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Chapter 1: IntroductionOrganize before the Day of the Exam
Make sure you have plenty of time to study before each exam. You know yourself. Give yourself enough time to both study and get plenty of sleep for at least 2 days before the exam. Make sure coworkers, family, and friends are aware of the importance of this effort so that they will give you the time and space to devote to your studies.
once you have the materials and equipment you need and study times and locations properly selected-force yourself to study and practice. Reward yourself when you finish a segment or unit of studying. Pace yourself so that you complete your study plan on time.
Survey Testing Centers
Call each testing center in your area to find out what times they offer Microsoft exams. jot down the center's name, address, and phone number, along with the testing hours and days of the week. Once you've checked the testing hours at all the centers in your local area, you're in a better position to schedule an exam at Center B if Center A is already booked for the time you wanted to take your next exam.
The Sylvan technician taking your registration may not easily find all other testing centers near you, so be prepared to suggest alternative testing center names for the technician to locate, in the event that your first choice is not available.
Plan to take your MCSE exams at a time of your own choice, after you know when exams are available in your area. This puts you in control and allows you to take into account your own life situation and your own style. If you are sharpest in the early morning, take the exams in the morning. If you can't get calm enoughfor an exam until late afternoon, schedule your exams for whatever time of day or phase of the moon that best suits you. If you really need to have a "special" time slot, schedule your exam well in advance.
Same-Day and Weekend Testing
You may be able to schedule an exam on the same day that you call to register-if you're lucky. This special service requires the test vendor, Sylvan or VUE, to download the exam to the testing site especially for you, and it requires the testing site to have an open slot at a time acceptable to you. Sometimes this works out, and sometimes it doesn't. Most testing centers are interested in filling all available exam time slots, so if you get a wild hair to take an exam today, why not give it a try? VUE testing centers can schedule exams for you, so they are especially well positioned for same-day testing.
Shop Around for the Best Testing Center Available
Shop around your area for the best testing center. Some testing centers are distractingly busy and noisy at all times. Some official testing centers have slow 25-MHz computers, small 12-in monitors, cramped seating conditions, or distracting activity outside the windows of the testing rooms. Some centers occasionally even have crabby, uninformed staff. Some centers actually limit testing to certain hours or certain days of the week rather than allowing testing during all open hours.
Because these MCSE exams are important to your career-you deserve to use the best testing environment available. The best center costs the same $100 that a less pleasant center does. Shop around and find out exactly what is available in your area.
If you are treated improperly, or if appropriate services or accommodations were not available when they should have been, let Sylvan or VUE, and Microsoft, know by e-mail and telephone.
Check for Aviation Testing Centers
Some of the best testing centers are actually at airports! Aviation training centers, located at all major airports to accommodate pilots, frequently are well-equipped and pleasant environments. Aviation training centers participate in Microsoft testing in order to better use their investment in computer testing rooms and to broaden their customer base.
The best thing about aviation training centers is that they are regularly open all day on weekends, both Saturday and Sunday. The staff at some aviation training centers actually like to work on weekends! One verified example, for instance, of an aviation training center and excellent Microsoft testing center available all day every weekend is Wright Flyers in San Antonio, Texas (telephone: 210-820-3800 or e-mail: Wflyers@Flash.Net).
Official Exam Registration and Scheduling
VUE exam scheduling and rescheduling services are available on weekends and evenings; in fact, VUE is open on the World Wide Web 24 hours a day; 365 days a year. Sylvan's telephone hours are Monday through Friday 7:00 A.M. through 7:00 Pm. Central Time, and the new Saturday telephone hours are 7:00 A.M. through 3:00 P.M.
As mentioned earlier, many testing centers are open weekends on both Saturday and Sunday. If something goes horribly wrong at a Sylvan testing center after 3:00 Pm. on Saturday or anytime on Sunday-you'll have to wait to talk to Sylvan until Monday morning. As has happened, if a testing center simply fails to open its doors for your scheduled exam while Sylvan is closed for the weekend, you can do nothing until Monday morning.
Install the Software and Try Each Option
Make sure you know the layout of the various options in the software's graphic user interface (GUI) and which popular configuration options are set on each menu. Become "GUI familiar" with each software product required in your next exam by opening and studying each and every option on each and every menu. Also, for whatever they're worth, read the Help files, especially any context-sensitive Help!
Commonly tested everyday network features, such as controlling access to sensitive resources, printing over the network, client and server software installation, configuration, troubleshooting, load balancing, fault tolerance, and combinations of these topics (e.g., security-sensitive printing over the network), are especially important. Remember, the exams are from the network administrator's point of view. Imagine what issues network designers, technical support specialists, and network administrators are faced with every day-these are the issues that will be hit hardest on the exams.
MCSE candidates are expected to be proficient at planning, renovating, and operating Microsoft networks that are well integrated with Novell networks, with IBM LANs and IBM mainframes, with network printers (with their own network interface cards), and with other common network services. Microsoft expects you to be able to keep older products, especially older Microsoft products, running as long as possible and to know when they finally must be upgraded and how to accomplish the upgrade or migration with the least pain and expense.....