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disappointed with the practice exams of K&B7

 
nick woodward
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really, really, disappointed with the practice exams.

they aren't in the same format (choose all that apply), they aren't the same length, there isn't a time limit, just a timer (presumably because of the changed format), and you can't maximise the screen.

oh, and it's just wiped my last result. so I don't know which i got wrong.

such a let down compared to the book, and compared to enthuware.

Nick

(This post originated in the K&B7 errata thread)
 
Roel De Nijs
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nick woodward wrote:such a let down compared to the book, and compared to enthuware.

Honestly I totally disagree with your criticism!

The main purpose of a study guide is to thoroughly prepare me for the certification exam. So I really like that the mock questions and mock exams provided in this study guide have a different and harder format than the actual exam. Each and every question will really challenge me, because I don't have any clue of I need to select just one answer or 3 answers to get the question correct. But that doesn't bother me at all! From a study guide I expect tough questions to test my knowledge and prepare me for the actual exam. And an easy, simple question becomes (much) more difficult if you don't know how many answers you have to select. I don't expect from a study guide to be a perfect simulation of the actual exam, that's the core business of mock exam software providers like Enthuware.

And to prove K&B does an excellent job: I passed all my Programmer certifications using nothing but the appropriate K&B study guide (and the CodeRanch forums of course). And that is the merit of both the excellent explanation and the mock questions/exams.

Kind regards,
Roel

PS. In fact when I'm a technical reviewer of a study guide and I notice the author uses the exam format in practice questions/exams, I always suggest to replace these hints/tips with the more obscure (and harder) "Choose all that apply"
 
nick woodward
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i guess i was just irritated that it wiped my results, and that i found it difficult to gauge how I had done because i took about 1h 50m for 60 questions. didn't mean this to be a full blown topic!

i'll agree that it was more difficult, and i did seem to do better at my next enthuware, however it definitely lacks polish as a program

- why do i need to login?
- why can't i resize the screen?
- why does the last question consistently go 'unanswered', and then when you start the test to answer it, your timer resets (but the answers don't)
- a decent amount of the time the screen is locked to the top left edge. move it and it becomes about 100px wide and 400 tall. see point 2!

don't get me wrong, I really rate the quality of the K&B book and the content of the questions and answers more generally, which is why I originally put the complaint in the errata (to not be particularly visible), and why i was slightly disappointed with the quality of the mocks. I mean if you're going to call something an exam it should have a time limit or some indication of how long it should take!! And if you're a book on programming, make sure your program is beyond any reasonable criticism!

Nick
 
Roel De Nijs
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nick woodward wrote:i guess i was just irritated that it wiped my results, and that i found it difficult to gauge how I had done because i took about 1h 50m for 60 questions. didn't mean this to be a full blown topic!

The errata thread is only for errata, so I had to split this into a (new) full blown topic And I don't think it's a very bad idea to have a topic to discuss the practice tests software. That might result in suggestions/remarks/comments/... to improve the software for the next version of the study guide.

nick woodward wrote:however it definitely lacks polish as a program

I agree! Probably the publisher has some existing software (used for many books on different topics) and uses this software to provide the practice questions and mock exams in an electronic version (instead of writing specific software just for this study guide).

nick woodward wrote:- why do i need to login?

Good question! I've tried with different logins and it seems the software keeps different lists of saved quizzes depending on your login name. I don't think this has very little added value for the OCA/OCP practice tests (but it might for another study guide).

nick woodward wrote:- why can't i resize the screen?

I have no clue! Could it be that it's a similar screen size as on the actual exam?

nick woodward wrote:- why does the last question consistently go 'unanswered', and then when you start the test to answer it, your timer resets (but the answers don't)

I couldn't simulate this one. I answered a bunch of questions, making sure I definitely answered the last question. In the overview (after "Grade Quiz") this question was always marked as answered.

nick woodward wrote:- a decent amount of the time the screen is locked to the top left edge. move it and it becomes about 100px wide and 400 tall. see point 2!

I tried that a few times as well. But I didn't experience this issue. After moving to the center or top right or some random position, the screen kept its original size.

nick woodward wrote:which is why I originally put the complaint in the errata (to not be particularly visible)

I'm like Big Brother! I see everything, even when it's somewhat hidden

nick woodward wrote:I mean if you're going to call something an exam it should have a time limit or some indication of how long it should take!!

In all fairness Iif I have to choose between mock questions of very good (great) quality offered in a mediocre UI or mock questions of mediocre quality offered in a very good (great) UI, I'll definitely go for the first one because the quality of the questions is much more important than the UI. So I'm not bothered with the lack of a time limit nor with the intended exam duration. The latter one I can easily look up myself and the first one requires nothing but using the timer on my smartphone. And I also think you should consider that these tests are offline. So that means if the exam duration is incorporated in these tests and Oracle changes them after the study guide is published, readers might think they have 100 minutes to complete the exam but on the actual exam it's just 85 minutes. That would probably be a very bad surprise and a huge And that's one of the benefits of providing the mock exams online: you have the ability to regularly update your exam software (like Enthuware and Sybex do). So that might be a (very) strong reason to provide those mock exams on a website, like the Sybex test banks for example (and you don't need to create and add a CD for each book).

Kind regards,
Roel
 
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