Exchange Server 2007 and the New Generation of Microsoft Certifications


Microsoft Learning is currently phasing in a new generation of Microsoft certifications. These new certifications are designed to be more specific and targeted to better reflect proficiency in a particular technology. You can read all about the big changes in certification here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/newgen/default.mspx. In this article I will focus on how this change affects Exchange certification testing.

The new generation of certifications is actually good news for Exchange administrators. In earlier versions of Exchange you passed a single administration or design exam to achieve the Microsoft Certified Professional credential. However, passing both the administration and design exams did not qualify you for a higher certification level unless you also happened to achieve MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator) and/or MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) status. Even then, the Exchange messaging certifications were tacked on as a qualifier to MCSA/MCSE to indicate your area of specialization. Both the MCSA and the MCSE are centered on Windows and Active Directory administration and design. To obtain that MCSE: Messaging certification and let the world know that you are a highly-qualified messaging administrator you actually had to pass eight separate exams.

With the new generation of certifications, there are two levels of Exchange certification: Technology Specialist and IT Professional. Granted, this makes for some really long certification names, but they clearly identify your area of expertise. There are three exams in the Exchange Server 2007 certification track.

To achieve the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Exchange Server 2007, Configuration certification (MCTS), you have to pass only one exam. It is exam number 70-236, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Configuring.

The MCTS certification is a building block to the next level up: Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Microsoft Exchange 2007 Messaging Solutions Administrator (MCITP). You’ll have to pass two more exams to certify at the MCITP level:

  • 70-237, Designing Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
  • 70-238, Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007

All three of these exams are now available, with the latest exam, 70-238, going live on July 12, 2007. I’m an over-, er, early-achiever, so have already taken and passed all three exams (by taking two while still in beta). All Microsoft exams go through a beta period (you can tell when an exam is in beta, because it will be numbered with the 71 prefix). Selected individuals are invited to take beta exams based on their past certification history. You also have to be registered on the MCP private site and choose to receive MCP newsletters. A beta exam is usually scheduled for 4 hours and includes twice as many questions as the regular (or “live”) exam. The beta examinee results are used to develop a bank of good questions for the live exam. Beta examinees also have to wait for their results, sometimes as much as a torturous 8 weeks. Now, I won’t break my NDA to help you pass, but I’ll give you some hints to help focus your preparation.

First, take advantage of the preparation tools and resources available from Microsoft Learning. Make sure that you review the preparation guide for each exam and that you understand the objectives of the exam (note that we will be updating those exam guides within next few weeks). For a limited time, you can even register to receive a 30% exam discount code. That bonus is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/launch/default.mspx.

There are both instructor-led and online courses available to help you master the new capabilities of Exchange 2007. I recommend instructor-led courses, unless that’s just not your style or in your budget. There is definitely a big advantage to having a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) around to provide clarification and expertise, in addition to the hands-on lab opportunities and learning from the experiences of your fellow students. The Exchange 2007 courses are receiving complimentary reviews from MCTs, with praise going to useful and interesting labs and great discussions. You’ll find links to class information and to Microsoft Certified Partner for Learning Solutions training centers at the exam preparation Web pages:

I know that everyone wants to know exactly what kind of questions will appear on the exam. To keep the testing process fair for everyone, I can’t tell you that. Look at the exam objectives and make sure that you know how to perform the tasks that are listed. Here are a couple of hints that shouldn’t get me kicked out of the MCP club:

  • If it happens in Exchange 2007, there’s an Exchange Management Shell command behind it somewhere.
  • If it’s new and different compared to other versions of Exchange, you should learn the basics of how it works.
  • If you can’t set up Exchange 2007, you won’t get very far.
  • Browse the Exchange TechCenter Library. It is your most comprehensive source for Exchange 2007 information and all the answers are in there. (http://technet.microsoft.com/exchange)

If you would like to get more information on this subject, you can also review the following Live Meeting recording:

Microsoft Vista and Exchange 2007 Certification Review Session 1

I hope that this brief explanation helps clarify what is happening with the Exchange 2007 certification tests and Microsoft certification in general. Good luck and happy testing!

