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How Do I Prepare for the MCSE Certification Exam?

People taking the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) exam need to have hands-on experience.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
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An individual who wants to take the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) exam series seeks to demonstrate his skills when it comes to designing, configuring, and administering solutions using Microsoft technologies. This credential is often sought by people who are pursing careers as systems engineers, system analysts, and network analysts. It may help a person to either land a job or work toward advancement in a current position. Typically, a person can prepare for the MCSE certification exam series by gaining hands-on experience with the technologies on which he'll be tested as well as by taking training courses and using preparation guides, books, and tests to get ready to earn this credential.

The first step a person may take to prepare for the MCSE certification exam series is a visit to the Microsoft website. This site explains what the MCSE series covers and which people may benefit from taking it. It also lists the exams a person will have to take in order to earn certification. They include four networking systems exams, one on client operating systems, and another on design. A certification candidate has to take an exam in an elective topic as well.

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The Microsoft website recommends that those who want to earn MCSE certification gain at least a year of experience working with network systems. This includes not only designing and installing them, but also configuring and supporting them. Though the site does recommend this type of experience, it does not make experience or education mandatory for taking the required exams. A person is likely to have a difficult time passing the necessary exams without hands-on experience, however.

Besides gaining some hands-on experience, there are several different ways a person may prepare for the MCSE certification exam series. Microsoft provides a preparation guide for each of its exams, and a person may access them via the Microsoft website. The website also provides a list of resources that may prove helpful for someone who is planning to take the MCSE exams. Additionally, a person may purchase or borrow books or manuals that help him prepare for certification. Taking practice exams may also help, allowing the certification candidate to assess his strengths and weaknesses.

Some people may opt to enroll in training programs that prepare them for certification. There are classroom and online training programs from which a person may choose. Additionally, a person may choose work with a study group to prepare for the MCSE certification exam series.

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