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CFDJ Product Review "CFMX Exam Buster 7"
No Number 2 Pencil Required

Macromedia has been offering ColdFusion Developer Certification since version 4.5 was released. Though it's arguable that there is no such thing as an exam that accurately measures a person's ability to develop applications, some employers do value such things and there's no denying that it certainly doesn't hurt to have the certification listed on one's resume. To help developers practice and prepare for the certification exam, CentraSoft offers their CFMX Exam Buster software, recently updated for the ColdFusion MX 7 Certification exam.

Before evaluating its value as a test preparation tool, I'll give you some information about the software itself. CFMX Exam Buster is standalone desktop software for Windows - according to the website (www.centrasoft.com/) it supports versions 95,98, ME, NT 4, 2000, and XP (Home and Pro). I installed it on my laptop running Windows Enterprise Server 2003 with no problems. After downloading, installing, and registering the software you are ready to go. The software costs $39.95 and there's a demo version available, too. The demo is fully functional but only tests from a pool of 66 questions, whereas the full version draws from a pool of 875 questions.

The software has several nice features that allow you to control the test taking features. It has a "no cheat mode" which prevents the test taker from being able to alt-tab to other applications while taking the exam. There are also options to change the look and feel of the checkboxes and the font, font color, and background color used for questions and answers.

The actual test-taking also has some options. One option is to take a random test. CFMX Exam Buster will prompt you for the test takers name, how many questions to ask, and how much time to allow for the exam. The random test most closely simulates the real world exam, but what if you really want to focus on specific areas of expertise? Your other test taking format option is to do what's called a topic test. CFMX Exam Buster will display a list of topics you can choose from and then prompt you for the test takers name before starting the topic test. The number of topics I impressive and I'd imagine that any develop who continuously took topic tests in their weakest areas would find it very useful, whether they're taking the actual certification exam or not. During the exam the test taker can skip forward and backwards in the questions one at a time or jump right to the start or end. They can toggle cheat mode on and off, pause, print question and/or answer sheets, etc., can comment on questions, and can also flag questions for review at the end of the exam.

Once a test is begun you can print the test (blank test and answer sheet) and tests may be saved or resumed if you want to take a break and visit the current exam later. When a test is complete, the report it generates is terrific - much nicer than when you complete the real-world certification exam. The software shows you a tabbed interface for viewing a pretty test summary report, a report showing all questions, the answers given, and the correct answers, and a report that just summarizes the questions answered incorrectly. One feature I found particularly clever is that every question in the summary reports not only shows your answer and the correct answer, but also displays a link to the Macromedia live docs about the function, tag, or feature that the question pertains to. This is very useful - especially if you miss a question and don't understand why.

Enough about the software and all of its great features - what about the questions themselves? I thought taking the exam with the same number of questions and time frame would be the best way to test this, especially since I have already taken the actual certification exam. The real world exam is 66 questions in 75 minutes (which I never need) so I set CFMX Exam Buster to give me the same amount of time to answer 66 questions and went at it. When I took the exam in the real world without preparing I scored 97%, finished with plenty of time, and felt that it was very easy - I probably missed 3% because of carelessness. I finished CFMX Exam Buster 7 with plenty of time but felt that it was much more difficult. I scored 93% - upon reviewing the questions I missed all but one were what I'd call a "trick" question - I missed them purely out of carelessness because I didn't read the question properly. One question I actually did get right - the exam is mistaken. That's OK - these things also happen on the real-world test. I found the software to be extremely useful and the test question much more challenging than the actual certification exam. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that if you select an answer and want to change it, you must first deselect the answer you've already chosen. That's not really a very big deal. I was pleasantly surprised by CentraSoft's CFMX Exam Buster 7 and I strongly recommend it above any other study aid to anyone preparing to take the certification exam.

About Simon Horwith
Simon Horwith is the CIO at AboutWeb, LLC, a Washington, DC based company specializing in staff augmentation, consulting, and training. Simon is a Macromedia Certified Master Instructor and is a member of Team Macromedia. He has been using ColdFusion since version 1.5 and specializes in ColdFusion application architecture, including architecting applications that integrate with Java, Flash, Flex, and a myriad of other technologies. In addition to presenting at CFUGs and conferences around the world, he has also been a contributing author of several books and technical papers.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

testing , ...

...what an arrogant post. Thanks for the information, but that was really annoying to read. Get off your high horse, buddy. Arrogance and talking about yourself are no way to promote the best software development platform there is.

ColdFusion Developer's Journal "CFMX Exam Buster 7" Macromedia has been offering ColdFusion Developer Certification since version 4.5 was released. Though it's arguable that there is no such thing as an exam that accurately measures a person's ability to develop applications, some employers do value such things and there's no denying that it certainly doesn't hurt to have the certification listed on one's resume. To help developers practice and prepare for the certification exam, CentraSoft offers their CFMX Exam Buster software, recently updated for the ColdFusion MX 7 Certification exam.




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