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  1. Sterling Mallory Archer Ivanr4g63's Avatar
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    #1

    Default MCITP: SA in 3 months challenge?

    The story of three guys trying to get ahead...

    Our background:
    So we work as Network Admins Tier1 for windows based networks Server 2003 and 2008 mainly for an IT outsourcing company,
    -What do we do: Remotely maintain live networks and domains, anything from creating a user's account in AD, manage their Exchange servers to troubleshoot a wide varierty of apps that run in TS-farm type server arrangements. Not to mention server maintenance, backup, BoVPN setups and such... all this in environments that range from domains of 10 users, to 700+ user multi forest domains. (in a few words we're network helpdesk)

    With this being said we don't consider ourselves MCITP:SA material so our company setup a challenge for us:

    Pass the 70-640, 70-642 and 70-646 and become MCITP:SA by August!
    and we all get a significant raise... otherwise just continue doing what we do.

    Off the bat the offer sounds great, obviously we're IN!

    but in all reality we all are married family-men with lives and duties outside work... so we start questioning, is passing these 3 exams with this type of work experience possible if study time is limited... I mean you can only dedicate so much time when you work IT and come home to study IT... Realistically I think an hour a day is possible and going by the books and lab materials we can dedicate even some study time at work (since we have a designated play area for grown-ups) [is a lab facility... old rundown stuff there but good enough to play and practice with]

    What we're looking here from you guys is a bit of motivation to keep us going OR thruthful horror stories if this is the case and is harder to achieve than what it sounds...

    Thanks for any input, also your own hard studying stories will help!

    Grazie Mile!
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  3. Senior Member Krunchi's Avatar
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    #2
    Looks like you have a good start with your experience and resources.

    I was talking with a guy at my tech-school last week who just passed the 70-646 to receive his MCITP-SA I was feeling him out because I'm currently working on 70-640 AD one charter to go then on to 70-642 later this week. He said that the Key to the three certifications was to know 70-640 inside and out it's the foundation and it makes 642 and 646 way easier.

    With that info I decided to spend the whole Summer focused on just the 640 and lab over and over tell I start dreaming about AD. So for your question yes you can do it!
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  4. PMP-Wannabe! erpadmin's Avatar
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    #3
    Dude, I've been into AD since the 2000 days. I'm reading the 70-640 part of the 2008 R2 book and if things go according to plan, I will probably be an MCTS in early May. Then take the 70-642 in June, and the 70-643 in July (or August).

    It's doable man....your motiviation is your family...if nothing else. Secondary motivation would be to give a ---- about the technology you support. But the primary motivation is your family...since you would be getting a raise. Plus you got two other guys to study with....I don't see how that's impossible.
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  5. Custom User Title Hypntick's Avatar
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    #4
    It's an ambitious goal. One that i've set for myself once I finish up the CCENT for WGU. I'm in a similar boat to yourself, however I have until March to finish mine. I don't intend to take quite that long however, as the money would sure be nice to have.

    I'd like to think i'm ahead of the game going in, i've gotten the first r2 books, i've purchased a server to VM on and i've volunteered doing a complete r2 VM migration for one of our clients. Sure it's only 4 servers but that's 4 more than i've done in a production environment before.

    So in answer to your question, sure it's do-able. Heck i've already squared the study time away with the wife, minimum 3 hours a day, 2 at home 1 on lunch. Keep us updated on your progress, as having a support network like this forum is invaluable.

    To Erpadmin, BAC1 assessment scheduled for next Monday. Took your advice and didn't touch the server til I was done with everything I needed to do with the math.
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  6. Senior Member rsutton's Avatar
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    #5
    Sounds like a good challenge with a very nice reward. I think it's reasonable to do by August. I would recommend allowing extra time for the 70-646. I found that exam to be much harder than the 640 and 642 (I failed it last time I tried). Make sure you lab up the stuff you are not familiar with.
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    It's certainly possible to get them completed before August. Depends on how much time you have available and are willing to dedicate to research and study of the exam topics.

    According to Amazon, the R2 versions of the Microsoft Press self-study guides haven't been printed yet so you have to get by with R1 books and lots of research and labs.

