Forewarned is forearmed, and we had two forearms each, at least. That, plus the fingers at the end of our hands and the little brains in our heads, and more than a little luck, helped us to pass this latest trial with only 1 man down (but not out).
Last night, in the week dark hours, 2 of the group felt lucky/cocky/confident/crazy enough to try the test. They passed (with scores that APPEARED to be barely squeeking by, but when you only have 35 questions total the difference between full marks and a failing grade can be 4 questions or less.) and then passed along their confidence to us.
That's not to say the rest of us weren't nervous. I know I was studying until 1:30am, and then was back at the books at 7:00am this morning. But by 9:30 we all felt that either we knew it pretty well or that we weren't going to know it any better an hour later.
Suffice to say that I felt like that little ball inside cans of spraypaint: I got the job done, but I was completely pummelled in the process.
However, the preparation, the materials and the boundless confidence of Rich (our trainer) in us all combined to give us amazing results. On the first pass, just 2 failed the test (and only by 1 or 2 questions). One person turned right around and went back in, and passed without a problem. THe other is taking a more cautious approach, and is going to retest tomorrow.
At this point, our group has taken the following tests:
70-270 (Windows XP) - 10 passed
70-290 (Win2003 #1) - 7 passed, 3 need to retake later
70-291 (Win2003 #2) - 9 passed, 1 will retake tomorrow
We immediately (OK, after lunch) began working on 70-273 (Windows ISA server), which it turns out is a piece of cake. One of us (Lloyed, from Bermuda) is going to test tonight because his flight leaves tomorrow. The rest of us are here until at least next week so we will test tomorrow, take the rest of the day off for mental recovery, and then dive into the last 3 tests.
Am I excited that I've managed to sqeak by so far? Sure. Does that give me any additional confidence as each new test comes up? Not at all. It merely increases my sense of dread and doom. I don't feel comforted that we are nearing the halfway point.
This is one of those times when I just have to put my head down and keep pushing forward. I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss my real life. But I'm going back to that one way or the other on March 31. I'd rather do it with everything here finished, rather than with a retake or two to have to contend with.