete it yourself... you're a staff member.

    That said, if this place starts implementing forum Nazi policies, where we can't even respond to what others ask about, I can post elsewhere... I don't expect that'll happen - just sayin'.
     
    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!
  17. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Chill guys. :biggrin

    The whole BD convo probably deservers its own thread as it is a topic that can run and run. I think Zimbo is just trying to keep the thread in a more positive context as it is pinned for now.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  18. -Mercury-

    -Mercury- Byte Poster

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    Excellent post Sparky, very helpful/informative for those of us that are just starting out on the road to certification.

    Nice one mate. :D
     
    Certifications: MCSA|MCDST|A+|Net+
    WIP: CCENT
  19. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Just read this post Sparky and have to say it is very informative.

    Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
     
    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
  20. Shude

    Shude New Member

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    An excellent review, I took most of those exams for my MCSE, with the major exception of:
    I did 70-298 (Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network) insead and from your description the 297 is very similar in style (basically like none of the others!) to the 298. IMHO it requires no additional preparation over the other exams, there is nothing new here it is simply a test of comprehension and in some cases feverish "pattern matching" (did it say smart cards? I'm sure I read windows 95 in there! ;) ) with seconds to go before you're on to the next "test-let"! :)

    When I took my 298 a couple of other guys failed the same day due to running out of time. You need to remember that you are not expected to read everything!
     
    Certifications: CLP, MCSE, Sec+

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