Monday, April 26, 2010

TestOut Offers Students Free Practice Exams, Finds LabSim Bridges the Gap between Theory and Practical Knowledge

As a member of the TestOut sales team, one of the questions I am asked most is, “How important is certification?” The question is not as easy to answer as you may think, and it comes down to what someone wants to accomplish, what their educational experience is, and what their prospective employer thinks of certifications. CXO and director-level people tell me that certifications can be a tie-breaker between two similar candidates. Certification shows a level of commitment and dedication, as well as a refined skill set.

Maybe it is because of this attitude among employers that we are seeing an increased interest in certification on the part of students at a wide variety of institutions. I have had the chance to talk to students from all over the country, and consistently they indicate they are looking for the edge as they search for employment. They want to stand out from the crowd, and they see certificates from recognized organizations as a lift.

I have also had the chance to work with students who attend schools who do not use LabSim training or use it in a modified manner. On several occasions, TestOut has hosted on-campus events where we provide these students access to several LabSim courses and give them the opportunity to test their knowledge through LabSim practice exams. In a couple of these instances, the students felt very confident in their preparation and ability to pass a basic certification practice exam, such as A+. It was interesting to note their surprise when not a single student passed the practice exam the first time. There were a few that came close, and after spending some time using the training resources of LabSim, reviewing the sections where they missed questions, and doing some hands-on practice in the labs, they came very close to passing the exam. We knew that with a little more work in LabSim they would be prepared.

At another school, a 4-year university with a recognized Information Technology program, we again discovered the gap between theoretical knowledge and focused understanding related to a specific certification. Not a single student passed an exam the first time. Finally, I worked with students attending a school that did not provide preparation for certification but felt they provided something more valuable—a strong foundational understanding of the concepts. These students above all were most uncomfortable going out to compete for employment, but they were also the ones most focused on finding the right set of tools to help them, and the ones who, as a whole, purchased LabSim training on their own. They saw the impact a great tool like LabSim had on their educational goals.

2-year, 4-year, career college, trade school—it doesn’t seem to matter. IT students in general are looking for ways to be noticed by employers, and they feel certification is the way to do it. And they are telling us LabSim is the best tool they have used to help them.

Doug Nelson, TestOut

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