By Brian Scheibe
So, you got a CD with your study guide, and it might seem unclear what the material from the CD is. Is it a study guide, a book review, or a practice exam? Let’s start with trying to define the features of each so that we can then compare them.
- Study Guide – covers all of the published concepts that could appear on a live exam
- Book Review – reviews topics covered by each chapter of the book
- Practice Exam – covers topics and concepts you are likely to see on the live exam in a way that simulates the actual exam
Now that you know what the material might be, how can you determine which you have? Well one way is to consider how the material is presented. Logically if you can sort the questions by chapter on the CD, it is a book review. If you can sort the CD by concept or topic, it is either a study guide or a practice exam.
If you can sort the CD by concept or topic and have determined that what you have is either a study guide or a practice exam, you now have to determine whether the material is a study guide or a practice exam. Logically there is no way to determine that because both can be sorted the same way. So you could either wait until you sat down to take the live exam, or you could compare the published topics from the exam vendor to the topics on the CD. If the topics on the CD match, it is most likely a study guide; if the topics don’t match, it is most likely a practice exam.
There has been some confusion that products distributed on a book CD are Boson practice exams. This mistake is easy to make. After all, the book has a Boson logo on it; the CD has a Boson logo on it; and the engine used to view the content has, you guessed it, a Boson logo on it. However, the content is only delivered by a testing engine called the Boson Exam Environment (BEE). Boson is not responsible for the content. The book vendor and author are the people that create and maintain the content you receive from a book CD.
The practice exams and study guides you received from a CD in the back of a book might be delivered via the BEE, but they are not Boson products. You can compare the quality of a Boson exam with the quality of an exam from the CD product quality by viewing demo products from Boson. Select the “Get Demos” tab within the BEE and download a Boson ExSim-Max demo for the same exam. I encourage you to get a demo and compare the two, keeping in mind that the more material you see in the practice exam, the better chance you have of passing your certification exam.
One final thought on the material from the CD, if it is a practice exam: Is it a good practice exam? A good practice exam should:
- Cover all of the concepts on the live exam.
- Have the same quantity of question types.
- Simulate the difficulty of the questions on the live exam.
- Mimic the question types with multiple choice and simulation questions.
- Be easy to understand.
- Have a detailed explanation that discusses the correct as well as the incorrect answers.
- Provide a reference that supports the correct answer and encourages more learning.
The Boson ExSim-Max practice exams have all of the features that a “good practice exam” should have and are delivered in the BEE, which has many features that allow you to maximize the value you get from your study time. But the Boson ExSim-Max practice exams are not the exams you get from the back of the book.
Remember: If it’s from the back of the book, it’s not Boson's content and it's not an ExSim-Max Practice Exam.