Settings in the lessons relate 3d rendering engine-Ray the V . In fact, V-Ray is an external plugin. It is not only for 3ds Max, but also for other 3d programs such as Maya , the Rhino , the SketchUp , of Softimage and as far as I know, the craftsmen even tightened V-Ray to free Blender. In other words, V-Ray is a program in the program and whether the program in which it is embedded, the essence of his work does not change. Only a few different elements of the interface, customized for a particular 3d editor.
With specific regard to your problem, it is not related to only one setting, and even more so in no way is connected with the version of 3ds Max. It is not strange, but most likely you simply have very little experience and your scenes themselves are not enough realistic. This also applies to models, and light, and the environment, and materials. You just need to do a dozen other scenes, using the information presented here, before your renderings will become realistic. Without this in any way😉