Monday, March 16, 2009

uCertify PrepKit (070-443) Review

I was recently asked to review one of the products of uCertify company. uCertify provides IT certification preparation PrepKits for a large number of vendors. To this end, I was given a copy of PrepKit 070-443 which is for the corresponding Microsoft Exam 70-443: PRO: Designing a Database Server Infrastructure by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and reviewed it.

I found the PrepKit very useful, with comprehensive content and various ways of study/practice, which help the candidate to easily learn the technology featured in the target exam. Here follows my detailed review categorized in sections:

1. License Key Installation
The license key installation was very easy. The entire procedure was simple and yet very efficient.

2. Graphical User Interface Experience
The Graphical User Interface of the application is very user-friendly. It is easy for the user to navigate through the various features of the application without requiring the application’s help feature. The file menu is also efficient. Though the user-friendliness of the application’s main screen allows the user to directly use the various features by just clicking on the icons.

3. Updates
Updating the PrepEngine is very easy as a relevant hyperlink is displayed in the PrepKit which allows the user to click on it and automatically check for updates.

4. Tips
The tips being displayed on the main screen of the PrepKit are very good as they give important advices especially for beginners not having much experience with professional exams.

5. Main Features

5.1 Features with main title “Enhance your understanding”
The PrepEngine provides many features that facilitate the candidates to perform a comprehensive preparation for the target exam.

The “Exam Objectives” are very important as they summarize the knowledge that must be gained by the candidates for the specific exam. An excellent feature is the “Objectives with Notes” which provides the main concepts for each section of the exam in the form of comprehensive notes.

The “Interactive Quiz” is also very good as it provides the candidates with a direct way of validating their knowledge.

Also the “Flash cards”, “Study notes”, “Articles”, “Study tips” and “How tos” features provide comprehensive information related to the exam and allow the candidates to gain additional, in-depth knowledge on the exam’s subject.

All these features provide many alternative ways to the candidates for testing their knowledge and getting a deeper understanding of the various concepts with respect to the target exam.

5.2 Features with main title “Practice Test”
I believe that the organization of the Practice tests is very good. First, by providing a diagnostic test, the PrepKit allows the candidates to get a first idea regarding their level of knowledge on the subject.

Then, after the candidates complete their study, they can use the three pre-defined practice tests and eventually, take the Final practice test.

I also found the adaptive test very interesting because by using the technique of dynamically adjusting the level of difficulty, it allows the candidates to be presented with questions based on their level of knowledge.

The custom test is also important as it allows the candidates to select questions from specific chapters/exam sessions.

Last but not least, the fixed time test is very good for practicing the timing because, as always, during an exam timing plays a significant role towards success.

A remark having to do with all the practice tests is that the explanations of the answers to the questions are very comprehensive as they explain in detail why an answer is correct or wrong.

5.3 Features with main title “Track your progress”
The “Test History” feature is very useful as it shows the performance for all the practice tests the candidates have taken. This also allows the candidates to see their progress from the earliest to the most recent practice test.

Additionally, the available actions are excellent as they allow the candidates to directly perform various tasks on each practice test. Overall, I believe that the “Test History” feature is really significant as it summarizes all the practice/activity of the candidate.

Similarly, the “Readiness Report” feature provides additional statistics regarding the performance of the candidate with respect to the practice tests results. The “Readiness Report - Objectives” screen allows the candidates to see overall statistics regarding their performance for the various sections of the exam. This allows the candidates to focus on sections on which they might need further practice/study.

6. PrepKit Content
I believe that the PrepKit has a lot of content; something which enables the candidates to practice their knowledge efficiently. With comprehensive answers to all the questions, the PrepKit can help the candidates to better acquire the necessary knowledge based on the exam’s objectives. With various levels of difficulty it allows the candidates to have a proper preparation for the target exam.

In addition to the practice tests and the questions/answers sections, the rest of the features under the title “Enhance your Understanding” provide significant, additional content that undoubtedly allows the candidates to learn additional concepts and thus get an even more in-depth understanding for the technology featured in the target exam. This is very important as many times during an exam, whenever the candidates possess this in-depth understanding of the target technology, it is easier for them to properly manage their time and thus not to run out of time during the exam.

7. Overall Comments
My overall comments after this review, during which I reviewed the uCertify PrepKit M70-443, is that the specific PrepKit is excellent; it provides the candidate with a lot of content relevant to the target exam, and also provides many alternative ways for acquiring the necessary knowledge related to the technology featured by the exam. The Graphical User Interface, the navigation and the rest of the features make it really easy for the candidate to use the product and get a proper preparation for the target exam.
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Artemakis Artemiou [MVP]

Author & Editor

Artemakis Artemiou is a Senior SQL Server Architect, Software Developer and Microsoft Data Platform MVP. He is also an author, regular blogger, president of Cyprus.NET User Group and CY Country leader of INETA-EU. He is also the creator of DBA Security Advisor and In-Memory OLTP Simulator. Artemakis is a frequent guest author of worldwide well-respected online journals where he writes articles focusing on many SQL Server topics.

Reference: The SQL Server and .NET Hub (