Product Review: uCertify PrepKit

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I recently took a look at the PrepKit offerings from uCertify. If you aren’t familiar with uCertify, they make practice exams and test preparation packages for a pretty extensive range of IT certifications including Microsoft, Oracle, CompTIA, Cisco, and Sun.

The interesting thing about the uCertify PrepKit is that they are completely exam/quiz oriented. You can download a trial version of the PrepKit which includes 30 questions and then purchase the full PrepKit directly from within the “PrepEngine”. The PrepEngine is the primary shell which allows you to use the PrepKit, take the tests, analyze your results and search for additional PrepKit offerings..

As I mentioned, the PrepKit is exam/quiz oriented, which means that you get experience reading the exam questions to do your studying rather than just picking up study materials and reading through it like a book. As you take the exam, you can choose to receive immediate feedback after each question or at the end. The nice thing about the results analysis is that it not only shows you your score, it shows which questions you got wrong and what the correct answer should have been.

If you aren’t ready to take a full practice test, you have the option of studying using shorter quizzes and flashcards for a more interactive approach. If you know that there are specific areas you should focus on, each PrepKit comes with a rather large set of study notes and articles. Each study note or article is focused on a single topic so you don’t get lost with a lot of extraneous information.

Periodically Microsoft has special offers on their certification exams that allow you to retake one if you don’t pass. I don’t know about any of the other companies, but uCertify provides a full money back guarantee. If you don’t pass the test on the first attempt, simply fax your results to them and they will refund your money.

Each exam or quiz question, flash card, study note, or article provides a rating which allows you to send feedback directly to uCertify on the effectiveness of that question, flash card, etc. It also allows you to bookmark and tag items so you can easily find them again.

I looked at the PrepKit for the Microsoft 70-529 exam. While I had a few issues getting the PrepEngine to install and update on Vista I was able to get everything working by running as an administrator. I found the format and style of the practice exams to be very similar to the real Microsoft exams and the overall experience of taking the test to be straightforward. The questions covered the full range of topics and technical depth to make the test match the experience you would have when taking the real certification exam.

If you are interested in getting a certification and either need a quick review of the material, a tool to point out your weak areas, or something to help you prepare for the exam, the uCertify PrepKit is a good addition to your test preparation work.

No matter what, while you can probably purchase the PrepKit along with some other study materials and “cram” for the test, I don’t recommend doing so and becoming a certification junkie. Study materials like this should be used to help you prepare for the exam by getting you comfortable with the test style, type of questions and by showing you the areas you are weak in; they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for real experience in the technology just so you can pass the exam.