As you’re considering studying a course to qualify for an MCSE, you’re probably in 1 of 2 situations. You could be about to come into the computer world, and you’ve discovered that the IT industry has a huge demand for men and women who are commercially qualified. On the other hand you possibly are a knowledgeable person attempting to consolidate your skill-set with a qualification such as MCSE.
As you find out about, make sure you stay away from those that short-change you by not upgrading their courses to the latest Microsoft version. Such institutions will hold back the student because they’ll have been studying an old version of MCSE which doesn’t fall in with the existing exam programme, so they’ll probably fail. Look out for training colleges who are just interested in your money. Always remember that buying a course for an MCSE is like buying a car. They’re very diverse; some are reliable and will get you there in comfort, whilst some will be a big disappointment. A worthy company will offer you plenty of help to make sure a course is right for you. If a company has a creditable product, you’ll be shown samples of it before buying anything.
An advisor that doesn’t ask many questions – chances are they’re just trying to sell you something. If they wade straight in with a specific product before getting to know your background and experience, then you know you’re being sold to. With some live experience or some accreditation, you could discover that your appropriate starting-point is not the same as someone new to the industry. Starting with a user skills program first can be the best way to start into your computer studies, but really depends on your level of familiarity with computers.
A sneaky way that training companies make more money is by charging for exams up-front and then including an ‘Exam Guarantee’. This looks like a great idea for the student, but let’s just examine it more closely:
Patently it’s not free – you’re still coughing up for it – it’s just been wrapped up in the price of the package. People who enter their exams one by one, paying as they go are far more likely to pass first time. They’re conscious of their investment and take the necessary steps to be ready for the task.
Why should you pay your training company up-front for exams? Go for the best offer when you take the exam, instead of paying a premium – and do it locally – rather than possibly hours away from your area. A lot of extra profit is netted by many training colleges that take the exam money up-front. For quite legitimate reasons, a number of students don’t get to do their exams and so they pocket the rest. Believe it or not, there are training companies that depend on students not taking their exams – and that’s how they increase their profits. Many training companies will insist that you take mock exams first and hold you back from re-takes until you’ve completely proven that you’re likely to pass – which makes an ‘Exam Guarantee’ frankly useless.
With average prices for VUE and Pro-metric exams in the United Kingdom costing around 112 pounds, the most cost-effective way to cover the cost is by paying when you need them. It’s not in the student’s interests to fork out hundreds or thousands of pounds for exams when enrolling on a course. Consistent and systematic learning, coupled with quality exam simulation software is what will really see you through.
Many training companies will only provide basic 9am till 6pm support (maybe a little earlier or later on certain days); very few go late in the evening or at weekends. Be wary of any training providers that use messaging services ‘out-of-hours’ – where an advisor will call back during typical office hours. This is useless when you’re stuck and could do with an answer during your scheduled study period.
The most successful trainers utilise several support facilities from around the world. An online system provides an interactive interface to link them all seamlessly, irrespective of the time you login, help is just a click away, without any problems or delays. If you opt for less than direct-access 24×7 support, you’ll very quickly realise that you’ve made a mistake. It may be that you don’t use it throughout the night, but what about weekends, early mornings or even late evenings at some point.