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Help with MCSA

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by Darwoody, Dec 16, 2008.

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  1. Darwoody

    Darwoody New Member

    Hi everyone.
    I have a bit of a dilemma on my hands.
    Let me start by giving you the full scenario.

    I have been interested in trying to get qualifications that could get me a job in the I.T. Indusrty.(Dont worry, this isn't your average noob post).
    So a couple of months back I purchased a package from ICS online that offered me everything I needed to get qualified in MCSA. At least, that is what I thought.
    The whole package cost about 500 pounds, which I thought was a bargain, considering the price of some courses offered.
    Included in the package was: four CD Rom's and five books covering the 70/270, 70/271, 70/272, 70/290 and 70/291 exams.
    At this point I should tell you that I have no previous experience in a working environment with Windows, but I have a basic knowledge of computers from home use.
    The course came with very little other material, and absolutely no support from ICS, save for a website with a "Community" which nobody visits.
    Anyway I had all the motivation needed, and decided I could plow through it all in no time. This is where I made my first mistake.
    Considering only the numbers I concluded that the first place to start would be with the 70/270 course material. (I realise now that this was a mistake, but like I pointed out, I have no experience:oops:)
    So I dove in to the material and started learning. It did occur to me that it was probably a little out of my reach, but I assumed that it was just tough.
    I mainly used the Cd Rom for learning as I found it more enjoyable than reading the book. After a couple of months I felt I had made enough progress to book the exam(which was today). I was scoring high enough on the practice exams on the CD to feel pretty confident about it.
    So I made my way to the Testing Centre , where a brassy middle aged woman with a tattoo on her breast showed me in to the test room. It was at this point that I realised that my course material was lacking. The questions in the exam covered far more up to date things that weren't covered by my CD Rom. My course material, to me anyway, seemed out of date.
    So the inevitable happened. I failed. With a score of 609. And without so much as a "hard luck" from the brassy receptionist.:x
    So now I am in a pickle. I realise that I should complete the MCDST exams before tackling thr 70/270 again, but will my course materials be good enough to get me through it?
    Is there any way I can update the CD's to reflect the changes to the exams over the past few years?
    Or should I just burn all the evidence and smash the windows at ICS like a ninja in the night?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated, particularly with regards to the 271 and 272 exams. Have these changed with the times, or is the theory pretty much the same?
  2. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    Hi Welcome

    Unfortunately some training providers provide inadequate material and there's probably nothing you can do about it.

    Let me just say that Microsoft recommen 6-12 month experience as a network admin before tackling the MCSA and having this cert without the relevant experience can actually go against you when applying for jobs.

    The usually entry level certs are compTIA A+, N+ and MCDST you can get the relevant books and study from them without a course, various places sell tutorial videos like Totalseminars and preplogic.

    And if you get stuck then there is this place for advice.

    If you feel the MCSA material provided was inadequate, what makes you thing the MCDST material is any better?
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  3. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

    I suggest you look for MSpress books, and also sybex ones.

    Did you pay on credit card? if you can prove the material was out of date and inadequate you may be able to claim a refund under the consumer credit act
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  4. Darwoody

    Darwoody New Member

    This is the thing. The material probably would have sufficed three or four years ago, but the 270 exam must have been updated to reflect the ongoing development with XP.
    I want to know if the same is true with the 271 and 272 exams. Have these two been updated? Or are they pretty much the same as when they were released?
  5. Darwoody

    Darwoody New Member

    Indeed I did. I will look in to this. Thanks for the advice.
  6. dwhyte85

    dwhyte85 Nibble Poster


    Definitely opt for a refund if possible, I almost got stung but threatened distince selling regulations (although, they don't apply to services :D - scared them into a refund).

    Do you have a spare PC to setup that you could set a Virtual Machine on? Without the hands on experience it is very difficult to visualise some of the areas, for instance on 270 the whole RIS area, it will definitely help with the latter 70-290 & 291 as they require AD setup/DNS/DHCP, if you want some help getting this setup would be happy to help, it's not always as easy to get this experience in the workplace - i found it very difficult initially to get an trust near the servers!

    The Sybex book and a virtual PC with the evaluation 2003 server or, i think they call it a student version for learning - can't remember the codename for it, you will easily pass the exam as you can put everything into practise.

    An old laptop + eval 2003/edu vers + Sybex & Sybex CD will prepare you as long as you're realistic on timeframe, the book is fairly chunky but on the upside, it has a lot of pictures :p
    Certifications: Bsc. Comp Sci, MCP, MCTS, MCSA, CCENT, MBCS
    WIP: ICND 2, CEH and converting MCSA to MCITP: Enterprise Administrator
  7. dalsoth

    dalsoth Kilobyte Poster

    It may also be worthwhile looking at some practice tests from providers such as Transcender or Boson. They will help you assess whether you are truly ready for the exams or need to brush up on certain areas.

    I bought all the Microsoft books a few years back and i am sure there have been changes since. I will probably stick to video based studies (Testout and others) for the other certs i will be studying. Mainly as they worked a treat for my 70-270 exam. Take a look at the books you currently own and check on Amazon if there is any 2nd editions etc in case they have been updated.

    Worst case scenario, you have some semi useful material and will need to purchase additional material in order to pass. If this is the case, try buying just the things you need for a single course as sometimes life gets in the way of study and IT waits for no-one.

    On the upside, you found these forums and I'm sure that with some reading of useful study posts you will be on your way and certified in no time. Good luck.
    Certifications: MCSE, MCP, MCDST, MCSA, ITIL v3
  8. systempsyche

    systempsyche Nibble Poster

    I would recommend that you set a starting point first. This in my opinion would be Comptia A+ then Network+ then MCDST then MCSA. You can self study upto the MCSA and then only have clssroom help for certain elements of the MCSA. This would have been better for you as you are new to the certification arena. Jumping straight into MCSA is NOT recommended as even if you did somehow pass. Working in the envirom=nment you will be asked to do stuff you should know off by heart.
    Certifications: A+, network+, server+, mcdst, mcp, ccent
    WIP: mac integration, ACSP, ACTC

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