Early this month, I was looking into possibly skipping my Windows 2003 MCSE certification update and going straight to Windows 2008 certification. Unfortunately, there’s no upgrade path for that, I would have had to take 7 tests again to get the latest certification. So then I looked back at Windows 2003 and found out that at the end of this month, tomorrow to be exact – all the exams for Windows 2003 expire.
To say I was in a panic was an understatement, I was already amidst upgrading my office to Windows 2003 Server, and essentially put everything on hold so I could study. I bought all the books on the upgrade path from Windows 2000 to 2003, all the Transcender practice exams and study guides, and I proceeded to give up life and at least 1/4 to 1/2 of my working day for 4 weeks straight.
The studying paid off. 2 weeks ago I passed exam 70-292, which was an MCSA exam. Most of the stuff on the test were things I’ve already dealt with hands on, the rest I did through online study and simulation. Today, I passed 70-296 – which to put it simply – was an absolute fracking nightmare of a test. There was a ton of material which I’ve never had a reason to use yet in my career, so I spent a majority of my time reinforcing the concepts and procedures required.
After I went through both the Microsoft study guides, as well as the Transcender study guides, I started taking the tests. Now the thing I learned about Microsoft Certification early on was that you can read every book, cover to cover, memorize it, and still fail the tests. The Transcender materials are an outstanding resource as they essentially teach you how to take the tests by applying the knowledge from the books in real world situations. I don’t believe I could have pulled this off without them.
I figure in the late spring/early summer, I will proceed with upgrading my MCSE to Windows 2008. For now, it’s back to work -implementing what I’ve learned and getting even more hands on experience for the next go round. I don’t think I’ll ever wait till the last minute again…