Tags: sales & specials, what we're working on
Ever wonder if we (Transcender) actually read your comments on our blog, or the feedback/suggestion emails you submit? I can tell you that we do, but I’d rather show you.
Check it out – combined delivery is here!
In response to your ever-evolving study habits, we have changed the way we deliver our product. Where previously you had to decide how you wanted to use our product before you bought it, now you can complete your purchase without having to commit to one delivery method. With combined delivery, you have access to both the installation version of our product and 90-day access to the online version. The content is exactly the same for both versions, the only thing that changes is where you are while you’re studying.
Our download product lets you install your practice test on 2 different computers, while the online product lets you access your practice test from anywhere, anytime as long as you have an internet connection. Should you want to access the online version beyond the 90-day period, just log in to your Club Account and check out your recently expanded extension options.
Not impressed yet? How about a $70 savings? Yep! We may have changed our delivery method, but we chose not to change our prices. Everything else in life is already so expensive, we thought we’d do something a little different. Combined delivery for a single price means you save about $70 when compared to buying these products separately. Happy studying!
Tags: what we're working on
The last couple of months have brought a lot of changes to the IT certification landscape. We’ve seen exam prices rise, certification tracks retire, new exams release, and our very favorite – revisions to existing exams (sigh). Each of these exam changes requires us to pause our current projects, evaluate our products, and make any adjustments necessary to ensure you continue to pass your exams after studying with Transcender. Needless to say, it’s been a really long and very hot summer!
Let’s start with a quick product release recap, in case you missed our tweets & Facebook posts. Since June 2011 we’ve put out the following new and revised tests:
As for what we’re working on today, Bob is deep into the last couple of R2 updates for our Oracle practice test products. These updates continue to be just minor adjustments to clear out any deprecated features from the previous release version and ensure we’re referencing the most updated Oracle Guidebooks.
Robin is revising the last few items in our existing CISSP product before moving on to the PMP4ED revision. That revision will be based on updates we expect PMI to release at the end of this month, but there’s nothing we can share yet on that front.
What’s the rest of the team doing, you ask? Don’t worry, they’re not bored. George is working closely with our editor on the last few Exchange 2010 SP1 updates. Ann keeps these guys on a pretty short leash when it’s down to the wire, so I know George is looking forward to getting these revisions completed. Joshua is down to his last two projects for our Visual Studio 2010 practice test products.
Finally, in response to several emails from our customers, Troy determined that it might be time for an update to our CCNA exam. However, after sitting for the live exam and comparing it to our existing practice test, it looks like most of the topics currently covered on the exam are included in our practice test product. Instead of adding a lot of new concepts that you aren’t likely to be tested on, Troy will focus on the way we present the questions in our product, so it will better mirror what you’ll see on your exam.
While we’re on the subject, I cannot stress enough the importance of including lab practice in your CCNA study plan. Whether you purchase our CCNA simulator product, buy someone else’s, or set up your own switches and routers at home, please do not show up to at the test center without some real or virtual hands-on lab experience! This certification is designed to test real-world skills, not just book learning.
There are a couple of other practice test-related projects we’re working on, but it’s just too early to share any details here. Sorry for the tease, but I can tell you that a couple of upcoming release announcements are directly related to requests I’ve received from many of you over the last few months so I want to make sure you’re the first to hear of it! Check in with us over the next couple of months for more info.
Tags: CompTIA, exam fees, oracle certification, price increase
Seasons change, people change and, yes friends, prices change. While certification exam prices are one of the few things not driven by the price of crude oil these days, the last few months have brought a lot of change to the canvas of IT certifications. While our first reaction to the hike in exam prices may be accompanied by a few choice words mumbled under our breath, it’s worth noting that IT vendors do not make these decisions lightly. Just take a look at their track record…
The news that CompTIA would increase their certification exam prices marked the first increase in three years for the non-profit association. Those interested in security, healthcare and cloud computing are already benefiting from the investments CompTIA contiues to make in the certification area.
