Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Trancender vs. Measureup – Tips for Microsoft Certification Tests

 

  • I've been going certification crazy this year as I've passed 5 certification tests so far. Along the way I've picked up a few tips that might be of interest to someone looking to study for and take a Microsoft Certification exam.
  • Trancender is a win forms app installed locally, so don't need to be connected to internet.
  • Measure up is a web app.
  • Both Measureup and Trancender are seriously out-of-date applications. It is embarrassing that they test your .NET skills and yet the skills of the programmers who wrote these tools is seriously lacking/out-of date.
  • No cut and paste available in Trancender. This makes it hard to try out source code contained in the practice questions and descriptions are more generic than Measureup. For each question Measureup tells you why the right answer is right and the wrong answer is wrong, which helps you understand the way the question asker is thinking and what they are trying to teach or the point they are trying to assess.
  • Both Measureup and Trancender tests are a little harder than the real tests. On a measure up test all the answers usually at least are not nonsensical, they represent valid .NET names, classes etc. On the actual test, you can often eliminate several wrong answers just by being familiar with correct syntax.
  • Measureup allows you to take a short test, and see the answer after each question. This is my favorite way to study for a test: in small chunks. I take a short 10 question test whenever I get a chance to study and dig into any questions I didn't get right. With Trancender you have to take a 30 question test, and can't see the answers until the end.
  • Note that In my experience there are not very many interactive format questions. These are questions that have drag drop functionality. All the questions are multiple choice in which you choose 1 answer. A few questions have two or three right answers.
  • Overall I like Measureup better. It is easier to study on-the-fly, and can be used from any machine without going through an install program most likely written in 1994 using VB6. :)

MCP Testing Tips:

  • I didn't use any practice tests that are actually just copies of the real tests posted on the Internet (brain dumps), that is just plain cheating and Microsoft has clearly stated this. Measureup and Trancender tests however are sanctioned by Microsoft and are linked from their certification website. Measureup and Trancender use similar questions without using the actual questions from the real test. They are good preparation materials because they are a fast way to give you a feel for which concepts will be tested and the types of questions that will be asked. They also get you used to the testing format. I think that in addition to testing your .NET skills, the MCP exams test your pattern recognition and reading compression skills and so practice tests help you sharpen these skills as well. The other thing I like about these practice tests is that there is just a huge amount of features to a given technology (WCF, ADO.NET, Win Forms, etc) and a practice test is a good way to get a feel for what the most important features of that technology are. You may not know every detail about that feature after the practice test but at least down the road when you have a business need for that feature you know where to start looking. I would borrow a phrase from a favorite childhood cartoon GI-JOE.

    If GI-JOE were a .NET programmer he would have said: "Knowing where to look in the .NET Framework is half the battle.” MCP Certification tests are a great way to quickly learn where to look.

3 comments:

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Vinayak Rahate said...

Nice info...thx :)

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