||Anyone wishing to become a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer has to pass four mandatory exams and two electives. Windows 2000 Core Four provides the certification candidate with review material that addresses the Windows 2000 operating system and its behavior on networks, which is what the four required exams of the MCSE battery are all about.
This boxed set comprises four books, each available separately:
- Windows 2000 Directory Services, for exam 70-217
- Windows 2000 Network, for exam 70-216
- Windows 2000 Server, for exam 70-215
- Windows 2000 Professional, for exam 70-210
Plus, the set includes a test simulator on CD-ROM.
The Exam Cram format is oriented toward a review of facts and filling in of details, rather than communication of new concepts from author to reader. If you work with a Windows 2000 network regularly, or if you have a lab system set up for experimentation, you'll get more out of these books than if you're trying to learn the facts from them ex nihilo. A typical section begins by defining a feature or technology with a few paragraphs ("A Windows 2000 dynamic disk is a physical disk that does not use partitions or logical drives...."), then listing relevant procedures (how to convert a basic disk into a dynamic disk, for example). Where they're needed, the authors list variations upon procedures as bullet points. Chapters conclude with questions in styles that are typical of the exams. Though the answers to the questions are generally explained well, the answers and questions appear together, making honest self-quizzing difficult.
Fie on Coriolis Press for not pricing this set better. The cover price on each of the books is $29.99; the boxed set sells for $119.99--actually a slightly higher price than you would pay for the books separately! Other than the convenience of one-stop shopping and the fact that you get the CD-ROM with the set, there's no real reason to buy this set rather than individual books that address the aspects of the test battery in which you're weakest. --David Wall
Topics covered: The subjects Microsoft says you need to understand in order to pass the required examinations en route to your Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification. The four required exams--Server (70-210), Professional (70-215), Network Infrastructure (70-216), and Directory Services (70-217)--have to do with building and administering data networks with Windows 2000 products.