Another 290/291 Simulation problem

Discussion in 'MCSA' started by TonyB, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. TonyB

    TonyB Guest

    I took the 270, 290 and 291 exams recently, at a bootcamp.
    I do not want to infringe the agreement I accepted with
    Microsoft, on taking these exams, by passing on information
    to other examinees about individual questions, so I will
    attempt to keep this discussion generic.

    The 270 exam was the current, no simulation exam. The 290
    and 291 exams were the new ones with the simulations.

    The 290 and 291 exams are terrible. From a total of 40-ish
    questions, of which an indeterminate number of questions
    are beta tests or not scored, a pass of 764 (out of 1000?)
    must be achieved. The new simulations, one assumes, take a
    large part of the marks available to the exam taker. I
    approve of te idea of a simulation as it allows Microsoft
    to test the users knowledge in a more in-depth way than a
    simple multiple choice question can.

    I found, through all three exams, that the questions are
    not as well worded as I would like. I appreciate that there
    is limited space on the screen but several times I had to
    read the question 10 or more times to understand what is
    being asked. In real life, I assume, one can ask questions
    to clarify points but the exam questions, I feel, could do
    with some English grammar checking (sorry, but I'm a Brit
    living in the US!).

    The simulations were very badly presented. As is mentioned
    elsewhere on this and oter newsgroups, the simulation is
    just that, a simulation. It is not a version of Windows
    Server running in a virtual environment. It is something
    like a Flash/Shockwave movie with interactive responses to
    where the user clicks (I would advise all potential 290/291
    exam takers to check the demonstration on the Microsoft
    website before taking the exam). As a consequence of the
    simulation not being a virtual PC, the examinee cannot
    always use the method they would normally go through to do
    some administration - as I'm starting on the admin life, I
    prefer to use the "Manage this Server" link whereas my
    course instructor preffered to use the "Run" command with
    the appropriate xxx.msc. The simulation does not -
    apparently, at least - let you do this. The simulation also
    did not do the lookup response I expected e.g. when one
    clicks on the "Check Names" button.

    When I finished the 290 exam, I heard that I could complete
    an Item Challenge Form. This is a way that an examinee can
    challenge one question per completed form. There is also a
    way to comment on the exam, at the end of the exam before
    leaving the testing computer. I completed an Item Challenge
    Form and submitted it within an hour of completing the exam.

    When I took the 291 exam, all four examinees computers'
    crashed within one minute of each other (after approx one
    hour of the test). Three of the four exams restarted. Our
    test centre tried to contact the 24/7 exam help line but
    received no response. I completed my exam and marked
    several questions for comment, post exam. After finishing
    the exam questions, the exam software allowed me to comment
    on the questions I had marked. A couple of these were
    simulation questions. However, when I proceeded to click
    the "Simulation" button to see the screen I wanted to
    comment on, the software suggested I woul reset my
    simulation question answer if I proceeded. I clicked "OK"
    as I assumed that my question responses had already been
    graded. However, when I saw my score, I am not so sure.

    One issue I had that has an ominous look to it is that I
    like to set my screen to a higher resolution, so I set mine
    to 1024x768 before the exam. During one of the simulations
    I enlarged the default window for one of the screens and
    came across floating text, appearing over the top of the
    window.

    I must say, that continuing from a crashed computer an hour
    into the 291 exam is not the most stress free way to take
    an exam!

    I submitted another Item Challenge Form and am awaiting the
    outcome from both. I have had suggested to me that my forms
    are not question specific enough but I have pressed the
    issue that, because of the simulation issue, I do not know
    if I misunderstood the question(s) or if the simulation
    prevented me from completing the "correct" answer(s).

    The MCP phone line suggested to me, earlier today (18th
    April), that there were no reports of problems with the
    simulations. I find this hard to believe. I feel a little
    trapped at the moment as Microsoft say that the test centre
    is responsible for everything that is not a question
    specific problem and the test centre, and I have to agree
    with them, suggest the issue is with Microsoft.

    I will just have to await the outcome of the Item
    Challenges I have submitted.
     
    TonyB, Apr 19, 2005
    #1
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  2. TonyB

    Dan Guest

    Hi Tony,

    I feel for you and know what you're going through.'
    I've failed the 290, 3 times now, but have worked in the
    IT industry for 5 years and worked on a large corporate
    rollout to xp/2003, working with both servers and
    workstations.
    I know how to do all the things that is asked in the
    exam, but for some reason, can't seem to pass, due to
    deliberately poor worded questions, to catch people out.

    I've decided that to get my MCSE is just not to give up,
    it's going to cost a fortune, but it is a particular
    club, where persistence and perservence will eventually
    pay off.

    Best of luck with hearing back from Microsoft.

