As far as self paced, online videos goes – Nothing beats CBT Nuggets. I personally have used CBT for every one of my certifications. It delivers the valuable concepts, covers the majority of exam objectives and provides detailed tutorials. Presenters such as James Conrad, Greg Shields and Chris Ward deliver highly reputable content and manage to make your learning experience and entertaining journey. The online courses are always accompanied by a downloadable package which provides additional cheat sheets and scripts to make your life easier. CBT Nuggets offers a one week free trial to test out their videos (you can finish an entire course during the trial!) The downfall is, the trial period doesn’t offer any of the additional downloadable content or Transcender tests.
Pros:Entertaining, structured, easy to follow, additional downloadable content, tutorials
Cons:Doesn’t have great lab content, doesn’t give a strong focus on commandlets/powershell
Price: Monthly fee of $99 gives you access to all technical exams including Microsoft, CCNA, CompTIA etc. A yearly fee of $999 gives you access for a full year as well as free access to the transcender test exams.
Additional Comments: CBT Nuggets have excellent study material and make learning fun. I highly recommend these videos for either beginners or experience IT professionals. If you can dish out $999 you can do an entire MCSE course PLUS more. Furthermore, you can the Transcender practice exams included. That is GREAT value compared to any other online resource I have found.
For $999 get one year of unlimited content AND Transcender practice examsVisit CBTNuggets
Transcender is your go to resource for practice exams. Exams consist of extremely detailed explanation of both correct and incorrect answers giving you a strong understanding of concepts and terminology. The software will break down your weak areas to help you discover which objectives require more attention. The practice exams are very similar to the format that you would see on the real test, providing multiple choice and interactive questions. On my experience, the transcender questions are FAR more challenging than the real exam, so don’t feel discouraged! Doing well on these exams is a strong indicator of success on the real thing.
Pros:Great practice for the real exam, builds confidence, excellent explanations
Cons:Doesn’t cover nearly enough content, long test questions, expensive
Price: 30 Day online Acccess $109/certification. 365 Day online Access $139/certification. CD of offline exam software $139.
Additional Comments: Transcender is the perfect secondary resource to purchase with any book, study guide or video learning modules. The exams are very close to the real thing and will give you peace of mind knowing you are prepared. The exams give great explanations which are a lifesaver when you are writing the real exam.
The perfect secondary resource to test your skills.Visit Transcender
Technet is an online Microsoft resource that has an abundance of detailed information on all Microsoft products. No matter what books or resources you use, technet should be used in your studies to hone your skills and understandings. Microsoft also offers a variety of virtual labs that are free to access. Although this free resource has all the information you need, it can be extremely difficult finding the objective information, commandlets and powershell commands needed for the exam. Furthermore, there are a limited amount of labs offered and they barely scratch the surface of exam objectives.
Pros: Written by Microsoft and aligns directly with the exams, covers all objectives, is very detailed, the labs are very useful and are a good alternative if you can’t afford your own lab.
Cons: hard to sift through the information, can be overwhelming, only a few dozen labs, very boring to study.
Additional Comments: Even if you decide to purchase additional resources, Technet should still be one of your main study tools for any exam. Technet can be difficult to study as there is a vast amount of information and walls of text. However, Tech Net Academy Study guides organize Technet articles and references into an easy to study format to make your life easier. Also, there are other sites who do a great job of breaking down technet articles into objectives such as www.borntolearn.com and www.techexams.net
Make your life easierSee Our Study Guides
Measure up offers another choice for testing your knowledge before sitting down for your Microsoft exam. Like Transcender, each exam is payed for separately and offers 150 questions with in depth explanations. The exam questions are very similar to the Microsoft Exam offering multiple choice as well as interactive questions. The Measureup exams seem relatively easy compared to the real exams and a few questions seem to be off the wall from outlined objectives.
Pros: Good practice for real exam, explanations further your understanding of questions, builds confidence, gives an indication if you are prepared for the real exam
Cons: Questions are sometimes out of scope of the objectives, questions seem relatively easy compared to the Microsoft Exams and Transcender exams
Price: Measureup offers 30 day access for ~$83.00, or 60 days for ~$95.00, or an offline download for $105.00.
Best Packaged with: CBTNuggets and Tech Exam Academy Study Guides
Additional Comments: I would only recommend Measureup if you have a tight budget and cant afford the $25 more for Transcender. Measureup questions are easier and I didn’t find they were as good of a preparation indicator prior to taking the Microsoft Exam.
Buy 30 day access to your practice exams for ~$83Visit Measureup
Pluralsight (formally trainsignal) is another great online video resource that i would consider a “CBTNuggets light.” It doesn’t offer the same insight into objectives and certainly isn’t as entertaining, however, the cost is much more reasonable. Pluralsight takes a different approach, making videos short sweet and to the point. Instead of having one 50 minute video for an objective, it might have 4 or 5 five minute videos. I find this method makes learning extremely easy, however too much content is left out.
Pros: Very affordable, high quality videos, learning is quick and to the point
Cons: Does not cover enough content, courses are about half as long as CBTnuggets
Price: $29 per month, $49 a month for additional exercise files and offline videos, $499 for annual fee with videos and exercise files.
Additional Comments: The decision to go between Pluralsight and CBTnuggets should be completely based on finances. CBTNuggets offers a much more complete package, however it is nearly twice as much. If you can spend the extra money, you get far more than twice the amount of value with CBTnuggets. To give an example of content differences, the 70-411 course on CBTnuggets is ~33 hours of videos while Pluralsight offers ~11 hours.
For quick and to the point videos, Pluralsight is a good optionVisit Pluralsight
In addition to their excellent preparation exams, Transcender also offers an additional eLearning module. The eLearning module attempts to cover the concept and technical overview that the practice exams lack. However, the eLearning is a complete separate purchase and it is hefty for what it has to offer. I found the modules did NOT cover all of the objectives and were not nearly and engaging or entertaining as CBT nuggets. Unlike CBT, i don’t see an option to package the learning modules with the Transcender practice exams for a discounted cost.
Pros: A more in depth explanation of objective concepts, access to a live subject matter expert
Cons: Extremely pricey, not package with the practice exams, doesn’t cover all objectives, not as engaging, have to pay per course
Price: $429 per course
Additional Comments: Transcender specializes in practice exams and that is what they do best. Their eLearning videos lack quality and content for the price. for the $429 it costs for one course, you could complete 4 courses (1 per month) using CBTnuggets monthly subscription.
Born to learn is another Microsoft website that offers information, resource and insight into all Microsoft exams and learning initiatives. Although this website doesn’t provide study material per se, it does provide exam information, practice tests and some study tips.
Pros: Offers some free practice tests, a good to read if you are considering starting your Microsoft certification journey, offers some great articles regarding studying with Technet
Cons: Not really a study source, practice exams are very easy and don’t offer explanations, difficult to locate relevant articles
Additional Comments: Dont rely on this for any study material. It is an excellent resource for information on exams and certification requires, changes to exams and exam news. The practice tests are worth doing since they are free.