Holding out even longer before passing along the costs associated with keeping exams in line with changing technologies was Oracle. Spring of 2010 marked the company’s first exam fee increase since the start of their certification program. Reactions were mixed at first, but changes and updates quickly followed with the integration of Sun certifications into the Oracle family and the eventual transition of all Oracle exams to Vue centers.
The latest to join the pricing game has been Microsoft. Effective tomorrow (July 1st) the Microsoft Learning Group will implement exam price increases of approximately $25 US across most certification tracks. Check out their blog & subsequent comments for more details. Similar to other vendors, Microsoft has not jumped at the chance to pass along the growing costs of exam development. This price increase is the first for Microsoft in almost a decade.
This is not to say that the slightest increase in price for any goods or services these days doesn’t hurt our pockets. And while individually these fee hikes may be minimal, across multiple exams or technologies it can add up quickly. So we would love to know how these numbers impact your certification plans? Do the increases memake the difference between getting certified or not getting certified? Does paying more today than you would have yesterday determine what kind of preparation materials you shop for, or if you’ll invest in prep materials at all? We’d like to hear the impact in your own words, so drop us a comment here or on Facebook, or Tweet us!
Tags: CompTIA, exam vouchers, what we're working on
It’s not quite Summer Solstice, but many of us are already feeling the heat! The mercury isn’t the only thing rising around here. Gas prices are through the roof, airfare is at a pre-recession high, and soon the cost of some of your favorite IT exams will also rise. (For details, check Microsoft’s press release here: Microsoft exam prices will increase this summer – http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2011/04/22/so-about-that-price-increase.aspx). So what are we doing this month to keep cool & help you save a few bucks?
As for those pesky exam price increases, be sure to check out our voucher packages between now and June 30th. If you shop before July 1st, you can lock down your Microsoft exam price at today’s rates. You have to commit to an exam attempt by October 31st (other restrictions may apply; check our web site for details), but if you’re already on the road to certification, then it’s worth the savings!
In response to several customer requests (THANKS for keeping us in the loop about your study habits & tools), we’re updating our Windows Server 2008 Study Guides for R2. Because of time & resource constraints, we’re limiting the updates to the TS-level products, since that’s where most of your concerns & questions have been focused. But remember, if you own pre-R2 versions of either the practice test product or the study guide, then you’re eligible for a free upgrade to the latest version. Log in to your Club Account to download updates, or contact our Customer Support team, who will be more than happy to talk you through the upgrade process.
George (gmonsalvatge) was finally set free from the grip of Windows Server 2008 R2 only to turn his attention to yet another Microsoft product update – Exchange Server 2010. After completing practice test content for his first SharePoint 2010 project, George turned his attention to SP1 revisions in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 products Cert-70-662 and Cert-70-663. Once these products are updated to reflect the latest revisions in the Microsoft exams, we’ll be sure to focus all our efforts on the PRO – Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Administrator (70-668).
Josh (codeguru) has just sent the first Windows Application PRO practice test product to QA so we’re only a few days away from releasing Cert-70-518 C#/VB! We’re also just a couple of weeks away from releasing the first of our MCPD Upgrade to Visual Studio 2010, Cert-70-621 C#/VB products, so look out for these additions to the Visual Studio path on our site soon.
A few more exams rocking our world this summer – CompTIA has released their new Security+ (SY0-301) exam, which means Robin is knee-deep in all things cloud computing, virutalization, and even an evil twin! Yes, we mean the wireless access point kind, not the Stanley Kubrick kind, but it’s still kind of interesting. Troy is wrapping up our VCP-410 practice test product. This was one of those projects that made it on our project schedule due almost entirely to your requests, plus a bit of our own VMware curiosity. So please keep those email requests coming, because I’m not kidding when I tell you we read & track every last one of your emails.
Finally, this one has been announced before, but worth mentioning again in case you missed Robin’s post – PMI has announced an update to their current PMP4ED exam, and to answer your questions, YES, we plan on revising our practice test to align with any changes in the exam domains.
And last, but certainly not least, a few non-product related events filling up our summer dance card – Cisco Live! (July 10-14), and CompTIA Breakaway (August 1-4). We plan to attend both of these shows and would love to hear if you plan to be there too. Shoot us an email and let us know which show(s) you’ll be attending this Summer, and if we’re there, we’d love to meet up!
