3
 Followers
12
 Likes

Cover all exam info in the training material and make questions clear

New

I find it very odd that the exams contain lots of information not covered in the training material.

I'm well aware that this information in contained within the documentation, however reading through pages and pages of text does not suit everyone's learning style and can be pretty tedious.

I'm also aware that the expectation is that you put into practice what you’ve learned during training prior to sitting the exam, but that doesn't ensure you acquire all the necessary information.

It would be far better to have more comprehensive training courses and cover all the required material, as is standard with most exams.

As things stand, unless you have the time and inclination to read through all the documentation, whether you know the additional information or not can come down to luck, which is not at all ideal.

In addition to that, many of the questions appear to be trying to trick you by using confusing and ambiguous language, and I'm not sure why this is necessary.

It would be better if questions were clear and straight forward, so that it tests your knowledge and not your interpretation of their English grammar, which is sometimes lacking, perhaps due to English not being the first language of those writing it.

If, for some reason there is really the reason to include ‘trick’ questions (though I can’t think why), then at the very least, the questions need to be unambiguous and grammatically correct, so that they properly test knowledge and don't trip people up through misunderstanding.

Created on 2 Feb (3 weeks ago)
Comments (19)

Hi Sienna,

Indeed, not everything is covered in the training. But on each certification page it is clearly stated about how many questions will be asked per topic. It also states all online resources (documentation) that you must read to understand the exam questions.

I honestly think one should read the documentation, as it gives you a lot more background information. In the end its not about getting certified quickly, it is about understanding the topics.

Regarding the way questions and possible answers are formulated I do agree, and feel it's sometimes testing more once capability to read than the capabilities of once OutSystems knowledge. Luckily, most certification details nowadays come included with some sample exam questions, so you get a feel of the way the questions are asked.

Regards,

Daniel

Hi Sienna,

Can you provide an example of such scenario? So we can better understand your feedback.

Thanks

I don't have any examples I'm afraid as I don't remember the questions (was years ago now) and of course I didn't copy any down. But I know a number of colleagues have said the same thing, that it feels like there are a lot of trick questions.

Also, in my basic certification exam I marked all the questions I wasn't sure about to go over at the end and when I went over them, I ended up changing all of them, although I literally could not work out what the correct answer was because of the poorly worded questions. Annoyingly it turned out that I changed all of them from the correct answer to the wrong one. I believe they were the questions where I was unsure exactly what the question was asking. So if you have access to my exam questions, you'll be able to see what questions I got wrong and therefore the ones I was unsure what they were asking. Thankfully I still passed but it would have been really annoying to have failed because of ambiguous questions.

@Daniel I never saw the prompts to read the documentation as you describe. I even did a search in one of the PDFs from my training for online resources and documentation just now and got no results. I did my exam for v10 so maybe that's something new in v11?

Hi Sienna,

https://www.outsystems.com/training/certifications/

Each certification on this page has a link with all the exam details, including a complete list of documention you need to read and understand to pass the exam.This info was also already available for all V10 version of certifications.

Regards,

Daniel

You are correct that this advice is provided in the current version, however I have checked my v10 training PDFs and was able to find no such advice.

But glad that it exists now at least. Though I still think it would be better to incorporate all the information into training material rather than having to read through dozens (maybe even hundreds) of pages of text online.

It exists already for years. I truly cannot see what difference it makes to move the information one must read to training the training material.

You still need to understand and therefore read it. If it is all converted in videos, you will just have hours of extra videos, it does not shorten or limit the knowledge you need to gain to past an exam.

Like the days at school you dive in the books to learn to past the exam. It takes some effort, and they makes the certification means something. 

What I was thinking was in terms of exercises and opportunities to put the information into practise, as opposed to simply reading or watching videos.

I concur with Sienna. 

Most people in the world don't have English as their first language. The questions should be put in a straightforward and clear English. Most of us speak it well enough, but certain subtleties are beyond me at least.

I agree, and will illustrate an example as I recently took the professional traditional web exam. Even for those who are proficient in English, the exam seems to be set up with trick questions. 

One such question was regarding the 'working in teams' topic and included a screenshot of a merge and publish screen, one of the options was written in such poor English that I was not able to understand what it suggested. To make matters worse, this specific question asked which option was incorrect. Obviously I chose this option, apparently that option was correct and I got no marks...


In addition, there are at least two questions that contradict directly what is mentioned in documentation.

