A 70-291 Self Assessment Manual

How well do you know Windows 2003? Enough to pass the 70-291 exam? Assess your knowledge with this book from Sybex.

If you need to pass the new Windows Server 2003 networking certification exam, this book from Sybex can help. (I also review Syngress' 70-291 self-study guide, which you can read by clicking here.)While I enjoyed the author's direct and to the point writing style, this book isn't for those with limited Windows experience. For IT pros with some Windows time under their belts, difficult topics are explained clearly.

The best part of the package is the CD, which features popular exam-prep software, lots of practice questions, flashcards, WinSim 2003 simulation software, and the entire book in PDF format.

Others things to like: the author's deep experience, his ability to explain complex topics, and the end of chapter review questions which really make you think.

I am concerned, though, about the book's abbreviated format. While reading the Sybex book, I also reviewed Syngress' competing title. The Sybex book weighs in at only 500 pages, while the Syngress tome is over 1,000 pages. You should go for the Sybex title only if you are already MCP certified and familiar with the idiosyncrasies of Microsoft networking.

You can see the authors' command of networking by reading the chapters on the OSI model and subnetting. In contrast, I recently did an offline review of an unnamed author's chapter on networking (which I won't mention here), and was bothered by the continual reference to headers and footers used in the Data Link layer frame encapsulation process. We all know they are referred to as headers and trailers!

There are no such problems in the Sybex book, which is technically accurate on all topics, and won't lead you astray.

For the Windows 2003 MCSA/MCSE candidate, this book meets the requirements of a self-study guide. I recommend this book for an instructor-led class, though, hopefully, the instructor could elaborate on the topics as needed. There's nothing worse than learning from one source in an abbreviated format only what's included in the printed text.

If you need a 70-291 self-study guide, you'll need to decide if you like an abbreviated or more complete writing style. Before plunking down you money for this book, also check out the Syngress and Microsoft Press guides.

About the Author

Andy Barkl, MCT/MCITP/MCSA, A+, Network+, Security+, CCNA has been studying technology for 30 years. Of the last 15 years, he has spent much of his time parting the knowledge and experience he has gained through IT exams, over 300, to help others be prepared and successful. He teaches classes in Phoenix, Ariz. where he has lived most of his life. He can be reached by e-mail at andy.barkl@gmail.com.

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