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A Glimpse into Simulations

Microsoft posts demo of performance-based questions on Web site.

When Microsoft rolled out updated versions of the 70-290, Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment, and 70-291, Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure exams, the company also posted a sample demonstration of the performance-based questions last week that candidates will face in the updated exams.

The following sequence of screenshots from the demo step through the basics of answering a simulation question, asking the tester to restore printer access on a print server whose IP address has changed:

Question embedded...
Figure 1. Question embedded in a simulated desktop, asks you to restore printer access...(Click image to view larger version.)

Click on Start!Setting...
Figure 2. Click on Start!Setting!Printers and Faxes...(Click image to view larger version.)

Printers and Faxes Dialog
Figure 3. In Printers and Faxes Dialog, right-click Main and then Properties in flyout menu to bring up Main Properties dialog...(Click image to view larger version.)

Click on Ports...
Figure 4. Click on Ports tab and unclick "Enable printer pooling" checkbox to clear port selections...(Click image to view larger version.)

Scroll through port list...
Figure 5. Scroll through port list... (Click image to view larger version.)

Question embedded...
Figure 6. .. click on correct IP printer port, then click Apply button, then OK button. You've correctly answered the question when you click the Done button in the question box to the right.(Click image to view larger version.)

The demo last about five minutes and offers a hint to the scoring process. Although there can a few ways to accomplish this printer reset, only one path will lead to a complete score. Choosing other paths or taking shortcuts can produce a lower score, so it's always best to figure out what is the correct "Microsoft" approach to accomplishing tasks. In this example, the shortcut path is disabled so you can only take one path (the correct one) to complete the task.

These types of simulation questions now appear in the 70-290 and 70-291 exams, with more exams to follow. (As of this report, Vue has rolled out the exams worldwide, except in Japan; Prometric has rolled out slower, with only a handful of sites accommodating test takers who want to take the simulation-based exams; see "New Microsoft Sim Exams Still Not Available at Many Prometric Testing Centers" by Becky Nagel on the CertCities.com site or click here for details.) Microsoft said it would publish a schedule for other exams that will contain these types of simulations questions, but the schedule hasn't appeared yet. So far, we do know that simulation-seeded versions of exams 70-293, Planning and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure, and 70-294, Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure, will appear in June.

Microsoft offers more detailed information and an FAQ regarding the simulation questions at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcpexams/simulations/.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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