The Core Exams have a reputation for being the most difficult of all MCSE requirements (Core Exams don't apply...
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to MCSA as direct requirements, so they're not covered for that credential). For Windows 2000, choices include 70-219 (directory service infrastructure), 70-220 (security), 70-221 (network infrastructure), 70-226 (highly available Web solutions), plus 70-297 (Active Directory and network infrastructure) and 70-298 (security); for Windows 2003, only 70-297 and 70-298 apply.
The newer exams -- 70-297 and 70-298 -- come most highly recommended because they cover Windows Server 2003 as well as Windows Server 2000 and apply equally to both platforms. The default choice is 70-297, and 70-298 applies primarily to those seeking security specializations or for whom security is a big job component. That said, those still working in Windows 2000-only environments should consider 70-219 as their default choice because of the vital role that directory services play in modern Windows environments and pick another Core Exam (70-220, 70-221, or 70-226) only if its focus coincides with primary job responsibilities.
10 PREP STEPS TO THE MCSA AND MCSE CERTIFICATION
Step 01: Choose your target Windows version
Step 02: Establish exam choices and order
Step 03: Deal with the desktop first
Step 04: Security options may appeal
Step 05: Digging into server and admin requirements
Step 06: Complete outstanding electives (optional)
Step 07: Completing the Core Exam (MCSE only)
Step 08: Prepping for individual exams (The self-study prep approach)
Step 09: Prepping for individual exams (The class-driven prep approach)
Step 10: Best exam prep practices