|There is currently a plethora of resources
available to aid MCSE study. What you should chose and where you go for this invaluable
information is entirely down to you. Lets take a look at the resources which
trainees A and B had at their disposal - and their subsequent success rate.
A went on every single Microsoft course and purchased thousands of pounds
worth of study material. Some of these courses, books and sample tests were excellent and
he passed those exams without any retakes. Other study resources he purchased were not as
useful and he needed to retake those exams several times.
B didnt have as much money as A and therefore decided to
explore that alternative reality commonly known as the Web. One day, B read an
article about different Web sites that contained answers to many of the MCSE exams. Like
A, B also passed but with substantially less expenditure and more
information to learn from.
Information at your disposal
From a financial perspective, it would seem that B saved himself a lot of
money. Have you ever purchased a resource to help you pass your MCSE only to find it was
absolutely useless or only gave you minimal help when you came to take the exam? Or have
you ever asked previous exam takers if they could give you an insight into a test, only to
be given a very vague and general answer? Perhaps you're the first in your group to take
the test so you have no one to ask.
Imagine a Web site that gave you other MCSEs views on the resources available - for
example, which reading material they recommend and which study guides were a waste of time
and money. Perhaps a Web site where exam takers world wide - whether they passed or failed
- left copies of questions and known correct answers would be useful?
How does this concept sound to you and what would you pay to access such a site? Would you
feel that someone who made this readily available was being irresponsible and devaluing
the exams, or would you be grateful for yet another tool to help you obtain that costly
qualification known as MCSE? A word of caution: speaking as someone who has gone through
the MCSE program the hard way without study aids or MCSE sites, I must stress that you
should not just try and remember answers, but also try and understand the reasons for
Whatever your view, in this month's article I'd like to invite you to come with me on a
voyage of discovery through a few of these sites to see if they really can help you pass
your MCSE exams.
Lets start our journey with the seductive www.hardcoremcse.com
and have a look at what's currently there. At first glance, it seems to be just another
site advertising books from www.amazon.com but lets see what happens if we click on
one of the exams on the left side, such as the Exchange 5.0/5.5 exam. Fantastic: a whole
set of recommended reading material and some advice:
www.hardcoremcse.com suggest that there is little point taking the 5.5 exam and that it is
better to hold out until ES 6.0 comes along. Taking the 5.0 exam versus the 5.5 exam does
not affect your certification process in anyway.
Let's move on to another option such as the IIS 4.0 exam. A list of excellent resources is
available, books you shouldn't read, books you should read and if you keep scrolling down
the list hidden deep down you will locate a gold mine of brain dumps of actual exam
www.hardcoremcse.com is an excellent Web site listing books and resources. Some of them
are incredibly beneficial, others a waste of time. There are also some examples of actual
exam questions and links to other sites with similar test contents.
Four hours later, having downloaded everything of worth from this site, paranoia set in
that Microsoft, after reading this article, may try and clamp this site. Lets move
swiftly onward to a less attractively-named site but which is more study oriented: www.cramsession.com/mcse.
This is very similar to http://www.hardcoremcse.com. I like the layout as it summarises
exam details such as the length of the examination and the amount of questions that will
be asked. It tells you exactly what you need to know to pass and the available study
Now again, like me, you are probably more interested in the questions people have
discovered these can be found under the Tips and Tricks section. But
perhaps something of greater benefit and a component unique to this site is the Cram
Session. This is a condensed summary of facts you will be tested on in your chosen
exam. Before you all get excited, there is not a cram session for every exam; at the time
of writing, there wasnt one for Internet Information Server 4.0, for example.
However, there is nothing to stop you from writing and submitting one after your test.
Lets proceed and see what other MCSE gems we can locate. Many innocuous Web sites
have MCSE gold hidden away. An example of this is http://www.saluki.com:8081/~2.
The first time I connected, it asked me to create a login ID complete with a valid email
address. If you are concerned about giving out your personal email address, you can always
create a free one on www.yahoo.com or http://www.hotmail.com
If you still have problems connecting directly, an alternative way in is to go to http://www.saluki.com. When you access this site it looks
like a Web site devoted to dogs yes readers a Saluki is a dog! (Never let it be
said this series isnt educational). Hidden behind this world of upper class animals,
there is more MCSE treasure. Click on Message Boards and you will see one called
Certification and underneath you will see Microsoft/Novell, click on that.
Beware, once you have logged in, your brain may go into ecstatic overload. This is another
extremely useful site complete with brain dumps on the core Microsoft exams and discussion
forums on questions that people have struggled with. It is very easy to use and like
www.hardcoremcse.com it has a list of exams to chose from on the left side.
And finally, for those obscure exams that few people take, there is a rumour that
somewhere, a site called Brain Dump heaven exists: a site containing information about
every single Microsoft exam. Well, its true and here it is: http://220.127.116.11 - alias Brain Dump Heaven. As its
name suggests, this is one of the sites that should be at the top of your list. There is
even a Newbies section to get you started with over 100 exam tips and
techniques to become an MCSE.
Unlike the other sites, however, you will need to know the code for your Microsoft test -
e.g. 70-59 for Supporting TCP/IP on Microsoft Windows NT - as it only lists the exams by
numbers. That said, Brain Dump Heaven is a thoroughly useful site considering the
challenges you are likely to face. It is full of exam tips and techniques as well as the
types of questions contained in the different exams.
A number of sites specialise in particular exams and it is well worth you searching for
the site most relevant to your interests. Many of the more general sites include a list of
other, more specific sites to help you begin your explorations. For example
www.hydratech.com/iis.htm has a lot of information on the IIS exam and
www.frontpage.idsonline.com/sallard/ has over 200 questions on the Windows 95 exam
Some of these sites may offer incorrect information so be sure to research them carefully
yourself and try and get an understanding as to why your answer is correct (or in some
cases more correct).
The site names I've given here were correct at time of going to press, however, some of
them do change (e.g. Brain Dump Heaven at one time was called www.mz-net.com/mccorner). If in
doubt, www.altavista.digital.com is your friend. You will also find that many of these
sites are linked from other MCSE content providers.
Combine many of the brain dumps on the different sites for your studies.
To give yourself the best possible chance of passing you might like to connect to
http://18.104.22.168/mcse_links.htm which contains links to many other sites.
Alternatively you can start at www.hardcoremcse.com
and use the links provided there.
Have fun exploring and good luck!