Which Study Materials do you like best for MCSE Self Study?

j0elj0el Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
I couldn't easily find the answer to this question on any of the links so I'm posting it myself--sorry if it has already been discussed a million times!

I've got an old expired MCSE from 1997 in Win NT 4.0 and am planning on renewing my MCSE in the next year. I'll be doing my own self-study and I'm wondering what materials (books, etc.) people find to be the most effective? Do you recommend the books by MSPress? The self paced training kit by MSPress seems to be fairly pervasive. And any additional books that might complement those?

And not to offend anyone, but after reading the books I wouldn't be opposed to running through some of the practice exams before sitting through the real exam--any of those that come particularly recommended? Thanks for the suggestions! /Joel

Comments

  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    j0el wrote:
    I've got an old expired MCSE from 1997 in Win NT 4.0

    MS didn't expire the MCSE on NT 4.0 like they were threatening and like they did with the MCSE on NT 3.5. The NT 4.0 exams are retired, but the cert is still valid.


    The 2000/2003 exams are a lot different then the old NT exams. Because they are harder there really isn't a golden study guide for each exam like there used to be. (ie the Exam Cram for TCP/IP on NT 4.0 and the Sybex Study guide for Exchange 5.5 both nailed the exam). Most people here seem to recommended the MS Press books for the exam. Depending on your experence, you may find that you need two books. I usually use a study guide and an Exam Cram Style book.

    When you figure out which exam you will start with, look for recommendations specifically for that exam. That may help.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • j0elj0el Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Woa! Are you telling me that my MCSE in NT 4.0 is still valid?! I was poking around the MS site and really was confused by the whole explanation--there seemed to be some difference if you took THIS exam as opposed to THAT exam, or something like that, that made it valid or not. Offhand, I honestly don't even remember which elective exam it was that I did take, though I could probably figure it out.

    Then there also seems to be some dispensation for MCSEs from NT 4.0 for the new MCSE--I think something like you only need to take 6 exams instead of all 7. I'd sure appreciate it if you could tell me which exam it is that doesn't need to be taken and if it applies to me.

    Apart from that issue, this is great advice as far as studying from more than one book. The general concensus here seems to be to start w/ the win xp exam first, and I expect that I would probably go along with that advice. Thanks, Joel
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Member Posts: 4,884 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yes, you are currently designated an MCSE on NT4. However, there is no direct upgrade path from NT4 to 2003, so you'll need to start from scratch there.

    I agree with ajs1976, use one good study guide (like MS Press or Sybex) and one other book, what I like to call the "anywhere" book. Something like Exam Cram or Passport, that you can take while traveling, in a waiting room at the dentist, or even on lunch breaks at Burger King.

    His last bit of advice on checking recommendations for the specific exam is also good. I heard that one of the MS Press books was really, really bad - but I don't remember which one. The reviews on Amazon might be helpful too.

    Good luck! icon_cool.gif
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    sprkymrk wrote:
    MS Press books was really, really bad - but I don't remember which one.

    That would most definitely be the 70-293 MSPress book. Get Syngress for 70-293 instead.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • j0elj0el Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Sounds like you don't necessarily recommend the 4 paperbacks that come with the self-paced core requirements training kit, and prefer to get the books al a carte instead?

    I'm still reeling with excitement that I might only need to take 6 exams for MCSE instead of the full 7! How can I find out for sure? I think that I may have checked out the MS site once or twice when I first became an NT MCSE but haven't gotten on there for training purposes since.

    Thanks!
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    Well, here's what I used, and I have to say, that the books I used were well written and I'd recommend them for people going for their MCSE 2003.

    70-270: I don't remember, it's been 4 years since I've done 70-270. I believe I used MSPress and Exam Cram.
    70-290: MSPress
    70-291: MSPress
    70-293: Syngress
    70-294: Syngress
    70-297: Sybex
    70-284: MSPress
    70-299: MSPress

    What exams do you plan on taking to achieve MCSE 2003 status?
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Joel,

    Get logged into the MCP secured site and view your transcript. There are some elective exams for the NT 4.0 track that did expire and you may have lost your MCSE NT 4.0 status, but as you take more exams, if one of the new exams also counts as an elective towards the NT 4.0 track, you should get it back.

    Also, once you get into the secured site, you can view the cert planner, it will give you more details toward the track.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    j0el wrote:

    Then there also seems to be some dispensation for MCSEs from NT 4.0 for the new MCSE--I think something like you only need to take 6 exams instead of all 7. I'd sure appreciate it if you could tell me which exam it is that doesn't need to be taken and if it applies to me.

