Sunday, September 15, 2013

uCertify.com, the online version of the PrepKit - Worth buying?

I haven't reviewed any site or service for a long time, after my blog post "Is Freelancer.com a complete scam, or a partial scam?," which became quite popular because of the back links it got from multiple users of the site. I was recently approached by uCertify to provide a neutral review on their online platform. Since this is related to my blog, I decided to review their platform. I was given access to CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association)'s CLO-001 Cloud Essentials PrepKit (Preparation Kit), for this review. This review is neutral and unbiased, and is solely based on my personal opinion and observation. Feel free to drop a line or comment, if you have something to add to this post.

The course material as well as its online platform seem pretty good in the way they are organized. I have no intention to sit for the CompTIA exam. However, since I am experienced in Cloud Computing for more than 3 years, I was able to scan through the course material pretty easily, over the weekend.

I like their promise of 100% money-back guarantee, if you didn't pass your exam in your first attempt. This is surely ahead of what their competitors have to offer, at least among the sites I have compared with. I read some negative remarks on PissedConsumer, on the refund. However, I can not say much regarding the users' subjective opinions, as I have never tried myself to refund to have my own.

Study Planner, showing the progress
uCertify.com online service provides a solution for those who had issues with having uCertify software installed in their computer, probably because of their operating system being incompatible. uCertify.com interface works smoothly with Windows, Linux, and even on the mobile interfaces. Coming back to review the site, from the beginning, the interface of uCertify.com (from here onwards, I will use uCertify to refer to uCertify.com, and 'product' instead of 'site', as I presume both have similar interface and quality), will surely impress you.

You can set your start day and the target day (probably the day of your examination or a few days ahead of that) in the StudyPlanner. Study Planner offers a one-stop view of your progress, and access to all the course material from the single page, also letting you share the pages and progress via social networks, socializing the study progress.

"Pre-Assessment" section provides a quick start and lets you know your position before you begin the course material. If you are an expert in the domain, this can help you move quickly in the preparation, or otherwise helps you have a realistic time line regarding the finishing date of the course (or the day of examination).

All the assessments (Pre-Assessment, Practice Tests, Post-Assessment, exercises, and quizzes) come in three modes, Test, Learn, and Review. "Test" comes in the format of the regular exams, where you provide the answers, finish/end the exam, and receive your score. "Learn" is where you can either skip or attempt the question, and see the answer immediately. "Review" mode comes with both the question and answer, hence not letting you attempt the question at all. "Learn" mode appears to be a hybrid of "Test" and "Review", and I prefer the "Learn" mode much more than the review mode. Number of items and the time of the test can be configured.

"Chapters and Lessons" is the course material, similar to an e-book, which lets you learn or revise. I would probably not recommend learning through this as the sole mean to learn the technology - cloud computing, in this case. This can just be considered a supplementary material, along with your regular text and hands-on practices, at least, if you are focusing more than just a mere certification. You can start the reading from where you stopped last time, or from the last page you read so far, which is pretty useful in bookmarking.

"Exercises, flash cards & quizzes" is the section that I found most impressive. These are organized into the 12 chapters, following the same structure of the "Chapters and Lessons" section. There are 190 flash cards, following the material provided in the chapters and lessons. Quizzes and Exercises follow the same format, where "quizzes" should be attempted first as they test the fundamental aspects, where "exercises" evaluate the understanding of more complex material.

"Practice Tests" contains 200 questions, as 4 sets of 50 questions. I would prefer more questions and coverage in this section. "Post-Assessment" is similar to the section "Pre-Assessment". The difference is, you are supposed to attempt to this, only when you are done with the previous sections, and consider yourself ready for the exam, with at least 90% score in the practice questions.

"Glossary" comes with a list of the terms related to the course. However, I am not impressed at all, with this section. For me, it lacks considerable terminology, and also poorly organized, than a mere bulky page of plain text, almost. No links, internal, external, whatsoever. I presume, this section is a later addition and still needs improvement.


Interestingly, you may also get a certificate of completion, when your readiness is at least 90%. Though this doesn't provide any real value as your "real" CompTIA certificate, this probably is yet another interesting feature of the service.

While reviewing the sites, I didn't fail to check the comments from the online forums regarding uCertify. I always motivate others to check the reviews before trying the services. CertGuard offers such a service for the examination preparation materials. uCertify is marked as a SAFE site. uCertify is the 2nd among the TOP 20 SAFE SEARCHES (CareerSaver being the first). This shows many new students are attempting these sites, and indicates their popularity.

All the best for your examination preparations!

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