Thursday, September 15, 2011

uCertify PrepKit for EC-Council's Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH)

uCertify is a preparation kit software provider for IT certification exams. As we all know, IT is a vast world where fields could stretch out to different sub-fields and may fall to a thousand categories (and sub-categories). On the other hand, getting certifications for your skills has turned from fancying your resume to being a requirement by most employers. This is probably also related to the numerous IT degree programs and certifications easily accessible online.

That is why it is indeed an integral part to have a trusted resource of information to be prepared with before taking the exams. I was asked by uCertify to test one of their PrepKits, and I chose their prep kit for EC-Council's Certified Ethical Hacker certification exam: E312-50.

Before getting further... 

Let me point out some terminologies and their definitions before they could confuse you.
Ethical Hacker - Contrary to the mainstream's definition of a hacker, an ethical hacker is someone who penetrates a system to point out security holes and vulnerabilities and fix them as early as possible to prevent malicious hackers from using them to exploit the whole system.
IT Certification - Reasons behind getting certified for your skills may vary - some wanted to take certification exams to be a certified professional on the field they have chosen, some take them because possessing certifications give them more chances to get hired compared to those who do not have them, which depends on the employer.
PrepKits - Short for preparational kits. They are the tools you may use to get prepared for the exam. These are typically simulations of the actual exam to help prepare the candidates for the atmosphere of the examination. 
So, are we ready?

The Interface

First thing I noticed about the look and feel is its Windows XP-like interface. It may look plain, but the layout is focused straight to the main contents - which are the Practice Tests and the Study Helper.

Those are lots of questions.
The topics.
It would help a lot if the number of pages per topic is shown like how the number of questions is visible on the Practice Tests. I also noticed that when I opened a topic and closed it, the tab would go back to the Practice Tests, so you can immediately take the tests afterwards. When I tried to close the topic by clicking the main close button, a prompt showed asking if I want to close the whole application - which was not my intention. So that was a good catch.

The only thing I dislike is the sidebar, it is over cluttered with the features info and they're slightly distracting me. I wish there was a hide feature. I also do not get it why there is a Share widget on a desktop application. I do not wish to distract my learning by going to my social profiles.

Lessons & Navigation

Navigating through the lessons...

Listed as one of their features is:

But when I tried to use the left/right arrow to navigate to the previous/next pages, it's not working. Then I tried the spacebar, it worked to advance with the pages but there is no keyboard shortcut for back.

The contents are mostly of the terms I need to get familiar with. I really would not memorize them in a glance. Taking the exams afterwards would indeed be helpful to your memory.

The Tests

Here's what a test item looks like:

The question

The choices

It gets a little boring that they have used the name John for almost all of the problems, but the questions are clearly stated nonetheless. Here's what it looks like when you are done with the questions:

You can still go back and change your answers. After you clicked the Result button, there's no turning back. I mean, your answers will be recorded. *evil grin*

And so with the results:

The exam card - this shows a neat bar graph of your score vs. the  passing score.
The question report - which shows all your answers and the answer keys.
The summary report - which shows all the topics the questions were taken from.
Pretty neat, right?

Other Features

So going back to the main page, there are also additional features which you can access. More resources means more learning opportunities. Hooray!

You can also easily track your performance:

In conclusion...

The PrepKit is a good tool to build the main foundation of your knowledge about the topic you have chosen. It doesn't cover everything but all the important things you should know to pass the exam should be there. Else, if you fail, they're gonna bring your money back. (It's included in their terms.) That means, you can try again. I'm sure though, that if you took the PrepKit seriously you wouldn't fail the exam.

You can visit to see the full list of their PrepKits. L-I's readers are entitled to a 10% discount if you use 'UCPREP' as the discount code. 

If you are to take the exam, L-I wishes you to pass the test greatly and be titled as a Certified Ethical Hacker. (Don't forget us if you do. *winks*)


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