Sunday, January 27, 2008

Preparing for the M70-229 Exam

Are you considering becoming Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD)? To become MCSD you should pass 4 compulsory exams and one elective exam. One of the exams which you can do as an elective exam is M70-229. How do you prepare for this exam to become MCSD? There are different ways which you can use to prepare for this exam. You can read some recommended books, obtain hands on experience, or go to an instructor led class. In addition to these methods, you should also get some experience in the testing process. The testing format for Microsoft exams can vary. Some have multiple-choice questions only, while others have a combination of multiple choice and simulations. One of the best ways to prepare for exams is to get a set of practice tests. In this article I’ll review one such set of practice tests for the Microsoft M70-229 exam that is provided by “”.


The company has been in the exam preparation business since 1999. They offer over 70 different technical exams. They offer demo exams via downloads that will give you a feel for how their exam engine works. When you purchase an exam, they come with free upgrades for a year and a money back guarantee should you fail the exam. You can use a credit card, Google Checkout or PayPal to purchase their exams. To find out more about the M70-229 exam from check out the following web page:

Review of the M70-229 Exam from

It was easy to download and install the exam. By that installation I only got a demo version. The demo version contains a small number of questions, articles, and notes. In order to obtain the full version with all the questions, study notes and articles I needed to unlock the product. As part of obtaining the exam, I was emailed a license key from the sales department. This license key was used to easily unlock the product.

During the installation a desktop shortcut of “uCertify Prep Engine” was created at my machine’s desktop. When I clicked that shortcut I got the below window.

From this main window I was able to access different parts of the uCerify.Com exam Prep Kit you can see you can have different kinds of tests in order to get pass the exam. There is also an interactive quiz component, as well as some study notes and articles. In this Prep Kit you can track your testing progress. In addition to the notes, the exam provides a “Tip of the Day”. This can be found next to the yellow exclamation point icon in the above screen shot.

The first thing what I would like to know was how many questions in the Prep Kit. It was greater than 400 and the actual value was 409.It also included 171 study notes which is great to see. On the uCertify web site they have mentioned that in the full version of the Prep Kit there are 125 quiz items. But in the full version of the Prep Kit it mentions that there are 152 item which is 27 more than what they have mentioned.

Each one of the different kinds of test which the Prep Kit pulled questions from the questions pool of 369 questions except for final test 40 questions. This Prep Kit allows you to configure the test as you like. Below screen provide one of the screens.

As you can see in this window you can control the number of questions that you want to include in the test. You are also allowed to change the time allocated for the test, as well as the passing score. Since Microsoft typical requires a 700 or above as a passing score you might not want to change the passing score, or at least not below 700. There are also two different modes in which you can start the test: Test and Learn. In Test Mode, you are just given the question and must wait until scoring the test before you can determine whether your answer is correct. Where as, in Learn Mode you are able to find out the answer to each question immediately after answering the question. Whether in Test Mode or Learn Mode the answer and an explanation are displayed for each question. The explanation describes why the wrong answers are wrong and the correct answer is correct.

One of the good features of this Prep Kit was the ability to create your own custom test. Below is the screen which opens up when you click the “Create Custom Test” button.

As you can see there are 6 different chapters which you can choose questions. Each chapter has number of available questions. You can customize your test to target a single chapter if you are studying a specific area of SQL Server or you can select questions from multiple chapters. If you are choosing multiple chapters for each chapter you can decide the number of questions which you want. My preference was the Learn mode, since this allowed me instant feedback in response to my answer.

Another feature of this Prep Kit is the ability to perform a quiz. As you can see in the main interface there are 152 items in the quiz. Below is the interface which comes when you click the “Interactive Quiz” button.

In this interface you can choose the number of items that should be included from each chapter in the quiz. Here you can change the number of seconds which you need for each quiz item in seconds and total duration for the quiz in minutes. It will convey that your answer is correct or not in the same time which is good I think. But it will not give you an explanation to an answer if it is correct or incorrect. What I think is quizzes are useful for practicing to handle the pressure when trying to answer a question quickly. I think this tool will be more helpful if the tool can provide explanation of the answer at the end of the test so the person who uses the test can learn by those explanations.

When you click “Articles” button in Enhance your understanding section the Prep Kit provides 3 study tips, 4 articles and 164 study notes which you can use to gain more knowledge. Below is the interface which comes when you click the “Articles” button.

One of the good functionality which comes with this Prep Kit is the ability to check weather you have grabbed the basics key concepts well. This facility can be accessed by clicking the “Flash Card” button of this section. Below interface is the interface which comes when you click the “Flash Card” button.

The “Track your progress” section provides reports regarding your progress through bar charts from which you can get an idea whether you are ready for the exam. This tool provides two reports one presenting the objective wise report and other presenting test wise report. Check boxes are provided with these two reports to allow you to retest specific test(s) or concept(s). It provides different testing question options which are Re-test Correct, Re-test Wrong, Test Unattempted, and Re-test All

How does the Prep Kit effect your exam?

Prep Kit is a good tool which you can use to prepare. It provides a good simulation experience for the actual exam The Prep Kit questions are well written and organized. If you have thoroughly gone through the Prep Kit questions, and understood each question, plus understand why each correct answer is correct then you should be well prepared for the actual exam. One good side effect of the Prep Kit is it will help you feel very comfortable with the actual testing process. Feeling comfortable with the testing format should lower your stress level allowing you more energy to focus on the actual test questions.

Suggestions on how to take the test

When you are taking the real exam or practice test book mark the question that you are not sure about the answer. Don’t waste too much time on that question and go to the next question to answer. After completing answering the questions which you know the answer for sure then come back and answer for the questions which you book marked. If you get stuck in a question by trying to find the answer then you will loose time to answer for the questions which you know the correct answer and it will make you stressed at the exam. So leave the tuff ones and book mark them and later come and answer them.


The M70-229 Prep Kit was easy to download, install and use. It had lot of questions that covered all the objectives of the exam, and a money back guarantee. The questions and testing process did a great job of simulating the real Microsoft test. The user interface was easy to use and offered a number of different ways to customize the test questions you were presented. The Prep Kit also offered articles and tips to help you prepare for the concepts being tested. If you are confused over what tests to buy I would say you can’t go wrong with the uCertify .com Prep kit.


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