Stay cool, stay hydrated & as always, thanks for reading!
Something exciting to announce this year: if you’re planning to take your certification exams at Tech*Ed, there will be Study Hall with practice tests loaded on them to help you prepare. The Microsoft Learning Study Hall products will include all MS practice tests from my favorite provider and yours, Transcender! So take advantage of the opportunity to get in some last minute prep work before you knock out that exam.
Here’s the process: sign up at Prometric, schedule to take your Microsoft Certification exam in Room B316 at Tech*Ed, and pack in any Cram4Exam sessions and Study Hall practice tests before you sit your test. Scroll down to Get Certified for the full details.
As a reminder, Transcender will be exhibiting at Booth #1904, and we’ll be giving away puzzles, games, and a chance to win a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card (no purchase necessary).
Tags: .NET certification, Certification Paths, CompTIA, what we're working on
The only hint of Spring around here is the calendar reminder to spring forward our clocks this weekend. So I hope that as you read this from whatever part of the world you find yourself in today, you’re safe, warm, and studying hard.
As for the latest developments in Development (heh), we released a few things, we’re working on a few things, and we’re sitting & waiting on a few more things. But I won’t bore you with the details, so here are the highlights:
The recently revamped CCNP practice test products (ROUTE, SWITCH, TSHOOT) have been published and are available for purchase HERE:
- 642-902 – NetCert: Implementing Cisco IP Routing
- 642-813 – NetCert: Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks
- 642-832 – NetCert: Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Switched Networks
The certification track has undergone a lot of change, but this new approach by Cisco seems well received by IT professionals. We’re curious to know: what do you think about the new 3-exam track? Are you a newbie to certification and feeling relieved because taking three exams sounds way better than taking four? Are you a CCNP veteran and just blasé, confused, or frustrated by yet another change to the track? Let us know with a comment here, or drop Troy (mcmillantroy) an email at email@example.com, as he’s always interested in hearing your feedback.
George (gmonsalvatge) has finally been freed from the grip of Windows Server 2008 R2 and is focused on finishing up a couple of SharePoint 2010 products. I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but it’s worth repeating here – the SharePoint 2010 products on our project schedule for this year are the TS – Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuring (70-667) and the PRO – Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Administrator (70-668). Some of you have emailed to request the Developer practice products for this track, but as of this post those particular tests have not made it onto our 2011 project plan. But keep sending me your emails if you’re looking for study materials for 70-573 or 70-576. I really do track our customer’s interests. I take your requests and add them into our backlog so whenever we have some wiggle room in our schedule, I know exactly what you’re looking for us to publish!
Josh (codeguru) has successfully tackled through the most difficult topics in the 70-516 C#/VB practice test and is now breezing through the last few sub-objectives to wrap up development on this one and move on to the Windows Application PRO practice test product. The order of attack for the remaining practice test products in this track remains as follows:
What we really had fun with the last few weeks was the CompTIA A+ refresh videos. Well, fun for us, but torture for Robin, who (it turns out) hates hearing her recorded voice…honestly, that only made it funnier! But that’s neither here nor there. What I wanted to share with everyone was the link to all 4 videos on our YouTube channel. The conversations aren’t very long, and they’re certainly not boring. What they are is informative. You’ll get to see these two brainiacs sharing their knowledge about A+ exam history, trends, changes and its future. Don’t bother checking out this series if you’re looking for test questions and answers – we take our NDAs very seriously around here. But do take a few minutes to listen if you’re getting ready for the A+ exams or even if you have your A+ certification and want to stay on top of new topics.
One last thing, speaking of new topics – our friends at Train Signal (with the help of their friend Mike Rodriguez) posted a great list of March certification updates. Let me know if anything in this write-up catches your eye. There are a few things that were already on our radar, but our opinion isn’t the only one that counts around here, so can’t wait to here what you think.
Thanks for reading & happy Spring!
