Opinions on Simulations

Whats your opinion about the sumulations on the MS tests? Are they helping to restore MCSA/MSCE integrity/credibility?


Are they on every 2003 exam?

Comments

  • eurotrasheurotrash Member Posts: 817
    i don't think they're on the 270, but the rest of the 2k3 series has them i think.
    witty comment
  • Bmac000Bmac000 Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
    when they work properly they are ok. Unfortuantely for me my 291 exam was a nightmare, it kept crashing all the time. I had a wakeup call on the 290 exam as I failed it the first time because I only studied a lot of the theory side and not real world so it made me practice things a lot more. I think you better remember how do something to when you practice it visually.
  • jamesthatsmeukjamesthatsmeuk Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    i love the idea of sim questions.

    I truely think some ppl are better at remembering facts.. which is a prob cos they might know fact after fact but might not be able to do the job at all..

    Prob with me is remembering fact after fact.. lol.
  • WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    kevozz wrote:
    Whats your opinion about the sumulations on the MS tests? Are they helping to restore MCSA/MSCE integrity/credibility?
    It's a step in the right direction, but it's not 'the' solution. The reputation of MCSA/E has been damaged a lot, especially over the past 5 years or so, and it will never again get the good reputation it once had. Unless they close down all the **** sites, and increase exam security by tenfold. This remains the main problem, the **** and **** sites/products disclose the sims just as the mc questions. I expect, and hope, the new line of Microsoft certifications will have a major impact on it all. I also hope that one day the MS exams (apart from the more theoretic design exams) will contain only sim questions, and that they create 500 different sim questions, and raise the passing score with 100 points or so.
    Are they on every 2003 exam?
    Not yet every exam.
  • Bmac000Bmac000 Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
  • eurotrasheurotrash Member Posts: 817
    i think the solution would be to change the content very frequently so that **** providers would find it too hard to keep up to date.
    witty comment
  • WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    _omni_ wrote:
    i think the solution would be to change the content very frequently so that **** providers would find it too hard to keep up to date.
    It would certainly help, but unfortunately the **** products providers have plenty of money to send candidates with digital cameras to the test centre every day if they have to. Plus there is only a limited amount of tasks MS can cover on a single exam. They need to create a large as possible pool, with different but similar sims (eg. 3 to 5 about the same topic, but one small requirement changing the required tasks/settings). Since there is a limit to the topics that MS can cover on a single exam, covering it 'all' would render the braindumps useless. Being able to perform 500 different tasks is easier to learn by doing and understanding what you're doing than by reading braindumps.
  • Bmac000Bmac000 Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
    its just very hard to police also. Soon as 1 website is shut down another opens the same day because the internet is not regulated and without proper co-operation from local/state/international authorities globally how does one police this sort of thing? maybe harsh penalties with a few major players being made examples of might make some impact and ISP's being forced to take more responsibilty for the content that they host.
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    I think MS should probably do about half half with sims and written type questions.

    I beliebe theory needs to be tested just as thoroughly as practical
  • WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    I considered the 'theory' requirement when I said 'all sims', and is also why I mentioned not for design exams. The thing is that all theory is afoundation for actual tasks (i.e. specific configuration), so you can still test the theory if all questions are sims. One would need to understand the theory behind it, and combine it with the given requirements, and actually apply the theory. I.e. think of a troubleshooting sim where you need to know the theory to be able to work out a solution. The sims would need some major improving, as now they basically provide the solution and you need to 'implement' it, but it could work. Most of the MS exams' exam objectives are very practical, they don't cover concepts unless it relates directly to a Windows feature or setting. For example, the title for the 70-270 exam is: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional.

    I'd like to see more a better relation to a fictive organization, ie. a case, and basically move towards one big simulated lab exam, where they test Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft X as if you were actually doing the job and a virtual IT manager, call desk, etc, provide you with job tasks. Someone learning hundreds of different actual "Installing, Configuring, and Administering" tasks from **** would be a lot less harmful to certifications than memorizing a bunch of mc questions (sort of speak, because Microsoft exam questions have become much more than that already).
  • Kevin.SmithKevin.Smith Member Posts: 33 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I personaly find it hard to fail the sims. They won't let you go in the wrong direction. Like if someone dosn't know where to go they can just keep trying everything, and then reset the sim once they know the answer. If I end up in add/remove programs while I'm clicking around, thats probaly where I need to make my configurations. I've experienced this in almost every sim. Even some that I didn't know what to do.
    WIP: A+ Essentials
  • jescabjescab Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,321
    very good point..........
    GO STEELERS GO - STEELERS RULE
  • WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    I agree, like I said in my previous reply, the sims would need some major improving. Microsoft received a lot of complaints that the sims are too simple, so I do expect them to become more advanced eventually. Maybe some day they will push a virtual machine to a computer running virtual PC at the test center, and at the end the file is send back and checked. Would be nice for a 'final exam'.
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    I still think MS could do with an actual hands on lab similar to CCIE to really test people.

    MCA should be like this, an ultimate test of ones knowledge of XP, Server, AD and network infrastructures.

    Cisco, Citrix, CWNP and RHCE just to name a few do this.

