Re: Do we really need to go through Transcender exams or other..

From: Kael V. Dowdy (google_at_kaeldowdy.com)
Date: 03/23/04


Date: 23 Mar 2004 07:32:06 -0800


<anonymous@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message news:<11abb01c4109c$cfcda540$a501280a@phx.gbl>...
> Hi,
>
> I am preparing for exam 305.I am about to finish the
> book.I keep reading on this newsgroup that all talk about
> taking Trancender or other exams.They are costly :)..
>
> Is it absolutely neccesary to go through these exams...
> I keep exploring stuff over the internet if i do not
> understand anything and plan to prepare the study book(by
> Mike G.) perfectly. Won't that be enough ?
>
> Also does anyone know any sites where i can find some
> tests..just like that..ofcourse no paying and all.
>
> Any advise :)

Hey -

Here's my take on Transcenders and tackling the MS exams...

If you've never taken a MS exam before, I am of the opinion that you
really need to sit down and run through a "test simulation" product a
few times to get the feel for how MS cert exams are. Even though you
may be well versed in the technology real world, and studied for
passing the certs using various study materials, you may be in for a
rude awakening when you sit down and actually take the exam.

A lot of the exams have 4-8+ sentence questions with 1-4+ sentence
answers, and they're not always just multiple choice (radio buttons).
Some of them are "choose 2" or "choose 3" answers, and some of them
ask you to "choose the correct answers" and don't tell you how many
are correct. Additionally, there are diagramming-type of questions,
whether it be designing a series of database tables with relationships
(foreign and primary keys), creating flow-chart type of questions, and
drag and drop questions for a series of process in a particular order.
 Also, it is best to go through a product such as Transcender so you
can pace yourself and not lose time. After a while, you'll get your
own style and process down so you can get down to actually
interpreting and answering the questions instead of getting hung up
over the test environment.

I realize Transcender is not the cheapest test simulation product on
the block, but IMHO, the price does correlate with quality in this
case. The Transcenders I've used--10 total for various test
vendors--have been extremely helpful and assist the candidate with
getting used to the test environment. Also, you can customize the
tests to only display questions on a particular test objective/domain.
 But the best thing I like about Transcender is when you click the
"Grade Item" button, they provide you a VERY indepth explanation of
why the right question is correct and why the other questions are
incorrect--as well as references to msdn, technet, and other
resources. Even though some would argue that Transcenders should not
be used to learn what's needed to know the pass the exam, I disagree
in only one minor point on this...you may find a question or two on a
particular concept that you may be weak on or didn't go over well in
your studying, and the question/answer/explanation for it will assist
in reinforcing your understanding for that concept. Plus, you can
look up further information from the references they provide in
conjuction with the "Skills Being Measured" listing for your
particular exam on Microsoft's site.

So in the end, I would recommend going through a few test simulation
products, and if Transcenders are a little too costly for you at this
time, there are others out there (MeasureUp, SelfTest) that are a bit
cheaper...but I've found better success personally with the
Transcender products. Also, I believe on Microsoft's site, there are
skills evaluation tools and a little mini-test simulation program you
can download. You may want to start there and decide what to do after
looking at the free tools on Microsoft's site.

Good luck!

Kael MCSD, MCDBA, A+