Exam Prep software has major flaws

Discussion in 'Microsoft Certification' started by =?Utf-8?B?VHJveSBEb3QgTmV0?=, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. I have a bone to pick with whoever put together the exam prep software
    contained within Microsoft's Exam 70-536 (MCTS) Self-Paced Training Kit?
    Warning: rant follows.

    First, the main software screen offers two test options: Lesson Reviews and
    Practice Tests. However, the software does NOT allow you to take practice
    exams on individual lessons (e.g. CH 9, Lesson 1) or even on individual
    chapters. You have to select a jumbled mix of topics with no indication of
    which chapters/lessons they cover. Ridiculous!

    Second, when making a custom "lesson review" test, the list box displaying
    the test objectives shows a measly TWO LINES of text (AND the list box is
    narrow), forcing the user to needlessly use the scroll bars, even though
    there's plenty of screen space available. Incompetence!

    Third, the list box has another, even greater, flaw: in some instances when
    you click the checkbox of the bottommost line (remember, the list box
    displays only two lines at a time), the text lines scroll up and the
    subsequent checkboxes disappear (the checkbox text remains but you can't tell
    whether the objective is checked or unchecked). Bufoons!

    Fourth, even though I can type in how many questions I want on the "Lesson
    Review", I still always receive 45 questions (the default value; max is
    supposedly 162). Oh the tease!

    Bottom line: I've seen better shareware exam prep apps! The GUI programmer
    who developed this software should be axed, along with the QA team. There's
    no excuse for shoddy workmanship. This is one of those "What Were You
    Thinking?!!" situations.

    p.s. The book and CD corrections page
    (http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/support/search.asp) asks for a 13-digit
    ISBN number but the page's example displays a 10-digit number.
    p.p.s. The same page redirects to a generic support page
    (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx) when no corrections are
    (apparently) found. A "No corrections found" message would be the obvious
    solution. Besides, there MUST be corrections for the 70-536 Self-Paced
    Training Kit book because it is full of spelling/grammer/formatting errors.

    It bites to expect perfection; all fall short in our eyes.

    Troy
    =?Utf-8?B?VHJveSBEb3QgTmV0?=, Jul 21, 2006
    #1
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  2. =?Utf-8?B?VHJveSBEb3QgTmV0?=

    RomoR Guest

    "Troy Dot Net" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I have a bone to pick with whoever put together the exam prep software
    > contained within Microsoft's Exam 70-536 (MCTS) Self-Paced Training Kit?
    > Warning: rant follows.
    >
    > First, the main software screen offers two test options: Lesson Reviews

    and
    > Practice Tests. However, the software does NOT allow you to take practice
    > exams on individual lessons (e.g. CH 9, Lesson 1) or even on individual
    > chapters. You have to select a jumbled mix of topics with no indication of
    > which chapters/lessons they cover. Ridiculous!


    I think you havent seen the "Custom Mode"

    > Second, when making a custom "lesson review" test, the list box displaying
    > the test objectives shows a measly TWO LINES of text (AND the list box is
    > narrow), forcing the user to needlessly use the scroll bars, even though
    > there's plenty of screen space available. Incompetence!


    The software is made for 800/640 resolution, not everyone is using 1024/768
    resolution. I appreciate the programmer who did this.

    > Third, the list box has another, even greater, flaw: in some instances

    when
    > you click the checkbox of the bottommost line (remember, the list box
    > displays only two lines at a time), the text lines scroll up and the
    > subsequent checkboxes disappear (the checkbox text remains but you can't

    tell
    > whether the objective is checked or unchecked). Bufoons!


    Yeah its not the programmers mistake. Perhaps you should have a "super
    computer".

    > Fourth, even though I can type in how many questions I want on the "Lesson
    > Review", I still always receive 45 questions (the default value; max is
    > supposedly 162). Oh the tease!


    I selected only 10 questions and it works, also it shows 302 questions as
    max.

    > Bottom line: I've seen better shareware exam prep apps! The GUI

    programmer
    > who developed this software should be axed, along with the QA team.

    There's
    > no excuse for shoddy workmanship. This is one of those "What Were You
    > Thinking?!!" situations.
    >


    Many times the end users say this comments without thinking and analyzing
    why it is done in that way. I think as a software developer one should be
    able to understand all the pros and cons.

