Apps

Five apps to help you pass Microsoft certification exams

Introduction

Having good exam prep software can make the difference between passing or failing a Microsoft certification exam. A lot of the software you'll find on the Internet is less than reputable. But the apps we're going to look at here are high quality and can be very effective in helping you pass those exams.

Note: If you'd prefer to view this information as a blog post, check out this entry in our Five Apps blog.

Photo credit: Copyright © iStockphoto.com/mattjeacock

31 comments
edwardtisdale
edwardtisdale

how many times I see the words Dialog Box as I study a book on a Microsoft certification. I'm reading a book on Windows Server 2008 R2 and can't they just put a blanket statement at the beginning of the book that says that if they're talking about a UI, there's a series of clicks in dialog boxes, and if it's a command, to do it in the Run box? It might take fewer pages.

brian408
brian408

So tell me, how do you really feel about this. Don't hold back. I must confess to having heard the MCSE acronym standing for, "Must Call Someone Else."

RbnsnBkpkr
RbnsnBkpkr

In your description of TrainSignal, I'm sure you meant to say "rigid adherence" not "ridged".

jaehn_barbara
jaehn_barbara

Might be a great presentation but I'm not reading it. No time to click then wait for load. Bad format for your material.

Leo
Leo

how would anyone know that they are stolen MSFT questions that they are selling if you didn't purchase the software to begin with? Humm..

graeme2011
graeme2011

If the author is basing his recommendation of Pass-Guaranteed on personal experience then he could lose his MCSE. The guys who run Pass-Guaranteed steal actual test questions and sells them to chumps who want the certification but don't want to do the work. Microsoft is trying to buy out these braindump companies so that they can get hold of the customer lists and de-certify everyone on it.

cannonblast2
cannonblast2

Just ask around the industry and user groups. Everyone uses Transcender if they want to pass. The Blast!

tpopoff
tpopoff

I highly recommend CBTNuggets. It is about $2K for the year (which in consideration is less than a week training offsite) but you get access to a *massive* repository of certification CBTs. Recently they have included considerable test prep exams as well. One of my favourite parts of CBTNuggets is that the sessions are only about 30 minutes each (some longer some a little shorter). This is great for us IT people that inevitably experience the 'hurry up and wait' as often comes with the profession.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I study in the past with Transcender, very good.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Why if you are pround enough of those letters after your name to make mention of them, are you promoting this sort of crap? Cramming is not learning, it's passing.

asifdasl3
asifdasl3

Yeah if you check CertGuard.com - a site which protects legitimate products against stolen questions or braindumps - the site you are promoting Pass-guaranteed - it's a brain dump - and as a person who has taken 33 exams legitimately - I want you to remove it from your list... and I would say Microsoft would too... it's their questions which were stolen and people are buying... Any person I've come across that has used braindumps simply doesn't know their stuff and I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them... They think they are great because they passed an exam but in the real world they haven't got a clue and will get found out eventually - for the best paying jobs you need to know your stuff inside out, nobody cares that you cheated an exam if you are not an expert... and you are not an expert if you cheat an exam

TG2
TG2

English does not seem to be the strong point at UCertify. http://www.ucertify.com/download/70-177.html such wonderful things as: [quote]"[b]You need to go for free download 70-177 exam questions[/b] or 70-177 pdf from uCertify and analyze the Microsoft 70-177 demo questions quality. You would find that uCertifys 70-177 free questions [b]are very realistic to[/b] the 70-177 actual questions. The 70-177 prepkit takes less time than 70-177 study books to prepare you for the actual 70-177 exam. It takes beyond the 70-177 book and drive right into the 70-177 exam papers using our unmatched 70-177 Certified 70-177 practice exam questions here at uCertify."[/quote]wow ... just wow... and then in the next paragraph on that page, it talks about brain dumps being a sin .. again.. wow! Or this blurb from two paragraphs on CCNA: http://www.ucertify.com/certifications/Cisco/ccna.html [quote]"Taking practice tests before a subsequent exam appear to be the most popular method of learning, [b]even more favored [u]that[/u] other popular[/b] methods such as repetition and concept mapping. A high quality test preparation software such as uCertify Prepkits [b]will not only help you [u]learn[/u][/b] the 640-802, 640-816 and 640-822 [b][u]exams material and pass[/u] the certification exam[/b] in your first attempt."[/quote]everyone can make a mistake ... but paying hundreds of dollars for tests/testpreps and not bothering to re-read or proof read? ... wow. I especially love the "...will not only help you learn ... and pass ... " where's the "but also" ? ... Oh... the "and pass" ... yeah.. that should've been.. "... but also pass the certification ..." Nit picking? Maybe.. but it begs you ask the question... if they didn't waste the time and money making a high quality website, then what did they do to ensure the quality of their preps?

lscranton
lscranton

Any suggestions for the MOS Expert Exams?

