MCSE NT Workstation 4 Exam Cram Adaptive Testing Edition

MCSE NT Workstation 4 Exam Cram Adaptive Testing Edition

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by Ed Tittel
Large and small corporations around the world have moved to Microsoft's powerful NT 4 networking platform at a speed-of-light pace. Microsoft created the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) program to help train professionals and officially certify them. Certification InsiderTM Press' MCSE NT Workstation 4 Exam Cram is especially designed and written by


Large and small corporations around the world have moved to Microsoft's powerful NT 4 networking platform at a speed-of-light pace. Microsoft created the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) program to help train professionals and officially certify them. Certification InsiderTM Press' MCSE NT Workstation 4 Exam Cram is especially designed and written by expert Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) to help professionals study for and pass the NT Workstation 4 exam.

Product Details

Coriolis Group
Publication date:
Exam Cram 2 Series
Product dimensions:
6.03(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.26(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Microsoft Certification Exams

Terms you'll need to understand:

Radio button



Multiple-choice question formats

Careful reading

Process of elimination

Adaptive tests

Fixed-length tests


Techniques you'll need to master:

Assessing your exam-readiness

Preparing to take a certification exam

Practicing (to make perfect)

Making the best use of the testing software

Budgeting your time

Saving the hardest questions until last

Guessing (as a last resort)

Exam taking is not something that most people anticipate eagerly, no matter how well prepared they may be. In most cases, familiarity helps offset test anxiety. In plain English, this means you probably won't be as nervous when you take your fourth or fifth Microsoft certification exam as you'll be when you take your first one.

Whether it's your first exam or your tenth, understanding the details of exam taking (how much time to spend on questions, the environment you'll be in, and so on) and the exam software will help you concentrate on the material rather than on the setting. Likewise, mastering a few basic exam-taking skills should help you recognize-and perhaps even outfox-some of the tricks and snares you're bound to find in some of the exam questions.

This chapter, besides explaining the exam environment and software, describes some proven exam-taking strategies that you should be able to use to your advantage.

Assessing Exam-Readiness

Before you take any Microsoft exam, we strongly recommend that you read through and take The MCSE Exam Cram Self-Assessment included with this book (it appears just before this chapter, in fact). This will help you compare your knowledge base to the requirements for obtaining an MCSE, and it will also help you identify parts of your background or experience that may be in need of improvement, enhancement, or further learning. If you get the right set of basics under your belt, obtaining Microsoft certification will be that much easier.

Once you've gone through the Self-Assessment, you can remedy those topical areas where your background or experience may not measure up to an ideal certification candidate. But you can also tackle subject matter for individual tests at the same time, so you can continue making progress while you're catching up in some areas.

Once you've worked through an Exam Cram and have read the supplementary materials and taken the practice tests, you'll have a pretty clear idea of whe n you should be ready to take the real exam. We strongly recommend that you keep practicing until your scores top the 70 percent mark; 75 percent would be a good goal to give yourself some margin for error in a real exam situation (where stress will play more of a role than when you practice). Once you hit that point, you should be ready to go. But if you get through both practice exams in this book, and also the sample adaptive exams online (discussed in the Self-Assessment, the Introduction, and later in this chapter) without attaining that score, you should keep taking practice tests and studying the materials until you get there. You'll find more information about other practice test vendors in the Self-Assessment, along with even more pointers on how to study and prepare. But now, on to the exam!

The Exam Situation

When you arrive at the testing center where you scheduled your exam, you'll need to sign in with an exam coordinator. He or she will ask you to show two forms of identification, one of which must be a photo ID. After you've signed in and your time slot arrives, you'll be asked to deposit any books, bags, or other items you brought with you. Then, you'll be escorted into a closed room. Typically, the room will be furnished with anywhere from one to half a dozen computers, and each workstation will be separated from the others by dividers designed to keep you from seeing what's happening on someone else's computer.

