Microsoft Exams – MCSE 2003

Introduction to Microsoft Exams – MCSE

The MCSE is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of qualifications.  Whilst there is talk of paper MCSEs, anyone who has slogged through the 7 exams must have gained a good all-round knowledge of Windows Server 2003.

It has always been difficult to understand the rules of the Microsoft Exam game.  I would put forward three reasons for this:

  1. There is no one-to-one relationship between MOC training courses and the exams.  For example MOC Course 2274 does NOT completely prepare you for exam 70-290 (or any other particular exam).
  2. It is VUE or Thompson Prometric who administer the exams, not Microsoft; perhaps this helps explain why the exams are different from the Microsoft Official Courses (MOC).
  3. Lots of acronyms, MCSE, MSCA, MCP, MCT and therefore lots of individual parts.
  4. Microsoft were prone to changing the rules, especially with NT 4.0.  Also the exam format varies from regular fixed 45 questions, to adaptive with 35 questions.  With adaptive exams the next question changes depending on you answer to the first question.  Moreover, you cannot go back and check previous answers with adaptive exams.
  5. From February 2004, you will get a pass marks, which is useful to see how close you were if you fail.

For a little light relief while you are revising check out these computer jokes

MCSE on Windows 2003 (Seven full  or two Upgrade)

Here is my understanding of the the present situation, however do check with Microsoft.  You probably know that MCSE stands for Microsoft Certified System Engineer.

There are three MCSE 2003 tracks depending on whether you are an MCSE on Windows 2000

  1. Upgrade
  2. Regular
  3. Intermediate

Upgrade route for those who are already MCSE 2000

Just two fast-track Exams (70-292) and (70-296)

Regular route

Six Core (compulsory) + One Elective

Four – Server / Networking / Active Directory

Managing, Maintaining Server (70-290), Implementing, Managing, Maintaining Server Network (70-291), Planning and Maintaining Network (70-293) , Active Directory (70-294)

One Design – (70-297) or (70-298) – similar to MCSE 2000.

One Client – XP (70-270) or Windows 2000 (70-210)

One Elective – SQL (70-228), Exchange (70-284),
Also SMS, Web, ISA, Design Electives 70-281 and 282.

Intermediate route

Pass the four core exams on Server / Network, then count the design and elective exams from your Windows 2000 MCSE.

How to Revise

Preparation Tips

Other qualifications similar to MCSE

MCSA 2003 – Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator


Simply passing any exam makes you a Microsoft Certified Professional.  Most people then get the bug and go on to pass more exams and become MCSE or MCSA

MCSDBA – Microsoft Certified Database Administrator

MCSD – Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer

MCSD – Microsoft Certified Applications Developer

MCT – Microsoft Certified Trainer (Have to be MCSE first)

MCSE NT – Certified on NT 4.0 exams

How to Revise


MCSE on Windows 2000 (Seven exams)

Five Core (compulsory)

One Client – XP (70-270) or Windows 2000 (70-210)

Three Networking – Windows 2000 Server (70-215) Networking (70-216), Active Directory (20-217)

One Design – Directory Services (70-219) or Security (70-220) or Networking (70-221)

Two Electives (any two from about 12 exams)

SQL (Choice of at 3), Exchange (Choice of two), ISA and various others no-one bothers with.

Exam Tips Take Two Design leaving only one elective.

The key exams are:  216 Networking and 217 Active Directory these are very hard

TrainSignal - Recommended Training VideosAs an MCT trainer, I can thoroughly recommend TrainSignal, I particularly liked their provide practical hands on training.  In addition TrainSignal cover all the topics needed to succeed in your MCSE / MCSA exams.  To make learning enjoyable, TrainSignal vary the methods with, instructor lead, video and of course text material.  See more about the training materials here

Site Home  � How to Revise


Which command refreshes Group Policy in W2K3?
Gpresult /force

Free sample exam