Starting my MCSE and would like some advice please

OverdueOverdue Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□

This forum seems to help a huge amount of people and I am very glad that I have come across it.

I have been in 1st\2nd level Helpdesk support for the past few years and I have decided that its time to start the real work and get my MCSE certification.

I am going to start off with the XP exam (70-270) and build from there.

Now here is the problem, I have not studied in years and want to get into a good habit from the get go. I have the Microsoft Press books, what else should I be using for my study time?

As i am working (as the majority of people are here) so I will only have 2 - 3 hours a night to study. Could you tell me your study practices please to give me an idea of the amount I should be doing? Do you study on Saturday and Sundays aswell as during the week?

Also would you be doing an exam every 2 months or is that too much?

Are CBT nuggets worth the money?

Any advice greatly appreciated!


Brian :)


  • elvantelvant Member Posts: 56 ■■□□□□□□□□
    First of all, Welcome to the forum.

    A good planning on pursuing all your MCSE papers would be a good start. You would need at least 7 papers to get your MCSE. Carefully choose your electives, since there are many choices. For example, Security + would be better than Network + and A + because only security + valid for MCSE rather the other 2. You might need to consider further to MCSE: Security or MCSE: Messaging which need 1 or more papers. You also need to consider Vista over XP (client paper) which will earned you a MCTS as bonus.

    study this site carefully

    Some people did MCSE in numeriacal order (exam code). But it is up to you. I started with 290, 291 would be last (we call it Beast, montster or Godzilla), Security + and Vista somewhere in the middle for a 'relax' study.

    Pass each paper in 2 months, you'll be celebrate on 1st Q of 2009. (rather than all 7 papers in 2months, somes know who I refer to) Depends on your previous experience, it could be done, with commitment and proper study schedule. What I did is combine all the pages you need to study and divide the nos of day you need to finish. For example a MS book is 1000 pages, you want to complete it a month, then 1000/30 = 33.3333. You need to read 34 pages in a day (yes, weekends included), plus the time you do labs, practice question and thinking about your future. How many hours a day you need? Or you need another month or more? Anyway, dont rush your cert. You are looking for knowledge, not cert alone. Make study as your hobby and your will not feel too stress but enjoy the process even it might take longer. I did my CCNA in more than a year, I'm enjoyed the proccess (see my signature) and happily continue another cert right after. If you rushing for your cert, you would endup taking short cut and find place to '**** your brain'.

    Normally, folks in this forum would recommend you to have at least 2 study materials. A book or 2 (MS press and Sybex are 2 most popular here) , a video training will give you a overview of the material before you dive deep in your books. CBT is a good investment. Having different study materials let you switch between them frequently, you will not get bored easily.

    take it as my 2 and a half cents
    What is done is done, what yet to be done will be done. While in the process of doing, enjoy it.
  • OverdueOverdue Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks very much for that elvant, its started me on track anyway.

    Any one play Xbox etc for study breaks, does this help or just distract you?
  • paulbrian101paulbrian101 Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Overdue wrote:
    Thanks very much for that elvant, its started me on track anyway.

    Any one play Xbox etc for study breaks, does this help or just distract you?

    Playing video games on my PC makes studying very difficult for me. One click on its shortcut, and I'm playing for hours haha! So I decided to uninstall all the games so I won't be distracted. It's difficult, but I got used to it :)
  • OverdueOverdue Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Defo would be, I have a 360 in another room though. Fresh xp build on my pc.
  • stlsmoorestlsmoore Member Posts: 515 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yea I started the 70-270 a week and a half ago and I'm halfway through my M$ press book already. I study a chapter a night (about 35 pages each) and it takes about 2 hours with me doing all the labs and stuff. I learned so much about XP alone that I had no clue you could do with the OS. So far it's working out especially since I work at my current IT job plus my own business. I still have time to play xbox 360 and hang out with friends some how icon_eek.gif. It's all about how well you manage your time really.
    My Cisco Blog Adventure:

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  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I think an exam every 2 months is reasonable. If you start burning out, just take a week or two off. Some exams are harder than others. If you feel like you're not prepared, you can always reschedule your exam (as long as you do it more than one business day in advance).

    As far as the gaming breaks go, I get totally involved if it's a real game. I can't just play COD4 or Halo 3 for 15 minutes. I'd recommend some simple casual games for those quick breaks. Peggle and/or Puzzle Quest are great for short diversions. I start to lose interest after 15-30 minutes anyway, so they provide a nice little study intermission.

    There was a recent, similar thread where I talked about exam order and various other things that you would probably find relevant:
  • OverdueOverdue Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks again guys!
  • elvantelvant Member Posts: 56 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm not the kind of person who can stick on a book for hours, when I feel uneasy and couldn't focus anymore, I would play a game. But only for casual game that wont get you addicted. A good example is a sport game which usually have a session only last for 10 minutes. You probably get enough for 30 minutes. I have a street fighter emu game which a session will not exceed 30 minutes, perfectly slot in between my study break. Don't play FF, you might have a hard time finding save point.

    Or I would googling or wikiing some study material related webpage. You might get interesting articles that not cover in books.

    Or I would Flip through a Hobby Mag, relax one half of my brain which use to read mono-tone words and take the other half reading colourful images.

    Or browsing TECHEXAM forum, see how is everyone here doing. Reply a message or two, give some encouragement.

    I find playing some light music (solo piano) help me focus on my study. you got to try it. There are many free online radio stations out there.
    What is done is done, what yet to be done will be done. While in the process of doing, enjoy it.
  • bojo387bojo387 Member Posts: 29 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Elvant, Dynamik, Kudos to you two for sound advice! icon_wink.gif
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