I have been preparing for my SCMAD for a few months now, reading Jonathon's book and writing little emulator programs for practice. As with any Sun Certification, I always top off my studying with an exam simulator, with Whizlab being the most prominent.
I purchased the Whizlab simulator without much of an issue. However, it didn't let me print out an invoice for the purchase, which was annoying.
The software installed fine on my system, and I eagerly started it up.
The aesthetics of the software are quite nice. The colors are vibrant, and it looks well organized on the surface. The fact that it's a Macromedia Flash application was a little surprising, but I thought "what the heck, if it works, good for them". Sadly, this is NOT the case.
The drag and drop questions are HORRIBLE, at least on my system. They don't line up, and a few times, they don't even drag and drop! Furthermore, the d&d screens are the silliest things I've ever seen; there are no horizontal scroll bars and the screens can't be expanded. You have to use their little "frame adjuster" to see the question or the answers, XOR style; you can look at the whole question, or the whole answers, just not both at the same time.
I also found many compilation errors and spelling mistakes. I'd estimate the purely wrong questions (i.e. one's that will not compile or are just plain wrong) at 10% of the overall questions. It certainly "feels" that way. That's a low level of quality for an exam simulator, IMO. One percent error is barely tolerable for a simulator that is supposed to be preparing you for the real thing.
In fact, the d&d questions are so bad, I eventually stopped doing them entirely because I felt it was a waste of time to fight with that poor interface. I just reviewed the correct answer at the end of the exam to make sure I understood the concepts.
Another beef is when you mark a question, it doesn't show you which ones you marked at the end of the exam in a table so that you can go back and review them individually. You have to troll, and the one's that were previously marked are not even indicated! Maybe I'm missing something, but it wouldn't work on my system :-)
So, the general experience with the interface and the question quality is extremely low. I feel that I should be getting paid to do Q/A on this product, or just for the suffering I had to go through with it.
I'm surprised. Their SCBCD and SCWCD simulators were great! I think they need to go back to the non-Flash software and make sure that they post a revision for their software quickly. They've had months to do this; it's intolerable.
However, I want to give credit where credit is due. The exam simulator, aside from it's numerous problems, focuses the student on areas of weakness. After taking the different tests, it made me appreciate the specs a lot more, and clarified a bunch of stuff for me. I now understand JTWI, CLDC and PushRegistry far better than I would have with Jonathon's book alone. The exam simulator is a good tool for preparing for this exam because it keeps you focused on the objectives and reminds you of the kinds of curveballs that could be thrown at you during the real thing.
Now, my initial scores in this simulator are not very high. I can pass most of the canned tests the first time, but just barely; I have certainly failed a few of them on my first shot, but typically by 2 or 3 questions. After I review a test, I can then usually increase my score to about 85% or higher, which is confidence building. I doubt I could get 100% on any test because of the poor quality of the software; I don't think it's possible.
I have the final test on the simulator to take. Once I have completed that and reviewed the areas where I feel that I'm weak, I'll book my SCMAD. If I pass, I will give credit to:
Jonathon Knudsen's "Wireless Java: Developing with J2ME" (for GUI design, GCF, game programming and MMAPI)
WhizLab's SCMAD exam simulator
JWTI JSR Spec (complete)
CLDC 1.1 JSR Spec (complete)
WMA 1.1 JSR Spec (complete)
MIDP 2.0 JSR Spec (key pieces, like RMS, PushRegistry, etc)
I looked at the MMAPI docs, but I found that Jonathon did a good job covering it in his book, so I didn't focus too much on the JSR specs (which should be in a PDF format, IMO, but aren't).
If I DO fail the SCMAD on my first try (which I honestly don't think will happen, but you never know), I will definately take up Whizlabs on their money back guarantee.
I'll be sure to let the forum know how I do!