Learning Guide

Step 8: Prepping for individual exams (The self-study prep approach)

There are lots of tools that certification candidates can use to help them prepare. The two most common exam prep approaches are self-study (no classes) and class-driven study (one or more classes of some kind).

The self-study prep approach has the advantages of being entirely self-driven and the most inexpensive overall strategy by far. The primary disadvantage is that self-study candidates don't have access to an experienced, knowledgeable instructor or mentor who can help them solve problems, answer questions or clarify matters as needed.

The ingredients required for self-study prep are as follows:

  • One or more study guides, available from publishers or providers for most Microsoft certification exams.
  • One or more sets of practice exams, available from practice test providers for all Microsoft certification exams, though coverage may vary from vendor to vendor).
  • A home practice lab or equivalent set-up to enable hands-on exposure to Microsoft systems and software. This is where Windows 2003 has an advantage over Windows 2000, because free evaluation copies of the newer platform are still easily available online whereas Microsoft no longer offers free evaluations for older Windows versions. Windows XP evals are no longer free, so it may be necessary to purchase a copy of Windows XP Professional as part of your prep toolkit. Virtual PC software, like VMWare

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