Wes Bucey said:
Anybody else besides Leanne want to comment on the sources and the value they offer?
There are basically 3 major players in Certification materials: QCI, ASQ and Quality America. The rest of the providers offer material for a specific certification (example Westfall for CSQE, QualityWBT for CQA).
Comparing ASQ and QCI material:
I used QCI material for the preparation of all my 6 certifications.
My first certification was CQMgr. Since I did a refresher course from the local section, they supplied the Quality Management Division’s Lesson Plan kit and CQMgr Handbook. It is a good reference book, but I had difficulty as an exam preparation material. (This distinction exists in all certification preparation materials). QCI is a good exam preparation material but not a reference handbook. You need these both as an exam taker and a professional. As close to 10 days to exam, I got hold of QCI CQMgr preparation which probably helped me immensely in the exam. Since then I used QCI for all my other certifications. The most important thing I like about QCI is it arrangement in the order of Body of Knowledge. This ensure that you don’t miss any sub sections while preparation for the exam. This is probably I would say the strength of QCI. The least I like about QCI is, about 8~12% of CD questions are too subjective, contradict among other questions or probably even incorrect. The rational for some questions “and the logic” really frustrates users.
Comparing QCI and QA:
After I was done with many other certifications, as the last one, I decided to write CRE. This is an exam that is in a totally different league compared other certification and also the most difficult one. So I browsed the Quality America website and tried the sample questions. I was very impressed with the difficulty level and clarity of those questions. I bought the CRE Quality America books and CD. It was not the same as preparation with QCI material. I realized that QA had picked best questions and used in the public quiz and the other questions in the CD is not of the same maturity and clarity as those of the quiz. (This was back in 2004). They may have improved by now. I even sent my detailed feedback to QA for improvement. That time I realized I needed QCI and got hold of that material 8 weeks before exam and passed. I understand Quality America is better in CQE preparation. I think this is where they have stronger presence.
I have not got the opportunity to compare all 3 for a given exam. All the above are my personal opinion.
Hope this helps. Please send me a PM if you have any questions.
Govind Ramu, P.Eng,
ASQ CQMgr, CQE, CSSBB, CQA, CSQE, CRE.