How prepared are you for working with the latest software?  Take a look at Alfred Thompson’s blog for the precise information on how to get the Free Microsoft Certification Exam, see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/alfredth/archive/2011/03/24/free-microsoft-certification-exam-vouchers-for-students.aspx for the usual information on these kinds of programs. This information includes: Videos from students discussing the value of a certification, how to use Dreamspark.org.

Now the bad news: These exams require study, your school, unless they specifically “taught to the exam” did not prepare you for the exam.  If you are professional taking a class at the local community college, this is a way to get a “free” exam (Microsoft does have to pay for these, so the number is limited, large, but limited).  However, no one discusses the preparation required for an exam.

To prepare for the exam you should review the exam guide for the exam that you are going to take.  If you can afford it, and since the exam is free, you should consider this, pay for access to one of the exam prep sites like http://measureup.com or others.  If you want to be sure to pass the exam, then you should get 100% twice in the “certification” mode of these practice exams.  Good practice certification exams have complete answers with links to online information.  Depending on the exam, you can get limited time access to the practice exams for around $70, especially if you have coupon.  Microsoft does not support or approve of any of these practice exams.

More importantly, you should create practice projects for Web, Windows Presentation Foundation, and so forth.  Consider the client component as it is likely that the client will become more important with the improved phone, slate and other devices, purely web based applications will become less interesting with the improvements in opening data streams via OData.  Not to minimize the web applications, these are important, but frankly, I have been through the cycles a number of times and the client is down right now, but it will become more important, then it will switch back to web based applications. 

Hope this helps out.