Quickest, easiest path to an MCSE 2003?

wootwootwootwoot Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
What order should I take the exams in that would allow me to get my MCSE out of the way as quickly as possible? Is there a preferred order or any suggestions from those who have taken it? I think I would like to start with the easiest exam as a confidence booster but for those who have their MCSE what order would you recommend?


  • keatronkeatron Member Posts: 1,213 ■■■■■■□□□□
    What's your functional role in your current job? I would say start with the ones that fall near to your current role. Last year I mentored a person preparing to hit the MCSE 2000 track. His job specifically dealt with hard core infrastructure, I worked with hime for a month on 70-216, so he took 70-216 first, and passed it the first time. Nothing is a better confidence booster than taking the exam people call the Beast first and passing it. If you're just trying to break in to the field, start with 70-270 work your way up the chain.

    Quick and fast always makes me cringe, so I'll give you this word of caution; If you can't do the work or don't really understand the concepts, then your certification will only mean a fraction of what it could mean for ya. icon_wink.gif

    Good luck.
  • wootwootwootwoot Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    At my current job I am a network specialist and have found that my CCNA has helped a lot with what I do. In college about a year ago I had taken 3 semesters of system administration 2 were on 2000 and the 3rd was on 2003 so I feel like I have some background with those already and will be able to pick it back up fairly well. I was thinking of taking the 70-270 first since a guy in the forums can get 20 percent off on ms exams for people. I thought I should take advantage and get the easiest ones first to save some money. I just wasn't sure if there was an order that made more sense than another, for instance if two of the exams had a number of overlapping topics it would be easier to take them back to back. I was thinking I would take a diff exam each month, that is my idea of fast. I am not trying to set any kind of records here. Does that sound reasonable?
  • keatronkeatron Member Posts: 1,213 ■■■■■■□□□□
  • cestricklincestricklin Inactive Imported Users Posts: 29 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Let me first say that there is NO way to get your mcse out of the way quickly unless you are Johan and taking the tests over again. You have to KNOW the stuff you are studying to apply it in the field. Im a system admin at my work and when I was out on vacation, we had an automation server crash and we had to go with one of the local computer techs who was supposed to be mcse cerified and he didnt know hardly anything...which meant I had to cut my vacation short. As you probably know, I was not very fond of the guy. And 3 days later, he was fired. So, just because you get a cert by memorizing a test, doesnt mean you will remember it in the field. Just my thoughts. Hope this helps.

  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    Thats a very nasty subject to post here. MCSE is not easy and you can't do it quickly without a lot of experience. Saying something like that gets MCSEs quite angry, simply because its not easy.

    The easiest and quickest is to ****. To really EARN it and make it means something do what you want to specialize is. So do your core exams, choose a design exam which suits you and electives that suit you. No exam is easier than the other, they are all of equal difficulty, it just depends where your experience is and what you want to take out of it.

    For example, it would be stupid to choose ISA Server exam because you think its easier than Exchange if you are going to work with Exchange and not ISA.
  • SlowhandSlowhand Mod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    I have a couple of ideas, but they won't make the test any "easier", just might get you some more efficiency out of your study time.

    First thing's first, you might want to go ask your boss if there is any way you can get some time off to study, or even do some half-days. The more study hours you can squeeze out of each day, the better. Not to mention that, if you have fewer hours of stress, (preferably none,) each day, your studying will be all the more effective.

    Secondly, I'd take a peek at the exam objectives for each test, and find out which ones you find to be the most straightforward. If, for example, you look at 70-270 and go, "Sheesh, I know just about everything here, I could take this test next week,) then you should take that one, get it out of the way, so it's not one of the items on your "to-do" list. The fewer tests you have to stress about, the better. That way, you'll get the chance to really focus on areas that you might not have a lot of experience with, (in my case, learning Active Directory is going to take up a good chunk of my life; infrastructure, on the other hand, I am far more comfortable with, so studying for 70-291 and 70-293 hasn't been so intimidating.)

    Third, and most importantly: don't stress to begin with. No matter how long it takes to get your MCSE, that's how long it's going to take. If you're getting pressure from your boss, your job, whatever, let them stress. If it takes weeks, months, years. . . it doesn't matter. You take it easy, just study as effectively as you can at your own pace, and you'll get the certification much faster than if you stressed, hurried through, and had to re-take each exam a few times.