    >-----Original Message-----
    >I took the 270, 290 and 291 exams recently, at a

    bootcamp.
    >I do not want to infringe the agreement I accepted with
    >Microsoft, on taking these exams, by passing on

    information
    >to other examinees about individual questions, so I will
    >attempt to keep this discussion generic.
    >
    >The 270 exam was the current, no simulation exam. The 290
    >and 291 exams were the new ones with the simulations.
    >
    >The 290 and 291 exams are terrible. From a total of 40-

    ish
    >questions, of which an indeterminate number of questions
    >are beta tests or not scored, a pass of 764 (out of

    1000?)
    >must be achieved. The new simulations, one assumes, take

    a
    >large part of the marks available to the exam taker. I
    >approve of te idea of a simulation as it allows Microsoft
    >to test the users knowledge in a more in-depth way than a
    >simple multiple choice question can.
    >
    >I found, through all three exams, that the questions are
    >not as well worded as I would like. I appreciate that

    there
    >is limited space on the screen but several times I had to
    >read the question 10 or more times to understand what is
    >being asked. In real life, I assume, one can ask

    questions
    >to clarify points but the exam questions, I feel, could

    do
    >with some English grammar checking (sorry, but I'm a Brit
    >living in the US!).
    >
    >The simulations were very badly presented. As is

    mentioned
    >elsewhere on this and oter newsgroups, the simulation is
    >just that, a simulation. It is not a version of Windows
    >Server running in a virtual environment. It is something
    >like a Flash/Shockwave movie with interactive responses

    to
    >where the user clicks (I would advise all potential

    290/291
    >exam takers to check the demonstration on the Microsoft
    >website before taking the exam). As a consequence of the
    >simulation not being a virtual PC, the examinee cannot
    >always use the method they would normally go through to

    do
    >some administration - as I'm starting on the admin life,

    I
    >prefer to use the "Manage this Server" link whereas my
    >course instructor preffered to use the "Run" command with
    >the appropriate xxx.msc. The simulation does not -
    >apparently, at least - let you do this. The simulation

    also
    >did not do the lookup response I expected e.g. when one
    >clicks on the "Check Names" button.
    >
    >When I finished the 290 exam, I heard that I could

    complete
    >an Item Challenge Form. This is a way that an examinee

    can
    >challenge one question per completed form. There is also

    a
    >way to comment on the exam, at the end of the exam before
    >leaving the testing computer. I completed an Item

    Challenge
    >Form and submitted it within an hour of completing the

    exam.
    >
    >When I took the 291 exam, all four examinees computers'
    >crashed within one minute of each other (after approx one
    >hour of the test). Three of the four exams restarted. Our
    >test centre tried to contact the 24/7 exam help line but
    >received no response. I completed my exam and marked
    >several questions for comment, post exam. After finishing
    >the exam questions, the exam software allowed me to

    comment
    >on the questions I had marked. A couple of these were
    >simulation questions. However, when I proceeded to click
    >the "Simulation" button to see the screen I wanted to
    >comment on, the software suggested I woul reset my
    >simulation question answer if I proceeded. I clicked "OK"
    >as I assumed that my question responses had already been
    >graded. However, when I saw my score, I am not so sure.
    >
    >One issue I had that has an ominous look to it is that I
    >like to set my screen to a higher resolution, so I set

    mine
    >to 1024x768 before the exam. During one of the

    simulations
    >I enlarged the default window for one of the screens and
    >came across floating text, appearing over the top of the
    >window.
    >
    >I must say, that continuing from a crashed computer an

    hour
    >into the 291 exam is not the most stress free way to take
    >an exam!
    >
    >I submitted another Item Challenge Form and am awaiting

    the
    >outcome from both. I have had suggested to me that my

    forms
    >are not question specific enough but I have pressed the
    >issue that, because of the simulation issue, I do not

    know
    >if I misunderstood the question(s) or if the simulation
    >prevented me from completing the "correct" answer(s).
    >
    >The MCP phone line suggested to me, earlier today (18th
    >April), that there were no reports of problems with the
    >simulations. I find this hard to believe. I feel a little
    >trapped at the moment as Microsoft say that the test

    centre
    >is responsible for everything that is not a question
    >specific problem and the test centre, and I have to agree
    >with them, suggest the issue is with Microsoft.
    >
    >I will just have to await the outcome of the Item
    >Challenges I have submitted.
    >.
    >
     
    Dan, Apr 19, 2005
    #2
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  3. TonyB

    woodamand Guest

    I have taken the 290 test twice now and failed both time. The exams are utter
    trash, way worse than the exams for NT4.0 where I got my MCSE, and I seem to
    manage my network at work OK, ya know?. Not only misleading questions, as
    mentioned, but on my last test, one of the java apps was so bad I couldn't
    even see where to put the answers - I complained and got a free shot at
    another test, but I am not sure if that one answer killed my chances.
    Unlike the previous poster, the 70-290 test now takes a 700 to pass.

