Export Exams from Visual CertExam to Anki

While studying at the MCITP course, I, like many other IT specialists, ran into exam dumps, in which specific questions and the correct answers to them could be learned. Even knowing the theory well, dumps greatly increase the chance to pass the exam itself, and in the process, to fix in memory the details of the topic itself. This, of course, and so everyone knows.

The actual preparation process usually looks like repeatedly passing the same exam over and over again in Visual CertExam. This approach has, in my opinion, a big minus: the program does not take into account how well I know a specific question, and with each pass I have to spend time over and over again on those questions that I have already learned well to move on to those that not yet.

I've been using Anki for a long time, which uses an algorithmrepetition interval (Spaced Repetition) .

The translation, in my opinion, is too literal, but not the point. The system itself is described in detail by reference, but in a nutshell it can be described like this: cards with a question and answer are formed. During the repetition of the material, a question is displayed, and you need to remember the correct answer. The answer is compared with the answer on the card, and if the answer matches, then the program will show the card a little later. With correct answers, the intervals look something like this: day, two, week, two weeks, month, well, etc. If the answer is incorrect, then the program resets the interval and everything starts again. Thus, using this system daily (preferably), the material is deposited in long-term memory.

This approach has many advantages:
  • Well-learned material is shown less often, therefore, you do not need to spend time on it
  • New / forgotten material is repeated more often
  • Anki is for all platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac)
  • There are Anki clients for Android, iOS and other mobile platforms. That is, you can learn material on your mobile phone, standing in line, on the bus, etc.
  • Anki also has a cramming mode in which you can walk through the entire material, ignoring the intervals, to, say, repeat the material before the exam

This is a very brief description of Anki. The program has a lot of settings, support for many languages ​​and all that.

Anki can be downloaded here .

Therefore, I decided to write a script that exports a dump from the Visual CertExam format to the Anki deck. It is still quite raw and limited, but it works and has already helped me pass the exams, saving a lot of time.

The script is written in Python and can be downloaded here .

It works like this. The exam is exported from VCE Designer to a text format, after which the script from this text file creates a finished Anki deck.

The question and list of answers goes to the front side of the card, and the correct answer (or answers, if there are several) goes to the back side. If the answer has notes or an additional explanation, they are also added to the back of the card.

The current version of the script is adapted for working with ankimini. Mostly because this assembly has all the necessary dependencies.

I personally tested it only on Windows, but theoretically it should work on other systems.

How to use the script:
  1. Download Python 2.7 (32 bit) (again, Python 3 and 64bit did not test).
  2. Download ankimini from here .
  3. Unpack ankimini.
  4. In Visual CertExam Designer, open the .vce exam.
  5. Click File-> Export to, and export to the folder with ankimini. We call the file test.txt (it is important to choose the .txt format - the script does not work with rtf).
  6. Open the test.txt file in Notepad ++.
  7. Click Encoding-> Convert to utf-8 and save the file. (theoretically, any editor should be able to save the file in utf-8 format).
  8. Copy the script vcetoanki.py to the ankimini folder.
  9. Run vcetoanki.py

All. If everything went well, the test.anki file should appear in the ankimini folder, which you can open in Anki and start learning from it.

The minus of the script is that it does not save pictures if they are in the dump. Fortunately, there are usually very few of them. For the sake of interest, I began to parse the binary .vce format so that it could be converted directly, without exporting to txt, and with minimal data loss (like pictures), but I went not far and only managed to decipher the name of the exam and the first question. If anyone is interested, I can post what I managed to parse on gist.github or pastebin.

Hope this little script helps someone as much as it helped me.

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