Online Study Guides -- Preparing for the Exam

You're spending thousands on a certification exam to add that all-important CCNE or MCSE at the end of your name, but it's been a while since you've had to study for a test. Do you remember how?


Fortunately, the Web has plenty of online resources to help you prepare. Like any standard exam, there are sample tests out there that you can take ahead of time. The usefulness of these tests are obvious -- by going through one beforehand, you are able to get a "feel" for what the real one will be like. Although the questions will be different, you're likely to feel more confident.


Some certification providers' Web sites offer practice sites, which you can access for free. Novell, for example, has an online laboratory -- particularly useful if you don't have access to a network. "We have online laboratories where you can go in and play on a network," said Jim Greene, Director of Certification and Business Development for

Novell Education. "You don't have to have a network of your own. A lot of companies don't appreciate their employees practicing on their networks, so we have this online laboratory where you can come in and experiment, and learn what you've learned in class. Try things out."


Neutral Web sites like Certification Zone

( offer a fee-based study zone, including practice exams for the Cisco CCIE and CCNE. A 6-month subscription costs $99 and a 12-month runs $179; or you can just take a practice exam without being a subscriber for $25. Transcender

( has CD-ROM test preparation software and simulated exams available for Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA's A+, I- Net+ and Network+ certifications. Transcender's TranscenderCert is a realistic exam simulation; and the TranscenderFlash product is an exam quiz presented in a flash-card format. GoodGround (, which bills itself as the "ultimate IT Certification search engine", offers an impressive collection of links to thousands of knowledge bases, study sites, online tutorials and more. If you can't find the test prep material you want anywhere else, chances are it's here.

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