    "Dan" wrote:

    > Hi Tony,
    >
    > I feel for you and know what you're going through.'
    > I've failed the 290, 3 times now, but have worked in the
    > IT industry for 5 years and worked on a large corporate
    > rollout to xp/2003, working with both servers and
    > workstations.
    > I know how to do all the things that is asked in the
    > exam, but for some reason, can't seem to pass, due to
    > deliberately poor worded questions, to catch people out.
    >
    > I've decided that to get my MCSE is just not to give up,
    > it's going to cost a fortune, but it is a particular
    > club, where persistence and perservence will eventually
    > pay off.
    >
    > Best of luck with hearing back from Microsoft.
    >
    > >-----Original Message-----
    > >I took the 270, 290 and 291 exams recently, at a

    > bootcamp.
    > >I do not want to infringe the agreement I accepted with
    > >Microsoft, on taking these exams, by passing on

    > information
    > >to other examinees about individual questions, so I will
    > >attempt to keep this discussion generic.
    > >
    > >The 270 exam was the current, no simulation exam. The 290
    > >and 291 exams were the new ones with the simulations.
    > >
    > >The 290 and 291 exams are terrible. From a total of 40-

    > ish
    > >questions, of which an indeterminate number of questions
    > >are beta tests or not scored, a pass of 764 (out of

    > 1000?)
    > >must be achieved. The new simulations, one assumes, take

    > a
    > >large part of the marks available to the exam taker. I
    > >approve of te idea of a simulation as it allows Microsoft
    > >to test the users knowledge in a more in-depth way than a
    > >simple multiple choice question can.
    > >
    > >I found, through all three exams, that the questions are
    > >not as well worded as I would like. I appreciate that

    > there
    > >is limited space on the screen but several times I had to
    > >read the question 10 or more times to understand what is
    > >being asked. In real life, I assume, one can ask

    > questions
    > >to clarify points but the exam questions, I feel, could

    > do
    > >with some English grammar checking (sorry, but I'm a Brit
    > >living in the US!).
    > >
    > >The simulations were very badly presented. As is

    > mentioned
    > >elsewhere on this and oter newsgroups, the simulation is
    > >just that, a simulation. It is not a version of Windows
    > >Server running in a virtual environment. It is something
    > >like a Flash/Shockwave movie with interactive responses

    > to
    > >where the user clicks (I would advise all potential

    > 290/291
    > >exam takers to check the demonstration on the Microsoft
    > >website before taking the exam). As a consequence of the
    > >simulation not being a virtual PC, the examinee cannot
    > >always use the method they would normally go through to

    > do
    > >some administration - as I'm starting on the admin life,

    > I
    > >prefer to use the "Manage this Server" link whereas my
    > >course instructor preffered to use the "Run" command with
    > >the appropriate xxx.msc. The simulation does not -
    > >apparently, at least - let you do this. The simulation

    > also
    > >did not do the lookup response I expected e.g. when one
    > >clicks on the "Check Names" button.
    > >
    > >When I finished the 290 exam, I heard that I could

    > complete
    > >an Item Challenge Form. This is a way that an examinee

    > can
    > >challenge one question per completed form. There is also

    > a
    > >way to comment on the exam, at the end of the exam before
    > >leaving the testing computer. I completed an Item

    > Challenge
    > >Form and submitted it within an hour of completing the

    > exam.
    > >
    > >When I took the 291 exam, all four examinees computers'
    > >crashed within one minute of each other (after approx one
    > >hour of the test). Three of the four exams restarted. Our
    > >test centre tried to contact the 24/7 exam help line but
    > >received no response. I completed my exam and marked
    > >several questions for comment, post exam. After finishing
    > >the exam questions, the exam software allowed me to

    > comment
    > >on the questions I had marked. A couple of these were
    > >simulation questions. However, when I proceeded to click
    > >the "Simulation" button to see the screen I wanted to
    > >comment on, the software suggested I woul reset my
    > >simulation question answer if I proceeded. I clicked "OK"
    > >as I assumed that my question responses had already been
    > >graded. However, when I saw my score, I am not so sure.
    > >
    > >One issue I had that has an ominous look to it is that I
    > >like to set my screen to a higher resolution, so I set

    > mine
    > >to 1024x768 before the exam. During one of the

    > simulations
    > >I enlarged the default window for one of the screens and
    > >came across floating text, appearing over the top of the
    > >window.
    > >
    > >I must say, that continuing from a crashed computer an

    > hour
    > >into the 291 exam is not the most stress free way to take
    > >an exam!
    > >
    > >I submitted another Item Challenge Form and am awaiting

    > the
    > >outcome from both. I have had suggested to me that my

    > forms
    > >are not question specific enough but I have pressed the
    > >issue that, because of the simulation issue, I do not

    > know
    > >if I misunderstood the question(s) or if the simulation
    > >prevented me from completing the "correct" answer(s).
    > >
    > >The MCP phone line suggested to me, earlier today (18th
    > >April), that there were no reports of problems with the
    > >simulations. I find this hard to believe. I feel a little
    > >trapped at the moment as Microsoft say that the test

    > centre
    > >is responsible for everything that is not a question
    > >specific problem and the test centre, and I have to agree
    > >with them, suggest the issue is with Microsoft.
    > >
    > >I will just have to await the outcome of the Item
    > >Challenges I have submitted.
    > >.
    > >

    >
     
    woodamand, Apr 19, 2005
    #3
  4. TonyB

    pennino Guest


    >I took the 270, 290 and 291 exams recently, at a

    bootcamp.

