Written by Ken Rosen, Microsoft’s Director of Digital Marketing.
Come on, admit it: you’ve always wanted to take one of our exams in your pajamas. I can’t be the only one. Or maybe you travel for business frequently and find yourself in a hotel room with nothing to do and nothing good on TV. Or maybe you just live hours away from the closest testing center and hate the idea of wasting fuel and time to get there.
Microsoft and Pearson VUE are on a mission together to make our certifications more convenient and accessible. That’s why we are excited—to put it mildly—to introduce what is probably our biggest innovation since we started certifying MCPs back in 1992.
Starting today, if you are a U.S. resident (and if you’re not stay tuned—we’ll be expanding soon), you can take dozens of our MCP and MTA exam from the comfort of your home or office through a process called online proctoring by Pearson VUE.
Online proctored exams are the exact same exams that we offer in onsite testing centers. What’s different is that the exam is administered by a remote proctor who will supervise you via webcam and microphone while you take your test.
You can take an online proctored exam at home, at work, or at any other location that meets our hardware, software, security and environment requirements. (There are quite a few: you can view the full list here.)
You’ll be asked to empty your pockets while on camera, provide a close-up on your ears so you can prove you’re not wearing a Bluetooth earpiece, do a visual sweep of your desk and the room… all things you’d expect a proctor to check if they were there in the room with you. If you ensure that all of the requirements are met before you check in for your exam, the whole check-in process should only take about ten to fifteen minutes. If you have as many Bruce Springsteen posters on your office wall as I do, add another five minutes for the proctor to inspect them all for hidden notes.
Another advantage to online proctored exams: you can schedule them with as little as fifteen minutes notice if appointment slots are available (Online proctored exams are available Monday through Friday, from 10am to 10pm Eastern Time), and your exam results will be immediately accessible from your MCP dashboard when you finish your exam.
Sounds like a cool experience, right? It is—but since this is the early days of on-line testing (there’s a reason we’re calling this a beta), there are some important trade-offs to be aware of as well:
- You’ll be recorded—both video and audio—for the duration of the exam.
- You can’t take notes during the exam.
- You can’t eat, drink, or chew gum while you take the exam.
- You can’t take a break—for any reason. Including biological ones.
If any of the above pose a problem, you should take your exam at a testing center instead.
During this beta period, we’re not charging anything additional for these online exams—you can take them for the exact same price as their on-site counterparts. At this time, the beta is open to U.S. residents only, but we plan to add more countries soon.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I have an exam to take, and I need to go put on my Microsoft Certified Pajamas.