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.

Observations:

  • 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

Does Certification Prove You’re #1?

August 11, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Performance-Based Testing, Vendor news | 2 Comments
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It’s that time of year when the football talk begins at the office. Recently a friend told me that his team was ranked #1 in the nation. What I want to know is, how is this possible? The team has not played a single game yet, so that team has not proven itself worthy to be #1. I feel the same way about tech job candidates. When applying for a job, you have to have a lot more going on than your tech recruiter’s hype. You have to prove that you are the #1 candidate. A certification is great, but the certification has to prove that you know your stuff.

If you have taken any certifications for Microsoft Office, you might be familiar with the Microsoft Office Specialists exams. These exams incorporate “Live-in-the-Application” technology. Test candidates are graded solely on their ability to perform tasks within Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint. If you know how to do the tasks, you swim and pass. If not, you sink and fail. This is a great idea for testing – but it’s only implemented for the Office exams. It wouldn’t be feasible to give a candidate, say, a server farm to manage in order to administer a Windows Server 2008 exam.

Recently the friendly folks at Microsoft started to “kick it up a notch” with some of their exams by including simulation questions. Keep reading…

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