    The 70-642 R2 guide has an anticipated publication date of May 30th.
    Amazon.com: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-642): Configuring Windows Server® 2008 Network Infrastructure (9780735651609): Tony Northrup, J.C. Mackin: Books

    The 70-646 R2 guide has an anticipated publication date of June 22nd.
    Amazon.com: MCITP Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-646): Windows Server® 2008 Server Administrator (9780735649095): Ian McLean, Orin Thomas: Books

    The 70-640 R2 guide has an anticipated publication date of August 22nd.
    Amazon.com: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-640): Configuring Windows Server® 2008 Active Directory® (9780735651937): Dan Holme, Nelson Ruest, Danielle Ruest, Jason Kellington: Books

    I haven't looked at the 70-640 section of the Sybex book that just came out, but the more I read it (for 70-643) the less I'm impressed with the exercises contained in it. You'll definitely need to lab for these tests using the R2 version of server 2008. It takes some searching, but Microsoft does have lab guides for most subjects on technet. Read the stickies on this forum for the links to resources to use in your studies.

    Good luck.

    Sean
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  8. Senior Member MentholMoose's Avatar
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    #7
    Three months is possible if you have some related work experience. Try to take advantage of any time you can, for example pack a lunch and study on your lunch break. I did this when I was studying for the MCITP: SA, and since I was working in a NOC I was able to spend downtime studying. Besides that, I probably spent 1-2 hours studying on work nights, and 2-4 on weekends (I was also attending school full time so I couldn't dedicate all my time to MS exams).

    I did 640 and 642 in a month each, then I got a new job and didn't study for a couple months, but when I came back to the 646 I was able to do it in a month. The total time I spent for all three exams, including the gap, was five months... I started studying in January 2009 and had the SA in June, and I finished the EDA 7 and EA in November.
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    #8
    I did MCITP:SA exactly in three months. I studied one month 640 and 642 in parallel, then 4 weeks for 640 alone, after that 3 weeks for 642 and after that - 2 weeks for 646.
    Average time per day for studies (reading, labing) - 4-5 hours (2-5 on workdays, 4-12 on weekends).

    Of course my social suffered a lot - all weekends dedicated to studies, sleeping time kept to minimum, time for family also only bit above none. Only thinking that it may be ticket out of this heckhole keeps me going.

    I work as tier2 - tier3 Windows server administrator, in company providing support for other small companies (biggest AD is less than 50 users), so a lot of stuff wasn't new to me and I think it would be possible to pass with spending less time, because I always scored above 850. But it's hard to calculate how much you have to learn to get exactly 700
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  10. Senior Member Turgon's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivanr4g63 View Post
    The story of three guys trying to get ahead...

    Our background:
    So we work as Network Admins Tier1 for windows based networks Server 2003 and 2008 mainly for an IT outsourcing company,
    -What do we do: Remotely maintain live networks and domains, anything from creating a user's account in AD, manage their Exchange servers to troubleshoot a wide varierty of apps that run in TS-farm type server arrangements. Not to mention server maintenance, backup, BoVPN setups and such... all this in environments that range from domains of 10 users, to 700+ user multi forest domains. (in a few words we're network helpdesk)

    With this being said we don't consider ourselves MCITP:SA material so our company setup a challenge for us:

    Pass the 70-640, 70-642 and 70-646 and become MCITP:SA by August!
    and we all get a significant raise... otherwise just continue doing what we do.

    Off the bat the offer sounds great, obviously we're IN!

    but in all reality we all are married family-men with lives and duties outside work... so we start questioning, is passing these 3 exams with this type of work experience possible if study time is limited... I mean you can only dedicate so much time when you work IT and come home to study IT... Realistically I think an hour a day is possible and going by the books and lab materials we can dedicate even some study time at work (since we have a designated play area for grown-ups) [is a lab facility... old rundown stuff there but good enough to play and practice with]

    What we're looking here from you guys is a bit of motivation to keep us going OR thruthful horror stories if this is the case and is harder to achieve than what it sounds...

    Thanks for any input, also your own hard studying stories will help!

    Grazie Mile!
    You have a lot going for you but to succeed its best the three of you work as a collective. Because you are all family men you will relate to the pressures that puts on your study time. First off you need to prioritise learning on works time as opposed to private time because you wont have much of the latter with a wife and kids waiting for you at home. If you batter away too many evenings and weekends while the family are holed up in the other room expect some tension and problems at home way before 3 months elapses. But you will have to do some study on family time so sit down with your wife and explain what is coming up and get some agreement there. Be sure that your non study home days remain non study days. Love your wife, not your exams.