You'll be furnished with a pen or pencil and a blank sheet of paper, or, in some cases, an erasable plastic sheet and an erasable pen. You're allowed to write down anything you want on both sides of this sheet. Before the exam, you should memorize as much of the material that appears on The Cram Sheet (in the front of this book) as you can, so you can write that information on the blank sheet as soon as you are seated in front of the computer. You can refer to your rendition of The Cram Sheet anytime you like during the test, but you'll have to surrender the sheet when you leave the room.

Most test rooms feature a wall with a large picture window. This permits the exam coordinator to monitor the room, to prevent exam-takers from talking to one another, and to observe anything out of the ordinary that might go on. The exam coordinator will have preloaded the appropriate Microsoft certification exam-for this book, that's Exam 70-073-and you'll be permitted to start as soon as you're seated in front of the computer.

All Microsoft certification exams allow a certain maximum amount of time in which to complete your work (this time is indicated on the exam by an on-screen counter/clock, so you can check the time remaining whenever you like). The adaptive Windows NT Workstation 4.0 exam typically includes somewhere between 15 and 35 questions. You may take up to 90 minutes to complete the exam, but it will seldom take longer than 30 minutes.

All Microsoft certification exams are computer generated and use a multiple-choice format. Although this may sound quite simple, the questions are constructed not only to check your mastery of basic facts and figures about Windows NT Work station 4.0, but they also require you to evaluate one or more sets of circumstances or requirements. Often, you'll be asked to give more than one answer to a question. Likewise, you might be asked to select the best or most effective solution to a problem from a range of choices, all of which technically are correct. Taking the exam is quite an adventure, and it involves real thinking. This book shows you what to expect and how to deal with the potential problems, puzzles, and predicaments.

Some Microsoft exams employ more advanced testing capabilities than might immediately meet the eye. Although the questions that appear are still multiple choice, the logic that drives them is more complex than older Microsoft tests, which use a fixed sequence of questions, called a fixed-length test. Other exams employ a sophisticated user interface, which Microsoft calls a simulation, to test your knowledge of the software and systems under consideration in a more or less "live" environment that behaves just like the original.

For all upcoming exams, Microsoft is turning to a well-known technique, called adaptive testing, to establish a test-taker's level of knowledge and product competence. Adaptive exams look the same as fixed-length exams, but they discover the level of difficulty at which an individual test-taker can correctly answer questions. At the same time, Microsoft is in the process of converting all of its older fixed-length exams into adaptive exams as well. Test-takers with differing levels of knowledge or ability therefore see different sets of questions; individuals with high levels of knowledge or ability are p resented with a smaller set of more difficult questions, whereas individuals with lower levels of knowledge are presented with a larger set of easier questions. Two individuals may answer the same percentage of questions correctly, but the test-taker with a higher knowledge or ability level will score higher because his or her questions are worth more.

Also, the lower-level test-taker will probably answer more questions than his or her more-knowledgeable colleague. This explains why adaptive tests use ranges of values to define the number of questions and the amount of time it takes to complete the test.

Adaptive tests work by evaluating the test-taker's most recent answer. A correct answer leads to a more difficult question (and the test software's estimate of the test-taker's knowledge and ability level is raised). An incorrect answer leads to a less difficult question (and the test software's estimate of the test-taker's knowledge and ability level is lowered). This process continues until the test targets the test-taker's true ability level. The exam ends when the test-taker's level of accuracy meets a statistically acceptable value (in other words, when his or her performance demonstrates an acceptable level of knowledge and ability) or when the maximum number of items have been presented (in which case, the test-taker is almost certain to fail).

Microsoft tests come in one form or the other-either they're fixed-length or they're adaptive. Thus, you must take the test in whichever form it appears; there's no choosing one form over another. But if anything, it pays off even more to prepar e thoroughly for an adaptive exam than for a fixed-length one: The penalties for answering incorrectly are built into the test itself on an adaptive exam, whereas the layout remains the same for a fixed-length test, no matter how many questions you answer incorrectly.

The biggest difference between an adaptive test and a fixed-length test is that on a fixed-length test, you can revisit questions after you've read them over one or more times. On an adaptive test, you must answer the question when it's presented and will have no opportunities to revisit that question thereafter.

