This was an email which I composed in response to an unsolicited email from an unexpected source (Yugoslavia?). I thought it was something that every one of my students might benefit from... Enjoy!
From: "aleksandar" <ajanko@[obfuscated].yu>
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2005 18:10:56 +0200
I am really amazed with your knowledge.I would kindly ask you for advice. I took the exam 70-292 recently and fail.Please advise me what company or person, may be it is you can provide the best possible exam preparation for this exam to be quite confident to ace this exam next time?
Thank you a lot, ajanko@[obfuscated].yu
I didn't know my reputation had spread that far....
70-292 is a very difficult exam. I presume you are SKILLED in Windows 2000? If not, you may find it easier to take the individual exams, because, collectively, they are easier. (The good news is, once you pass 70-292, 70-296 is a piece of cake.)
That being said, I WAS extremely skilled in W2K and had taught it since it was first introduced in 1999 - trained by Microsoft, in Seattle (for free), as part of what they called the "Charter 2000." I also took both the W2K MCSA and the W2K MCSE upgrade instructor-led courses, BEFORE I started studying for 70-292.
At first, I used Transcender practice exams, and read everything I could find - I also followed along with all the answers and the labs on a network lab with XP, W2K Domain Controller, W03 Member Server, and W03 Domain Controller. When I was even a tiny-bit unsure of a scenario, or the reasons why an answer was right-or-wrong, I dug into W03 help, and the vast resources on the web. Altogether, I spent almost 3 months studying, and knew EVERY scenario (not memorized - I knew what it was about). I ran an NT-to-W03 migration, an IIS 5- IIS 6 Migration and a W2K-W03 domain upgrade.
Well, I FLUNKED ON THE FIRST TRY! (missed by only a couple of points). My advice to EVERYONE, including myself is: "WHEN you flunk a certification exam, don't take it personally. Donít go off and sulk, or promise yourself to study for 6 more months and try again (that never works). YOU JUST SAW WHAT WAS ON THE TEST, AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW! Lock yourself in a room for a couple of days, a week or even two weeks (NO LONGER) and study what you didn't know - then "Get Back on That Horse, and Ride It Again!!!). The best way to be SURE you will be ready is to schedule and PAY FOR the retake exam, when you walk out of the testing room...
I am VERY PARTIAL to Transcender - I have used it since my first cert exam, 10-years or so ago. There are many other good practice exams out there (and a bunch that aren't worth the web-space that they are posted on). [Disclosure] I am also paid by Transcender to "Beta" their practice exams, before they publish them -- so I know they are the very best. BUT -- the Transcender practice test for 70-292 wasn't quite enough. After I failed the first 70-292 exam, I got a copy of "ActualTests," and went through it line-by-line. Since I knew what I was looking for, then, I picked up enough from it to fill in a few blanks, reviewed the Transcender again, and retook it. (Blew it away this time.)
(You are getting the $2000.00 treatment here... I get paid to teach this...) The secret to passing ANY test is to study for it correctly. (Everybody knows that, but very few know what that means.)
First, open ONE of the practice exams on the Transcender (or whichever you choose) practice test and take it COLD. You should make about 50% or so - don't take that as "you did bad." NOW, you know half of the stuff that you do NOT have to bother studying. DO NOT GO ON TO THE NEXT PRACTICE TEST!
Next, restart the first test again, in study mode. (e.g. show answers) Skip right past the questions that you got right the first time around. When you get to ones that you are unsure of, SPEND AN HOUR, A HALF-DAY, OR A DAY researching that topic, and getting your fingers on the keyboard and DOING IT! When you are sure of the scenario, why the right answers are right, and why the wrong answers are wrong, only then, go on to the next question.
Continue through the first practice test until you finish it, THEN reopen the FIRST practice test again. Repeat the procedure above until you know-and-you-know-you-know every single scenario, variations on the scenarios, and every right and every wrong answer (Don't cheat yourself) - if in the slightest doubt, study it somewhere else, try it again on a computer, break it, fix it.
Finally, when you have mastered the FIRST practice test, repeat the above steps for each practice test you have.
