I'm probably going to have to go the MCITP:EA route next for work reasons. After that I think I'm going to start focusing on SANS. More than likely I'll start with 504. I may do 505 since it will be easier to sell to HR, but we'll see.
As for the exam. I didn't have any sims, but I did have some thorough questions. Think of things like, if I run this command with these parameters what output will it show, for both OS functions and tools like nmap, hping, etc. This is where having a lab is beneficial. During my week long course there was a lab open that we messed around with the tools on. Once I got home I recreated that lab on my computer to go a little slower on the stuff I was slower to understand. I work next to some people who use these things daily, so it helped to bounce scenarios off of them if I got stuck.
Like any good infosec person when I asked for direction they just pointed somewhere and say keep going until you see something that sticks out.