Took 290 and 291 this today

keatronkeatron Posts: 1,208Member ■■■■■■□□□□
For those of you who are interested, I'll try to give a decent summary of what I discovered about these two exams.

70-290 was really pretty simple. Basically cover the objectives and you should be fine. The SIMS were very easy, but I think they were also a good measure of ability. My score was 900.

70-291 was considerably more difficult (my score where was 884). First let me say, that even though I've heard several of you call it "The Beast", it's still not as hard as the true original Beast (70-216). Now before the arguments come, let me explain why I say that. First of all, some of the DNS, RRAS, and DHCP stuff was the same. The major difference is with the SIMS and more interactive type questions, you get to demonstrate your knowledge based on doing it exactly like you would in preparing for the exam or as you would in the real world. With 216 there were NO sims, so instead of "Configure this zone to be active directory integrated and accept only secure dynamic updates" you got "which answer outlines the correct steps for configuring this zone to be active directory integrated and to support only secure dynamic updates" followed by explanations that sounded very much alike except for maybe the name of the tab being mixed up. On the sims on 291, if you don't remember exactly which tab, that's fine, just click a couple of em until you find the one you're looking for. And also, I have to confess 216 is the only MS exam I've ever had to take twice to pass.

Now let me explain the things that make this exam difficult and for whom it will be most difficult for. If you're good with the theory and don't pay attention to detail when configuring things (MX records, pointer records, zones, zone transfers, RRAS, etc.) then you will surely have an extremely difficult time. Also the wording in some cases seems to be a little more difficult on 291; in other words I think they're saying no one should hold your hand and have to tell you every detail of what you need to configure. For example, the sim question might read "Create and configure a group policy for the Marketing OU that will prevent users from making changes to internet privacy settings and force a minimum password length of 10 characters, also the Accounting department corporate security policy requires a smart card for logon for all all computers in the Accounting OU" usually with a few more trivial tasks added. Then the end of the question might say something like "perform the needed operations by applying the minimum amount of GPO's." So this makes the questions seemingly more difficult because you have to know why you're doing what you're doing. However the fact that you're doing it sims again makes it easier than trying to remember all the steps and the order of them versus just doing it. All said and done, I stand by my statement of 216 being more difficult and still deserving of the title "The Beast", however I think 291 is a much more honest test and does a much better job of proving your compentency in the given area.

But the underlying gothcha of 291 is that you'll usually have anywhere from 3 to 7 sims (I had 5 and have known a couple of people to get 7) and the rest will be multiple choice, drag and drop and other interactive questions styles. And we all know how wordy Microsoft's multiple choice questions can be, so be prepared to use at least 3 hours of the 4 hour time limit. And concerning DNS? Business as usual, no less than half my test was either DNS or at least related to DNS in some way. And the surprise part? There were quiet a few security related questions, so if you're a person who's kinda skated by and never really understood what those darn security template things were for and how to properly apply them, look out. Also the routing questions were a little more advanced than on 216. The simple questions which show you a tcp/ip configuration with an obviously wrong default gateway address are pretty much going away.

Good luck to all who's preparing for these exams. My advice would be to print yourself a copy of all the objectives, set up a lab, then go through and install, setup, configure, and reconfigure every technology in the objectives. Do this three or four times for each and you should be okay. And always remember, if you're very week in area, then the exam crams and test prep books will not give you what you need. Google, ask questions on here etc. Until you completely understand the concepts.

Good luck to all and I hope this helps some of you.

Keatron

Comments

  • kalebkspkalebksp Posts: 1,033Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I'm curious why you took the 290 and 291 rather than just the 292? Did you have a specific reason for going that path?
  • TeKniquesTeKniques OSCE, OSCP, CISSP, CISA, SSCP, MCSE (03), Security+, Network+, A+, Project+ Posts: 1,262Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Nice review Keatron and congrats on the passes! I thought the 291 exam was a fair test and I did not think I was asked any unreasonable questions. I think if people take your advice and work with the technologies over and over until it is like clockwork there should be no problems. I have never taken 216, but for me the 291 has been the hardest exam I have taken.

    Btw, you have a nice cert list growing there icon_wink.gif ... are you eventually going to achieve MCSE 2003 status?
  • keatronkeatron Posts: 1,208Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    kalebksp wrote:
    I'm curious why you took the 290 and 291 rather than just the 292? Did you have a specific reason for going that path?

    The reason I took 290 and 291 is because these are the next two Microsoft classes I'll be teaching (in June). While it is quicker to do 292 and get it over and done with, I've always felt more comfortable helping people prepare for an exam when I've actually taken the exam myself. Most of my training nowadays is security related, however to maintain my MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) designation, I'm required to deliver a minimum amount of classes and hours delivering MOC (Microsoft Official Curriculum). Quite frankly concerning Microsoft server environments, 2003 technology is pretty much what I've implemented exclusively for the last 2 years. And my practice is typically to test after I've actually touched the technology in the real world. I bought the first edition of the big "Big Blue" 2003 Server resource kit a while ago and pretty much practice implementations based on the best practices in these books. So by the time I test, I'm good to go. Honestly other than looking over the objectives, I didn't "study" at all for these exams because I've been doing it "by the book" off and on for the last few years.

    TeKniques wrote:
    Nice review Keatron and congrats on the passes! I thought the 291 exam was a fair test and I did not think I was asked any unreasonable questions. I think if people take your advice and work with the technologies over and over until it is like clockwork there should be no problems. I have never taken 216, but for me the 291 has been the hardest exam I have taken.

