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BlueWolf's Howl

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February 05, 2004

MCSE : Security

As of today, I now hold the MCSE : Security Designation. I passed the 70-214!!!

There were 50 questions and I had 2 hrs to take the test. I finished with about 15 min to spare. Many of the questions were unnecessarily long. They set up the scenarios (just like the ones in the book) with these imaginary numbers of servers and clients. You have to really learn to skim the story and hope the numbers don't distract you. Does it *really* matter if the client has 500 or 2000 Windows 2000 Professional clients? When we read the question, we always say in our heads -- All 2K network, 2K and XP network, mixed network, etc. It takes quite a while to read through the extraneous crap to get to the meat of the question. It wouldn't be so bad, but these questions are timed!

Another thing that stuck in my craw about the test was that it covered Win9x clients. Yes, I know that in the "real world" you may need to know this. And I know that the information is good information to know. There are many things that you can do with Win2K and XP that you can't do with NT and Win9x. And the NT4 doesn't bother me as much as the Win9x stuff does. Why? Because MICROSOFT DOESN'T SUPPORT IT... So if Microsoft doesn't/can't still support such a long line of legacy operating systems, why do they expect US to know all that? Sure, put it in the book, but I don't think they should have test questions on it.

Now that I've vented about the things I didn't like... one of the things I liked about the test is that it gave you a score! I hate the Pass/Fail scoring (especially when the passing requirements are kept "secret"...). I was glad to see the numerical score return to the test. Another item that made an appearance is the breakdown of your score into sections. Each major section of the exam had a bar graph that showed your performance on each section. I find that to be very helpful. It doesn't show a breakdown of the 50 questions, but the information provided in the graph is good enough to help you (without compromising the security of the exam by being too exact).

I'd love to send a virtual kiss to whoever put the bar graphs back into the exam. You have no idea how much that helped me. I always thought I was weak in the Remote Access area. It's something that is either already in place or not allowed. It's not often you get to install and configure Remote Access. I did crappy on the RAS portion of the NT MCSE exams. And I have carried that around in my head for years. Since I didn't get any hands-on experience with it, I never corrected that original evaluation in my head. So there I was with this perceived inadequacy looming over my head -- and the next test I need to take in the Cisco set is REMOTE ACCESS. [somebody hand me a tissue, please] Well, thanks to this test, my self-perception has greatly changed. The Authentication and Remote Access bar hit the "strong" area! It was one of my two strongest sections. Surprise! So now it is with renewed vigor that I take up the BCRAN book and continue my quest for the CCNP. [trumpet music]

Oh yeah...that's tomorrow. I'm spending the rest of the night playing Tetris. I need the mind break....

Posted by BlueWolf on February 5, 2004 09:25 PM