MeijerTSR
MeijerTSR

Could you do the same list for Cisco certifications?

richard.artes
richard.artes

VCE Mobile for iPhone / Ipod Touch is also good. I used it for MS exam 70-663 Exchange 2010 and 70-680 Windows 7 exams. Very handy for last-minute 'study' on the the way to the exam centre!

graeme2011
graeme2011

Never seen Pass-Guaranteed, but any company that guarantees a pass or your money back is a major red flag. All I had to do was pop the URL into certguard.org's search engine to confirm this.

Gisabun
Gisabun

I looked at one of those so-called brain dump PDSFs ***AFTER*** passing an exam any many questions reminded me of the questions on the exam. Maybe not word for word [I'm sure] but very close. If [somehow] is is found out that you used a "brain dump" material, not only will you loseb your certification but I'm not sure if you will be allowed to get any Microsoft certification [ever]. What's the point of using "brain dump" material anyways. Lets say that you are a certified Server 2008 R2 administrator but as soon as you start a job, your employer will know how good you really are. I think there are also copyright notices for the exams and an agreement not to disclose any questions to anyone [with penalties if you are found to do so.] [Which is one reason why at least 3 of my last 5 bosses didn't care for certification.]

ThePickle
ThePickle

That's never going to happen. There would be total outrage on the part of those people if Microsoft suddenly pulled all of their "certifications" based solely on the fact that they were on some customer list of a company that Microsoft doesn't like. They would have no evidence as to who deserves to have their credentials pulled and who doesn't. Just because your name was found on some company's customer list doesn't mean you're an idiot, nor does it mean you're a genius. The point is, Microsoft would have no way of knowing, and it would be a PR nightmare of epic proportions for them if they tried something like that. On another note, I'm just laughing at all the people crying about "braindumps" versus this versus that. The reason I can't help but laugh is because Microsoft certifications are an oxymoron. The very idea that Microsoft can "certify" you to be an expert based on whether or not you passed some exam in a 2 or 3 hour period is ludicrous. I've seen - first hand - the value in these so-called "experts" when I had the privilege of working alongside some MCSEs a few years ago. We needed to do some server upgrades, and I pulled out a SCSI card from my briefcase which was to be installed in the server. The MCSE asks me, "what's that?" I tell him that it's the new SCSI card we're going to be installing. He looks at the card in total amazement, while oooh-ing and ahhh-ing, and says "ohhh...so that's what a SCSI card looks like!". I nearly fell off my chair. I didn't know whether to laugh at his ignorance, or cry at the fact that he was making $10,000 more than I was at the time because he was a level 3 analyst, while I was level 2. Needless to say, that was all the evidence I needed to backup what I already suspected, that MCSE certification was a total joke. If THIS moron who has never seen a SCSI card could get certified as a Microsoft "Systems Engineer", then the entire thing is a scam. Over the years, after having gone into business for myself, I've always put the "MCSE" resumes that I receive near the bottom of my resume pile. And on the off-chance that something in a candidate's resume merits a second look, I will ALWAYS give them a real-world performance test. I want you to PROVE that you actually know what you're doing, as opposed to showing me your MCSE certificate, which isn't even worth the ink and paper it's printed on in my eyes.

Ternarybit
Ternarybit

You have to have certs and they aren't an indication of knowledge, they're an indication you can memorize minutae word for word from MSDN. The people who write the tests just copy their questions directly from there, nearly without exception. They also generally have no real world relevance.

