Discussion in 'MCDST' started by jambus955, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. jambus955

    jambus955 Guest

    I've been working as a tech for over ten years and never bought into the
    cert program. I always thought of it as another marketing gig from MS. With
    renewed energy and no paticular reason I picked up MS press MCDST Exam book
    for 70-271. I started reading it today and by lesson 2 regarding coporate
    structures I decided to go ahead and take the mock test, after all I've been
    working with XP for years. I managed get through about 30 questions and
    decided to check the score and of course I failed miserably. This is so
    de-moralizing to me. I'm considered by clients and workers as being a good
    tech with an whole range of the OS,s, Apps and networking not mention I make
    decent cash doing it. I guess I have two alternatives. I can buckle down and
    really study this book and the laws of the MS way or I can just continue what
    I'm doing in hopes that our little company I've worked for so long never goes
    My question is: Is the MCDST really worth it? At least for me the end
    result from troble shooting and fixing machines and networks is the same. At
    least I manged to get away with it for so long. I picked this cert because I
    thought it would be easy to do and I would move on to the next one, but
    within an hour I found out how tough it really is.
    jambus955, Jun 7, 2008
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  2. The MCDST certification, or any certification for that matter, is only
    worth it if 1.) You have the recommended (or in some cases, required)
    experience to back it up and 2.) If you market yourself accordingly. A
    certification should not be anyone's single selling point, nor should it
    be any employer's single hiring credential. Employer's received a good
    2nd degree burn back in the heyday of the paper certification era. They
    learned to not just look at the certifications a person possessed, but
    to get back to the basics of interviewing the potential employee again.

    You mention buckling down and learning the laws of the Microsoft way. Do
    you honestly think that Microsoft's way is all that different from any
    other way. By your own admission, you stopped after Lesson 2. Did you
    take the time to read the results of your exam -- to read the answers
    that you received incorrect? If so, do you feel the correct answers were
    unjust? The one issue with experience is that experience, like
    everything thing else, can either be good or bad. If your adopt or are
    taught poor troubleshooting methods, then you will have poor experience.
    No matter how many years you have that experience, the quality doesn't
    change. What a majority of technicians learn is "trial and error". This
    methodology has its place, but is not necessarily considered "best
    practices". Would you want your doctor or mechanic to only posses the
    "trial and error" skills set?

    In my opinion, your feeling of demoralization is unfounded. You only got
    through 2 lessons in the book, but more interesting, you quit the
    practice exam half way through. And you wondered why you failed

    Michael D. Alligood, MCITP, MCTS, MCSA, MCDST, A+
    CIO, CertGuard Incorporated
    Michael D. Alligood [CertGuard Inc.], Jun 7, 2008
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  3. jambus955

    jambus955 Guest

    Thank you for quick response.
    For starts I know that a cert is only part of my selling point. I have much
    more knowledge with my experience. To give you a since of what I’ve done
    past I will give an example of without being under an (SLA). I work for
    shows and conferences and I think it is equal to an (SLA). I say this because
    the shows I work for cost a lot of money and because of the old cliché the
    show must go on no matter what. The pinch makes the difference. I’m very good
    at that. I’ve stayed up many of nights figuring stuff out for shows. My
    example and I can come up with tons of them. Only because to let you know the
    level I’m at. On one of my first events ever a speaker in front of a crowd of
    close to 3000 stuffed his presentation from a 3 ½ inch. Into a 5 ¼ drive
    because he couldn’t see the machine being under podium and then wondered why
    his presentation didn’t come up. I with a little hesitation ran from behind
    the stage, jumped off to a little waiter tray, picked up a butter knife,
    fished out his disk and put it into the right drive and saved the show with
    only couple minutes delay. This is a true storey. The point is that most of
    my issues since that time with machines had become in mind “keep it simple
    stupid†Another example just a few weeks ago I was managing about 50
    computers and a wireless network that I put together with the budget we had.
    Anyway five minutes before the main keynote of the event a rogue DHCP pops
    up. Well again I have one or two choices. Instead of running to my Server and
    taking the time to run diagnostics to find the rogue DHCP I went straight to
    the Speaker lounge and made a announcement respectfully asking all the
    speakers to disconnect from my VLAN until I found what the issue was. Of
    course there was a VPC running Server 2008 pushing out address and killing
    my network unintentionally which I probably should not have allowed to happen
    but with budget restraints I had no way of isolating the speaker room from
    the rest of the network. Again I looked at it as “keep it simple stupidâ€
    Now back to the few questions I took on the test. One of the questions was
    something in the effect “In an enterprise environment with several computers
    a client was getting a 169…… loop back address so of course was not getting
    on the net?†So I reluctenly picked that answer of using the command prompt
    renewing the address. Well I guess I was wrong. My answer would first be
    check to see if her Ethernet was even plugged in but that wasn’t a choice,
    but that is exactly what I would have done in the real world... So this is
    where I have a problem and I think is wrong and what I don’t understand or
    skewed for me. I’ve never gave that any consideration. When fixing a machine
    it’s mostly automatic. I do have a 100 things going on in my mind but I never
    worked on a machine where I needed to think about each step like MS wants.
    If you can please tell me how to change that thought process. The way they
    think is structured and the way I think is by all of my accounts different.
    Vista is another example . I think it’s a good OS but noticed over time that
    all they did was bury XP inside and added a couple of cool looking stuff that
    mimics apple. I do think it is a good reliable OS but needs to be trimmed
    down a bit.
    I think that is what you have to do to pass these exams is to take it step
    by step their way. To me that sounds really hard. Yes to me that is really
    different and Yes it is trial by error is what I do but where is the error?
    I really want to do this but in essence it feels like a step back. I see
    you have your certs please give me a real world problem? Don’t make it to
    tough. By the way I still have that butter knife in my desk.
    Again thank you for your response
    jambus955, Jun 7, 2008
  4. If you feel you have the experience and knowledge for the MCDST exams as
    posted on the Microsoft Learning website, then we can check that off
    your list. The best advice I can give you is this: Work out each answer
    presented to you - keeping in mind exactly what the question is asking
    of you. As technicians, we find new and creative ways of making things
    work on a limited budget. However these ideas may not always be best
    practices. If budget is an issue, it will normally be mentioned in the
    question. This is a clue. So although you may think there are 2 correct
    answers, you need to take into account EXACTLY what the question is
    asking of you.

