Yep, this morning I sat and passed 70-294 with a very reasonable 795 points. Not bad, especially considering the fact that I spent most of saturday night at the office sorting out an exchange problem, had my birthday party on sunday and we were too shorthanded at the office on monday to let me take my customary afternoon off to prep for the exam.
Anyway, the exam itself. First of all the title, Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure, is somewhat misleading. A better title would have been "Group policies in Windows 2003 and some other Active Directory subjects". No questions were very difficult or ambiguous. Out of the 39 questions, 5 of those were simulations by the way, 25 were about group policies quite a few of those were drag & drop type questions. Up until a month or two ago a lot of people would tell you that the simulations didn't count. You'd only get two or three of them at an exam. The fact that I got 5 on a 39 question exam leads me to believe they definitely count towards your score.
A lot of the other questions were about structuring your AD in a way that it allows a specific delegation of control scenario. Only a few were about AD replication issues, troubleshooting (answers involving AD restore mode are usually right). I've also seen three questions on the "your company bought another company and you need to setup trusts between the forests to accomplish XYZ".
I prepared for the exam with the official microsoft self paced kit:
and a Transcender Cd. So, things to study
Difference between computer and user policy
Software deployment with GPO
How to apply a GPO to a user or computer depending on OU, group membership or site.
How to delegate GPO administration
Everything else GPO related you can get your hands on
OU structures and delegation of control
Domain replication between site
Domain trusts (know what incomming and outgoing means, the term is used often on the exam and not much in the book)
AD disaster and fuck-up recovery.
That's pretty much it. Not one of the hardest exams. When you do them in sequence about 80% of what this exam covers should at the very least be vaguely familiar to you. If you want to setup a home lab for this you'd need at least two machines to experiment with GPOs. More if you want to try your hand at AD intersite operations.
That's it for this month, on the 23rd I'll finalize the purchase of my new house, the weeks after that will be full with moving and redecorating. My 70-297 exam is planned for the second of october. Until that time you can probably expect a lot of pics from my new Nikon D50.