    Btw, you have a nice cert list growing there ... are you eventually going to achieve MCSE 2003 status?

    Thanks man! I will probably end up having MCSE 2K3 Security and Messaging before the years end. In the latter part of the summer I'm taking a slight break frorm all this security stuff and doing a huge Exchange 2003 implementation (of course by the side of my lone exchange guru icon_wink.gif ), after this and another similar project which is coming right after it, I'll be sitting for 284 (or maybe before :) ). I've already passed 70-350 (in it's beta) and I already have Security+, so basically I'll just need 299 after I'm done with 293 and 294 to be end up with MSCE 2003:Security/MCSE2 2000:Security and MSCE 2003:Messaging. With all that being said, the Microsoft stuff will pretty much "happen in passing" as my actual study efforts will be/is focused on CWNA, CWAP, and CWSP. It goes well with my security qualifications and it's what I'm really "feeling" right now.
  • kalebkspkalebksp Posts: 1,033Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I respect your teaching method. Many "teachers" don't seem to care much about what they're teaching.
  • keatronkeatron Posts: 1,208Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    kalebksp wrote:
    I respect your teaching method. Many "teachers" don't seem to care much about what they're teaching.

    Yes, and people are getting fed up with it. I can't count how many clients we have signed up this year who are ex disgruntled clients of a well known international IT Training company. It's really not all that complicated; Hire the best consultants and engineers, pay them well, treat them well, and pay for all their certs and training. NO ONE in my company teaches a class on anything unless they have "real" experience with the subject matter. This formula has worked tremendously for us and I don't plan on changing it. And thank you Kalebksp for the kind words.

    Keatron.
  • AlienAlien Posts: 398Member
    Congratulations icon_cheers.gif

    Must have taken a lot of courage to kill two birds with one stone :D

    Great review icon_thumright.gif
    Hard times on planet earth.
  • WebmasterWebmaster Posts: 10,292Admin Admin
    Congratulations Keatron! icon_thumright.gif

    I definitely agree about the sims, they are not `tricky' like the typical MS mc questions and actually make it more doable for those who can do it in a real-world scenario as well.
  • huddahudda Posts: 101Member
    Very Nice review Keatron!

    We all of us appreciated your time and effort, congrats on the passes. I want ask you one question, I read in Microsoft site about CompTIA's accreditation, if I take Security+ with 70-270,70-290,70-291, I will get my MCSA, as I understood, is it a smart way doing it or is better to take 284(Exchange server), I need your advice please, even if you think other suggustion.

    Hudda, UAE
    Thank you
  • Ricka182Ricka182 Posts: 3,359Member
    congrats!

    congrats!
    i remain, he who remains to be....
  • keatronkeatron Posts: 1,208Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    hudda wrote:
    Very Nice review Keatron!

    We all of us appreciated your time and effort, congrats on the passes. I want ask you one question, I read in Microsoft site about CompTIA's accreditation, if I take Security+ with 70-270,70-290,70-291, I will get my MCSA, as I understood, is it a smart way doing it or is better to take 284(Exchange server), I need your advice please, even if you think other suggustion.

    Hudda, UAE
    Thank you

    Hello Hudda. Honestly, it depends on a few things. 1. What do you see yourself doing in the future, are you planning to move into security? 2. What is your functional job role currently? 3. What previous experience do you have? Now, it is a popular choice to go with Security+ as an elective. For a couple of reasons; It keeps you from being extremely Microsoft heavy and gives your qualifications a more balanced look. 2. It is a decent (I stress decent, not excellent) introduction into the security world. However I must tell you this; I'm getting more and more RFP's for work concerning exchange server every week. Not only that, more small companies are now opting to host their own email/exchange server environment and use outside consultants to manage and maintain it. So I feel that having exchange server expertise is probably slightly more valuable than having Security+ currently at least in this market area. So my advice would be this; If you're serious about moving into security, then go ahead and go for Security+, as it is an introduction and it will indeed satisfy your MSCA elective requirements. However, if you want to get into the nuts and bolts of messaging, then go the exchange server route. Keep in mind, Security+ satisfies one of the two elective exam requirements for MCSA:Security. Also, i have not yet sit for 284 (I will within the next 30 days or so), so I can't really give you any kind of insight into the difficulty level just yet. What's the market like in UAE?

    Good luck.

    Keatron
  • huddahudda Posts: 101Member
    I thank you very much again for your reply, yes even I am interested in Scurity+ I heard a lot about Exchange sever may have more demand in the near future, I probably take both and see what will happen. I do not know about exchange server much, I may like it or not so I think your advice is valuable. Here I am working at UAE University, but not in my area, my husband teach at U, we came recently from Canada, so I did not exposed myself in the job market yet, I try to finished my certification first, since it is much cheaper compare to Canada. I heard that in Dubai, which is about 2hr drive from where we live, is better for job, but too much life expenses. Here is different from State or Canada, they provide you accommodation and traveling expenses. It is nice for a change sometime. Where you are living, I wish you success on your remaining exam.

    Bye
    Hudda.
  • jescabjescab Posts: 1,321Inactive Imported Users
    CONGRATZ keatron...........you Da Man
    GO STEELERS GO - STEELERS RULE
  • K_amisiK_amisi Posts: 131Inactive Imported Users
    Congratulations teacher.......i like that you don't talk the talk ,but you walk the talk.
    It is essential that justice be done, and it is equally vital that justice not be confused with revenge, for the two are wholly different."
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