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Last Updated January 22, 2004

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Windows 2000 MCSE Book Reviews

The new Windows 2000 MCSE exams are supposed to be much tougher that the NT 4.0 curriculum, making the choice of training materials even more crucial. And since you can easily spend $1,000 or more building your certification library, making good choices is crucial to passing the exams the first time. Here's what we thought about the books available.

Note: Most links on this page will take you to the book's description on Bookpool is an online bookstore similar to, but they specialize in Technical books (and they are less expensive.) This is not a paid endorsement, and we do not receive sales commissions from We just think they're the best place to buy our books. We hope you'll agree!

Think we missed an exceptional book? Let us know at

Latest Reviews

Mike Meyer's Certification Passport Series
Published by McGraw Hill, July 2002, Paperback, ISBN 0072225904.
This series does an excellent job of improving upon the model set by the popular (but now defunct) ExamCram series. The Passport series follow an almost identical format, but are a bit more thorough, easier to read, and more consistent. While they won't replace your traditional training guides, they're a great companion to classroom training or self study with a Microsoft approved Exam Guide. The portable format allows to you study anywhere, and the focus on objectives helps you quickly review the information vital to passing the exam. The Exam prep software included with the series is basic, and filled with typos, but adequate. Luckily, each book in the series comes with its own set of review questions that do an excellent job of preparing you for the actual exam. Overall, these are a great way to review for the Microsoft exams, and I think ExamCram fans will be pleasantly surprised. (Click here to read a full review)

MCSE in a Nutshell - The Windows 2000 Exams
By Michael Moncur and Paul Murphy. Published by O'Reilly and Associates, Feb. 2001. Paperback, 459 pages. ISBN 0596000308.
Although this little guide won't replace the rest of your MCSE books, it's a great portable review guide that you can use to study anywhere you have a little downtime. At the very least, the book will help you focus your studies on what's important to the exam. The book covers the four core (required) exams (70-210/215/216/217) and three of the elective "Designing Exams" (70-219/220/221), with specific sections devoted to each exam. Each chapter is about 90 pages in length and starts with a brief overview of what skills the exam is designed to test, and what to expect. A 2-3 page table which outlines the area of study, and references the study guide pages that address the issues. The actual Study Guide areas are very concise and focused, easy to read, and provide plenty of real world as well as exam tips. Each chapter ends with a series of 40-50 review questions, as well as case studies to prepare you for the scenarios that often appear on the exams. 

Windows 2000 MCSE Books
MCSE Windows 2000 Core Four Boxed Set
Published by Osborne Media Group - Global Knowledge Certification Press, August 2000. ISBN 0072126159 This book series takes the unique approach of including actual classroom feedback to highlight some of the most common and confusing problems that students encounter when taking live exams. The content of the book is excellent and easy to read, and there are plenty of illustrations, exam tips, practice exercises, and review questions. A cool feature of the book and companion CD is the CertCam, which includes an video clip in .avi format of some of the exercises in the event you don't have a computer lab available to complete them yourself.  The CD also includes a full electronic copy of the book in HTML format, and Exam preparation software which includes multiple choice questions and simulations.  List price $159.99 Bookpool price $94.50
MCSE Training Guide; Windows 2000 Core Exams
Published by New Riders, July 2000. ISBN 0735709882 The exam series from New Riders also builds on lessons learned from their NT 4.0 series. The books are well written and easy to learn from, although they are not as heavily illustrated as other study guides. Almost every page is filled with a tip, or exam warning and the case studies are an invaluable learning tool. The review questions and exercises at the end of each chapter are excellent, and include in-depth reviews of why answers were incorrect and what the question was looking for. The companion CD includes a copy of the book in Adobe PDF format and the ExamGear training software which mimics Microsoft's new exam format, including adaptive, drag and drop, ordered list, and simulations. List Price: $149.99 Bookpool Price: $97.95
MCSE Windows 2000 Core Requirements
Published by Sybex, August 2000, ISBN 0782127630 By far, this series is the best choice for budget conscious MCSE candidates. Building on their experience with the NT 4.0 MCSE titles, Sybex has retained many of its popular authors and improved the format and content of this series. The new series retains many of the strengths of the old series - it follows the Microsoft curriculum, is well illustrated, and includes exam tips and callouts through out the chapters. Each chapter also includes exercises and review questions. Each book also features an index of the Microsoft Exam Objectives with the corresponding page number for that topic.  The CD's included with the books include a complete electronic copy of the book (a must for travelers!), as well as updated Test preparation software and electronic flashcards for the PC or PalmPilot. List Price $149.96  Bookpool Price $86.95
Microsoft Windows 2000 Core Requirements MCSE Training Kit
Published by Microsoft Press, July 2000, ISBN 0735611300. The official curriculum by Microsoft, and one that is frequently used in classrooms and training centers. Each chapter is structured as a lesson, and is a very "hands on" and lab oriented approach that is well suited for the classroom, but can be difficult to follow and pick up for self study. The review questions at the end of the chapters are short and not very helpful, and there are no exam tips, and alerts for trick questions. Although the CD's include an electronic copy of the books, they lack comprehensive test prep software or other study aides. If you use this series, you may wish to supplement it with the Windows 2000 Resource Kits and additional test preparation software. List price $199.99 Bookpool price $117.50
Where to find great books at great prices....  
Everybody knows about, but Bookpool is frequently less expensive, and they specialize in Technical Books. They carry MS Press, O'Reilly, Que, Osborne, SAMS, and others.  
Another online professional bookstore. Although we prefer Bookpool's prices, FatBrain has a better selection in a few categories. Essentially our second stop on the web when looking for a title.

Half Price Computer Books
Another source for great deals on computer books. Much cheaper than Amazon and B&N

O'Reilly and Associates  
Publishers of some of the best books in the industry. Well written, concise, accurate, and great cover art!. If I'm looking for a reference book, I always check O'Reilly first. I've never been disappointed. (This is not a paid endorsement!)

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