Accelerated Learning

This new study guide from Sybex can be a valuable aid in helping you pass the Win2K accelerated exam.

The idea behind Microsoft's accelerated Windows 2000 certification is a pretty good one-provide a way for experienced NT 4.0 MCSE's to quickly upgrade their certifications to Win2K. By consolidating elements from the four core Win2K exams into one, Microsoft does a decent job of accomplishing this. Great! All you NT 4.0 MCSEs out there can rush right out and take exam 70-240, and in a couple of hours or so you can be a duly certified Win2K expert.

Not so fast! As is typical with a good many of Microsoft's exams, this one requires a thorough knowledge of the subject matter. It also expects you to know the "Microsoft Correct" answers to several questions. Add in the adaptive component of this exam, and even the most seasoned NT 4.0 MCSE faces a daunting task.

But fear not. Plunk down $70 or so and pick up a copy of MCSE Accelerated Win2K Study Guide from Sybex and arm yourself with an excellent tool to assist you in your efforts at acing the 70-240 exam.

Weighing in at 764 pages, this hardcover tome is filled with material. It also comes with a CD, which offers several study aids (check out the flash cards for your Palm-really cool!). The CD also contains all the exercises referenced in the book, as well as a testing engine with hundreds of practice questions.

After the obligatory introduction comes the Assessment Test. What a splendid concept! Before you even get into the meat of the book, you have the opportunity to test your knowledge with this 44-question exam. Then you can verify your responses with the answer section. I like that each answer includes an explanation as well as a chapter reference to where the question content is covered in the book.

You've taken the Assessment Test; now you're ready to take on Win2K. The study guide's 18 chapters are organized in a linear fashion, making this a straightforward task. For example, Chapters 1-3 cover the various installation methods, Chapter 4 deals with configuration of the Windows environment, and so on.

Each chapter opens with a checklist of exam objectives covered in the chapter, then jumps directly into the material. Concepts are presented clearly, with plenty of screen shots and hands-on exercises to illustrate the material covered in the text. But keep the CD that comes with the book handy-you'll need it for the step-by-step details for all but a few of the exercises presented in the book. I like the fact that all the exercises are on the CD, but I'd still like to see them printed in the book as well.

Another thing I'd like to see is more references to exam specifics in the text. For example, in Chapter 5, Network Services, there's a lot of material on DNS. One section deals with Dynamic DNS and references an RFC. Do I need to know this for the exam? Or is this information provided just to be thorough? (I did find a few instances where specific reference was made to the exam-perhaps one of the authors was attuned to this need more than the others?)

As I read through several of the chapters, I tended to forget I was studying to take a test. Rather, I felt like I was reading a comprehensive how-to book. In fact, the way the material is presented reminds me of a Microsoft training class. Three of the book's five authors are MCTs, so it's no surprise it reads like a classroom curriculum.

Depending on the reader's goal, this can be a good or bad thing. If you want a soup-to-nuts explanation of installing, configuring and administering Win2K, while also learning the information you need to pass the certification exam, this study guide would be an excellent choice. On the other hand, if you just want to cram for the exam, you might get frustrated ferreting that information out.

In either case, the book makes for an excellent reference guide. I plan on making it a required element for my techies to have on hand.

About the Author

Kevin Kohut has been involved with information technology in some form or another for over 18 years, and has a strong business management background as well. As a computer consultant, Kevin has helped both small businesses and large corporations realize the benefits of applying technology to their business needs.


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