    Just out of curiosity, how long do these bootcamps last ?
    I have always wondered how can they cram that much
    knowledge in so little time.. I don't know about you but
    it takes me at least a week to digest a couple of 1000
    pages books, let alone doing the labs, trying some
    simulation or looking up things on technet. And I'm
    talking about a single exam. Did they prepare you for
    three exam at the same time ? in how much time ?

    Thank you,
     
    pennino, Apr 20, 2005
    #4
  5. TonyB

    T-Bone Guest

    "pennino" <> wrote
    > I have always wondered how can they cram that much
    > knowledge in so little time..


    Basically they give you ony the information necessary to pass the exams. Not
    enough real world knowledge to be useful. Thus producing another "paper"
    certification.

    Boot camps are good in some situations, but not as a substitute for
    experience using the product.

    T-Bone
    MCNGP XL
     
    T-Bone, Apr 20, 2005
    #5
  6. TonyB

    TonyB Guest

    The boot camp was 9 days. From my only experience of this
    method, I would suggest that it is suitable for people
    who have reasonable knowledge and need finetuning for the
    exam - not learning from scratch. I started with little
    or no actual experience of 2003 server but quite a lot
    with NT4. The concepts obvioulsy transfer but the Active
    Directory stuff is new - even if it does seem the most
    logical way for minimum admin.

    The good thing is that you are away from work and home
    and can concentrate for 16 hours a day, if you want, on
    the topics. The instructor is always available (at least
    on mine) so if you have any questions, after the formal
    lessons have finished for the day, you can get things
    clarified. There are also usually several other people
    doing the course who have different backgrounds and they
    may be able to offer a different angle on things.

    I know there are MCSE bootcamps that are 14ish days but
    that seems like too much to cover in a couple of weeks.
    My brain can't take that much stress for that long!

    As we say in the UK, "Horses for Courses".
    >-----Original Message-----
    >
    >>I took the 270, 290 and 291 exams recently, at a

    >bootcamp.
    >
    >Just out of curiosity, how long do these bootcamps

    last ?
    >I have always wondered how can they cram that much
    >knowledge in so little time.. I don't know about you but
    >it takes me at least a week to digest a couple of 1000
    >pages books, let alone doing the labs, trying some
    >simulation or looking up things on technet. And I'm
    >talking about a single exam. Did they prepare you for
    >three exam at the same time ? in how much time ?
    >
    >Thank you,
    >.
    >
     
    TonyB, Apr 20, 2005
    #6
  7. TonyB

    pennino Guest


    >> I have always wondered how can they cram that much
    >> knowledge in so little time..


    >Basically they give you ony the information necessary to

    pass the exams. Not
    >enough real world knowledge to be useful. Thus producing

    another "paper"
    >certification.


    I still don't get how can they give even just
    this "essential" information in so little time. Unless
    they know in advance the questions you are going to get
    at the exam, how could they transfer enough information
    to cover all the topics in a couple of days ? You might
    be the best teacher in the world, but a person's head can
    only absorb so much information in a given time (unless
    they are exceptionally gifted but then they wouldn't need
    a teacher to start with). I'd really be curious to know
    from someone who has first hand knowledge..

    Bye,
     
    pennino, Apr 20, 2005
    #7
  8. I sometimes teach certification boot camps. Clearly, boot
    camps are not for you. If you have that much doubt about
    your ability to absorb information and work hard, then you
    shouldn't go to one.

    There are people who do very well in boot camps. They are
    usually people with extensive hands-on experience. The
    problem with the exams for most "experienced" people is
    that they cover a bunch of stuff that existing
    administrators don't normally do. So, the administrators
    need to get up to speed on the concepts they don't
    understand.

    People going to a boot camp need to be willing to dedicate
    16 hours per day to studying and hands-on experience. If
    they cannot, then they probably won't succeed. Of the
    people who attend my training none have left the camp with
    their MCSE. However, everyone usually passes at least one
    to four exams. Some exceptional people pass five or six
    exams in the MCSE camps. Those are usually the people who
    have lots of prior experience with Active Directory or at
    least Windows 2000 operating systems. Of the people who
    start my MCSA & MCSE boot camps, I think about 75% attain
    the certification they were going for in about six months.

