Sebastopol, CA--Microsoft offers multiple certification tracks for IT professionals. Those that are most likely to interest administrators and engineers are the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA), and the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). The certification process for each level involves rigorous training and testing, with each level growing increasingly more difficult. To become an MCP, you need pass only one current certification exam, while an MCSA is required to pass three core exams and one elective. The MCSE is the advanced certification path for experienced administrators with a strong engineering background, and they must pass six core exams and one elective to receive the certification.
The key to passing the exams successfully is experience, discipline, and study...and latching onto bestselling author William R. Stanek's MCSE Core Required Exams in a Nutshell (Third Edition, O'Reilly, US $49.99). His book takes a unique approach to the exams: "This isn't a 400-page cram guide for a single exam or a 600-page study guide for a single exam," Stanek says. "It's a comprehensive 750-page guide to Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, and 70-294 (and by association, Exams 70-292 and 70-296) that contains the core knowledge to prepare readers for certification. At this time, it is the only certification book fully up-to-date with the current objectives and substantial changes for these exams."
Stanek explains that he often finds himself trying to do things in fundamentally different ways than they've been done before, and this is reflected in his book. "For MCSE Core Required Exams in a Nutshell, I had this crazy idea that I could get every essential nugget of information necessary for these exams into one book and do so in a way that would give readers maximum value and learning potential."
The focus of Stanek's book is on providing the core knowledge to prepare readers for the current certification exams that include performance-based testing through simulation. Stanek intends for the book to be used as part of the reader's final preparation for the exams. "Think of this book as the notes readers would have written down if they were to highlight and then record all the essential bits of information related to the skills being measured by these certification exams."
MCSE Core Required Exams in a Nutshell presents all of the topics expected for mastery in each of the exams. Then, each exam is covered in three sections: "Exam Overview," "Study Guide," and "Prep and Practice." The book covers:
"I approached this book in an entirely different way from its predecessors," says Stanek. "Basically, what I've done is boil down the required knowledge to its finest core. With this in mind, the best way to use this book is as a part of the final review. After you've build sufficient hands-on experience and studied the relevant texts, grab this book and study it cover to cover as part of your final exam cram."
Advance praise for MCSE Core Required Exams in a Nutshell:
"William Stanek's review materials for the key MCSE Exams are comprehensive, focused, and literate. He has a skill for zeroing in on key concepts and explaining them concisely and clearly. The result is a volume that cannot fail to help MCSE candidates as they prepare for these exams and an excellent resource for anyone responsible for providing and supporting a corporate Windows environment...Overall, this book is an exceptional (perhaps unprecedented) value. It covers a staggering amount of territory with precision and style."
-- Jim Schlotter, Chief Operating Officer, Leap Solutions, Inc.
MCSE Core Required Exams in a Nutshell, Third Edition
William R. Stanek
ISBN: 0-596-10228-3, 720 pages, $49.99 US
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