    > p.s. The book and CD corrections page
    > (http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/support/search.asp) asks for a 13-digit
    > ISBN number but the page's example displays a 10-digit number.
    > p.p.s. The same page redirects to a generic support page
    > (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx) when no corrections are
    > (apparently) found. A "No corrections found" message would be the obvious
    > solution. Besides, there MUST be corrections for the 70-536 Self-Paced
    > Training Kit book because it is full of spelling/grammer/formatting

    errors.
    >


    ISBN number can be 0-7356-####-# or 1-57231-###-X and I am afraid they can
    show both at the same time.

    > It bites to expect perfection; all fall short in our eyes.


    Certifications are for IT guys and not for end users. Generally the book and
    the practice tests are amazing and it really helps people who are preparing
    for the exam 70-536. Book contains Visual Studio 2005 CD for 90 days usage.
    Its worth buying here is the link.

    http://www.microsoft.com/MSPress/books/9469.asp
    RomoR, Jul 24, 2006
    #2
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  3. RomoR,

    Your perspective leads me to believe you're either closely tied to
    Microsoft/from a foreign country/new developer. In any case, thank you for
    your comments. I appreciate different viewpoints.

    > I think you havent seen the "Custom Mode"
    > I selected only 10 questions and it works, also it shows 302 questions as
    > max.


    The tab displays "Custom Mode" when I click 70-536 beneath Lesson Reviews
    and then click Start Test. "302" is indeed listed for the Practice Tests but
    not for Lesson Review tests (which was what I was talking about).

    > The software is made for 800/640 resolution, not everyone is using 1024/768
    > resolution. I appreciate the programmer who did this.


    Actually I use 1280x1024 for development work but that is irrelevant. I
    viewed the software in 800x600 mode and noticed quite a bit of wasted screen
    space on both sides of the main form (as well as within). My point was that
    there is more than enough screen space to provide a more user-friendly GUI so
    that more than two lines of options are listed.

    > Yeah its not the programmers mistake. Perhaps you should have a "super
    > computer".


    This comment bewilders me. When I launch the lesson review test and scroll
    to the top of the test objectives list and click the bottom most checkbox
    ("Implementing service processes ..."), the options scroll up and display
    "Embedding configuration..." as the bottom most line and its checkbox is
    HIDDEN. Why would this be a good thing for the user? Besides, what do the
    computer’s specs have to do with this flaw? I’m curious as to what the code
    is within the selected index changed event.

    > Many times the end users say this comments without thinking and analyzing
    > why it is done in that way. I think as a software developer one should be
    > able to understand all the pros and cons.


    Hmmm, I totally disagree. End users are the final test for a programmer's
    work and if they question the GUI then the programmer hasn't done a good job.
    They aren’t paid to analyze why a programmer did what he/she did. The GUI
    is merely a communication channel, much like a cell phone or radio controls.
    When the interface is elegant, communication flows easily between the
    producer and consumer. When it's not, the experience causes friction and
    therefore inefficiency. Having programmed for 26 years I've seen many
    examples of both. I'm no GUI expert but I know when I come across an
    interface that could easily have been better, especially for a Microsoft
    product.

    > ISBN number can be 0-7356-####-# or 1-57231-###-X and I am afraid they can
    > show both at the same time.


    Yes, I know. I was simply pointing out that the interface asks for a
    13-digit ISBN number but the displayed example shows a 10-digit number. I
    expect examples to match the query. My curiosity leads me to wonder why they
    would mismatch them.

    > Certifications are for IT guys and not for end users.


    No kidding. An “end user†wouldn’t even buy the training kit.

    >Generally the book and
    > the practice tests are amazing and it really helps people who are preparing
    > for the exam 70-536. Book contains Visual Studio 2005 CD for 90 days usage.
    > Its worth buying here is the link.


    I'll give your advert another plug here.


    Even though your comments didn't shed any light on my critical analysis of
    the GUI, thanks for taking the time to respond. Take care.

    Troy
    =?Utf-8?B?VHJveSBEb3QgTmV0?=, Jul 24, 2006
    #3
  4. For what its worth, I've observed the same problems. Once the test starts,
    the application appears to be implemented ok, but the initial setup is not
    well done at all.
    =?Utf-8?B?TGFzbG93?=, Jul 24, 2006
    #4
  5. =?Utf-8?B?VHJveSBEb3QgTmV0?=

    Cerebrus Guest

    It appears to me that RomoR was either being sarcastic in his response,
    or inexcusably naive.
    Cerebrus, Jul 25, 2006
    #5
  6. =?Utf-8?B?VHJveSBEb3QgTmV0?=

    RomoR Guest

    Thanks Cerebrus. Cant help it (...).