    So, the rediculous non-sense about "paper-certifications"
    that you are reading here is a bunch of bull. Also, the
    expectation of studying two-weeks to get an MCSE is also
    rediculous. If someone goes in knowing very little and
    gets their MCSE after two-weeks they are either a
    certified genious or they cheated very well. I say cheated
    very well because I have had students that were not ready
    try to memorize testking stuff and fail miserably. As a
    matter of fact, those people may never get their
    certifications because they approach it the wrong way.

    That is the story on the boot camps that I teach.


    >-----Original Message-----
    >
    >>> I have always wondered how can they cram that much
    >>> knowledge in so little time..

    >
    >>Basically they give you ony the information necessary to

    >pass the exams. Not
    >>enough real world knowledge to be useful. Thus producing

    >another "paper"
    >>certification.

    >
    >I still don't get how can they give even just
    >this "essential" information in so little time. Unless
    >they know in advance the questions you are going to get
    >at the exam, how could they transfer enough information
    >to cover all the topics in a couple of days ? You might
    >be the best teacher in the world, but a person's head can
    >only absorb so much information in a given time (unless
    >they are exceptionally gifted but then they wouldn't need
    >a teacher to start with). I'd really be curious to know
    >from someone who has first hand knowledge..
    >
    >Bye,
    >
    >
    >.
    >
     
    MCSA/MCSE bootcamp instructor, Apr 21, 2005
    #8
  9. I disagree with your comments. Now I will tell you why:

    I teach MCSA/MCSE boot camps and I don't give people just
    enough information to pass the exam. As a matter of fact,
    I am most proud of an evaluation that I received recently
    that essentially said "the instructor taught too much
    information and didn't focus enough on just the exam
    topics." Well, yes, that is true. If you don't come to my
    boot camp with the requisite experience, you will fail the
    exam. I don't just focus on the exam questions. However, I
    do focus on the exam objectives. I treat the exam
    objectives as the "things" that Microsoft wants you to
    know in order to consider you certified.

    The reason for the word "certification" boot camp is that
    we focus on the certification exam objectives when
    training. The reason we call it a "boot camp" is that we
    expect people to work hard.

    The people who attend my training typically DO NOT leave
    the camp with the rating they came to get. As a matter of
    fact, I haven't yet had an MCSA or MCSE candidate achieve
    their desired certification in the alotted time. However,
    most of the people who meet the prerequisite experience of
    an MCSA/MCSE before the boot camp are able to finish their
    certifications a couple of months after the camp. The rest
    probably will never complete their certifications. That
    seems to be true whether they study Test King or not. I
    haven't seen Test King studying help the person who is not
    truly ready to get their certification yet. The thing that
    really helps the most for people who are ready to get
    their certification is dedicating a block of time to
    studying and taking the exam and choosing to spend that
    time with a mentor (the boot camp instructor) and peers
    who are also focused on the same thing.

    The boot camp is like spring training for baseball
    players. It is a held at a location away from home that
    allows people to put their normal lives on hold while they
    knock out as much as possible of their certification in a
    week or two. The camp gives the motivated people the
    inertia to complete the certification. It does not hand
    them a certification on a silver platter.

    At least that is true for the boot camps I teach. By the
    way, I want to let you know that I personally know more
    about the operating systems that Microsoft tests on than
    at least 75% of the people who write the exam questions.
    That is a fact, but I cannot provide you with evidence. If
    you ever meet me, you will KNOW that is the truth. Those
    who take my boot camps and other classes that I teach
    learn a lot more than just what is on the test. What is on
    the test is NOT good enough for people working in actual
    companies (not the fictual contoso.com, adatum.com, and
    all those other fictional companies Microsoft uses). Many
    of the questions are fiction and will never come up in any
    real administrator's life. That is why people need to
    study specifically for the exams. And that is why some
    people decide to go to a certification boot camp or some
    other intensive means of studying specifically for the
    exams.

    Microsoft certification people should not dislike the boot
    camps. They should enjoy the fact that people are
    motivated enough to spend time busting their humps to try
    to get certified. People don't attend boot camps to cheat
    on the exams. If they wanted to cheat on the exams, they
    would try to pass using only Test King. As I said
    previously, I don't think it is possible for most people
    to pass the exams using only Test King. I think the
    question writers finally have enough questions in the pool
    that are similar enough to fool those who try to cheat
    their way through the exam.

    By the way, the Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) gives
    people the entire test pool before they take their written
    exams for flying. You know why? Because the questions in
    their test pool cover everything they want people to know.
    The questions are also similar enough to one another that
    people who are trying to memorize will usually fail. You
    need to really know how to work the problems in order to
    pass the FAA exams. Now that is a great philosophy. Would
    you say the people teaching ground school are just
    cheating the system? I don't think so. I went to ground
    school and we learned lots of stuff there. We didn't sit
    around just studing the exam all day.