    Having an MCSE on NT 4.0 counts towards the elective on the 2003 track

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcse/windows2003/nt.mspx
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • j0elj0el Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Ok, I know it has taken me some time to get back to this thread, but I have in fact gotten logged onto the MCP site finally and am able to view my transcript! As expected, it says that I am MCP (nothing noted about mcse) and has a list of the exams I took 10 yrs ago. The cert planner is interesting but not too helpful (I probably don't know how to use it best) as it suggests mcse in win 2000 and the "older" version certs.

    But this is helpful and I hope to check out the books that you have suggested (and stay away from the one that you thought was particularly unhelpful! Thanks, Joel
  • jasonbochejasonboche Member Posts: 167
    ajs1976 wrote:
    Joel,

    Get logged into the MCP secured site and view your transcript. There are some elective exams for the NT 4.0 track that did expire and you may have lost your MCSE NT 4.0 status, but as you take more exams, if one of the new exams also counts as an elective towards the NT 4.0 track, you should get it back.

    Yeah, that's idiotic and I think it goes against Microsoft's promise that they would not retire our certifications. It happened to me. I think only two exams have ever been retired to the point that they no longer count towards an accumulated certification. One was on the MCSE track and the other was on a different track, I think MCSD. I obtained MCSE NT4 in 1997. Then Microsoft retired one of my electives (IIS3/Index Server) such that my MCSE NT4 was revoked. Years later when I started certifying again, I got the MCSE NT4 back, but what I don't like is my transcripts don't reflect that I obtained MCSE NT4 in 1997. It says I obtained it years later. I fought hard with MS to have that fixed but they refused to do it, claiming the entire transcript engine is automated and they cannot make any manual changes. I can't remember the last time I heard a crock of crap like that before. I was fuming but I let it go and moved on. Some day an employer will ask me "I see you obtained MCSE on NT4 in 2005, which is about 6 years after that OS retired" and I'll have to explain the whole mess.
    VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
  • WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    Wow, that's the first times I heard about that, that's crazy and pointless.
    ajs1976 wrote:
    Having an MCSE on NT 4.0 counts towards the elective on the 2003 track
    Indeed, which is fair considering you need an 'active' elective for the NT4.
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    jasonboche wrote:

    Yeah, that's idiotic and I think it goes against Microsoft's promise that they would not retire our certifications.

    My dates might be wrong, but I think at the end of June 2001, Microsoft retired the MCSE on 3.5 and at the end of December 2001, they were planning on doing the same thing with the MCSE on 4.0. I think they got some many completes, that they had to back off. At that time, I think they made the promise about not retiring certs.

    But it looks like they forgot. From the FAQ page for the MCTS and MCITP, http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/newgen/faq/default.mspx
    Q. Will the new certifications expire?
    A. The Technology Series certifications will expire soon after mainstream support for the version of the product ends. The Professional Series certifications will require recertification every three years from the date of issue.
    Andy

    2020 Goals: 0 of 2 courses complete, 0 of 2 exams complete
  • jasonbochejasonboche Member Posts: 167
    Webmaster wrote:
    Wow, that's the first times I heard about that, that's crazy and pointless.



    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcse/faq.asp
    Q. I was an MCSE on Windows NT 4.0. One of my elective exams, Exam 70-077:
    Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Internet Information Server 3.0 and
    Microsoft Index Server 1.1, was discontinued on June 30, 2000, and I did not
    pass a current replacement exam before the June 30, 2001, deadline. Am I
    still certified as an MCSE on Windows NT 4.0?

    A. You are no longer certified as an MCSE on Windows NT 4.0. To be
    certified as an MCSE on Windows NT 4.0, you must have met both the core and
    elective requirements for NT 4.0. Exam 70-077 was discontinued in June 2000
    as part of the Windows NT 3.51 exam discontinuations. If you did not meet
    the upgrade requirements for Exam 70-077 by June 30, 2001, then you are no
    longer certified on Windows NT 4.0. See Discontinuation of Exams for more
    information.



    So after public outrage, Microsoft promised not to retire our MCSE NT4, with the one exception above.
    Bunch of garbage...........
    VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
  • sthomassthomas Member Posts: 1,240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Like others have said using 2 books is usually best when study for your MCSE (or any certifcation really). Also, setting up a lab using spare PC's or VMWare will help you gain experience needed to pass the exams. I usually recommend MS Press books for most MS exams but they can be very dry and boring. Sybex and Snygress are usually good alternatives. Good Luck!
    Working on: MCSA 2012 R2
  • Megadeth4168Megadeth4168 Member Posts: 2,157
    I have used 2 books the majority of my MS exams. I'm partial to Sybex but have had a bunch of Syngress books given to me for free.

    I have lab set up at home with a domain and I get plenty of hands on experience at work.

    The best combo is experience (labs) coupled with a source for understanding the reasons for doing what you did in the labs (books).
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