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On the subject of Training

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by TheJ0ker, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. TheJ0ker

    TheJ0ker New Member

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    Good moaning (I mean morning!)

    I have just embarked on the MCSE 2003 Track and I am going down the self-cert route.

    I have an old MCSE in NT which was paid for by my old company and it cost about £8,000! The company I'm with now does not have a very hefty training budget so I've decided to use the training materials out there and study at home. Unfortunately I never got around to upgrading my NT MCSE to 2000.

    I have a CBT package called CBT Nuggets which seems impressive I must say. It covers the whole MCSE Track - well that is to say it has 7 exams and the elective included is MS Exchange which is great as we have just migrated to that from Novell GroupWise. I would be interested to hear what folk out there think of the CBT Nuggets range of products.

    On the practice exam front, my God talk about spoilt for choice! Transcender (once the leader of the Pack?), TestKing (.com and .co.uk), ucertify.com, Boson, SelfTestSoftware.... the list is endless! I am interested in hearing what your experiences have been like as regards practice exams. Ones to avoid? Ones to recommend? I have used Transcender in the past and they are still around but.... soooo expensive!

    I have 2 books at the moment for the 70-270 (XP) exam: ExamCram2 which I rather like and a Microsoft super chunky hardback (self-paced training kit) affair which I'm not too keen on. I'm sure it's technically accurate and all but it seems rather... bloated if you will.

    Finally, onto the subject of braindumps. I remember when I did the NT MCSE they were all the rage! Can they be useful? How can one be sure of their accuracy? Anyone remember Braindumpheaven?

    Anyway, look forward to hearing your views, guys!

    Nick
     
    Certifications: MCSE (NT), CNE (6.0)
    WIP: MCSE 2003
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I might know a couple things about practice exam providers. ;)

    Transcender: Yes, once the leader of the past. But Transcender, as you knew them, are not the same Transcender as in the past. I should know... I worked there as a Content Developer for 4 1/2 years. 8)

    SelfTestSoftware: This is the reason Transcender is not the same as in the past... STS bought and gutted Transcender in late '03/early '04. And I stayed there until late '05. :(

    Boson: As my name indicates, that's where I work. I can neither praise nor condemn the older Boson stuff... but our newer Boson products are (and will be) top-notch.

    TestKing: This is a braindump - an illegal collection of questions stolen from the live exam. Using them is cheating... no different than stealing a professor's final exam from his/her desk. Using braindumps such as TK can get you decertified for life. Use them at your own peril. Beware of practice exam providers that offer everything under the sun, or offer deals that are too good to be true... the large majority of practice exam companies out there either steal from TK, or are just like TK. To be sure you have a "safe one", check CertGuard's CertSearch database.

    UCertify: Two words - Unethical Behavior... they're a bunch of forum spamvertisers. Not sure I'd trust my training to someone with those sort of business practices.

    All that said... don't listen to my opinion only, particularly considering my allegiances - my opinion is quite biased based on inside knowledge. However, I would guess that most anyone on these forums will vouch that I always tell it straight, even when it's regarding information that isn't to my benefit.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  3. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Nobody else?

    Maybe I scared everyone else off. :oops:
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  4. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

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    Hi Nick,
    I have used some of the CBT Nuggets videos before, and find them to be an excellent learning tool. Although I don't think that they contain enough material to be used alone to pass the exam(s), but couple them with a book or 2 and they are fine. I have also used videos from trainsignal and these too are very good. Trainsignal split their training videos up into separate subjects instead of exams. So for example, you can purchase training just for AD, or DNS, or Group policy etc.

    HTH
    NB:)
     
    Certifications: 70-210, 70-215, A+,N+, Security+
    WIP: MCSA
  5. Rob1234

    Rob1234 Megabyte Poster

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    I hope the fact that you remember Braindumpheaven does not mean that you have used them before.
     
    Certifications: A few.
  6. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Nick this site is very much a no braindump zone, our policy is to discourage their use completley. You cannot trust them and the people that use them are not only cheating, they are devaluing the certifications of others that have studied legitimately.

    Other than that, good luck with your studies. I am sure you will find a lot has changed since the NT days :)

    Pete
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  7. TheJ0ker

    TheJ0ker New Member

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    Hello Rob

    No, have never really been that interested in Braindumps but I do recall how popular they were in the late 90's! I'm glad to see that everyone (on this forum at least) is condemning their use as it were.

    Nick
     
    Certifications: MCSE (NT), CNE (6.0)
    WIP: MCSE 2003
  8. TheJ0ker

    TheJ0ker New Member

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    OK, I'm glad to hear that Braindumps are disregarded by the majority of the IT community. I have CBT Nuggets videos and a couple of books so that along with say practice exams from SelfTest or Boson will be fine I think.

    Nick
     
    Certifications: MCSE (NT), CNE (6.0)
    WIP: MCSE 2003
  9. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Yep, braindumps hurt everyone:
    - Braindumps hurt the individuals who use them, because braindumps enable them to certify before they're truly ready. If they're truly ready, they don't need braindumps.
    - Braindumps hurt the companies who hire those who use braindumps, because braindumpers often can't do the job that a certified individual should be able to do. This causes those companies to have a negative opinion of certifications, because if that's the kind of employee they can expect from certification, they won't value certifications when they make hiring decisions, which causes our next point:
    - Braindumps devalue certifications, which affects both the certification vendors, and those who legitimately study for certifications.

    Thus... braindumps are a poison. Techs might THINK they are useful because it helps them to pass exams... but it's all an illusion. Sure, they end up passing an exam... but if they can't do the job, and the certification is devalued, what's that really worth to them?

    On to legitimate sources of study:

    Unfortunately, I can't tell you how well Boson's 2003 stuff will prepare you... I haven't reviewed any of it. Could be good... could be bad.

    Here's general guidelines I can give you regarding Boson products: if it's an ExSim product, it was written before I got there, and I can't say whether it's good or bad. If it's an ExSim Max product, it was written after I got there, and I can guarantee its usefulness.

    I wrote on Transcender's 2003 stuff, but I don't know how much of it was retained when SelfTest consumed Transcender... perhaps all of it, perhaps none of it.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!

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