    Of course, the FAA doesn't stop at just a computer based
    exam. They also expect you to SHOW that you know how to
    fly a plane. First, you have to prove it to your
    instructor and then you can solo. Then, you have to prove
    it to an FAA examiner (who actually flys with you). Well,
    that system works like a charm. If Microsoft wants to
    increase the value of the certification, they should
    really take a hard look at that system of doing business.

    Red Hat and Cisco already do something similar to certify
    their top level people.


    >-----Original Message-----
    >"pennino" <> wrote
    >> I have always wondered how can they cram that much
    >> knowledge in so little time..

    >
    >Basically they give you ony the information necessary to

    pass the exams. Not
    >enough real world knowledge to be useful. Thus producing

    another "paper"
    >certification.
    >
    >Boot camps are good in some situations, but not as a

    substitute for
    >experience using the product.
    >
    >T-Bone
    >MCNGP XL
    >
    >
    >.
    >
     
    MCSA/MCSE Bootcamp instructor, Apr 21, 2005
    #9
  10. Damn. No offense, but from the amount of money most boot camps seem to
    charge (I've seen 'em range anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000), I'd expect
    to leave the camp with a lot more than just a test or two under my
    belt. And if I came into the camp with previous experience, I'd expect
    to pass every test with MCSE in hand. It's a large financial investment
    and I'd expect serious results from it.

    It's possible that there is just way too much material to cram into a 9
    or 14 day boot camp session. Even working 16 hours a day every day,
    there is still material that you probably won't retain. When people
    cram, they only absorb bits of information as short-term memories, not
    longer term memories that sink in. So it's natural that people forget
    nearly as quickly as they learn and that in a rush to memorize details,
    they lose track of key overall concepts. Only people who have been
    working heavily with a real or virtual lab for at least one month can
    pass these tests I think.

    Frankly, I'd recommend anyone thinking about shelling out $7,000
    towards a bootcamp to save the money, get a set of decent books for
    $200 or so, a PC with sufficient RAM to run a couple of virtual servers
    and work their asses off - they will probably learn more in the
    process.

    MCSA/MCSE bootcamp instructor wrote:
    > I sometimes teach certification boot camps. Clearly, boot
    > camps are not for you. If you have that much doubt about
    > your ability to absorb information and work hard, then you
    > shouldn't go to one.
    >
    > There are people who do very well in boot camps. They are
    > usually people with extensive hands-on experience. The
    > problem with the exams for most "experienced" people is
    > that they cover a bunch of stuff that existing
    > administrators don't normally do. So, the administrators
    > need to get up to speed on the concepts they don't
    > understand.
    >
    > People going to a boot camp need to be willing to dedicate
    > 16 hours per day to studying and hands-on experience. If
    > they cannot, then they probably won't succeed. Of the
    > people who attend my training none have left the camp with
    > their MCSE. However, everyone usually passes at least one
    > to four exams. Some exceptional people pass five or six
    > exams in the MCSE camps. Those are usually the people who
    > have lots of prior experience with Active Directory or at
    > least Windows 2000 operating systems. Of the people who
    > start my MCSA & MCSE boot camps, I think about 75% attain
    > the certification they were going for in about six months.
    >
    > So, the rediculous non-sense about "paper-certifications"
    > that you are reading here is a bunch of bull. Also, the
    > expectation of studying two-weeks to get an MCSE is also
    > rediculous. If someone goes in knowing very little and
    > gets their MCSE after two-weeks they are either a
    > certified genious or they cheated very well. I say cheated
    > very well because I have had students that were not ready
    > try to memorize testking stuff and fail miserably. As a
    > matter of fact, those people may never get their
    > certifications because they approach it the wrong way.
    >
    > That is the story on the boot camps that I teach.
     
    blastingfonda, Apr 22, 2005
    #10
  11. No offense taken. I agree that it is an investment.
    However, most of the people who come to the camps that I
    teach work their butts off when they are at work and don't
    have time to do any theoretical studying. Their company
    then pays for them to come to the camp to get them well on
    their way to certification.

    Companies and people have to get realistic expectations
    about taking and passing 4 to 7 exams in 9 to 14 days.
    That is not really realistic given the scope of
    information covered. Getting half way there is good enough
    to start. If people accept that, they won't have to face
    the heartache of not being an MCSA/MCSE when they leave
    the camp. The camp I teach for offers free retakes of each
    exam as well as repeats of the course (as long as people
    cover their hotel, food, and travel for the second camp).
    So, it really isn't a bad deal in my opinion. I have paid
    for training that didn't teach me 1/10 of what I try to
    teach people. They get what they can and fill in the rest
    when they are able.

    I expect a lot from people, but I would be unreasonable to
    think that most people would be both capable and lucky
    enough to pass 7 exams in 14 days or 4 exams in 9 days.
    Most people are physically shot by the end of a boot camp.
    As a matter of fact, so am I. I usually sleep for most of
    two days after I teach one.