In the section that follows, you'll learn more about how Microsoft test questions look and how they must be answered.

Exam Layout And Design

Some exam questions require you to select a single answer, whereas others ask you to select multiple correct answers. The following multiple-choice question requires you to select a single correct answer. Following the question is a brief summary of each potential answer and why it is either right or wrong.

Question 1

Windows NT fails to boot after you have modified the Registry. What is the quickest and easiest way to get the machine to boot?

a. Start the computer from the Windows NT boot disks and restore the Registry from a backup.

b. Start the computer from the Windows NT boot disks and select the Emergency Repair option.

c. Start the computer from the Emergency Repair Disk and follow the prompts.

d. Choose the Last Known Good Configuration Option when it appears during bootup.

Answer d is correct. The quickest and easiest approach to solving this kind of problem-be it caused by untoward Registry edits or installation of bogus drivers or system components-is to choose the Last Known Good Configuration option during bootup. Answers a and b may produce the desired results eventually (or they may not), but they're nowhere near as easy, nor are they likely to produce a Registry that's as up-to-date as the LKGC unless the Registry has been backed up quite recently, or a new ERD has been created. You cannot boot from the ERD, however, which is why answer c is incorrect.

This sample question format corresponds closely to the Microsoft certification exam format-the only difference on the exam is that questions are not foll owed by answer keys. To select an answer, you would position the cursor over the radio button next to the answer. Then, click the mouse button to select the answer.

Let's examine a question that requires choosing multiple answers. This type of question provides checkboxes rather than radio buttons for marking all appropriate selections.

Question 2

Using Task Manager, which of the following priority settings can you apply to an active process? [Check all correct answers]

a. Low

b. Realtime

c. System

d. Normal

e. Pause

f. High

Answers a, b, d, and f are correct. To prove this for yourself, launch the Task Manager by right-clicking on an empty portion of the task bar at the bottom of a Windows NT screen. Select the processes tab, then right-click on any process except for system processes (like the S ystem Idle Process, which won't work). If you position the cursor over the Set Priority entry on the resulting pop-up menu, the only entries it contains are Realtime, High, Normal, and Low. Thus, answers c and e are incorrect because neither System nor Pause appears on this menu.

For this type of question, more than one answer is required. As far as the authors can tell (and Microsoft won't comment), such questions are scored as wrong unless all the required selections are chosen. In other words, a partially correct answer does not result in partial credit when the test is scored. For Question 2, you have to check the boxes next to items a, b, d, and f to obtain credit for a correct answer. Notice that picking the right answers also means knowing why the other answers are wrong!

Although these two basic types of questions can appear in many forms, they constitute the foundation on which all the Microsoft certification exam questions rest. More complex questions include so-called exhibits, which are usually screenshots of some aspect of the Windows NT Workstation interface or related utilities. For some of these questions, you'll be asked to make a selection by clicking on a checkbox or radio button on the screenshot itself. For others, you'll be expected to use the information displayed therein to guide your answer to the question. Familiarity with the underlying utility is your key to choosing the correct answer(s).

Other questions involving exhibits use charts or network diagrams to help document a workplace scenario that you'll be asked to troubleshoot or configure. Careful attention to such exhibits is the k ey to success. Be prepared to toggle frequently between the exhibit and the question as you work.

Recognizing Your Exam Type: Fixed-Length Or Adaptive

When you begin your exam, the software will tell you the test is adaptive, if in fact the version you're taking is presented as an adaptive test. If your introductory materials fail to mention this, you're probably taking a fixed-length test. The current version of the Windows NT Workstation Exam 70-073 is adaptive as of this writing, however, so this status is unlikely to change.

You'll be able to tell for sure if you are taking an adaptive or fixed-length test by the first question. If it includes a checkbox that lets you mark the question for later review, you're taking a fixed-length test. Adaptive test questions can be visited (and answered) only once, and include no such checkbox.

The Fixed-Length Exam Strategy

A well-known principle when taking fixed-length exams is to first read over the entire exam from start to finish while answering only those questions you feel absolutely sure of. On subsequent passes, you can dive into more complex questions more deeply, knowing how many such questions you have left.

