83-640 versus 70-640: Which MCTS: Windows Server 2008, Active Directory Configuration is which?

February 3, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Posted in Microsoft | 36 Comments
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Editor’s note: from April 21 to May 7, 2010, you can take the Microsoft Learning Testing Center Survey here: http://deploy.ztelligence.com/start/survey/survey_taking.jsp

As a follow-up to our previous post, here are some points to clarify any confusion between the two tests (70-640 and 83-640) for MCTS: Windows Server 2008, Active Directory Configuration.

  • 83-640 will gradually replace 70-640: MCTS: Windows Server 2008, Active Directory Configuration, in 2009. The study objectives are the same for both exams; the content has not changed, just the format.
  • The lab-based exam was beta tested as the 70-113 pilot.
  • Microsoft is using the 83-### numbering scheme to distinguish lab-based exams from the traditional multiple-choice and interactive item-type exams (70-###) and the Microsoft Certified Application Specialist simulation-type exams (77-###).
  • To date, 83-640 has only been rolled out in three countries: Ireland, Singapore, and Canada. There is no word yet on when it will be released in the rest of the world.
  • In areas where 83-640 hasn’t been released, test-takers will take 70-640. Both versions count equally toward certification.
  • The lab-based exam also includes traditional multiple-choice item types. Microsoft does not plan to discontinue that type of question at this time, since some points are better tested in a question/answer format than by demonstrating a technique.

It’s Alive! Microsoft rolling out performance-based testing for 2009

November 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Posted in CompTIA, Oracle | Leave a comment
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After the lengthy pilot period, Microsoft has announced a limited rollout of the performance-based lab version of 70-640: MCTS: Windows Server 2008, Active Directory Configuration for 2009 (formerly 70-113).

Read the full story here:

Right now it’s only being made available in English. And I can’t find this info on the website at the moment, so don’t quote me, but someone-who-heard-it-from-someone-who-heard-it-from said that it will debut in Ireland, Singapore, and Canada. (No word yet on when it will be released in the rest of the world, or in non-English languages.)

Word is that Sun and Oracle are developing on their own performance-based lab tests. Cisco, of course, has offered simulation exams for years, but they might be adding some emulation environments as well.

It’s very exciting, y’all.

See you on the other side of Turkey Day!

70-113 pilot exam: third extension’s the charm

October 27, 2008 at 11:06 am | Posted in Microsoft, Performance-Based Testing | Leave a comment

As per Born to Learn, The Microsoft Learning Community and Evangelism Team’s blog, the virtual lab-based emulation exam, 70-113: TS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring, has been extended a third time. The current end date for registration is December 17. The last day to take the exam is December 31.

Use the following promotional code when registering for the exam: H640.

During the test you will have an opportunity to comment on each section and give your feedback regarding the interface, the content, or any technical issues. After the test, you can also post feedback in comments here.

Mo’ beta goes global: 70-113 pilot period extended (really!) to October 25, 2008

October 9, 2008 at 7:48 am | Posted in Microsoft, Performance-Based Testing | Leave a comment
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If you missed out on the 70-113 pilot, or if you reside in a country where the pilot was not offered, you have another chance: it has been extended to October 25. The Microsoft Born To Learn crew just made this announcement:

Now virtual lab based pilot Exam 70-113 is available worldwide, with high concentration of test centers ready to receive registrations for this pilot exam in Ireland, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, UK, Egypt, UAE, South Africa, US, India, Eastern Europe, Russia (Moscow), China.

If you’re at all interested, I suggest you hop on over to the Born To Learn post NOW for the promo code and signup information, because they’re also giving away exam vouchers:

Upon completion of this pilot exam, the first 3000 candidates will receive 3 (!) free exam vouchers that can be used to register for any Microsoft Certification exam delivered at a Prometric testing center.

Finally, one of the Cool Kids

September 24, 2008 at 11:31 am | Posted in Microsoft, Performance-Based Testing | Leave a comment
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After two false starts, I finally took Microsoft’s pilot emulation exam, 70-113 (TS: Windows® Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring). Everyone else in my department had taken it, so now I’m in like Flynn. [ETA: this test functioned as the pilot for the 83-640, released May 2009.]