    >-----Original Message-----
    >Damn. No offense, but from the amount of money most boot

    camps seem to
    >charge (I've seen 'em range anywhere from $3,000 to

    $7,000), I'd expect
    >to leave the camp with a lot more than just a test or two

    under my
    >belt. And if I came into the camp with previous

    experience, I'd expect
    >to pass every test with MCSE in hand. It's a large

    financial investment
    >and I'd expect serious results from it.
    >
    >It's possible that there is just way too much material to

    cram into a 9
    >or 14 day boot camp session. Even working 16 hours a day

    every day,
    >there is still material that you probably won't retain.

    When people
    >cram, they only absorb bits of information as short-term

    memories, not
    >longer term memories that sink in. So it's natural that

    people forget
    >nearly as quickly as they learn and that in a rush to

    memorize details,
    >they lose track of key overall concepts. Only people who

    have been
    >working heavily with a real or virtual lab for at least

    one month can
    >pass these tests I think.
    >
    >Frankly, I'd recommend anyone thinking about shelling out

    $7,000
    >towards a bootcamp to save the money, get a set of decent

    books for
    >$200 or so, a PC with sufficient RAM to run a couple of

    virtual servers
    >and work their asses off - they will probably learn more

    in the
    >process.
    >
    >MCSA/MCSE bootcamp instructor wrote:
    >> I sometimes teach certification boot camps. Clearly,

    boot
    >> camps are not for you. If you have that much doubt about
    >> your ability to absorb information and work hard, then

    you
    >> shouldn't go to one.
    >>
    >> There are people who do very well in boot camps. They

    are
    >> usually people with extensive hands-on experience. The
    >> problem with the exams for most "experienced" people is
    >> that they cover a bunch of stuff that existing
    >> administrators don't normally do. So, the administrators
    >> need to get up to speed on the concepts they don't
    >> understand.
    >>
    >> People going to a boot camp need to be willing to

    dedicate
    >> 16 hours per day to studying and hands-on experience. If
    >> they cannot, then they probably won't succeed. Of the
    >> people who attend my training none have left the camp

    with
    >> their MCSE. However, everyone usually passes at least

    one
    >> to four exams. Some exceptional people pass five or six
    >> exams in the MCSE camps. Those are usually the people

    who
    >> have lots of prior experience with Active Directory or

    at
    >> least Windows 2000 operating systems. Of the people who
    >> start my MCSA & MCSE boot camps, I think about 75%

    attain
    >> the certification they were going for in about six

    months.
    >>
    >> So, the rediculous non-sense about "paper-

    certifications"
    >> that you are reading here is a bunch of bull. Also, the
    >> expectation of studying two-weeks to get an MCSE is also
    >> rediculous. If someone goes in knowing very little and
    >> gets their MCSE after two-weeks they are either a
    >> certified genious or they cheated very well. I say

    cheated
    >> very well because I have had students that were not

    ready
    >> try to memorize testking stuff and fail miserably. As a
    >> matter of fact, those people may never get their
    >> certifications because they approach it the wrong way.
    >>
    >> That is the story on the boot camps that I teach.

    >
    >.
    >
     
    Boot camp instructor, Apr 22, 2005
    #11
  12. TonyB

    Guest Guest

    I know of at least 5 people who have complained about the
    simulations to microsoft prior to april 18th....
    Including myself Around april 13th


    >-----Original Message-----
    >I have taken the 290 test twice now and failed both time.

    The exams are utter
    >trash, way worse than the exams for NT4.0 where I got my

    MCSE, and I seem to
    >manage my network at work OK, ya know?. Not only

    misleading questions, as
    >mentioned, but on my last test, one of the java apps was

    so bad I couldn't
    >even see where to put the answers - I complained and got

    a free shot at
    >another test, but I am not sure if that one answer killed

    my chances.
    >Unlike the previous poster, the 70-290 test now takes a

    700 to pass.
    >
    >"Dan" wrote:
    >
    >> Hi Tony,
    >>
    >> I feel for you and know what you're going through.'
    >> I've failed the 290, 3 times now, but have worked in

    the
    >> IT industry for 5 years and worked on a large corporate
    >> rollout to xp/2003, working with both servers and
    >> workstations.
    >> I know how to do all the things that is asked in the
    >> exam, but for some reason, can't seem to pass, due to
    >> deliberately poor worded questions, to catch people out.
    >>
    >> I've decided that to get my MCSE is just not to give

    up,
    >> it's going to cost a fortune, but it is a particular
    >> club, where persistence and perservence will eventually
    >> pay off.
    >>
    >> Best of luck with hearing back from Microsoft.
    >>
    >> >-----Original Message-----
    >> >I took the 270, 290 and 291 exams recently, at a

    >> bootcamp.
    >> >I do not want to infringe the agreement I accepted with
    >> >Microsoft, on taking these exams, by passing on

    >> information
    >> >to other examinees about individual questions, so I

    will
    >> >attempt to keep this discussion generic.
    >> >
    >> >The 270 exam was the current, no simulation exam. The