    On the workfront, studying on works time can put pressure on your day and strain your working relationships. The three of you need to take turns to work in that lab in the office while the rest take the work pressure. Rotate the study sessions between you. If you manage your collective workload (pool them all together) there should always be one of you studying at almost anytime 9 - 5. Be sure to share studynotes and findings between you. Suggest you keep a log book that you all use in the work lab to record your study session, what you covered and any points of interest. Everyone reads the log before they do their session.

    Take any opportunity to read. Back in 2001 I used to haul a small rucksack with books when I did my commute and got in 2 hours of reading a day travelling to and from home to the office.

    Similarly keep books in the toilet at work and at home and study during your lunch breaks.
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  11. Queen Bee kiki162's Avatar
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    #10
    Yes it's completely possible and doable.

    Best thing to do is to keeping yourself on schedule. I know you guys all have families, but first thing is to let them know that you need x amount of time reserved for studying each week. Let the wife know that you need that time to yourself uninterupted by kids, and put the whole "I get a bonus at the end if I pass these exams", on the end of that will help her get through it as well. Having a schedule also allows time with the wife and with the kids, so you don't feel like all your attention isn't on studying too.

    For me, what I have done to keep myself motivated was to schedule my test for like 6-8 weeks out, so that I had to study. I think with the 3 tests you need to take, it's possible by August. Start making that timeline for your tests now, and schedule your first exam within the next 4 weeks.
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  12. Senior Member za3bour's Avatar
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    #11
    Doable and Possible all you need is a Plan. Try to use the weekends as much as you can I used to have fun with family in the morning and study in the evening or you can do the opposite try to study at least for 10-12 hours during the weekend. 2 hours a day at work days doesn't seem like a big goal and if you can study and allowed to study at work go for it too.

    I can only see that 646 might be a challenge for you since it's not an easy exam. Good luck and keep us posted
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    #12

    Lightbulb Very doable and if I may suggest a few tips

    Couple of time savers:

    1. Beg, borrow or whatever a laptop with 8GB RAM (64bit OS for R2) and start loading VMs like a madman. Install everything and start LAbbing right now. See if you can put this laptop on your desk beside your work PC and study between calls. Hey you could even use it to troubleshoot issues for customers.

    2. Get some study guides loaded on your smartphone if you have one I have the 640 guide on my iPhone and I literally study while standing in front of the server during reboots and other exciting places (boring meetings, trips to the mall with the wife and son)

    3. Take practice tests daily and look for your weaknesses. Those are what you want to fix first.

    Your very lucky to have an employer encouraging you to do this especially during these tough times. Take this opportunity to prove you have the right stuff. Think of this cert as a bit of an insurance plan if you ever need to move on or up the ladder.

    Well I am sure you will do fine. Best of luck and keep us posted.

    Cheers,
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  14. Senior Member Mike-Mike's Avatar
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    #13
    i have to complete a MCITP SA as part of my degree plan at WGU.. I would like to graduate by October, so I'm in a similar boat
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  15. Sterling Mallory Archer Ivanr4g63's Avatar
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    #14
    Thanks for all the pointers guys!

    Some great points you all posted here and I'll be sure to use them.

    We surely have a goal-outlined-calendar if you will, dates in mind for exams, (although each and everyone of us lives ways away from one another) but we'll be scheduling exams around the same time.

    I did load a bunch of VM's onto my workstation, need to load more, I'll be looking into a much stronger laptop (my current one has only 2 gig max memory) but thats a good idea to carry it around and study/lab everywhere. I do have the PDF's loaded to my phone so I can read whenever possible...

    I'm making notes of all your good points and observations, I'll be posting progress and I do encourage myself on my familiy and the fact that this goal doesn't only help me in my current job but opens up market for me... so yeah In all honesty I do believe its do-able but man... I'm infor a bumpy ride and i'll put good effort into this!

    Thanks again fellas! great posts here...
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  16. Senior Member CChilderhose's Avatar
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    #15
    You can do it by August without a doubt. I completed the SA in 2.5 weeks which included a Boot Camp then taking the 646 a second time due to failing it the first.

    So it is doable based on experience, etc. Just read in your spare time as I take the train to work each day and would read for 1 hour in and 1 hour home. So 2 hours of reading and labbing at home on VMware Workstation and now Hyper-V.

