New Twist to Exams: Just Do It

Microsoft's Learning Group to introduce simulations to MCP exams; new question type already available in Windows Server 2003 core exams.

Today, the Microsoft Learning Group announced what it calls a "dramatic change in the testing protocol," with the incorporation of newly developed performance-based question types to its exams. The new question types will begin to appear in exams in late March.

The Learning Group previewed performance-based questions, also called "simulations," to Microsoft Certified Trainers and Certified Partners for Learning Solutions members at a special non-disclosure session at Microsoft's World Wide Sales partner conference in Toronto last summer.

Performance-based questions will slowly be substituted for some of the questions on exams already available, first with exams 70-290, Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment, and 70-291, Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure. The last day that candidates can take these two exams sans performance-based questions is March 31, 2005.

According to a Microsoft Q&A posted on its press release site, candidates will see those questions begin to appear on other exams throughout the year; the company plans to release in late March a schedule showing when exams will go live with simulation questions.

Microsoft exams that feature simulations will continue to be provided by Prometric and VUE testing centers worldwide.

Candidates who have already achieved certification or passed exams that have or will incorporate simulations do not need to retake exams. Microsoft does allow candidates to retest on exams that have been updated with simulations to "help an MCP refresh his skills and perhaps make him a bit more marketable," states Al Valvano, Lead Product Manager with Microsoft Learning. is working on obtaining more details on this story. In the mean time, check out the following links:

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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