Tags: study tips, test-taking tips
If you’re familiar with our blog and our product, then it should come as no surprise that when you ask us we always encourage you to take a practice test before taking your certification exam. Well now you don’t have to take our word for it! It seems the good folks at Purdue University have the research to prove it. In a study involving 200 college students, a group of Purdue University researchers found that taking a practice test before a subsequent exam trumped several other popular methods of learning—including repetition and concept mapping.
One of several experiments went something like this: Students were asked to read several paragraphs about a scientific topic. They were then divided into four groups.
- The first group simply read the text for five minutes.
- The second group read the text in four consecutive five-minute sessions.
- The third group performed “concept mapping,” a process in which students drew detailed diagrams about information from the excerpt they were reading.
- The fourth group read the passage once and took a “retrieval practice test,” which required them to write down what they recalled from the text.
A week later, all four groups took a quiz that asked them to recall facts from the passage they had read and draw conclusions based on those facts. Here’s where it gets really exciting…while the students in the fourth group anticipated lower scores on the quiz, they were actually able to recall 50% more compared to those who participated in the first three groups. This means, those who read and then took a practice test had higher exam scores a week later!
Surprised? Yeah, so was most of the education community. Although experts are not completely sure why retrieval testing is so effective, there are some theories. It could be that by recalling information, we are organizing it and creating meaningful connections that our brains later recognize. Another theory is that the effort involved in remembering information helps to solidify it in our minds. Meaning as we’re working through a practice test and identifying areas of weakness, we’re actually using the struggle to remember information as a retention source for later recall. This makes us feel a whole lot better about the forum chatter that says our Transcender practice tests are so much harder than the “real thing”.
If you want to check out the details of the Purdue study as well as more feedback on theories from “experts” the article can be found here, To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test. Whatever the reason behind their results, the Purdue study makes a very compelling case for using practice tests to prepare for your upcoming IT certification exam.
Tags: .NET 4.0, CompTIA, oracle certification, what we're working on, Windows 7
We had so much news to share in January that it’s hard to believe it’s time to recap what we’re working on in FEBRUARY.
From looking at our 2011 Development Calendar, I think it’s safe to say we have a jam-packed year ahead. But as always, things change so quickly in this business that I’ll limit the news in this post to the line-up we currently have in development. I’ll start with the most requested products: Windows Server 2008 R2 updates and Visual Studio 2010.
George called in some favors and has Troy helping him with the last few R2 updates for the Cert-70-646 and Cert-70-647 exams. Both of these updates are scheduled to release at the end of February. As George discussed in his previous post, if you already purchased these products, you can log into your Club Account at the end of the month to look for updates. If you’re waiting for the updates to roll out before buying a practice test, you can find out when the new version is released by checking the product description on our Web site. We’ve kept the Marketing team busy, and they’ve updated all product descriptions to include R2 as the new versions become available for sale.
Josh will finish up the VS 2010 practice tests. The 70-513 C# and 70-513 VB are available now, and the 70-516 will be released next month. The order of attack for the remaining practice test products in this track will be as follows:
I’m hoping Josh doesn’t check out this blog post because he’s focusing on one project schedule at a time, and I’m afraid seeing this list in writing may cause some anxiety.
You’ve probably read Robin’s posts about the A+ refresh, so it should come as no surprise that her first priority this year is to ensure that our practice tests adequately cover any new content being tested on the exams. As is usual practice here, we will wait to confirm that changes in the CompTIA exam are available nationwide and/or globally before releasing any new content in our practice tests, but since Robin’s made a lot of progress already, those A+ revisions to our products should release within days of the new exam content hitting test centers! Keep checking back with us, or ask Robin directly, and we’ll let you know as soon as we know regarding a release date.
Finally, our Oracle 11g practice tests products are getting a facelift. Most of this product line has been on the shelf for a while and it didn’t take us long to get Bob his very own project blueprint and schedule. He’ll be identifying the Release 2 version changes in the Oracle exams against our practice test content and closing any content gaps in our products. We should release the first revision, Cert-1Z0-051, by mid-March.