    Other than that, I would review the objectives for exam - which is
    located on the Microsoft Learning website.
    Michael D. Alligood [CertGuard Inc.], Jun 7, 2008
  5. This is a common issue for many people taking certification exams, and is a
    big hurdle I had to overcome before felt more comfortable sitting in front
    of Microsoft exams. Interestlngly, the lesson has helped me in other exams
    as well.

    The *key* here is to understand that the purpose of the exam is to determine
    if you can identify and/or reason out the *BEST AVAILABLE* answer from a
    fixed set of choices.

    Your response above in the real world is absolutely correct. If I
    encountered a machine with a 169.x address the FIRST thing I always do is
    check to see if there's a live network connection, and the second thing I do
    is make sure the DHCP server is reachable. BUT... if I'd just finished
    plugging the cable into the computer and personally observed the LINK light
    illuminate, I'm not going to "recheck" my seconds-old work. I'm going to
    proceed with the next =logical= step given the scenario present.

    In certification exams, sometime this is also a critical point. Read Very
    Carefully The Scenario! I can't tell you how many practice (and I don't
    even know how many actual) exam questions I've gotten wrong, not because I
    didn't understand the concept being tested, but because I was in a hurry and
    did not read the question scenario (or answer options) carefully and/or
    thoroughly enough, causing me to miss a valid option, or select an invalid
    option -- most notably this happens in "Check All That Apply" questions.
    (So, I've learned, I *always* double-check my responses on "Check All That
    Apply" questions, and make sure that I can justify =to myself= why the
    answer chosen is correct in the context of the question being asked.

    As you noted in your example question, "Checking the Ethernet" was not an
    option. Some of that is exactly the point of the exam question. Sometimes,
    the exam question is designed to test a very specific concept, to see if the
    test-taker can recognize the appropriate response. In the instance case, the
    exam question may have been designed to test the exam-taker's awareness and
    knowledge of proper use of the 'ipconfig /release' and/or 'ipconfig /renew'
    commands. In that particular scenario, the unspoken implication is that "The
    Ethernet cable is connected and Level 1 connection is good". Given that
    assumption, what is the *next* response.

    NOTE: A particular annoying quirk of Windows XP. Because Wireless runs as a
    user-level application on Windows XP, it's not uncommon at all for the IP
    stack to initialize *BEFORE* the wireless application can establish an
    actual connection. When this happens, a Windows XP system will get a 169.*
    address until the wireless connection is established -- and, even after the
    wireless connection is established, there's no guarantee that the
    establishment of the connection will properly refresh the DHCP assignments.
    Sometimes, renewing the address *is* the correct step. :)

    Lawrence Garvin, M.S., MCITP(x2), MCTS(x5), MCP(x7), MCBMSP
    Senior Data Architect, APQC, Houston, Texas
    Microsoft MVP - Software Distribution (2005-2008)

    MS WSUS Website:
    My Websites:;
    My MVP Profile:
    Lawrence Garvin, Jun 7, 2008
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