    290
    >> >and 291 exams were the new ones with the simulations.
    >> >
    >> >The 290 and 291 exams are terrible. From a total of 40-

    >> ish
    >> >questions, of which an indeterminate number of

    questions
    >> >are beta tests or not scored, a pass of 764 (out of

    >> 1000?)
    >> >must be achieved. The new simulations, one assumes,

    take
    >> a
    >> >large part of the marks available to the exam taker. I
    >> >approve of te idea of a simulation as it allows

    Microsoft
    >> >to test the users knowledge in a more in-depth way

    than a
    >> >simple multiple choice question can.
    >> >
    >> >I found, through all three exams, that the questions

    are
    >> >not as well worded as I would like. I appreciate that

    >> there
    >> >is limited space on the screen but several times I had

    to
    >> >read the question 10 or more times to understand what

    is
    >> >being asked. In real life, I assume, one can ask

    >> questions
    >> >to clarify points but the exam questions, I feel,

    could
    >> do
    >> >with some English grammar checking (sorry, but I'm a

    Brit
    >> >living in the US!).
    >> >
    >> >The simulations were very badly presented. As is

    >> mentioned
    >> >elsewhere on this and oter newsgroups, the simulation

    is
    >> >just that, a simulation. It is not a version of Windows
    >> >Server running in a virtual environment. It is

    something
    >> >like a Flash/Shockwave movie with interactive

    responses
    >> to
    >> >where the user clicks (I would advise all potential

    >> 290/291
    >> >exam takers to check the demonstration on the Microsoft
    >> >website before taking the exam). As a consequence of

    the
    >> >simulation not being a virtual PC, the examinee cannot
    >> >always use the method they would normally go through

    to
    >> do
    >> >some administration - as I'm starting on the admin

    life,
    >> I
    >> >prefer to use the "Manage this Server" link whereas my
    >> >course instructor preffered to use the "Run" command

    with
    >> >the appropriate xxx.msc. The simulation does not -
    >> >apparently, at least - let you do this. The simulation

    >> also
    >> >did not do the lookup response I expected e.g. when one
    >> >clicks on the "Check Names" button.
    >> >
    >> >When I finished the 290 exam, I heard that I could

    >> complete
    >> >an Item Challenge Form. This is a way that an examinee

    >> can
    >> >challenge one question per completed form. There is

    also
    >> a
    >> >way to comment on the exam, at the end of the exam

    before
    >> >leaving the testing computer. I completed an Item

    >> Challenge
    >> >Form and submitted it within an hour of completing the

    >> exam.
    >> >
    >> >When I took the 291 exam, all four examinees computers'
    >> >crashed within one minute of each other (after approx

    one
    >> >hour of the test). Three of the four exams restarted.

    Our
    >> >test centre tried to contact the 24/7 exam help line

    but
    >> >received no response. I completed my exam and marked
    >> >several questions for comment, post exam. After

    finishing
    >> >the exam questions, the exam software allowed me to

    >> comment
    >> >on the questions I had marked. A couple of these were
    >> >simulation questions. However, when I proceeded to

    click
    >> >the "Simulation" button to see the screen I wanted to
    >> >comment on, the software suggested I woul reset my
    >> >simulation question answer if I proceeded. I

    clicked "OK"
    >> >as I assumed that my question responses had already

    been
    >> >graded. However, when I saw my score, I am not so sure.
    >> >
    >> >One issue I had that has an ominous look to it is that

    I
    >> >like to set my screen to a higher resolution, so I set

    >> mine
    >> >to 1024x768 before the exam. During one of the

    >> simulations
    >> >I enlarged the default window for one of the screens

    and
    >> >came across floating text, appearing over the top of

    the
    >> >window.
    >> >
    >> >I must say, that continuing from a crashed computer an

    >> hour
    >> >into the 291 exam is not the most stress free way to

    take
    >> >an exam!
    >> >
    >> >I submitted another Item Challenge Form and am

    awaiting
    >> the
    >> >outcome from both. I have had suggested to me that my

    >> forms
    >> >are not question specific enough but I have pressed the
    >> >issue that, because of the simulation issue, I do not

    >> know
    >> >if I misunderstood the question(s) or if the simulation
    >> >prevented me from completing the "correct" answer(s).
    >> >
    >> >The MCP phone line suggested to me, earlier today (18th
    >> >April), that there were no reports of problems with the
    >> >simulations. I find this hard to believe. I feel a

    little
    >> >trapped at the moment as Microsoft say that the test

    >> centre
    >> >is responsible for everything that is not a question
    >> >specific problem and the test centre, and I have to

    agree
    >> >with them, suggest the issue is with Microsoft.
    >> >
    >> >I will just have to await the outcome of the Item
    >> >Challenges I have submitted.
    >> >.
    >> >

    >>

    >.
    >
     
    Guest, Apr 26, 2005
    #12
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