  1. A question about Screen Content Security. Button1 that is set to visible: True encapsulated within a container that is set to display: False. Button2 is set to visible: False. When using javascript to find the buttons in HTML and click them, which button can be clicked? I chose Button1 only, as display: False does not remove it from HTML whereas visible: False does. See https://jmjames.medium.com/visible-and-display-do-different-things-212457546561
  2. A CSS question that so far, no one from our team has had correct even though, collectively we have tried all four options. It looks like a simple CSS hierarchy question that somehow does not follow the hierarchy explained in documentation as that answer was incorrect. We have tried as a team to figure out the trick to this question but we can't figure it out. See https://www.outsystems.com/training/lesson/1756/themes-and-styling at around 8:18

This is frustrating as the Score report email shows you only which topics you made mistakes on, however, when reviewing these topics we can't figure out what we did wrong. It provides no way to learn from your mistakes and has resulted in our team failing at their second exams as well.

Yes, scorecards from exams are completely useless; I think there is an commercial reason for this: fail, pay to do the exam again.

Sorry Joost, I don't agree, did you ever take Microsoft certifications? Those are written to fail as you barely have time to read and answer all questions.

My English isn't perfect, and I had no problem with passing the exams. The way these questions are written are indeed sometimes more a reading challenge, but that is nothing specifically to OutSytstems. You see that in certifications of other technology too.

My experience with Microsoft certifications is that there are always questions not covered by the training material. That is something I never experienced with OutSystems exams. If you read all the suggested documentation and understand what you read (you need English for that too), you should be able to pass the exams.

Also, the money on exams that OutSystems makes is probably not to be compared by far to what they make on the licenses they sell.

Hi Daniël, 

that is fine, but I don’t see the point in referring to how bad Microsoft certification is; We are OutSystems (OS)
And I agree, the price of the exams are peanuts compared to the license fees. I just really started OS last October and have passed all three exams I took in one pass.
However, there were several/multiple questions that suffered from symptoms mentioned above; several were formulated in double negative wording. Or were really long, which seemed to make it more an exam in ‘comprehensive reading’ ( Dutch: ‘begrijpend lezen’ )   This was not just my take on the exams  

And then there is the sample exam, which it really isn’t a good reflection of the real thing. Those were questions that were clear and concise. I suspect that everyone who takes these , will get a false sense of ‘I am ready’.  

Just my 0.02.

Joost

I agree, let's not compare ourselves to Microsoft - let's be better than them! And they get many things wrong, so not the best baseline to measure ourselves against.

And I don't see any benefit in making questions with tricky comprehension, or worse still, ambiguous, as I found some questions to be (v10). It should be purely a test of Outsystems knowledge and ability, not English grammar coupled with some luck.

Hi Joost/Sienna,

I wasn't trying to set the bar for OutSystems certification to what Microsoft does, the contrary! 

OutSystems is doing it very well compared to other companies for which I had to do certifications.

I was trying to explain to Joost that I don't agree to his statement:

"I think there is an commercial reason for this: fail, pay to do the exam again."

I think OutSystems does it all lot better then, lets not call names anymore, other companies that provide certification trainings.

For one thing that OutSystems differs for example in the fact that since V10 certifications no longer expire. Furthermore OutSystems does not require me to buy multiple expensive books to read, all training material is for free. They give a way free certifications, on events like ODC, and nextstep, or user group meetings. OutSystems partners get yearly free certifications and 1 free bootcamp voucher. OutSystems champions and MVP get certification vouchers.

I agree with you both about the way questions and answers are formulated,

Regards,

Daniel


I agree, there is so much that Outsystems already does that is far better than Microsoft.:)

But adjusting the training/exam material would be one way Outsystem can further improve, so here's hoping they take this onboard.

And for the record, I do hope all my comments came off friendly - as that is the way they were intended (as they always are). The ambiguity of the written word without tone or a smile means you can never sure, and sometimes reading them back I wonder if they might sound harsh, but they're never meant that way and always said with a friendly smile. :-P

Going back to the issue of the training material vs documentation. I think it would be fine to use the documentation if there was some kind of guided path through it with the ability to track what you've done.

So for example, there could be some of kind of personal marker you could set against every article in the documentation which you could use to show whether you had read that article or not. Ideally there would be 3 options, the default being hadn't read it, another being have read it, and a third you could use to flag/highlight it, which you might use for scenarios such as you had read it but wanted to find it easily to go over it again prior to an exam.

In addition to that, there could be a colour indicator which showed which exams any given article contains relevant information for. Some articles might have multiple coloured indicators because they contain information in more than one exam.

And it would be great if you could filter the documentation by a specific exam and it would display all articles containing information relevant to that exam, and they would be ordered according to the suggested learning path.

views
221
Followers
3