Fortunately, the Microsoft exam software for fixed-length tests makes the multiple-visit approac h easy to implement. At the top-left corner of each question is a checkbox that permits you to mark that question for a later visit.

Note: Marking questions makes review easier, but you can return to any question by clicking the Forward or Back buttons repeatedly.

As you read each question, if you answer only those you're sure of and mark for review those that you're not sure of, you can keep working through a decreasing list of questions as you answer the trickier ones in order.

There's at least one potential benefit to reading the exam over completely before answering the trickier questions: Sometimes, information supplied in later questions will shed more light on earlier questions. Other times, information you read in later questions might jog your memory about Windows NT Workstation facts, figures, or behavior that also will help with earlier questions. Either way, you'll come out ahead if you defer those questions about which you're not absolutely sure.

Here are some question-handling strategies that apply to fixed-length tests. Use them if you have the chance:

When returning to a question after your initial read-through, read every word again-otherwise, your mind can fall quickly into a rut. Somet imes, revisiting a question after turning your attention elsewhere lets you see something you missed, but the strong tendency is to see what you've seen before. Try to avoid that tendency at all costs.

If you return to a question more than twice, try to articulate to yourself what you don't understand about the question, why the answers don't appear to make sense, or what appears to be missing. If you chew on the subject for awhile, your subconscious might provide the details that are lacking or you might notice a "trick" that will point to the right answer.

As you work your way through the exam, another counter that Microsoft provides will come in handy-the number of questions completed and questions outstanding. For fixed-length tests, it's wise to budget your time by making sure that you've completed one-quarter of the questions one-quarter of the way through the exam period and three-quarters of them three-quarters of the way through.

If you're not finished when the total time for the test has nearly elapsed, use the last 5 minutes to guess your way through the remaining questions. Remember, guessing is potentially more valuable than not answering, because blank answers are always wrong, but a guess may turn out to be right. If you don't have a clue about any of the remaining questions, pick answers at random, or choose all a's, b's, and so on. The important thing is to submit an exam for scoring that has an answer for every question.

At the very end of your exam period, you're better off guessing than leaving questions unanswered.

The Adaptive Exam Strategy

If there's one principle that applies to taking an adaptive test, it could be summed up as "Get it right the first time." You cannot elect to skip a question and move on to the next one when taking an adaptive test, because the testing software uses your answer to the current question to select whatever question it plans to present next. Nor can you return to a question once you've moved on, because the software gives you only one chance to answer the question.

Also, when you answer a question correctly, you are presented with a more difficult question next, to help the software gauge your level of skill and ability. When you answer a question incorrectly, you are presented with a less difficult question, and the software lowers its current estimate of your skill and ability. This continues until the program settles into a reasonably accurate estimate of what you know and can do, and takes you on average through somewhere between 15 and 35 questions as you complete the test.

The good news is that if you know your stuff, you'll probably finish most adaptive tests in 20 or 30 minutes or so. The bad news is that you must really, really know your stuff to do your best on an adaptive test. That's because some questions are so convoluted, complex, or hard to follow that you're bound to miss one or two, at a minimum, even if you do know your stuff. So the more you know, the better you'll do on an adaptive test, even accounting for the occasionally weird or unfathomable questions that appear on these exams.

Because you can't tell in advance if some tests are fixed-length or adaptive, you will be best served by preparing for the exam as if it were adaptive. That way, you should be prepared to pass no matter what kind of test you take. But if you do take a fixed-length test, remember our tips from the preceding section. They should help you improve on what you could do on an adaptive test. Exam 70-073 is adaptive, so this advice counts double!

If you encounter a question on an adaptive test that you can't answer, you must guess an answer immediately. Because of the way the software works, you may have to suffer for your guess on the next question if you guess right, because you'll get a more difficult question next!

