In July, Microsoft switched from Prometric to Pearson VUE as the administrators of the Microsoft Certified exams. This week they are announcing an expansion to that partnership and new offerings for IT Pros interested in becoming certified. The biggest update announced in the press release from Pearson VUE is the announcement that certification exams can now be taken online. This could save many IT Pros several hours of driving to exam centers, which certainly does not help one prepare for taking a test, and should help those with testing anxiety feel more comfortable.
In order to securely allow the online testing, Pearson VUE is using “online proctoring” for this new offering. The exams are taken online and the candidates could be at home, the office, or other locations. The locations must be a clean private office with the desk space visible via webcam. A microphone will also be required and tests can be taken online by appointment between 10am-10pm Eastern time. During the initial beta period, a limited number of tests will be available to US residents including:
- 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
- 70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
- 70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
- 70-687: Configuring Windows 8.1
- 70-680: Configuring Windows 7
- 70-688: Supporting Windows 8.1
- 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements
- 70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services
- 70-640: Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory
- 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server
- 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server Databases
- 70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server
Another change to the testing was discussed in a Reddit thread created by a Microsoft employee. As another means to curb cheating, the questions on the exams are being changed from multiple choice answers to more practical, interactive questions. These changes will be for both in testing centers as well as online test takers.
We’re also adding a number of safeguards to the exam questions to make them harder to cheat, with more parameterized exam questions and answers, as well as interactive questions (e.g. enter a SQL query rather than just select a multiple choice answer). We also use psychometric forensic analysis techniques post-exam and online proctoring will help us detect some common ways people attempt to cheat.