Sep 4, 2011

Tool Evaluation: uCertify PrepEngine for 70-432: SQL Server Implementation and Maintenance.

Recently I was asked to evaluate an exam tool. A tool developed for 70-432 exam: MSTS: Implementation and maintenance of SQL Server 2008.

Before talking about the tool, Let me introduce my readers to the tool itself. It is “uCertify PrepEngine” from The tool helps the user to learn and practice for the said exam before taking the actual exam. I know that they provide the preparation tool for various other exams too. 
To use the tool, you have two options: An evaluation version which gives limited usage. If you find it useful, (There is high possibility you may find it useful) you can upgrade it to a licensed edition.

Let me set this clear first: 100% money back guarantee and braindump free.
  • Ucertify supports 100% money back guarantee. In their own words, if you don’t get certified in the first attempt, fax them your score and we will return your money. As simple as that.
  • But it does not mean it is another collection of braindump. In fact, it is brain dump free. That means, you can learn the basics and sit for the exam and pass the exam without cheating. You can really be proud of your results.

Doesn’t that sound interesting? Don't you want to download the evaluation version?
The tool is available here:

It has 14 questions on diagnostic test which allows the user to evaluate where he/she stands in terms of the exam and identify the areas which needs special concentration. It also gives changes of five practice tests (each on with 45 questions) and one final test with 65 questions.
In addition to this user is allowed to take adaptive test, even to customize a test based on the time available. This means, if you have only five minutes of spare time, you can take a “miniature exam” during that time.
Questions are categorized to single choice, multiple selection and simulation types similar to the actual exam.
The tool also provides interactive quiz with 126 questions
Questions cover the areas related to the exam. Based on the answers student can find out the areas he/she needs to concentrate.
Answers are supported by detailed explanation, facts and reference material
Users can add their notes, tags to the questions, Can retake the same exam multiple times. With randomize options, it is hard to answer the question correctly by memorizing the answers, unless you really understand the concepts.
To prepare for the exam, it allows many supporting material
  1. 385 study notes, 3 general articles, 8 How to articles  and 6 study tips
  2. Keeps flash cards. You can create your own card in the form of study notes.
  3. Simple articles on How to perform certain actions on SQL Server
  4. Study notes mainly on “what is “ gives introduction to different topics in SQL Server.
It has the facility to print the questions and answers too.
Some good things:
  • Features: Give feedback, Take notes and print the notes/ questions etc.
  • The tool allows the students to time box the exams. That means it prevents the users from being carried away with some questions/areas.
  • Create a Custom exam based on the time the user has. Even on the last minute, the student can sit for an exam of an area which he/she needs reassurance about his/her competence.
  • The detailed explanation is something great. It not just gives explanation on why a particular answer is right, but also why the other answers are wrong. Additionally it gives some reference from MSDN too.
  • It covers the exam content from what Microsoft has published. I am not an exam expert to authorize whether it covers all the details of the exam, But, I feel that training the students to face the real hard questions (even if they necessarily be part of the exam),will increase the confidence level f the students.
Few enhancements I like to have:
  • Most of the questions cover the basics of the topics and do not concentrate on advanced areas. For example, In SQL Server 2008, few performance optimizations were done over replication and database mirroring. The questions were concentrating on these high availability features, but not on the performance optimizations. Another good thing to learn I like to see is combining multiple high availability features.
  • In addition to the explanation, some information on further reading (to get more in-depth knowledge on the subject ) would a nice to have feature and increase the rating of the tool.
  • Almost all the notes are about "what is xxxx" I like to see more on "what suits where " or "how to "
Few negative points (Actually I have only one):
  • Some facts about the exam are outdated/incomplete. For example, Microsoft has increased the exam fees few weeks back. But still the tool says the older price. Another thing I noticed was it failed to mention that students from non English speaking countries get few additional minutes as Microsoft feels that they need more time to read and understand the questions.
Please note that I am evaluating only for 70-432 exam, my comments are limited to it only.

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