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BlueWolf's Howl

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January 07, 2008

Pain in the Boson

I'm not sure how anyone else feels about this, but the new Cisco Press Practice Exams (that come with the study guide) are really a pain. They used to be hokey little questions on the chapter that merely covered what you read. They weren't something that you rely on for the exam. You could ace those questions and still flunk an exam. [Yeah, I know, eh?] But they were EASY to install and at least pounded a little bit of the material into your brain.

Then they went to hokey exams that you could only register on one computer. Inconvenient, but still pretty easy to install and use.

Now they're through Boson. Yeah. So now, you buy a book and you *have to* create an account at Boson (who also tries to sell you -more- practice exams) and register and then download.

They obviously spent a LOT of time and effort just to insure that you can't sell the book afterwards or give it to someone and let them use the practice tests. Perhaps the next user could register the book by 'de-registering' your computer and then registering, but there's already a lot of hoops to jump through - why should there be more? And I haven't seen anything as far as # of questions or difficulty of questions that would make me think these tests are any *better* than the ones Cisco Press used to put out.

And after all the effort they put into protecting it -- GAWD help me if I find a bunch of typos or grammatical errors. I will let them know that perhaps they should redirect their efforts towards the quality realm if that should happen. One thing I can't stand about many of these computer-based tests is that some of the questions really don't make sense in English. And my grade is depending on these questions being comprehensible! Granted, you expect an abortion of a study guide if you download Joe Zuba's FREE Network Exam Guide. But when you're paying (especially when it's over $50) for an exam guide, practice test or the like, you *expect* to be able to read it. And at $125 to $300 for a computer-based exam (on which your certification or re-cert depends), you should be able to read and understand the questions. Even if you don't know the answer. You see instances here and there where you *know* someone copied and pasted something and just didn't copy the whole thing. A sentence ends at the end of a line without a period or completing a thought. Exhibits are referenced that don't appear. Something contradicts itself or isn't clear about what they're asking. These things happen in the exams. They shouldn't - but they do. And you have to score high enough to score around that. So to be able, ready and practiced enough to do so -- you need GOOD practice exams.

I'll let you know if it was worth the download and other rigamarole once I go through the whole exam a time or two. I'm hoping I will be pleasantly surprised. Boson used to have a really good reputation for running you through the paces on their Sim software to ready you for the CCNA exam. Pricey - but worth it in the long run.

I know I'm going to use every available Sim, Rack, Lab and device that I can get my hands on once I start the Lab study. But the written test -- how many is too many? [Before you start using them to procrastinate actually *taking* the exam...]

Off the blog and back onto the book!

Posted by BlueWolf on January 7, 2008 09:22 PM