MCSE 2003 Study Tips

Read each question carefully. (Actually, this applies to all Microsoft exams!).  Make sure you understand all the skills measured in the MCSE 2003. Make sure you know the Microsoft recommendations for Active Directory design: how and when to specify Active Directory Forests, Domains, Trusts, Organizational Units, Sites. Keep it simple. If you haven’t seen a need for two Active Directory Domains, for example, then you only need one, which is the simplest, easiest, and most-implemented scenario.

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Most people seem to recommend reading the questions first and then reading the case-study material, while keeping the questions in your mind, so that when the answer comes up in the text, you spot it straight away. I did this, but one caveat I would add is that sometimes there is conflicting information. For example, if a case study features interviews with two key staff members who disagree or have a different view-point, you need to decide whose information to go with.

Someone also recommended this TechNet article, “Designing and Deploying Directory and Security Services,” as good study material for the 70-297. If you’re about to take the 70-297 exam, feel free to get in touch with any questions or comments you may have. And I wish you the best of luck. Despite the fact that there are newer certifications in Microsoft Windows Server 2008, there are plenty of organizations out there that are running Microsoft Windows Server 2003, and the MCSE is still a great achievement for your CV. Also, the MCSE never expires. So once you have it, it’s yours for keeps. This is not an excuse not to keep your skills current, by the way!

I am now ahead of my self-imposed schedule, which was to get the MCSE by the end of the year, so now I’ve got my eyes on the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 certification, Enterprise Messaging Administrator. Having already done the MCSE Certification, “Technology Specialist: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring,” for the MCSE, I now need to pass only two Microsoft exams: 70-237, “Pro: Designing Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007,” and 70-238, “Pro:Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.”

The other resource that I would recommend, not only for this exam but for your career in Microsoft Active Directory is a mailing list / archive called ActiveDir.org , where by coincidence someone has recently asked a question about the 70-297 exam; that thread is here. There are some really good tips free CompTIA questions there, which I guess can be summarized thus.

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