Customer Reviews


87 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (30)
3 star:
 (18)
2 star:
 (21)
1 star:
 (7)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Book + Transcender = 1 Easy Exam
The following are my pointers about the book and exam. I hope they'll help calm someone's nerves, because I was a nervous wreck before my exam yesterday.

First, about me:

> I studied in earnest for three weeks, using only the book and accompanying practice exams until the last three days
> I used Transcender during the last three days, and never...
Published on June 17, 2007 by Ol' Dirty

versus
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SECOND EDITION - STILL ERRORS!!!!!
Simply unbelievable. For those of you who have not heard, the "first edition" of this book had a ridiculous number of errors in it. In fact, I originally had a copy of it from my work, and I had to print off the errata (list of corrections and fixes) and it was OVER 60 PAGES. Yeah, it was really fun trying to read the book on one side of my desk, and having a 60+ page...
Published on March 8, 2007 by David Busch


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Book + Transcender = 1 Easy Exam, June 17, 2007
By 
Ol' Dirty (Planet Earth) - See all my reviews
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
The following are my pointers about the book and exam. I hope they'll help calm someone's nerves, because I was a nervous wreck before my exam yesterday.

First, about me:

> I studied in earnest for three weeks, using only the book and accompanying practice exams until the last three days
> I used Transcender during the last three days, and never scored above 60% on the full practice exam
> I am relatively new to .NET (four months exp. writing production-level apps), but not new to software development (working with Java for over four years)
> I passed the exam yesterday, on the first attempt, with a score of 859

With that said...

1. To anyone sadistic enough to take a Java cert exam (like my moronic self), the MCTS is a cakewalk. Unlike the ferocious Java exams which try to bait you into picking the wrong answers, 70-536 seems to do the exact opposite. I'll elaborate on this in point 2.

2. Remember taking the SATs and being given the advice to first eliminate clearly wrong answers before analyzing the ones that might be right? Do that on this exam, and you'll immediately cut your answer choices in half on nearly every question. For the vast majority of the questions, Microsoft practically GIVES you the answer - almost like they're trying to sell you on how intuitive their framework is. These questions are multiple choice, with one answer choice being cartoonishly incorrect, another answer being kind-of-correct but clearly too convoluted, then two or more other answers that are extremely similar, except for some minor detail.

3. You do not need to go into the MSDN and know every object mentioned in the book like Adam knew his wife. You should, however, be very familiar with the methods and signatures of Stream objects, Serializer objects (XMLSerializer, especially), AppDomain, and Culture/Region Info. As for the rest, just pay close attention to the methods and objects used in the book's examples.

4. The Transcender exam is WAAAAAAAAAAAY HARDER than the actual 70-536.

5. The MeasureUp exam that comes with the book is slightly easier than the actual 70-536.

6. On my particular exam, there were no questions whose material hadn't been covered by the book. Be careful, though, because from the Transcender exams it seems the book's authors left out at whole lot about interoperability.

Seriously folks, this exam isn't that bad if you're a seasoned software pro and familiar with OOP. Get a solid grasp of the stuff in the book (the labs really help), use Transcender for some details that the book misses, take the exam, and pass that sucker.

Good luck!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I passed the exam using this book, January 2, 2007
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
I used this book as my primary resource for the exam, backed up with a transcender for additional practice tests. I passed the exam on the first attempt. Based on that, I'll rate it as 4 stars (more like 3.5).

Yes there are errors - so make sure to get the errata. Do the practice tests on the CD (several times!). I can't imagine not using this book, given that it's the only one at present. If you look at the exam topics on the MS web-site, you could spend weeks or months on MSDN chasing down the relevant information. This book brings it together in one place, and avoids you spending loads of time on irrelevant topics. I think the book covers just enough to get you through the exam - provided you know the content very well. This is not an easy exam.

As for a general .NET book, the various chapters provide a useful introduction to each topic, but don't go into that much depth - just enough for the exam. Part of the issue is the exam covers a very wide range of topics, so it's difficult to go into much more depth without making the book 2,000 pages long.

At the end of the day, it got me through the exam, which is ultimately what matters.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SECOND EDITION - STILL ERRORS!!!!!, March 8, 2007
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
Simply unbelievable. For those of you who have not heard, the "first edition" of this book had a ridiculous number of errors in it. In fact, I originally had a copy of it from my work, and I had to print off the errata (list of corrections and fixes) and it was OVER 60 PAGES. Yeah, it was really fun trying to read the book on one side of my desk, and having a 60+ page document on the other side trying to find all the errors and bad code examples.....so anyway, I bought the "second edition" from Amazon. While it looks like the 60+ pages of errors that were found in the "first edition" were all corrected, there ARE STILL MORE OBVIOUS ERRORS IN THE BOOK. I cannot express in words how amazing this is to me. Did ANYONE with a technical background actually proof-read this book the first time? If not, shouldn't someone have done it before printing a second edition that was made because ONLY because there were 60+ PAGES OF ERRORS in the first edition? This to me is inexcusable. And how Microsoft could put their stamp on this book is baffling.