    It can be done. Just print off the exam measurements for each section and study the points there. If you can practice you will be fine.

    Take the challenge and show the boss!!
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  17. Sterling Mallory Archer Ivanr4g63's Avatar
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by CChilderhose View Post
    You can do it by August without a doubt. I completed the SA in 2.5 weeks
    Say what...!?!?!!!?

    Wow Boss, you're my new role model! Mad kudos to you...

    My 2 year old at home demands attention and I sure don't want to neglect him or the wife for that matter, and surely I have to leave some time for house work/maintenance as summer is starting to spring into the back yard , as someone here already mentioned I can't neglect the family or daily activities I have to find time to schedule my life here in the next months, on top of this and sadly for me my long commute requires driving since the metro station is rather far from work so driving is the next best option therefore the commute time is 'dead time' for me, which I wish I can utilize that for study time, but I will not let these reasons stop me from my goal you guys here have put alot of enthusiasm towards this. Again thanks all and I'll be sure to update... hopefully next week I'll be scheduling the 640' so far I'm doing okay and like stated before if I do good on the 640 the rest should be a tad easier since they all relate to the 640 in a way... although never underestimate and give each exam the propper study time, adhere to the objectives and lab like a mad man!

    In any case I like your point where you mentioned about exam measurements and go hit that harder! will do...
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  18. PMP-Wannabe! erpadmin's Avatar
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivanr4g63 View Post
    My 2 year old at home demands attention[yadda, yadda, yadda....]

    With all due respect, sir, what better way to teach your two year old (as he is growing up) priorities then to develop your own?

    I can say that my own work ethic came from my father. He spent enough time with me growing up, but he was out of the house working overtime and whatnot so that I could be in private school and there was food on the table.

    It is that work ethic that my father instilled in me that has carried me in every job (which was always in IT) I ever had. While my own work ethic was above par....unfortunately, that didn't carry me in my educational pursuits...I had to work/save money first before I could tackle those once more. It is those same educational pursuits that led me toward also finishing my own MCSE-level certification.


    However, your thread has inspired me to obtain the SA before August as well. I was going to use the free Dreamspark voucher that students get on the 646 (it's not in my program) anyway, but after looking at my schedule and how quickly I'm progressing in the Sybex 2008 R2 with labs and such, I might be sitting for the exam sometime in early May. I MIGHT also be able to get the 642 in Early June as well. I gotta hustle myself though as I am sitting for the 646 (tentatively) on June 17th. Reading the objectives, I think it's realistic...but I can knock the 646 out and then go back to the 643.


    Remember, you're not dropping your other responsibilities to do the SA (or any cert...). Time management/setting of priorities is pretty much a life thing. I have no doubt you'll do well in that endeavor. Now I get to see if I can pull my own rabbit out of a hat...
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  19. Sterling Mallory Archer Ivanr4g63's Avatar
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by erpadmin View Post
    With all due respect, sir, what better way to teach your two year old (as he is growing up) priorities then to develop your own?
    I have nothing but respect to comments like this one, Because it makes you think and pushes you to 'DO' and make things happen rather than come up with excuses... I'm most certainly not trying to make excuses as I'm in this ride in full speed... I must however manage my time well as most of us [if not all here] have to do when pursuing certs...

    I can't thank you all enough for the encouraging words... it really helps.
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  20. Sterling Mallory Archer Ivanr4g63's Avatar
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    #19
    Virtual Box on windows 7 anyone?

    I'd used Oracle Virtual Box before on Ubuntu and works well, I installed on my work machine that runs Win7 as main OS and I have issues with the mouse jumping all over the screen, I looked on their website but it mentions nothing about Win 7 Issues... anyone else using Virtual Box on win 7?
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  21. Senior Member CChilderhose's Avatar
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivanr4g63 View Post
    Say what...!?!?!!!?

    Wow Boss, you're my new role model! Mad kudos to you...

