293 Exam Review - Passed

After passing 291 last week I posted that I hoped 293 would be more of a challenge. It was, and I got my second lowest score so far. But a pass is a pass so I'll take it and move on to 294 and test in a couple of weeks.

Now for the review:

Server Roles/Server Security - Didn't really study it and didn't think I needed to.

Network Infrastructure - I passed 291 a week ago and that studying paid off here. The questions weren't any more difficult, just longer. If you did well on 291 you should have no problem in this section. Typical DNS\DHCP issues.

RRAS - A weakness on my 291 test, but a strength here. Less specific questions than 291, but the answers require you to put more pieces together. Much like Network Infrastructure, it is a carry-over from 291.

Server Availability - Not good. I had no experience with clustering or load balancing and it showed. I will finally be building my first quorum cluster and NLB cluster (new SQL and IIS project) next month. If you haven't built a cluster yet, I recommend some lab work to get comfortable with it.

Network Security - Even worse. I thought I had a better handle on IPSec than I did. The questions exposed my weaknesses in this area. When my co-workers are done with my test machines (I am training 3 of them to help them earn an MCSA for a new position and they are using the lab machines for 270, 290 and 291) I plan on labbing out some IPSec exercises so I can get a better understanding of it.

Security Infrastructure - A strength, second only to Network Infrastructure and RRAS. Certificates were a major focus of my study efforts and also important on the test.

Study Materials:
MCSE Core Exams in a Nutshell - I only use it for a high-level overview, but I am finding it less useful as I progess through the tests.

Syngress 293 book - It came highly recommended from other users and did not disappoint. $10 for the download makes it the best value of any of the study guides I have purchased so far. I used it for the Availability and Network Security sections, but my lower scores were not a fault of the material covered, just my lack of experience. I also used it for the Certicate section and for a quick refresher on RRAS which helped. I skimmed a few other chapters as well.

MS Press 293 - not recommended by others and I never even opened it.

Exam Cram 293 - Used it for some cramming the night before. I like referencing a selection of books so I can get a different perspective on the information.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 PKI and Certificate Security - Read maybe 1/3 of it to get a background and basic understanding of Certificates. It really helped and is well written. I think I might actually read the whole book when I finish the exams.

Measure Up! Practice Exams - Not so much for the assessment value of the exams, but more to get in the testing mindset. The last few tests I have been using them to help me break down questions and put the answers together rather than trying to divine if I will pass the actual exam.

I also recommend signing up for the Second Shot free retake. About halfway through the test I thought I might need it, but then I got a question about a subnet mask and I knew everything was going to be fine.


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