Practice exams are a feature we’ve offered for years and has quickly become one of our most popular features alongside hands-on labs — after all, it makes sense to take a simulated exam before going for the real exam to check whether you’re prepared or not.
However, our students started approaching us last year with feedback on how we could improve our Practice Exams feature.
Most of the feedback revolved around two experiences:
1- More closely simulating the real exam user flow experience
2- The speed at which our questions load
Even though our practice exams questions & answers are built to mimic the actual exam, whether that’s for AWS, Linux, DevOps, Azure, or OpenStack, the user interface and overall user experience did not simulate the real exams as well.
Combine that with code that was written a while back and needing performance optimizations, and you’ve got the recipe for improvements to our very popular feature!
Say hello to our new Practice Exams system!
As of April 1st 2018, all of our new courses are launching with our new Practice Exams system!
Side note, we’re releasing 20 new courses and over 50 Challenges & Learning Activities on Linux Academy & Cloud Assessments the month of April 2018 — that’s more than one new piece of content every business day!
(Clearly, I need to brush up on my AWS account setup skills with those results…)
All jokes aside, the first thing you’ll notice is that these practice exams now live in our Cloud Assessments Platform, which is a platform that we launched late last year.
Why is that significant? Because our Cloud Assessments engine (which is backed by some AI) will get better and better at recommending you Learning Activities based on your own personal skill set. Gone are the days where you have to figure out what you know and don’t know on your own — instead, our engine figures out your strong and weak points, and tailors training to fill in your knowledge gaps. (But more on that in future posts – be on the lookout!)
So we’ve kept the most important features that everyone loves, but you’ll notice that we added in a few new features for an overall better experience.
The recommended time we display (shown by the green checkmark in the image above) is there to help give you an indication of how much time you should spend on a question.
It doesn’t mean that we mark the question wrong or force you to move on if that timer runs out — that’s not how the real AWS exams do it — but instead, it’s meant to help give you a good feel for how long you should spend on a question before marking it for review and reviewing it at the end. Otherwise, you could spend 10 minutes on a single question and run out of time to get to other questions you actually know how to answer. It’s better to spend 30 seconds on a question and admit “I don’t know the answer, I’ll get back to it” and then go on to answering the next 5 questions correctly — so we help you get in that flow as you practice with our exams.
Mark for Review
Just like you can in the real AWS Certification exams, our Practice Exams allow you to mark a question for review. We’ve improved this “mark for review” process to more closely simulate the real exams.
Marking a question for review means that you will be asked that question again at the end before submitting your exam. This lets you move on to other questions so you can focus on those you’re not 100% sure about at the end.
We take student feedback very seriously, which is one of the reasons why we are making it easier and easier for you to provide feedback on our features and content.
Practice Exams aren’t any different, so you will find “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” icons on every question.
Results & Explanations
We’ve also enhanced our results page and explanations for each question and answer. Here’s a sneak peak:
If you don’t get an answer right, it turns into a great learning opportunity — so it only makes sense that we make it easier for you to see your results and learn from those results.
I mentioned at the beginning of the post that our questions and answers would load slow, and this was part of the feedback from our students. In today’s day and age, speed is a necessity, so we’ve made this Practice Exams system much faster and you will feel the difference as soon as you click on “Start Exam.” 😎 (try it out!)
We’ve got some great Linux Academy and Cloud Assessments content and features being worked on for 2018 that we can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime, enjoy our new Practice Exams system!
Thank you for using Linux Academy and Cloud Assessments and thank you so much for your amazing feedback so far – please keep them coming!
Let me know what you think of the new Practice Exams system below – I’d love to hear from you!