Studying for the MCSA

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We had an e-mail from a reader who was asking about the new Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) exam  (  Primarily, he was interested in getting materials to study for the exam.  He wanted to know if there were any books published to help him study and also what computer-based training (CBT) material was available. In order to answer the question in a reasonable sort of way, you need to understand the requirements of the MCSA certification.

The MCSA is based on passing four exams.  Three of the exams are so-called core exams, and one exam is an elective.  As is the case with many of the Microsoft certifications, the tests that are available can  be somewhat staggering.  First of all, the certification candidate must  pass either the Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional (#70-210) exam or  the Microsoft Windows XP Professional exam (#70-270).

Next, the candidate has to pass either the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administration (#70-215) exam or the Microsoft Windows .NET Server exam (#70-275).  You must also pass either the Managing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Environment (#70-218) or the Managing a Microsoft Windows .NET Server Network Environment (#70-278).  If you have passed exams #70-067, 70-068 and 70-073, you can take Microsoft Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam (#70-240) in place of the requirements for exams #70-210 and #70-215. Note that #70-240 has been discontinued.

Next, you must pass the elective exam.  You have your choice of passing one exam from subjects like SQL Server 7.0 or 2000, Exchange Server 5.5  or 2000, Proxy Server 2.0, Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure, Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, or the Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Network Support and Maintenance.

Other options for the elective include passing the CompTIA A+ and Network + exams or the CompTIA A+ and Server+ exams.  After you have taken at least one Microsoft exam, you can claim the exemption at the  CompTIA Web site ( after Feb. 1.  You register your CompTIA credentials and your MCP ID number, and CompTIA will take care of the rest, forwarding your credentials to Microsoft.  Also, if  you have already passed the Accelerated exam (#70-240), that can count toward your elective.

As you look over the exam titles, you should note that many of these exams also meet requirements toward the MCSE certification, if you decide to go on. That means that any book or CBT that covers the MCSE exam of the same number will work just fine when studying for the MCSA exams.

In doing a little research, I did find that Microsoft offers some training kits for the MCSA designation.  Check out the MCSA Training Kit: Managing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Environment (Exam #70-218). The list price of that Training Kit is $59.99 (U.S.).  In addition to that book, Coriolis Group has published the MCSA Windows 2000 Network Environment Exam Cram: Exam #70-218, by Kalani Kirk Hausman.  The list price of this book is $34.99.  Look at the Web site listed above for corresponding Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC) if
you are interested.

Clean Up!

I have got to clean out my in-box.  I have all these e-mails hanging around with bits and pieces of information that you may find useful. So in this section, I will just do some quick hits.

Novell has announced that the Netware 6 Self-Study kit is available. There is currently a 20 percent off sale going on.  For more information, check out the Web site at

Reader Tim Smith opened my eyes to an opportunity for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.  There are funds available for reimbursement of some certification and licensing tests.  The Web site is for more information, and to see if you qualify.

McGraw-Hill/Osborne Media has a long list of new titles released this month. You can find a complete list at  There are certification titles like Linux+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide by Jeff Durham, the CISSP All-in-One Certification Exam Guide by Shon Harris and the ColdFusion 5.0 Certified Developer Study Guide by Syngress.

The cost of Plus is going up. CompTIA announced that effective Feb. 1, 2002, the cost of certification exams will increase approximately 7 percent.  For example, in the United States, the cost of the A+ exam will rise from $132 to $139, and the cost for exams like Network +, i-Net+ and Linux+ will go from $190 to $199.  More information can be found at

Transcender is not just for Microsoft anymore.  It used to be that Transcender only specialized in products for Microsoft certifications.  It has branched out and now offers products for Novell certifications.
Check out some of these new Novell products at

Let’s Go Study

ProsoftTraining has been hitting the books recently, so to speak. The vendor-neutral certification provider has recently come out with some options for you, the certification student.Computer book publisher Sybex and ProsoftTraining recently announced they will start offering retail Study Guides for the CIW certification. The study guides will be available for potential CIW examinees to use for self-study. As Web certifications become increasingly necessary for IT professionals, a self-study option for CIW certification candidates will be a boon to busy rofessionals trying to find time to study for this certification.  You can expect to see the study guides in stores sometime in the second  quarter of 2002. ProsoftTraining has also recently announced another partnership with WebCT, an e-learning provider.With this partnership, Prosoft can create WebCT e-Packs for its CIW Foundations, CIW Site Designer and CIW e-Commerce Designer courses.The WebCT e-Packs will make it easier for teachers to customize their CIW courses to your needs and their teaching style! The WebCT e-Packs will be online supplements for the current print versions of official CIW course material. The WebCT packs will allow your teachers to post tests, quizzes, lecture notes, syllabi and chat sessions. For more information about this new venture, visit

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