Latest & greatest: Cert-70-620, now with simulations

February 12, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Kaplan IT Training news, Performance-Based Testing | Leave a comment
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It feels like certification testing is evolving at the speed of light these days – every time I turn around there’s a new test technology or metric (with corresponding buzzwords). I know it’s kept us hopping behind the scenes here at Transcender. While we’ve been steadily developing our question-and-answer practice tests, we’ve also been working on brand-new interactive test technologies designed to give YOU the best possible study aid, and to prepare you for the performance-based metrics used in next-gen exams.

Last week I introduced the latest of these technologies, our performance-based testing virtual lab for 83-640 (read about it here). The second technology will be a Cisco CCNA-level lab simulator with an interactive command-line interface and a virtual network to configure –  Troy and team are hard at work on that project, which is due to release in the spring. The third, which I’m announcing today, is our new simulation lab for the Windows Server 2008 exam Cert-70-620. It joins our existing Microsoft simulation practice test lineup, but offers *twice* as many sims, with an additional 3 sims available as an add-on purchase.

The Transcender practice exams with simulations use the same technology and interface used by Microsoft for their simulation-based exams, which rolled out in the past year. Our tests are available on CD-ROM or as a downloaded test engine. These simulation scenarios, which will require you to execute critical IT tasks, are designed to more effectively evaluate real-world competency. That brings Transcender’s total simulation exam lineup to:

  • 70-620: MSCert: TS: Configuring Windows® Vista Client, with 12 simulation items, 175 multiple-choice questions, and 298 flash cards
  • 70-620 AI: add-on product with an additional 3 simulation  items and 60 more multiple-choice questions
  • 70-290: MSCert: Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment, with 6 simulation items, 298 multiple-choice questions, and 443 flash cards
  • 70-291: MSCert: Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure, with 6 simulation items, 268 multiple-choice questions, and 595 flash cards
  • 70-293: MSCert: Planning and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure, with 6 simulation items, 188 multiple-choice questions, and 543 flash cards
  • 70-294: MSCert: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure, with 6 simulation items, 105 multiple-choice questions, and 488 flash cards
  • 70-431: MSCert: TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance, with 6 simulation items, 151 multiple-choice questions, and 241 flash cards

The simulation items load in our standard practice test engine, as shown in this screenshot:


Once loaded, the simulations present a live-in-the-application feeling, but with a restricted number of paths available for action (just as in the Microsoft live exams). The simulation’s scenario remains visible in a window and can be referred to as you navigate through the screens. At the end, you are scored and given a breakdown of the correct actions to take.


One word of caution: typos. As in, if the instructions tell you to configure a password as P@ssw0rd and you type P@sws0rd, you’re hosed, even if the rest of the sim is right. With the Transcender sims and also in the live exam, you must enter text EXACTLY as stated in the scenario. It will make you sad to fail a sim that you know how to do. [Almost as sad as when you flunk a single sim three times and then lead your coworker, no names mentioned but it starts with T for Troy, over to your computer, all inflated and proud that YOU ALONE have discovered a glitch in the 70-620 beta sim, only to deflate like a sad baloon ballone deflated thing when he points out that the scoring is fine, only you were typing the user name wrong. Learn from my pain. — blogmistress Ann]

Test models for IT certification exams: industry overview

August 14, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Performance-Based Testing | 3 Comments
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Troy McMillan

There is ongoing discussion throughout the IT certification community concerning the value of certification testing. Most of this discussion boils down to a small number of questions:

  • Can standard multiple-choice certification tests accurately describe an individual’s technical knowledge?
  • Do the limitations of the testing model(s) fail to measure hands-on knowledge?
  • Isn’t it too easy to cheat with a multiple-choice model?

As the debate has raged, the major IT vendors ( Cisco, IBM, CompTIA, Microsoft, etc.) have tried various approaches to inspire confidence in certification testing as a valid tool. These are some of the item types and test formats we have seen in the past in an attempt to accomplish this:

Adaptive testing: Designed to seek out your weaknesses like a shark smelling blood. Continue Reading Test models for IT certification exams: industry overview…

Does Certification Prove You’re #1?

August 11, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Performance-Based Testing, Vendor news | 2 Comments
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It’s that time of year when the football talk begins at the office. Recently a friend told me that his team was ranked #1 in the nation. What I want to know is, how is this possible? The team has not played a single game yet, so that team has not proven itself worthy to be #1. I feel the same way about tech job candidates. When applying for a job, you have to have a lot more going on than your tech recruiter’s hype. You have to prove that you are the #1 candidate. A certification is great, but the certification has to prove that you know your stuff.

If you have taken any certifications for Microsoft Office, you might be familiar with the Microsoft Office Specialists exams. These exams incorporate “Live-in-the-Application” technology. Test candidates are graded solely on their ability to perform tasks within Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint. If you know how to do the tasks, you swim and pass. If not, you sink and fail. This is a great idea for testing – but it’s only implemented for the Office exams. It wouldn’t be feasible to give a candidate, say, a server farm to manage in order to administer a Windows Server 2008 exam.

Recently the friendly folks at Microsoft started to “kick it up a notch” with some of their exams by including simulation questions. Keep reading…

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