RoboHelp Certification Exam

Subject: RoboHelp Certification Exam
From: "Harden, Catherine (Jernigan)" <catherine -dot- harden -at- gilbarco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 15:38:04 -0400

I am writing to provide my feedback on the RoboHelp Certified Professional
exam, which I took today for the second time.

I have been using RoboHelp to create HTML Help files for almost three years.
I have used fairly advanced features of the product, such as Build Tags and
Information Types. I have always been satisfied with the product, and feel
that I am proficient in using it. When I registered for the RoboHelp
Certified Professional exam, I felt confident that I would be able to pass
the first time.

To increase my chances of passing the exam, I ordered The Essentials of
RoboHelp HTML 2002 by Kevin Siegel, as recommended by eHelp. I completed the
exercises in the book, and felt that using the book to study was beneficial
because it helped me familiarize myself with new features and tools I had
not used before, such as skins and frames. I also studied the RoboHelp Help
file, particularly the topics listed on the Additional Study Hints page on
eHelp's website. I felt well prepared for the exam, but I was surprised at
how many questions dealt with the Help output formats and context-sensitive
help. I scored a 67 on the exam. I was disappointed, but thought that I knew
what I needed to study in order to pass the test on my second try.

I registered for the test again, and this time I studied the RoboHelp Help
files extensively. I reviewed everything I had studied before, in some cases
delving deeper into topics I already felt familiar with, such as Keyword
controls and different ways to perform common tasks, such as adding topics
and creating templates. I also pored over the WebHelp, Context Sensitive
Help, and Help Formats browse sequences in the Help file.

This morning I went into the exam feeling extremely confident that I would
pass. After all, I had studied all the topics recommended by eHelp, using
the resources suggested by eHelp. And, of course, I had three years of
experience using the product! How much more prepared could I be?

I don't know exactly what went wrong, but this time I scored a 64 on the
test. One thing I do remember is that FOUR questions on the exam dealt with
the hhActiveX.dll. One was a duplicate question (the exact same question,
with the exact same wording and answers in exactly the same order) asking
which of the listed features required the hhActiveX.dll. One was a true or
false question asking whether the hhActiveX.dll was required for HTML Help
files containing browse sequences. The other was a question asking whether
HTML Help required IE 4, the hhActiveX.dll, or hhpud.exe. I remember the
specifics of these questions because I went over them several times. I
hadn't studied the hhActiveX.dll. It seems unfair that I could have missed
four questions because I failed to study one fairly minor aspect of
distributing the product, especially since one of the questions appeared

Needless to say, I was very disappointed by my failure to pass the exam,
which seemed to have a different focus than the exam I took the first time.
Overall, there seemed to be even fewer questions dealing with the everyday
tasks a RoboHelp user would face, and more questions dealing with Help file

It seems obvious to me that a RoboHelp Certified Professional should be
knowledgeable about the tools and procedures necessary to create Help files
in RoboHelp. All the questions about which output format to use and what
components are necessary for distribution address topics that are dealt with
once or twice in the development of the project, and can easily be looked up
in reference materials when the information is required. The real test of
whether or not a user knows the product is how they do with questions about
"real-world, hands-on experience". I would have liked to have seen more of
those. Many of the test questions seemed arbitrary, as if they were
developed by someone who has read the manual but never used the product. I
don't feel that the certification exams I took were accurate assessments of
how well I know the product.

I do not know if I will take the exam again. I have now spent $160 on exam
registration and study tools. If I knew what to study in preparation for
giving the test another try, I might go ahead and register again. However, I
cannot see that anything short of memorizing the RoboHelp Help file would
prepare me for what might turn up on the next test.

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