I want to take and pass the MCSE.
June 15, 2007 1:04 PM   Subscribe

I am a self-taught computer geek - and I want to take and pass the MCSE. Have you got any tips?

I want to get myself through the MCSE certification, and I'd like to at least get the MCP certification with the Windows XP exam. Can you suggest some things to do to get ready? What are the tests like?

My background in computing was largely software based (I'm a lighting designer, so I use CADs and paperwork generators) until about a year ago when I started building and setting up my own machines. I was the computer administrator for the college department where I was teaching - I would rebuild machines and image then either from scratch or from a ghost image. I can administer Windows XP on a network, and I am familiar with user accounts, profiles, and the manipulation of such.

I have about six and a half TONS of MCSE books from Half-Priced Books, as well as another 2.8 tons of PDF and CD image study guides. I will of course be plugging through as much of this as I can absorb. If you have any tips, or things I should make sure to study harder than others, please let me know.

Thank you!
posted by jimmyhutch to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak from my own experience, but my fiance did tons of practice tests. He also said that Microsoft is looking for by-the-book answers, not necessarily what would work best in an actual situation (he's been in IT for 15 years).
posted by desjardins at 2:09 PM on June 15, 2007

Familiarize yourself thoroughly with Active Directory and all its related parts (DNS, legacy WINS, Group Policy). Set up a test environment for yourself consisting of a few machines - at least one DC, a member server, a workstation. You can do that in VMware if you have a relatively powerful workstation.

Ideally, you should have experience in actually using as much of this stuff as possible. While you may run your small network, do you use AD and Group Policy, etc?

The exams themselves tend to have two sorts of questions. In one, you have to step through a simulated process in which you perform some sort of multi-step action. For example, you might see a Windows Server 2003 console and be told to create a record for a new machine, with a certain type of DNS entry, etc. In the other, the question will be text-based, but again will involve multiple aspects or steps, and you have to take all of the aspects of the question into account to arrive at the right answer.

The exams are generally adaptive - when you miss a question, you receive followup questions about that specific topic.

You will be able to get the Windows XP MCP with very little preparation, I think. It's more just a list of relatively simple questions, with no simulation or adaptive content. The more difficult exams are the server ones, where you're less likely to have experience with the specific technologies.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:20 PM on June 15, 2007

You're probably already aware of this, but have you looked into MCSA (Administrator) instead of MCSE (Engineer)?

In my experience, most self-taught geeks (including myself) are really a better fit in the less-famous but still very marketable MCSA.

Maybe it's just me.
posted by SlyBevel at 4:34 PM on June 15, 2007

On second read, you're almost exclusively Administration...I'd strongly recommend you take a closer look at MCSA.

It's usually slightly less intense to earn than MCSE as well. Also, don't forget that if you already have A+ or Network+ certs, you can put them toward whatever MCP flavor you choose.
posted by SlyBevel at 4:38 PM on June 15, 2007

A friend did this with books and practice tests. He specifically googled 'brain dump mcse' for people who had taken the test, to get better test questions.
posted by theora55 at 1:28 PM on June 16, 2007

« Older NYC filter: How to visit the Chrysler building...   |   bible translation study resources Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.