Whizlabs SCMAD Exam Simulator (CX-310-110) Review

by Valentin Crettaz

When some big corporation's educational services announces the release of a new certification exam, you can be certain that the Whizlabs team won't be that far away. After many successful simulator releases in 2003 and before (SCBCD, SCJP 1.4, etc), Whizlabs now wants to make you MAD (that is, a Mobile Application Developer ) by complementing their product suite with another exam simulator for Sun's new certification exam targeted at the Micro Edition of the Java 2 Platform (J2ME). Whizlabs' simulators essentially pursue the following goals:

  1. to provide a huge question bank in order to best train the exam taker, and
  2. to closely mimic real exam conditions.

Basically, the user interface hasn't change much compared to what I have experienced with other simulators from Whizlabs' product line. While some display bugs have been eliminated, a few ones are still on the edge eargerly waiting to be terminated. Furthermore, when looking back at Lasse Koskela's review of their SCJP 1.4 simulator last December, it appears that Whizlabs has done much of its homework:

Moreover, I have to admit that I have specially liked the way Drag-n-Drop questions have been implemented. They are even better than in the real exam since after you have answered a question you can reopen the Drag-n-Drop box without having to answer the question again. This is, in my opinion, one of the big limitations in Sun's certification exam software. Actually, as most of you, every time I take a Sun certification exam, I have to write down my answer to a Drag-n-Drop question before closing the dialog box, which is a little annoying.

Regarding the content itself, you will find a total of 490 questions evenly distributed across 5 mock exams (68 questions each) and 1 quiz (150 questions). You can even create your own mock exams with the built-in test customizer that allows you to select any questions in the bank to help you focus on a specific area of your choice. Besides, all questions come with very exhaustive explanations and links to sections of the relevant specifications. Once you finish an exam you are offered the opportunity to review some answers you were unsure about or to directly go to the exam report and see if you have passed or failed. On the reports you will find a good deal of very comprehensive information. For each question, you will be able to see the objective to which the question relates, the level of difficulty, the type of the question (i.e., multiple choice, DnD, fill-in, etc) and whether you answered it correctly or not. Wait, that's not all!! The help menu will direct you to a complete user guide and some help content on how to use the tool itself. As always, Whizlabs has also bundled a Tips'N'Trick cheat sheet and quick revision notes for you to read just before taking the exam. On the downside, it's just unfortunate that you can't print out these helpful notes from the tool and take them with you to the test center to do some last minute brush up... Maybe, they'll consider adding that to future versions of their tools. Who knows...

A cool new feature has been added to the simulator: If you ever have a doubt about a question or an explanation or if you want to report some problem you experienced, you can do it by clicking on the "Discuss it" button and you will be forwarded to a dedicated SCMAD forum on Whizlabs website. Once you have logged in, you will just have to write your message. Of course, a live Internet connection is required in order to take advantage of this feature.

SCMAD User Interface Practice Test Test Customizer
Exam Report Help Content Answers and Explanations
Discuss It!!

Finally, I think that this new exam simulator is well worth the money spent ($79.95 for new customers and $63.95 for existing ones) for the reasons enumerated below:

Don't hesitate to download the free trial edition to get a feeling of the exam simulator before buying it. I definitely recommend this outstanding resource to any respectful J2ME developer willing to tackle the SCMAD exam.

Whizlabs homepage
Whizlabs SCMAD exam simulator
SCMAD Certification Primer