Only now, should you attempt to "take" the practice tests. There is also a right-way and a wrong-way to take the test. Do it this way EVERY TIME (even on practice tests).
While you are studying, you should create yourself a one-page "cheat-sheet." Put all of the "trivia" that bothers you, and you expect to see on the test on this cheat sheet.
Before you start the trial (or the live test), go to the bathroom, get yourself a glass of water (take it into the testing room, if they will let you). And study your cheat-sheet for the last time.
When you go up to the test proctor (or yourself, if you are practicing), crumple the cheat sheet up and hand it to the proctor and ask them to trash it. (You HAVEN'T broken any rules about cheating!)
When they give you one sheet of paper (or the little white-board), ask for 3, 4, or 5 sheets -- and ask for 3 pens. You don't want to be distracted during a test.
After you get into the testing room, BEFORE YOU CLICK "BEGIN," fix things up.
For most tests, you will NOT NEED the keyboard, put it on top of the monitor - or somewhere out of the way.
Test your mouse. They usually need cleaning and annoy you with the bouncing and jerking. Clean it.
Turn your Monitor (if possible) so your
mouse-arm can be rested on the edge of the table while you are
mousing around the test.
YOU STILL HAVEN'T CLICKED THE START BUTTON ON THE TEST, YET (The proctor may have a problem with you taking too much time to get started, but that is his/her problem, not yours.)
NOW, take one of the white-boards (or sheets of paper) and re-create your cheat-sheet. You will be accomplishing several things:
1) you will be relaxing;
2) you will be refreshing your memory about the trivia; and
3) you will be writing down the answers to SEVERAL questions that you will encounter.
(If it is any way related to TCP/IP, do a subnetting cheat sheet, now, too)
OK, Comfortable, and ready now? Click on the START button. (You may have to call the proctor back in to log you in again, but that is still THEIR problem.)
When you read a scenario, read it at "novel" speed. (Like you would read a fiction novel that you enjoy.) Don't worry about "studying" the scenario yet. You will be looking for a couple of things during this reading:
1) Find out what they are asking for - not always the line with the question mark at the end;
2) Spot any GOTCHA words (NOT like, Select ALL that apply, ...)
3) Pay attention to OS and Domain mode, etc.
Now, SCAN THE ANSWER SET. You are looking, again for several things:
1) Look at the KIND of answers they are offering. Are they what you expected, from you reading of the scenario (Don't look back yet)?
2 )Look for patterns in the answers. If it is a "select-2-out-of-5, you should readily see that there are either two patterns, or maybe three. Two of them obviously need to follow the same pattern - sometimes the other 3 follow another pattern (bingo!) - and sometimes the other three don't follow any pattern (bingo-again!);
3) Find the "Throw-away answers." EVERY test has two (or more) throw-away answers... FIND THROW-AWAYS BEFORE YOU TRY TO FIND THE RIGHT ANSWERS. (Many times, the scenario will NOT have enough information to determine the correct answer -- but it will have enough to determine which answers are INCORRECT!)
You should now be left with 2 (or 3) throw-aways, and 2
or so which are kinda right. It's NEVER 50/50, though! The worst you will be
left with is 60/40, if you know the subject - If you CAN'T FIGURE IT OUT, I
tell a joke here...
"Two hunters were hunting in the North woods, when one of them sat down on a log and began taking off his boots and putting on running shoes.
"His partner asked, 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING?'
"The one with the running shoes said, "I'm putting on my running shoes - we're getting into Polar Bear country.
"His partner scoffed, "YOU FOOL, YOU CAN'T OUT-RUN A POLAR BEAR!!!
"The one with the running shoes responded, "I don't have to outrun the Polar bear, I just have to outrun YOU!!!!!!!!!"
Back to the test... When you get it to 50/50, you HAVE YOUR RUNNING SHOES ON! The other guys who are taking the test haven't analyzed the question. At worst, your guess will be better than theirs.
But you don't have to guess. Here is where your preparation
comes in... Go back and re-read the scenario and find the words that make the
answers 60/40 (and you win!!!)
MCSE, MCT, CCNA, MCSA, A+, N+ CTT+ Security+ Independent Trainer/Consultant
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