Anyway, other than the errors, the book is fine.....it just makes it hard to read this book for an exam, because can you really trust the content 100%? I say no. And, to top it all off, this (to my knowledge) is the only book out there for the 70-536 Exam. Good luck.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor learning tool, July 13, 2006
By 
Robert A. Blinzler (Spokane, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
I bought this book in preperation for my first MC exam. It does a good job of getting across what material will be covered on the exam, but that's about it.

Much of the material lacks context and is poorly written. I spent more time on the internet looking up material that was in the book in order to get an understanding of it adequate to answer the sample questions than I did in the book itself.

This book, like many I've bought from Microsoft Press, has many editing errors, but I found many of the exercises, labs, and sample questions contained errors, making study for the exam very frustrating.

The practice tests and lesson review application that shipped with the book is also disappointing. You can't choose, for example, which lessons or Chapters you want to practice, instead you have to choose groupings of topics that include topics scattered throughout the book and that aren't necessarily related. The menu and interface layout is difficult to use, I mention this only because I find it ironic that such a poorly thoughout app is shipped with a book essentially about application design...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy Editing, September 26, 2006
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
This book skims over several subjects because it's trying to cover too much material. Chapter 6 and 7 on Graphics and Threading (respectively) both suffer from this. Large fonts and long lists of methods and properties leave little room for actual knowledge sharing. The order in which they cover the subjects leaves a lot to be desired as well. Just look at the fact that chapter 6 is Graphics and chapter 7 is Threading.

Anyway, the content tries to cover all that is required and probably prepares you for the test as well as possible (I haven't taken an exam yet). So, i was thinking 3 stars.

But then I arrived at chapter 9 - Installing and Configuring Applications. My guess is that Mr.s Northrup and Wildermuth had around 13 or 14 chapters done and were coming down to the wire when they asked Bill Ryan if he wouldn't mind contributing a chapter or two. Then he turned in what he had and they ran spell checker on it. That must be it, because there are errors on every page! Paragraphs copied from other chapters, review questions that have nothing to do with the section just read, and a lab in section two that has nothing to do with the Installer class discussed in section 2. If you look at a code example on page 489, you'll see what I mean. Not only does the code not work, but it's faulty in it's design. He mentions that the class implements IEnumerable, and then tries to use a counter to move through the list (but fails to increment the counter). That's retarded. Since I'm still in the beginner stages of all of this, these mistakes can set me back a while when I stare and try to figure out what he's doing.

Anyway, one star. The editors should go back to school somewhere. Rosemary Caperton and Sandi Resnick are pointed out specifically as proof-readers, and Jim Fuchs and David Robinson as technical editors. If I was any of them I'd ask for my name to be removed in subsequent editions.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Corrected Version, February 25, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
Despite the harsh reviews, including one from one of my co-workers, I went with this book for 70-536 preparation simply because there isn't anything else out there. I was waiting on Amit Kalani to come out with his highly anticipated book, but I'm starting to wonder if that will ever see the light of day.

In any case, it seems that this book has had corrections made to it since the earlier reviews. I've noticed that more recent printings have a slightly darker cover and that the errata listed at Microsoft's website has been corrected in the book. I could find no mention of a 2nd printing on the inside cover or anything else to suggest a reprint. This doesn't make up for the missing content but does at least make me feel a little better in that I don't have to constantly reference the 33 printed pages of errata while reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is to Bad For Words, December 26, 2007
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
So many errors that it has to be done in 2 parts

[...]
[...]

It looks like I still have ver 1 I'm still seeing the errors listed on the Microsoft website and I just purchased the book 01DEC07. This is really, really bad. This is something I don't need trying to study for this exam.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Embarrassing, September 3, 2006
By 
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
It seems this book was written by a team of beginners and I'm not talking about the numerous typos, but something like "class" instead of "object", "include" instead of "using" (many, many times) etc. It deserved 2 stars only for the exam voucher and for being usable after a look at [...] for a long list of errata.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great example of how to NOT write a study guide, November 1, 2008
By 
Wiktor Szoltysek (Calgary, AB Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
After having purchased book and used it to study for the 70-536 exam. I can summarized my experience in the following:

The book will not be sufficient to pass the exam, and makes for a really bad and frustrating study guide.

The authors of the book that have an incomplete understanding of the material.

The authors and editors of the book have horrible writing skills.

First of all the book is missing much of content from the actual exam, probably about 40 percent. Don't let the books objectives insert fool you, there are huge gaps in the book, and you will not pass by using the study guide as your only resource. While the study guide is missing a lot of content, it also goes too far into detail for some content that is actually included in the book. For example, for the exam you will only need a broad understanding of reflection, you will not need to be able to write an entire section of code on "creating code in runtime", you will also not need to memorize the exact steps of using the .Net configuration tools.