Question-Handling Strategies

Based on exams we have taken, some interesting trends have become apparent. For those questions that take only a single answer, usually two or three of the answers will be obviously incorrect, and two of the answers will be plausible-of course, only one can be correct. Unless the answer leaps out at you (if it does, reread the question to look for a trick; sometimes, those are the ones you're most likely to get wrong), begin the process of answering by eliminating those an swers that are most obviously wrong.

Things to look for in obviously wrong answers include spurious menu choices or utility names, nonexistent software options, and terminology you've never seen. If you've done your homework for an exam, no valid information should be completely new to you. In that case, unfamiliar or bizarre terminology probably indicates a totally bogus answer.

Numerous questions assume that the default behavior of a particular utility is in effect. If you know the defaults and understand what they mean, this knowledge will help you cut through many Gordian knots.

Mastering The Inner Game

In the final analysis, knowledge breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success. If you study the materials in this book carefully and review all the practice questions at the end of each chapter, you should become aware of those areas where additional learning and study are required.

Next, follow up by reading some or all of the materials recommended in the "Need To Know More?" section at the end of each chapter. The idea is to become familiar enough with the concepts and situations you find in the sample questions that you can reason your way through similar situations on a real exam. If you know the material, you have every right to be confident that you can pass the exam.

After you've worked your way through the book, take the practice exams in Chapters 19 and 21. This will provide a reality check and help you identify areas to study further. Make sure you review materials related to the questions you miss on the first practice exam before you take the second one. Likewise, repeat this process with the results of the second practice exam before scheduling a real exam. Do the same with the adaptive practice exam on the Coriolis Web site. Only when you've covered all the ground and feel comfortable with the whole scope of the practice exams should you take a real one.

If you take all of the practice exams and don't score at least 75 percent correct on your final try, you'll want to practice further. Microsoft provides free Personal Exam Prep (PEP) exams and self-assessment exams on the Microsoft Certified Professional Web site's download page (, including an exam on Windows NT Workstation 4.0. If you're more ambitious or better funded, you might want to purchase a practice exam from a third-party vendor.

As a special bonus to readers of this book, your authors have created three adaptive practice exams on Windows NT Workstation 4.0. (consult the Introduction for more information about how to find and take these practice exams).

Armed with the information in this book and with the determination to augment your knowledge, you should be able to pass the certification exam. However, you need to work at it, or you'll spend the exam fee more than once before you finally pass. If you prepare seriously, you should do wel l. Good luck!

Additional Resources

A good source of information about Microsoft certification exams comes from Microsoft itself. Because its products and technologies-and the exams that go with them-change frequently, the best place to go for exam-related information is online.

If you haven't already visited the Microsoft Certified Professional site, do so right now. The MCP home page resides at (see Figure 1.1).

The menu options in the left column of the home page point to the most important sources of information in the MCP pages. Here's what to check out:

Certifications Use this menu entry to read about the various certification programs that Microsoft offers.

Find Exam Use this menu entry to pull up a search tool that lets you list all Microsoft exams and locate all exams relevant to any Microsoft certification (MCP, MCSE, MCSD, and so on) or those exams that cover a particular product. This tool is quite useful not only to examine the options but also to obtain specific exam preparation information, because each exam has its own associated preparation guide. This is Exam 70-073.

Downloads Use this menu entry to find a list of the files and practice exams that Microsoft makes available to the public. These include several items worth downloading, especially the Certification Update, the Personal Exam Prep (PEP) exams, various assessment exams, and a general exam study guide. Try to make time to peruse these materials before taking your first exam.

These are just the high points of what's available in the Microsoft Certified Professional pages. As you browse through them-and we strongly recommend that you do-you'll probably find other informational tidbits mentioned that are every bit as interesting and compelling.

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MCSE NT Workstation 4 Exam Cram Adaptive Testing Edition 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a person new in MCSE test, this is really a terrible book, while the test itself is ralatively straight forward, this book just give you too much unimportant detail, derail you from the correct way to study the exam. I have been very lucky not using this book when I took the exam, it's only when my sister bought the book then I finally known how bad it is. I advice her to use microsoft Press readiness series, even though that one is not very good either, it at least give you a better clue on how to prepare the exam. It's better