UPDATE: (5th August 2016): So today I went and took the Microsoft Exam I’ve been studying for. I felt pretty confident given that MeasureUp was giving passing scores generally and I knew where I was going wrong on incorrect questions, etc. Unfortunately, the content of the MeasureUp Mock Exams is nothing like the real ones. Barely any of the same areas came up at all, despite my having been through ALL of the sample questions multiple times. It was so way of the mark that it could have been for an entirely different exam (and yes – I checked I was taking the right exam and that I’d purchase the right test from MeasureUp). In light of this, all I can say is that while MeasureUp may be useful to some extent, do not use it to measure your chances of passing or even as a resource for revising.
I recently signed up for a Microsoft Certification exam and decided to try out the learning / test exam platform offered as an extra.
Upon logging in to the platform for the first time, I was struck by how sparse it was. Sometimes that’s a good thing but in this case, it looks as though they have purchased a HTML5/CCS/JS theme and are slowly fleshing it out.
I got a popup message when I first logged in discussing a re-design of the front-end which seems to support this theory.
Test Interface Functionality & Features
Just like the actual Certification Exam
Request the correct answers and change the testing environment
(I opted for the latter)
You have various options for the test, allowing you to customize it to suit your learning style and/or needs, for example:
- Randomize the order of the questions
- Set a specific test duration
- Include XX of the pool of questions (in my case there was a pool of 175 questions for the subject I had chosen)
- Show me questions I missed from the last [ x ] tests
- Show me questions not displayed from the last [ x ] tests
- Do not include complex questions
- Do not include simulation questions
- Only show questions from Show Objectives
The last item in the list is a really nice feature that allows you to tailor the questions to a specific area defined within this module. This is really useful if you know you are particularly weak in an area (or want to practice in a more subject specific manner). To give you an idea of what ‘Objectives’ a course might be broken in to, my Microsoft Server 2012 test had the following objective groups within it:
- Install and Configure Servers
- Configure Server Roles and Features
- Configure Hyper-V
- Deploy and Configure Core Network Services
- Install and Administer Active Directory
- Create and Manage Group Policy
Test Interface Design
The actual test interface design is very plain and simple and while I understand the idea is to not distract from the content (and presumably a monochrome palette means is equally good for partial sighted users, etc.), I believe it could benefit from a little colour:
Test Interface: Intro Screen
They definitely need to ‘get their grammar check on’ as the very first question out of the box is a multiple choice with a typo!:
You have a several firewall rules configured
Wait – what?
As with so many things, the measure of a company is how they respond when there is a problem. Unfortunately in this regard, I’m not hugely impressed with MeasureUps support platform – there’s no ticketing, no forum, etc. If you want to report a bug, the only way to do so is to use ‘Feedback’ button during a test. I emailed them offering to provide feedback (as I have experience as a beta tester) and asking where I could submit more detailed information to and got this underwhelming response:
Thank you for contacting MeasureUp.
I am afraid that we have no other way of reporting issues than the contact form or the “feedback” button in the bottom left corner of your screen when you have a test running. We are always happy to receive feedback from our clients to help us improve our products.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Charlie by Sitel
MeasureUp Customer Support
We’ll see how they do when I start sending the bugs over!
The usability of the test interface on mobile devices is excellent and to a certain extent, feels more natural than on a desktop browser. This is a huge plus because people studying/preparing for exams tend to busy and want to grab a little study time whenver and wherever they can.
Problems & Downsides
Settings & Defaults
My biggest bug-bear with the platform so far is that the developers don’t seem to realise that ‘With great options comes great responsibility’ – please remember my options! I repeatedly find myself having to cancel and re-start tests because I assumed it would remember my previous selections for testing instead of having to re-select every. single. time!
The ability to use the platform via tablet, phone and desktop is fantastic but there seems to be a lack of continuity and I regularly go to pick up a test where I left off to find I have to restart. Again this seems to stem from the idea that the developers don’t realise that people will be using this as a study tool – not purely for sitting down for a full test in one sitting.
So far, despite the odd quirk I’m very impressed with the platform. It does what it says it does and no more. I do think that they need to improve how they handle support requests but this wouldn’t stop me from recommending it to others.