    Oh, and of course: good luck.

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  • skully93skully93 Member Posts: 323 ■■■□□□□□□□
    keatron wrote:
    Quick and fast always makes me cringe, so I'll give you this word of caution; If you can't do the work or don't really understand the concepts, then your certification will only mean a fraction of what it could mean for ya. icon_wink.gif

    Good luck.

    I agree. For instance, I'm sure I could have crammed and passed the Net+ really fast, but I chose to do a full month course on it anyway. Why? Because I want to absorb as much fundamental knowledge as I can before I go on to the bigger and badder tracks, as well as be able to apply it to a job when I get hired. Sure, studying and training for the MSCE isn't as likely to land you THAT specific function the day after, but it helps.

    A lot of hard work now pays off in droves later.
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  • wootwootwootwoot Member Posts: 22 ■□□□□□□□□□
    strauchr wrote:
    Thats a very nasty subject to post here. MCSE is not easy and you can't do it quickly without a lot of experience. Saying something like that gets MCSEs quite angry, simply because its not easy.

    Thank you for your honest response. I don't know why people get their panties in a bunch when you want to do something with a certain amount of speed here. I have tons of experience with the windows 2000 and 2003 operating systems. I also studyied them in my system administration classes in college. After looking over the objectives I think my idea of an exam a month is very resonable. I just wish people were not so negative about the MCSE acting as if I don't know sh*t.
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    The reason why I said that was because you never mentioned experience what so ever. You only ever mentioned some classes you took in college, which I am willing to bet won't prepare you enough for the exams OR give you the experience needed.

    I never said you didn't know sh*t I just said a statement like that is not exactly the kinda thing hard working MCSE's want to hear, the truth is it is not easy and the only quick way to do it is to study as much as possible and then use the concepts you are studying in a real life situation.

    And I was never negative about the MCSE, in fact I was being quite positive. I am trying to point out that there is a hell of alot to learn both from books and on the job to pass the exams, making MCSE more valuable than the paper MCSEs of the past. And I never said it wasn't possible to do, its just a lot of hard work. And out of all it the MCSE will still only give you about a quarter of the skills needed to do the job in the real world.

    Now speed of doing something is another issue entirely. If you want to do it quick thats fine, but it will be much harder and the likeliness to be able to actually practise what you are studying is very small. But easy is the word that gets to most people. Quick is fine, but easy really is such a degrading word for any certification. There is no way to do it easy, it is easier for people with experience yes but that doesn't make the actual exams or studying for it any easier.

    Just thought I'd clear that up, you seem like a genuine IT professional, not just someone trying to jump on the band wagon. Good luck with your study.
  • gbhpboygbhpboy Member Posts: 68 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Firstly, I would say I have huge respect for everyone who has MCSE/MCSA, it's a tough course / exam and hats off to everyone who has got any passes in it.

    I was told about 18 months ago after being outsourced to a major IT company, that if I re-applied to get my own job, I wouldn't even get an interview because I didn;t have an MCSE. We negotiated a deal where they couldn't make any of us redundant for 2 years, but that end next April and I know the axe is going to all on me then. I work in 3rd line IT support and have bags of experience up until 18 months ago in NT.

    I looked into going onto a boot camp, costs a lot of money, you get your brain fried, but you do get it over with quick. I was advised against this by a couple of colleagues who I respect a lot simply because to do it in more of a relaxed way over time letting the info sink in and with plenty of hands on (with my test lab at home and at work now also) whould be better with me and command more respect in the industry anyway.

    Anyway, I started work on MCSE begining of January, have passed 2 exams and am taking my next one, next month.
    270 took me 3 months, 290 took me 3 months, and 291 will take 4 months, 'cos I had a month off for holidays over the summer.

    Everyone will need to go at their own pace, but I have seemed to found a pace that suits me, even though I have put loads of effort in and found it hard work studying and doing a full time job and having a family, I have got a lot of satisfaction out of it, and quite a bit of respect from my colleagues and bosses at work. I may even survive the axe of redundancy next April, but if not, then OK, at least I have got some exam passes I can put on my CV.

    best of luck in your studies.
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