Passed 70-271 today with a score of 899. I took the official MS course \n(2261b, 3 days) and studied with the textbook from that course as well as the \nMeasure-Up practice test. I took two weeks to study between the class and \ntaking the exam. \n\nI looked through this discussion group for general advice before I took the \ntest (which was very helpful, thanks to all who posted here), so now I \nthought I'd add some advice of my own for future test-takers (without giving \nanything away from the exam, of course).\n\nThe 2261b course was helpful, but more because of the instructor than the \nactual book. The book is one of the most vague pieces of instructional \nmaterial I've ever read. If you just read it straight through, you'll only \nknow half of what you probably should know. You'll learn a lot of concepts \nand become familiar with terminology, but you may not have the slightest idea \nof how to execute a specific task. Participating in all of the practice \nactivities helps out a lot. However, I feel I would have failed if I had just \nused the course and textbook as my sole study materials. The instructor \nreally hit hard the areas he felt were important for the exam, and he was \nright.\n\nThe Measure-Up practice tests really are more difficult than the actual exam \nin this particular instance. I used the Measure-Up tests not to gauge what I \nknew, but to study. Every question you get wrong in practice is an \nopportunity to learn, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice not to read \nevery explanation and follow up on missed questions until you understand why \nyou missed them. If you come across a question and answer that you don't \nunderstand, google the topic. Often the search results will link you to the \nMS KB where you'll find more than enough info. It's true that you can \nmemorize most Measure-Up questions within four or five tests, but if you \nactually know WHY the answer is what it is, you're in good shape. I learned \nquite a bit just from taking the practice tests; they will introduce you to \nscenarios that typical book study won't... you'll learn things you didn't \nknow you needed to know in the first place.\n\nI got both my A+ and Network+ certifications before I took 70-271, and I \nthink the Network+ certification in particular is a great help for this exam. \nIt really shouldn't be any surprise that you need to know TCP/IP networks... \nthey comprise every MS network and the internet, so understanding them is \npretty much vital to taking exams like this. If you're not 100% comfortable \nwith DNS, DHCP, ICMP utilities, and the general structure of domains, you \nwill have problems, not just on this exam, but probably on most exams. Again, \nI don't think that should come as a shock to anyone. This is even mentioned \nin the list of objectives for the MCDST certification (around which, by the \nway, you should definitely base your study time).\n\nDo NOT EVER even THINK about using "study materials" from those shady sites \nthat supposedly use actual exam questions. Aside from the obvious reason that \nyou're cheating yourself out of learning the material and that you'll be a \nflop in whatever job you get from cheating your way through certification, \nthese sites are just plain junk. I know because I was actually introduced to \none by an *instructor* from a previous MS class (not 2261b) last summer, who \nflat out gave me .pdf files for several exams. At the time I had no idea MS \nconsidered them to be "cheating" and I browsed a couple of them (this was \nmonths before I even took my first CompTIA exam). Not only do these question \nlists not provide explanations, but some of the answers are just plain WRONG. \nThe wording is poor, the grammar is poor, and the educational value is \nnon-existant. If you're thinking about spending money on sites like this, \nDON'T. Use that money to get practice exams from a real site like MeasureUp \nand you'll actually learn something. (For my own good, I'm adding the \ndisclaimer that I did not use the information from these sites in my own \nstudying for this exam, or any other exam. I simply want to warn other people \nnot to go anywhere near this garbage).\n\nAnyway... I'd strongly reccommend that anyone who hasn't worked in a DST \nposition on XP Pro daily to just jump into the OS and start clicking on \neverything you see. Seriously. If you have a spare PC, install XP Pro and \njust go crazy with it. Open as many applets and options as you can find and \njust get familiar with what's there. Play around with folder options, \npermissions, synchronization options, accessibility options, everything in \nthe control panel, IE settings, etc. The more you see, the more you will \nremember. It's one thing to read about how to do something in a book, but \nit's much better to actually carry out those instructions yourself so you \nactually know what you're doing. Instead of remembering steps, you'll \nremember what the menus and applets actually look like, and have a better \nunderstanding of how to accomplish tasks. I won't say either way about the \nexam, but I got several MeasureUp questions correct just by playing around \nwith the Control Panel for awhile and remembering what I saw. I'd reccommend \nthat people like me (just out of college but haven't worked in the field) do \nthis daily. Know where every menu goes and what every button does, and you'll \nbe more than ready.\n\nI was incredibly nervous about taking this exam. For Network+ and A+, I had \nalso used PrepLogic practice tests, which are not available for 70-271, and \nonly after using those as well as MeasureUp did I feel I was ready for the A+ \nand Network+ exams. Yet I passed 70-271 by a much bigger margin than I did \nthose other exams. I wouldn't call 70-271 easy, but I think the list of \nobjectives is small enough and precise enough that preparation isn't \nextremely difficult. Honestly, the easiest way to pass this exam is to know \nthose objectives. MS is handing them to you on a silver platter; all you need \nto do is study what they tell you to study. Personally, I was worried because \nI wasn't sure what I needed to know, and how much of it I needed to know. The \nobjectives list really helps out in that department. \n\nHopefully this post will help others that are in the position I was before \ntaking this exam. I was worried that I might fail before I started the exam, \nand even during the exam, but in the end I really had nothing to worry about \nbecause I put in enough time with the study materials and practice tests, and \nbecause I has truly familiarized myself with the OS. Do the same and I'm sure \nmost anyone can pass easily like I did.