    My 2 year old at home demands attention and I sure don't want to neglect him or the wife for that matter, and surely I have to leave some time for house work/maintenance as summer is starting to spring into the back yard , as someone here already mentioned I can't neglect the family or daily activities I have to find time to schedule my life here in the next months, on top of this and sadly for me my long commute requires driving since the metro station is rather far from work so driving is the next best option therefore the commute time is 'dead time' for me, which I wish I can utilize that for study time, but I will not let these reasons stop me from my goal you guys here have put alot of enthusiasm towards this. Again thanks all and I'll be sure to update... hopefully next week I'll be scheduling the 640' so far I'm doing okay and like stated before if I do good on the 640 the rest should be a tad easier since they all relate to the 640 in a way... although never underestimate and give each exam the propper study time, adhere to the objectives and lab like a mad man!

    In any case I like your point where you mentioned about exam measurements and go hit that harder! will do...

    Yeah is was tough and not once did I neglect my daugher or wife in the process. Reading on the train to work for 1 hour and then home 1 hour helped allot. I could read 20-30 pages in 1 hour. Also if I practiced at home it was after everyone went to bed.

    Stick to the measurements, lab, read and you will do fine.
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  22. Bothan Spy crrussell3's Avatar
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivanr4g63 View Post
    Virtual Box on windows 7 anyone?

    I'd used Oracle Virtual Box before on Ubuntu and works well, I installed on my work machine that runs Win7 as main OS and I have issues with the mouse jumping all over the screen, I looked on their website but it mentions nothing about Win 7 Issues... anyone else using Virtual Box on win 7?
    I have it install on an x32 and x64 version of W7 Pro. I did have an issue like you described, but only when I moved the VM to my second monitor on the x32 machine. If I left it on the primary, no issues.
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  23. Sterling Mallory Archer Ivanr4g63's Avatar
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    #22
    I do have dual screen setup and in either monitor the mouse is very jumpy unless I switch to full screen, but when I do that it limits the mouse to that one VM so when I have 2~3 running it makes it a bit difficult to multitask, Oh well I'll live with it...

    Thanks
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  24. PMP-Wannabe! erpadmin's Avatar
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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivanr4g63 View Post
    I do have dual screen setup and in either monitor the mouse is very jumpy unless I switch to full screen, but when I do that it limits the mouse to that one VM so when I have 2~3 running it makes it a bit difficult to multitask, Oh well I'll live with it...

    Thanks

    I just started using VirtualBox on W7 Professional, and my only issue is memory management. I might have to use bare minimum on that (I only have 4 GB on the Dell i5 Laptop....and it's a work computer...). It is temporary until I learn Hyper-V (which I'm gonna have to for the 643, I believe) and then plop those guests on my server and then access them from my laptop. VirtualBox does do the job nicely and it's very easy to configure....you can even use a 64-bit guest on a 32-bit host as long as the physical machine is 64-bit to begin with (and Virtualization is turned on in the BIOS.)
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    #24

    Smile Oracle VirtualBox Quest Additions

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivanr4g63 View Post
    I do have dual screen setup and in either monitor the mouse is very jumpy unless I switch to full screen, but when I do that it limits the mouse to that one VM so when I have 2~3 running it makes it a bit difficult to multitask, Oh well I'll live with it...

    Thanks
    If you use Oracle VirtualBox you need to install the quest additions. This is done for any quest OS like Ubuntu or Windows.

    To install the Quest Additions, click on the device tab next to machine and at the bottom is install quest additions. Do this once your OS has fully booted and you are logged in. Once installed restart machine and then you will have better mouse integration and be able to adjust screen resolution and size.

    Hope this helps.


    I am doing the 642 exam in June, never really worked with MS Server 2008 in a production environment, but what the heck I'm going for it. Got a free voucher from Dreamspark so going to try it and then see what it is like. Decided to do the 642 exam first as it was networking based but after reading a few comment.....looks like i have my work gut out for me. Have my end of year exams now in May and then 3 weeks later the 642. Looks like I'll just be studying the braindumps and tests like ********.
    Last edited by Stephandt; 04-30-2011 at 01:49 PM.
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  26. PMP-Wannabe! erpadmin's Avatar
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    #25
    I am almost ready for the 70-640. Took the uCertify diagnostic test. Got a 600 when 700 was passing. While that's a "fail", that's actually pretty good, as it showed what I got tripped up on, and if it wasn't 2 in the AM, I would not have gotten tripped up. LOL.

    Only thing that sucks today is I got crap to do with the wife today. I probably won't be back home until about 3-5PM. But hey, that's what priorities are all about. I'm on track for early May....(fingers crossed)
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