Often it seemed then when the authors didn't understand an item, instead of researching it themselves and then thoroughly explaining it, they just cut and pasted random information / code examples from MSDN with no after thought, or they simply skiped the difficult item all together. It's understandable that the authors would have such bad knowledge of coding, since as they personally state that they have only written "hundreds if not thousands of lines of code" (pg 68).

Some examples of their poor understanding include:

The StrongNameIdentityPermission in the book (pg 661), is generically described as "defines the identity permission for strong names" , pasted verbatim from MSDN. A more complete and meaningful explanation would have been "Restricts the assembles that can call this method, based on a specific public key from the calling assembly."

On page 603, instead of actually explaining how to use the PerformanceCounterClass, the author instead find it necessary to show us how to append PerformaceCounter properties to a StringBuilder class.

On page 819, the authors the describe how to perform "Exception Handling in Managed Code". They quickly list how you shouldn't do it, and that "you need to do something else". Of course instead of actually saying what it is, and even mentioning the solution, they list a 2 page cryptic code example.

As of the second edition, there are still many code and grammatical mistakes. The authors often try to get cutesy with inappropriate personal anecdotes that feel completely out of place, or use bad worded filler material like "These two classes have an intuitive synergy that becomes evident when you use them." (pg 482).

Reading the book I got a feeling that the authors got paid per page written, so they felt compelled to stretch things out as much as they can with extra tables for class parameters and methods and unnecessary code examples. Mind you, instead of actually adding all of this filler material, they could have just been more thorough with the exam material.

Bottom line is that there is no excuse for incorrect code samples, grammatical mistakes, very poor writing, and missing content. Especially since this is already the second edition.

Some other reviewers of this book have stated such ridiculous explanations as: "i'm glad there's errors and that you have to research to figure them out." or "Places where this book is "weak" is where YOU as a reader need to learn how to use MSDN and look it up yourself." , those are NOT valid excuses for such as horrible book.

For a good example of a study guide see: Kathy Sierra's study guide for SCJD, even though that exam is much harder, the book is concise and straight to the point. Teaching you only what you need to be taught.

As for the actual exam:

It was easier then expected, especially when compared to the Sun Certified Java Programmer course (mind you I did purchase extra exam practice questions, and study from them).

Whereas in the SCJP exam, there are many tricks questions, and you needed a thorough understanding / memorization of writing specific code, and knowing when code wouldn't compile, run, etc. For this exam, having a broad general understanding of all topics will be sufficient, the most obvious answers are typically the correct ones, and you really don't need to memorize/ be able to write entire sections of code .

For study preparation I recommend reading through the book, without trying to memorize code sections. Skipping the labs. Purchasing extra exam questions like Transcender, and working through them, and looking up any missing items on MSDN.

It took me about 100 hours to prepare for the exam, but this is having already a solid understanding of Object Oriented Programming, having passed some Sun Java Courses, and having used .Net at work. I probably could have studied for less time, if I was warned about this book.

Also make sure to place special emphasis on studying streams, including all related streams types, crypto , compression, text, etc, and their corresponding method signatures.

I'm giving this book 2 stars, instead of 1, solely on the fact that that this is really the only 70-536 study guide in print, and using it will save you time over trying to figure things out using Microsoft's atrocious MSDN, which is just as poorly written and confusing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Errors and Inconsistencies, August 9, 2006
By 
J. Frishe (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover)
I'm afraid I have to go against the positive reviews and give this book one star.

The first and biggest problem I had with this book is that it does not attempt to teach you very much about the topics on the 70-536 exam. Or, perhaps it *does* make this attempt but it fails pathetically. Instead, it scratches the surface of the topics and "points you in the right direction". I'd hoped the book would take a more rigorous pedagogical approach to discussing the exam topics. Microsoft's MSDN is better at explaining the topics than this book, in my own opinion, and this is how I will study for the exam going forward.

The book is divided into chapters and each chapter has several lessons. At the end of each lesson is a set of review questions.

Here are some examples of the problems I had with the first two chapters of this book (before I decided to give up on it):

Chapter 2, Lesson 1 does *not* discuss the System.IO.File class nor does it mention System.IO.Directory, yet the very first question in that lesson's review is in regards to these two classes.

On page 56 the authors mention overriding the Parse() method to provide a conversion from Strings. Override it? Override it from what class? It's not defined in System.Object. Probably the authors mean *provide* a Parse() method.

On page 948, one of the answers to a question reads, "...when an abstract method inherited from System.Object is called." What? System.Object does not define *any* abstract methods.

There are other problems as well. Chapter 2 lists many methods on the DirectoryInfo and FileInfo classes. Sometimes the authors tell you what return types the methods have and sometimes they don't, and sometimes they are just wrong (p.92, the OpenWrite() method).

I admit I only read the first two chapters of this book but I believe it's a total waste of money. I don't understand how this book can have any positive reviews. Before you buy this book you really should spend some time looking it over at a bookstore. I wish I had.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.