If you want to be a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MSCE) in the future, you need to pass certain core exams. These exams act as pre-requisites to prove candidates knowledge and understanding of Microsoft systems and processes. MSCE is available for two different product lines wherein each requires a different set of exam. For MCSE 2000, a candidate must pass six exams (4 operating system exams, 1 design exam and 2 electives). Similarly, MCSE 2003 requires candidates to pass six exams as well. The only difference is that candidates have to take 4 networking exams, one design exam and 1 elective.

One of the core requirements for both MSCE 2000 and MCSE 2003 is Exam 70-270 (Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional). This exam became live on March 4, 2002 wherein candidates are tested with their familiarization to Windows XP as a desktop operating system, its installation and configuration. Passing this exam also means achieving Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) status.

Interested candidates can register and take the Exam 70-270 on any Thompson Prometric and Pearson VUE centers at US $125 for each attempt. Typically, there are 50 to 60 questions with exam type ranging from multiple-choice and drag and drop, to simulation-based. Exam type varies from time to time. To pass, candidates must obtain a score of 700 to be answered in 90 minutes. There is really no pre-requisite in taking the exam, though experience and training on a Windows XP system is definitely an advantage. You can also read books and other reference materials for review. There are also a lot of practice exams that you can find on the Internet to assess your readiness for the MCSE Exam 70-270.

A core exam for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MSCE) on Windows Server 2003 is Exam 70-290 (Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment). It became available on the 14th of August, 2003 targeting IT professionals who are experienced in managing a Windows Server 2003 environment. This exam is designed to test the candidates ability to configure Windows Server 2003 to work and operate efficiently over a network of computer systems.

Just like any other core exam, passing Exam 70-290 gives the candidate a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certification. There are no pre-requisites for this type of exam. But then again, candidates must be adept with the necessary job skills before taking it. Such skills can be attained through proper training and exposure to the Windows Server 2003 environment. Candidates can use online resources for review or better yet, attend classroom training courses being offered by IT-centered institutions located around the globe.

Exam 70-290 will costs candidates US $125 for each attempt, so it is very critical to pass the exam on the first try. Candidates will be given 90 minutes to complete an exam with 50 to 60 multiple-choice, fill in the blanks or simulation type of questions. Exam questions may change every year and to pass, candidates should obtain a minimum score of 700 in 90 minutes. However, this type of certification expires after around 4 to 5 years, especially when new Microsoft products are released in the market.

To register, you can drop by any Pearson VUE or Thompson Prometric center. Exam results are usually delivered immediately after test completion as scores are generated from a computer-based testing (CBT) system.

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