That covers the most recent projects & customer requests I’ve received, but if there’s a specific exam you’re studying for or a track you’re looking to explore this year, feel free to email us through the Transcender site or drop a comment at the end of this post. Either way, your emails always make their way to someone on this team and we’ll give you the most updated information we have regarding practice test products.
Thanks for reading & stay warm!
Tags: ccna, CCNA Simulator, cloud computing
Our friends at Gambit Communications have released a cloud version of the MIMIC Virtual Lab. That means that you can now take advantage of the Kaplan IT CCNA Simulator – previously offered as a download product – at any time, from anywhere!
While our original CCNA Simulator product was successful in helping many of you prepare for the CCNA certification exam(s), the difficulties and limitations of the installation process and hardware requirements did not go unnoticed. So we’ve once again partnered with Gambit Communications to bring you an online CCNA lab. As before, our version of this product is unique in that it is paired with our own exam-focused set of scnenarios to provide the best real-world practice for preparing to take a CCNA exam.
The new CCNA Lab in Cloud product addresses all the previous Simulator product’s limitations regarding operating systems, single-machine install, license & activation issues – you know, like those times when you re-build your machine and weren’t allowed to re-install the Simulator. Unfortunately, these were issues beyond our control that were inherent in the original Gambit product offering, but with the new CCNA Lab in Cloud offering, all of these issues have been addressed and solved!
Tags: what we're working on
I’ve been taught that honesty is the best policy, so allow me to be honest with you here. I honestly enjoy sharing news on what we’re doing and planning to do every month. I honestly enjoy receiving and replying to your questions & comments. But, in all honesty, there is no way I’ll have the opportunity to coherently describe the projects we’ll be working on over the next three months, knowing all that’s involved in closing out 2010. I hate to admit it, but since we’re being honest and all…
To that end, I’ve decided to lay it all out for you here & now, as this may be the last good block of time (and sanity) I have before I lose all touch with reality as we make our race to the 2010 finish line.
Let’s start with the easy stuff. Here’s what hit the shelves in August:
- Cert-602-902, Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE)
- Cert-LX0-101, Linux+ 2010 Exam 1
- Cert-LX0-102, Linux+ 2010 Exam 2
Now for NEW news. Several people have asked,
“What happened to those SharePoint 2010 products George was working on in August?”
Great question! George was well on his way to meeting, if not beating, his deadlines for the 70-667 practice test product when we heard about R2 updates to the Server 2008 exams. Review and revisions of the 70-640, 70-642 & 70-643 have now taken priority, forcing us to postpone the release of SharePoint products. George’s primary focus for the next few weeks is comparing our current Windows Server 2008 products against the most updated Skills lists and ensuring that our practice test product continues to offer the information you need to pass your exams! The 70-640 updates should release in the next 2 weeks, but as this and the others hit the shelves, we’ll be sure to notify you via Twitter and on our Web site.
The second most popular question since our August post is,
“Where are those new Visual Studio products Josh is working on?”
Another great question! Josh delivered his last bit of content for the 70-511 practice test product to our Editor, and that project should be in the production phase by next week, meaning we should release by early October. Meanwhile, Josh is a few questions into the 70-515. Either he has found this subject matter easier or he’s just exhausted, but he hasn’t been mumbling to himself half as much since he started this project. In any case, the 70-515 practice test should release in early November.
I should also mention that we’re just days away from releasing the Cisco CCNP 642-813, SWITCH practice test. I’m really excited about both the ROUTE and SWITCH practice products. Troy’s goal was to make the CCNP line as solid as the CCNA products and so far it looks like he’s spot on. Troy & team have since moved on to focus the development efforts on the TSHOOT product. If you’re familiar with the exam or even seen the Cisco training, you’ll understand the monumental undertaking this is. We’ll keep you guys updated on the progress for this one and when we have a better handle on a release date, we’ll be sure to share that with you.
Last, but certainly not least, we appreciate you sticking with us as the weather turns from toasty to frosty. So while you make plans to buckle up this season and finally take that certification exam you’ve put off all year, we’d like to save you a few bucks. Check out our 2-Day Transcender sale!