I had a blast with the test (possibly because my IT career didn’t ride on its results). The objectives mapped to 70-640. There were two “lab scenarios,” each of which featured between seven to twelve tasks, and then 37 multiple-choice questions. A comment field was provided after each section so you could provide feedback on what was or wasn’t working.


  • Realistic scenarios. Some of the tasks were related (one action built on the other), and some were not, but all seemed like the kind of tasks you’d find on a network admin’s to-do list. Even the more obscure or one-time tasks (such as tasks that related to configuring new elements of a domain / account / site / etc.) were all things I’ve seen in Transcender practice tests.
  • Clearly stated tasks. I knew exactly what I was supposed to do, and it was up to me to figure out how to do it.
  • Most the logical resources were available, e.g. if you couldn’t remember a CMD parameter, you could open a run box and type cmd /? and get them that way. (However, you couldn’t go online and look them up.)
  • Complex pre-configuration – already done. Bang, you’ve got your GPOs, your Active Directory groups, your child domains, et al. set up and ready for manipulation.
  • The cool part was that it felt real, or at least as real as the virtual server I play with here. The interface was a little slow and finicky, just like any other virtual server, but perfectly functional.
  • The monitor was on the smallish side, but I got used to opening and then collapsing the task list to keep track of what I was doing; I also scribbled the tasks on the little wipe-board to stay on track, which was a help.

We’ve talked a bit (okay, a lot) about emulations and simulations in this blog. I was actually doing a test run through some simulations we’re developing when I left to take the emulation test. Comparing the two, I come to this conclusion: I can’t and shouldn’t compare the two. Apples, meet oranges. In the continuing effort to evolve fair, comprehensive, and secure IT certification tests, I see a valid use for both technologies, depending on the exam.

I’ll blather on about that in my next post.

-BM Ann

Mo’ beta: 70-113 pilot period extended?

August 12, 2008 at 3:38 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Performance-Based Testing, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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I tried taking the 70-113 exam (TS: Windows® Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring) last Thursday. It’s technically a pilot of the new performance-based testing (PBT) technology, not a beta exam per se. However, the testing center couldn’t get the exam to run, so I just drove there and back. You could say it was a beta of the pilot, with the actual pilot to follow.

The nice lady at Prometric told me that Microsoft has extended the 71-113 pilot testing period “through the end of September,” so I rescheduled. The posted end date is September 12. Important Disclaimer: I’m not an official representative of either company; I don’t know if this translates to more slots opening up for the test or if they’re just shuffling around the people who were already signed up. If this is something you want to take and you missed the original beta announcement, you might want to keep an eye peeled on Trika’s blog to see if they announce an extension.

[Note for those unfamiliar with American slang: mo’ betta means “more better.” This is more worser grammar so don’t repeat it on, say, a job application.]

[Note on the note. If, in LOLspeak, “pwned” is mo’ betta than “owned,” then would better than mo’ betta be written as…. no’ betta?]

-blogmistress Ann

ETA 9-12-08: Success! I contacted Microsoft directly a couple of weeks ago to report the test failures. And yesterday I got a call out of the blue from Prometric, asking me if I wanted to reschedule. So now I’m re-re-taking the 70-113 exam on September 19. Third time’s the charm.

From what I have seen on comment threads, the issue is not with the pilot product itself, but with the requirement that you connect to the Internet (where the virtual servers are) from within the Prometric network. Historically, exams have *not* allowed test-takers to go onto the Internet during an exam, so it makes sense that they’re still ironing out the kinks in that interface. (Again, not an official representative, not an official explanation, just a best guess.)

I’ll report on my actual experience when I return (victorious!) from the pilot.

ETA(2) 10-09-08: Pilot WAS extended! Information here: https://transcender.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/mo-beta-goes-global-70-113-pilot-period-extended-really-to-october-25-2008/.

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