Product Reviews

All-in-One MCSE Prep

CBT Vision helps you see the answers clearly.

Originally, I had planned to use this preparation package for the Microsoft Windows 2000 Accelerated Exam (70-240). However, similar to other vendors, CBT Vision took the approach of combining the four core MCSE exams into one comprehensive set of practice exams. As a result, it's still useful for preparation even now that 70-240 is no longer offered.

The main striking difference between the Windows 2000 MCSE Core Examiner 4.0 and other exam preparation software is the elegance of its design. The application is able to keep track of several user profiles. Each profile has a separate database of exam taking history and test scores. The study curriculum is divided into four separate courses, one for each exam (70-210, 70-215, 70-216, and 70-217). Each course is further subdivided into five to eight separate sections, which allow the user to focus on a specific area within each course, if necessary (i.e., Section 5 of Course 4 is "Configuring, Managing, Monitoring, and Troubleshooting Security in a Directory Services Infrastructure). Therefore, the exam candidate is able to choose a personalized pace and approach to preparing for the Core MCSE exams.

The Options menu within the Core Examiner provides the user with the ability to take exams in Learning, Conventional, or Adaptive Testing modes. The Learning Mode allows exam candidates to view the answers to the questions immediately (without ending the exam), as well as to observe the number of questions answered correctly while taking the exam. Adaptive mode selects the difficulty of the upcoming questions based on your performance throughout the exam. Finally, the Conventional testing mode makes the exam similar to a real Microsoft examination (and the users are not able to view the answers or scores until the exam is completed). For all testing modes, students are able to select the number of questions they are willing to take (up to 170 per course), as well as the course sections they would like the questions to come from. The questions can be randomized or displayed sequentially (as they are stored in the database within the Core Examiner) for each testing mode.

The Help section within this software package provides a quick tutorial of all features. The tutorial includes both the description and screen shots, which allow the user to get familiar with all of the Core Examiner features within minutes.

MCSE Core Examiner
With an elegant interface, multiple testing options, and solid exam questions, CBT Vision's Core Examiner can be a winning ticket to your MCSE. (Click image to view larger version.)

The most important part about this (as any other) exam preparation software is the questions themselves. Core Examiner includes almost 700 questions across all sections of the four core exams. Some of the questions include exhibits (such as network diagrams), as on a real Microsoft exam. Based on personal experience, questions on the CBT Vision exams are closer to the real-life Microsoft examinations then those of any other exam preparation vendor I have used in the past. The best part about the questions is that the answers are quoted directly from either TechNet or a Microsoft Resource Kit for the corresponding product. Therefore, not only is the exam candidate able to effectively prepare for any of the four core MCSE exams, but also sometimes learn useful and practical information not available in some of the MCSE study guides. If the candidate requires more information about a specific issue, he or she can go to the corresponding Knowledge Base or TechNet article referenced in the Core Examiner.

About the Author

Greg Saoutine, MCSE, is an IT Consultant working in New York City.

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