    I still think theory needs to be addresses in the form of text based questions. For example Exchange needs to test about the process of a mail message. There really isn't a real world simulation for that.
  • WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    Well, I'm not trying to convince you, but even the process of a mail message can be tested in a sim (or actual lab exam). Ask yourself why you need to know the process. This is a good example of the troubleshooting scenario I mentioned. Apart from the design exams (although even for those it's debatable), there's no theory that can be separated from actual installation, configuration, or management tasks. More importantly, the exams test on certain exam objectives, and all bits of theory relate directly to one of those objectives. The exchange server exam for example, www.microsoft.com/learning/exams/70-284.asp, contains only exam objectives that include actual tasks (manage this, perform that, configure this, diagnose that etc.etc.), all of which can be tested in a sim. The only reason one would want to test knowledge of the process of sending an email message for the 70-284 is to be able to measure competence of one of those 'tasks' mentioned in the exam objectives. In this case primarily the troubleshooting and diagnose exam objectives.
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    Fair point. And I do agree on the most part. Let me try and come up with an iron clad example icon_lol.gif
  • WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    strauchr wrote:
    Fair point. And I do agree on the most part. Let me try and come up with an iron clad example icon_lol.gif
    I'm sure there are exceptions (just covered my @ss in case you find that example ;)). But for that remaining part, I do agree it would be nice to have some theoretical items in it as well, like "explain this and that", basically be able to do something before actually doing it (i.e. as a consultant). However, when it comes to adding credibility to the certs by using sim questions, I feel every single text-based mc question does some damage.

    If I were an employer looking for a MS Windows network admin, and knew someone passed an exam such as Windows XP or 2003 Server with all sims (more advanced sims than the current, more a la Cisco), I would actually have some confidence in his/her skills just by noticing the letters MCSE. I'm very much looking forward to the successor of MCSA/MCSE and how they will go about exam technology and exam security, and whether it will bring back some of the golden days the MCSE had.
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    OK, I'll stop trying to think of an example then. I'd say MCSA could be done all by simulations but for MCSE I think scenario and decision based questions (like determining from a given set of specs which server type you would require, or even for that matter answering the minimum spec requirements for a given Windows edition)

    Maybe I just found some examples :)

    Either way I do agree more simulations are required but I am still for a full on hands on lab for something like the MCA maybe.
  • WebmasterWebmaster Admin Posts: 10,292 Admin
    Yes I agree with the MCSE needing a different test format than just sims, as I mentioned in a previous reply, i.e. an exception for the design exams. Some advanced/complex drag-and-drop questions would be nice there (i.e. assign servers roles in a network diagram).

    I also agree with rather seeing it changed to a full lab exam, which as I also mentioned in an earlier reply, would still involve some simulation as surely they would use virtual PC instead of a bunch of actual clients and servers. Still fine by me, should have a major impact on the credibility of the certs.

    Isn't the human brain a funny thing, how you can stop thinking about something and than it just comes to mind. Good examples! Although server specs and hardware requirements can still be tested in some sort of sim (again, not the simple sims they have now, but the hardware portion can be simulated just as the software portion, imagine a box of hardware you can pick items from an add it to a computer, or having to fill in (as in type numbers rather than select an option) a hardware order and list the number of products, i.e. 4 x 128 MB ram, 2 CPUs, and 2 hard disks to make some clients shown in a network meet the requirements), very good examples nevertheless, and much more suitable for a text-based mc question than the current sims indeed. But also very good examples for a more advanced drag and drop type of question including a network diagram. One thing that could make it advanced is for them to randomly generate (hence sorta simulate) the network and the hardware specs the computers currently have. The purpose of knowing the requirements is still to apply them. The situation in which that theoretic knowledge must be applied (for the installing, configuring, admining exams) can be simulated. It basically comes down to the main weakness of mc questions, which is providing the candidate with a list of possible answers, which is not a very realistic test environment (i know you know, hence you're suggestion for a full lab) and makes cheating too easy. I rather see some good interactive innovative questions, or anything, than mc questions (not for CompTIA, Cisco and other however, just for these practical MS exams).

    On the other hand, the CCIE cert contains a mc-questions based test(even though it's called 'written test') in addition to the CCIE lab, and although I've seen future CCIEs post links to actual exams/**** products, I don't think the whole braindumps issue has that much influence on the value of the CCIE (it certainly does on the written part though) simply because the lab is difficult. Another similar example is the RHCE certification. Providing a sheet of paper with 20 'open' questions from a large dynamic question pool to go with the full hands-on lab you are suggesting would be a good option as well. I wouldn't mind paying $100 extra just for that (considering a lab exam would already be expensive).
    Either way I do agree more simulations are required but I am still for a full on hands on lab for something like the MCA maybe.
    The mroe we talk about this the more I get curious to what exactly will replace MCSA and MCSE. I had contact with MS about something similar years ago, I will shoot them an email and see if I can get some more info than listed on their site. There's obviously nothing to worry for MCSA/Es on 2000 and 2003, but it 'is' 2006 already... And I would love to get some idea of how we, TechExams.net, need to go about continuing to provide appropriate study material for the new line of certs and exam innovations. I'll probably be creating a lot more CBTs and practice 'labs'.
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    Yes the next era of exams could be quite exciting from MS but it could be just another typical upgrade exam.

    The addition of more and more drag and drop type questions is great though.

    And the idea of having a graphic with components and 'building a virtual server' on the test would be fantastic - and kills another one of my examples on theoretical questions. :)

    So an all simulation exams could be possible and would easily upgrade the value of MS certs almost overnight.

    I am really eager to hear about the next generation exams. Keep us updated on what you find out.

    Why don't they hire guys like us to help them write these exams?
  • CiscopimpenatorCiscopimpenator Inactive Imported Users Posts: 134
    I'm going to take MS simulations for the first time next month.
    Right now I'm studying for the 70-290 and thought this thread was helpful.

    I think MS needs to add "lab" scenarios, or at least complex configuration examples.

    Basically, create me a MS network/system that can support X users with these guidelines(whatever you choose).

    They could really pimp these tests out. I hate the braindumpers because they devalue certification.

    -Ciscopimpenator
    -Ciscopimpenator
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