Kate Follis

Comments (13)
  1. On July 17 I passed my third Exchange 2007 exam (70-238) and got my Microsoft Exchange 2007 Messaging Solutions Administrator certification. For exam 70-236 one should focus on the Exchange Management Shell. Exam 70-237 was not so difficult but 70-238 was pretty difficult.

  2. Bob Scratchet says:

    I take it that those with MSCE + Messaging (for Ex2003) will have to resit all 3 of these exams or is there a fast track option?

  3. Marc Grote says:

    On July 18 I passed my third Exchange 2007 exam (70-238) and got my Microsoft Exchange 2007 Messaging Solutions Administrator certification. For me the hardest exam was 70-236 because of so much EMS questions.

    There are so many new exams this year, so I must take over 10 exames to stay current and to update all my certifications. I hope the next Exchange / Windows wave is not so exam weightily.

  4. Chris Lehr says:

    the 30% off link is broken

  5. ninob says:

    Thanks Chris, looking into that!

  6. Jaycee says:

    Thanx, i took 236 just out, and paid the price : got 687 for 700… I HATE EMS :)

    I’ll give a try at 237 if it is more design than boring EMS.

    EMS is good, all questions on it is NO GOOD :'(

  7. sagus says:

    For me 236 also was the ugly one. I don’t understand why admin shoud remembers params of cmdlet – it’s help in shell and another one in EMC.

    238 was almost like 237.

  8. Kate Follis says:

    Congratulations on all the successful test passes! To answer Bob’s question: yes, you will have to take all 3 Exchange exams to retain messaging admin credentials. See exams 70-648 and 70-649 for a fast track option on upgrading your MCSA/MCSE to Windows Server 2008.

  9. msexpert says:

    I passed all three exams and I must say basing on my experience (I have now about 30 MS exams passed, so I think my opinion might be worth something) that they are generally easy (I think, too easy) and still very raw. Some comments:

    70-236 is really focused on EMS, but the incorrect answers are not so well selected. Many questions can be easily answered without even reading the question itself, because all the answers but one are obviously senseless. It could have been made better challenge.

    70-237 is by far the easiest test of the three. The big complaint is that it covers very narrow area of expertise. There are lots of questions almost literally repeating each other, and some important areas (I won’t be more specific here in order to not violate the NDA) are not covered at all.

    70-238 is the hardest exam mostly because the questions are long and need real attention when reading, since small details matter. But what is really sad here – there are questions badly formulated or just simply incorrect statements. I will not quote, but the statements like "You install an LCR cluster" or "you install Exchange 2007 on 3 computers: Exchange 2007 server, Client access server, and Hub transport server" are frustrating when you really try to understand what the question was.

    I wish the test writing team could have done better job on this exam.

  10. ET714 says:

    I’m very glad to understand there are two new certifications for Exchange Admins :
    Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Exchange Server 2007, Configuration certification (MCTS), with 70-236, and
    Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Microsoft Exchange 2007 Messaging Solutions Administrator (MCITP), with 70-237/238,
    But when i’m going to the Microsoft learning pages http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/newgen/default.mspx and ask detail on MCITP, this latest certification isn’t mentioned.

    Better than all : i’m a frenchie, and the new certifications aren’t even explained in the french microsoft learning site !
    I’m not sure so to be MCTS and have the first degree of MCITP … i have passed 236 and 237 in french !

  11. Russ Allen says:

    I have taken 70-236 and 70-237, they are not very hard. If you have studied and look at the questions you can get the answer (with some reasoning on your part). I am studing for 70-238 and it is just a lot of time on doing the exercises and the correct certification knowledge. I loved the book How to Cheat At Configuring Exchange Server 2007. It had alot of answers in it. You just have to read through the material and PAY ATTENTION.

  12. Joe Onyesoh says:

    Congrats to all those that passed the tests.

    Can anyone recommend a good book for 70-236 and 237? I know Russ mention the "How to Cheat…". Russ would you recommend this for 70-236?

    Has anyone reviewed the Mastering Exchange 2007 by Jim Mcbee?

  13. Mike Manning says:

    I’ve read Jim’s book. That and Technet plus lab work got me through 237 and 238. I’ll write 236 after I get more comfortable with the EMS commands.

Comments are closed.