    "Cerebrus" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > It appears to me that RomoR was either being sarcastic in his response,
    > or inexcusably naive.
    >
    RomoR, Jul 25, 2006
    #6
  7. =?Utf-8?B?VHJveSBEb3QgTmV0?=

    RomoR Guest

    "Troy Dot Net" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > RomoR,
    >
    > Your perspective leads me to believe you're either closely tied to
    > Microsoft/from a foreign country/new developer. In any case, thank you

    for
    > your comments. I appreciate different viewpoints.
    >

    Replace 'either/or' thinking with 'plus' thinking.

    > > I think you havent seen the "Custom Mode"
    > > I selected only 10 questions and it works, also it shows 302 questions

    as
    > > max.

    >
    > The tab displays "Custom Mode" when I click 70-536 beneath Lesson Reviews
    > and then click Start Test. "302" is indeed listed for the Practice Tests

    but
    > not for Lesson Review tests (which was what I was talking about).


    Lesson Review has 162 as max and the Practice Test has 302 as max. No
    confusion.

    > > The software is made for 800/640 resolution, not everyone is using

    1024/768
    > > resolution. I appreciate the programmer who did this.

    >
    > Actually I use 1280x1024 for development work but that is irrelevant. I
    > viewed the software in 800x600 mode and noticed quite a bit of wasted

    screen
    > space on both sides of the main form (as well as within). My point was

    that
    > there is more than enough screen space to provide a more user-friendly GUI

    so
    > that more than two lines of options are listed.
    >

    There's a way to do it better-find it.
    People in any organization will tend to treat new concepts and ideas as
    follows:
    5% will accept immediately
    25% will lean towards acceptance
    60% will wait and see; if seems okay, then will accept
    10% will never accept

    > > Yeah its not the programmers mistake. Perhaps you should have a "super
    > > computer".

    >
    > This comment bewilders me. When I launch the lesson review test and

    scroll
    > to the top of the test objectives list and click the bottom most checkbox
    > ("Implementing service processes ..."), the options scroll up and display
    > "Embedding configuration..." as the bottom most line and its checkbox is
    > HIDDEN. Why would this be a good thing for the user? Besides, what do

    the
    > computer's specs have to do with this flaw? I'm curious as to what the

    code
    > is within the selected index changed event.


    Can you tell me how to remove the checkbox in runtime???

    > > Many times the end users say this comments without thinking and

    analyzing
    > > why it is done in that way. I think as a software developer one should

    be
    > > able to understand all the pros and cons.

    >
    > Hmmm, I totally disagree. End users are the final test for a programmer's
    > work and if they question the GUI then the programmer hasn't done a good

    job.
    > They aren't paid to analyze why a programmer did what he/she did. The

    GUI
    > is merely a communication channel, much like a cell phone or radio

    controls.
    > When the interface is elegant, communication flows easily between the
    > producer and consumer. When it's not, the experience causes friction and
    > therefore inefficiency. Having programmed for 26 years I've seen many
    > examples of both. I'm no GUI expert but I know when I come across an
    > interface that could easily have been better, especially for a Microsoft
    > product.
    >

    If you are speaking from experience, you are already out of date.

    > > ISBN number can be 0-7356-####-# or 1-57231-###-X and I am afraid they

    can
    > > show both at the same time.

    >
    > Yes, I know. I was simply pointing out that the interface asks for a
    > 13-digit ISBN number but the displayed example shows a 10-digit number. I
    > expect examples to match the query. My curiosity leads me to wonder why

    they
    > would mismatch them.


    Some men look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things
    that are not and ask why not?

    > > Certifications are for IT guys and not for end users.

    >
    > No kidding. An "end user" wouldn't even buy the training kit.


    I thought so

    > >Generally the book and
    > > the practice tests are amazing and it really helps people who are

    preparing
    > > for the exam 70-536. Book contains Visual Studio 2005 CD for 90 days

    usage.
    > > Its worth buying here is the link.

    >
    > I'll give your advert another plug here.


    Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic.

    >
    > Even though your comments didn't shed any light on my critical analysis of
    > the GUI, thanks for taking the time to respond. Take care.


    Even though you spent quite a long time to do the "critical analysis", your
    comments doesnt reflect any of your experience. Anyway thanks for the
    response. Microsoft will look into it.

    RomoR
    RomoR, Jul 25, 2006
    #7
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