Product Reviews

Design Prep

CBT Vision’s Examiner for 70-219 proves a good value.

With all the computer-based training products on the market, one would hope that one of them stands above the rest. While CBT Vision’s Examiner is a front-runner in this category, I had a minor annoyance with this product. It’s the cumbersome registration requirement. Even if you the purchase product with CD key, you still need to activate it across the Internet or by phone and supply your personal information, to boot!

CBT Vision also offers free mentoring support; but, unfortunately, it’s also a cumbersome process.

From the CBT Vision Web site:

“You shouldn't depend on brain dumps as a test prep tool for your MCSE test. Brain dumps can't compare to a quality MCSE practice test or a CompTIA practice test that has been prepared by people who have been supporting and using computers for 20 years. Instead, brain dumps merely list exam questions that some people may have had on their exams and give an opinion on the answer. You can cover similar subjects with the help of a mentor and a world-class test engine if you purchase a CompTIA practice test or MCSE exam simulation from CBT Vision. Each exam question is thoroughly researched and completely explained.”

Now that I agree with! However, I’m not about to let CBT Vision off the hook that easy. I decided to test out the company’s free mentor support while pretending to be an aspiring MCSE candidate. (Note: I’ve taken more 85 IT certification exams and am an MCT.)

CBT Vision’s Examiner 4.0 is typical of most CBTs, with a flashy front end and plenty of user options such as conventional and learning modes, randomized questions, Answer button and product help screens. Some of the screen fonts are small, and the interface was grainy even on my 19-inch flat-panel.

I was able to switch between the case study and a question, which is the way you want to tackle the MCSE design elective exams. Read the case study using the All tab, review the question and refer back to the case study for the answer. I liked the questions’ answer references, which are from the Windows 2000 Help files (in most cases), not Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) or third-party books.

The questions were comprehensive, complete and well written; you shouldn’t have a problem passing the real exam after mastering this practice exam, assuming you’ve also studied one of the many guides available at your local bookstore.

Time for the test of CBT Vision’s free mentoring. Unfortunately, there’s no “instant access” button within the product to access the free mentoring support as with other products I have reviewed. I had to send an e-mail to mentoring@cbtvision.com, which stated that my question would be “answered within one business day and is available for up to 120 days from the time of purchase.”

So here was my question, which is very typical knowledge for the 70-219 exam:

“When applying Group Policy Objects (GPOs) at the Site, Domain and Organizational Unit (OU) level, which GPO takes priority if there is a conflict between policy settings?”

CBT Vision’s response was received in 24 hours:

“As you are aware (at least possibly), GPOs may contain conflicting settings. Should multiple GPOs define a value for the same setting, the last-applied GPO will take precedence. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the order in which GPOs are applied. Local GPOs are applied first, then GPOs that apply to sites are applied next. After that, GPOs that are linked to a domain are applied. Lastly GPOs that are linked to an OU are applied. Therefore, GPOs linked to OUs ‘take priority.’

“You may well ask, ‘What happens when more than one GPO links to the same site, domain or OU?’ When multiple GPOs link to the same site, domain or OU, a GPO's relative position in the list of GPO links for the site, domain or OU determines the GPO's priority.”

CBT Vision Examiner for 70-219
CBT Vision’s Examiner includes case studies, much like the actual MCP exams. The screen clarity was a bit grainy on my 19-inch flat panel monitor. (Click image to view larger version.)

The answer was correct—and not a bad response time for free mentoring!
CBT Vision’s Examiner: Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure 70-219 exam-prep software is a cut above others but it could use a redesign of the test engine and a more responsive mentoring support system.

For $75, this product is right on the money. CBT Vision’s Web site’s recommendation to stay away from brain dumps and use a well prepared “practice test by people who have been supporting and using computers for 20 years” is my opinion as well. Don’t sell yourself short!

About the Author

Andy Barkl, MCT/MCITP/MCSA, A+, Network+, Security+, CCNA has been studying technology for 30 years. Of the last 15 years, he has spent much of his time parting the knowledge and experience he has gained through IT exams, over 300, to help others be prepared and successful. He teaches classes in Phoenix, Ariz. where he has lived most of his life. He can be reached by e-mail at andy.barkl@gmail.com.

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