Ternarybit
Ternarybit

You sound like you're full of shit. 1. I find it hard to believe that you've passed 1/3 of all possible Microsoft exams without cheating. 2. You really base all of your professional worth on a meaningless certificate that's meant to appease mid-level managers and people who are more concerned with hawaiian shirt friday than business results? The reason I can confidently say this is because I've been an MCT for more than 10 years, and a full time developer longer than that. I've been in the groups that write some of the tests, and been a reviewer for questions from some of the companies that MS hires to write the tests like lionsbridge (yes, they DO outsource almost all the cert exam writing, generally to the lowest bidder). The vast majority of the people writing the test just troll MSDN and copy down passages with fill in the blank answers in multiple choice form. They don't actually know the content they're testing, and in most cases couldn't pass their own test. Couple that with the fact that there is 0 practical in anything short of the MCA and SharePoint Master Certification and I???d say that???s hardly useful or real world. By that metric, I would estimate that you yourself don???t actually know anything and your job security relies entirely on the bad academic exercise that is certification. Mind you, in a perfect world I would totally agree with you. In the real world, the exams are complete BS. The only reason certs matter is so your business can get their silver or gold partner cert. You're stupid if you place any value on exams. I'll clarify the statement by pointing out that you're choosing to play by rules everyone else doesn't follow. If you're cool with the current state of affairs: 1. indians and chinese "developers" coming from what is the equivalent of american high school education in bangladesh with a bachelor's degree getting equal respect as someone with a master's degree here even though they can barely speak english 2. Their having 30 certifications, all of which they got through brain dumps, and the rest of us being unhire-able because of it 3. The "resource" pool mentality where skillsets aren't valued and we're just bodies that can be plugged into what people perceive as an assembly line in IT Then I would say you're certainly part of the problem. If you???re not, then you need to rethink your stance on certs and stop being na??ve. Get with the program.

patchrhythm
patchrhythm

I'm confused as to which site you want them to remove. Please clarify your post, we're not mind readers. Be specific as possible. Thank you.

Mach04
Mach04

Yeah, I'd say so... Especially when you say comments like: "Maybe.. but it begs you ask the question"

tpopoff
tpopoff

They have quite a selection of Office CBTs and you can watch the first couple of minutes to see if it is something that you would like.

asifdasl3
asifdasl3

You mean last minute cheating... don't you? VCEs are usually braindumps - braindumps = chumps

graeme2011
graeme2011

Using actual test questions violates Microsoft's non-disclosure agreement which you agree to when you take the test. Microsoft has handed down lifetime bans on their certification program to anyone who's been caught. It makes me sick to see these all over the net, and makes me more upset to see a site like Techrepublic promoting them.

graeme2011
graeme2011

MCSE = "Must Consult Someone Else". Worthless certification, epecially with all the cheaters out there. Cisco certifications are much more meaningful since you are required to put your skills into practice on their exams. Lots of Cisco braindumps out there as well though, sadly. The good news is a lot of these cheaters will never pass a technical interview.

AxelWiresmith
AxelWiresmith

The reason that 'guy' was making 10 000 more than you was because he was certified, but MS certifys ppl to use MS products, not to recognise on site an outdated interface. I have had 30yrs(or more) of XP in IT and I can tell u that yes, there are many idiots I have encountered with MS certs that have amazed me in their ignorance.... but the idea, is that someone who has passed the exam should have a basic working understanding of MS products (in which they are certified( Should they be be paying u more as u are doing the real work? Probably!) Regardless, by the sound of things, u are a tech and it was ur job to know what a SCSI card looks like not his(as he would be certified for desktop support, if he was meant to be an MSCE then, I agree they tend not to cover many important things, that fall to far outside the MS scope, If u can tell me a good reason why they should show pictures of a bunch of cards in the exam and have them ID them though, then I'm all ears). The issue with these so-called brain dumps and practice questions that closely mimic or copy the exams, and that if they just know the answers and don't understand the thinking behind them, then exam isn't able to do it's job. MS puts a lot into rooting this kind of thing out, but with the commercialisation of their certification process, this is inevitable. I did a 2 week course many years ago and was worried about passing as I had to miss many of the days due to illness, One of the instructors said I could take the test as many times as I liked (till I chanced apon the right the right answers?) He remarked that if I had issues after that that they would give me a disk containing 'practise questions'. As it turned-out I aced it easily as I already had the working knowledge. I was astonished to see though, that many of my classmates didn't (initially) I know they have come along way since then but I think it's crap that someone can pretty-much buy their cert from a training org (except now they charge for each exam ;-) It should be done by public reputable institutions like Colleges and Universities etc (as their 'IT' quals tend to be far less meaningful in practice anyway) As for customer lists, that's just silly even M$ wont do that. I think he means that they are meant to sort the men from the boys with with the exam, perhaps they should also add a much large interactive/simulated aspect that mimics the real thing.

asifdasl3
asifdasl3

I thought I was pretty clear but anyways... Pass-guaranteed is the site I want them to remove... by going to CertGuard.com you can see that Pass-guaranteed is a braindump site, so if you use it you could get decertified because they are selling stolen questions which breaks the agreement you agree to before starting every Microsoft exam...

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I'm MCSE and was very hard for me to get the cert. I never used braindumps and even remember the "beast" exam 70-216. I can say for sure the MCSE study and MOC help me a lot with my AD designs in all this years. I receive every day lot of calls from IT pros ask me for advices.