Free Certification Exams

Free Certification Exams

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<warning> This is a long post </warning>

Want to see if you’re ready to develop for the Azure platform?  Do you have what it takes to create Web apps using ASP.NET, JavaScript, AJAX and Silverlight?  What about desktop apps using WPF?  Perhaps you're the service developer using WCF or maybe you're good at data access with ADO.NET.

Ever tested your knowledge on these topics?  Want to?

I have just the opportunity for you.

I know some of you are just waiting for the announcement while some of you may find this page through a search engine and have no idea what I’m talking about.  Whatever brought you here is not important at the moment.  What is important is that I am providing advanced notice of upcoming exams for Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4. 

Why is this worthy of your time?  If you decide you want to take one, or more, of these exams, it’s important to know what you’re up against and what it will cost you. 

First things first.  Cost. Simple. You don’t have to pay anything to take these exams.  Absolutely, 100% free, no charge, take ‘em while you can.  There are no catches, no caveats, no tricks.  Free is free in this case.

In case you doubt me, let me explain what a beta exam is and why we are offering it for free.  During our exam development process, we make the actual exams available, at a Prometric testing center, for no charge.  This is a step that helps us increase exam quality by having industry experts evaluate each question, by taking the exam, and providing feedback to Microsoft.  We use your feedback to fix, replace, or scrap questions that are technically incorrect, not relevant, etc.  You help us create a better product for your fellow developers that will have to pay for the exam.

Some common questions and answers are provided here;

1) How much does it cost to take a beta exam? – Absolutely nothing but your time.   There is no charge.  Nothing from Microsoft or Prometric. 

2) Is this a real exam? – Yes it is.  Even though the questions are not scored at the time you take the exam, they are real questions and the exam is real.  If you pass the exam, you earn the certification just the same as if you took it in a non-beta environment.  This means you don’t get a pass/fail or score immediately following the exam, but you do get notified 8 to 10 weeks later because we move slow in getting the final scoring in place.

4) What is the main difference between a beta and non-beta exam, besides cost? – The beta exam will show you questions that have not been through a final QA check.  You are that final QA check.  Non-beta exams expose you to 40 or 45 questions and you have a total of two hours to complete it.  The beta exam could expose you to as many as 125 to 150 questions and take up to four hours.  (bathroom breaks permitted).

5) Who is eligible? – The prep guides will go into more detail about the target audience for the exams, and the links to those will be forthcoming, but, If you use .NET 2.0, 3.5, or 4, and Visual Studio to create software applications using the technologies included in the .NET framework, you are eligible.

6) Why is this beta different from others? – In the past, we have focused our beta invitations on a small set of subject matter experts.  We want to expand the beta offerings even more to industry experts who haven’t taken an exam yet, are considering it but don’t want to invest the money until hey know what the exam is all about, and to get a larger set of experts providing the feedback to help drive quality.

7) In the past, I have tried to register but the exam slots were all full.  How will this be any different? – We set a maximum limit on the number of beta exams that can be delivered.  This is necessary for various reasons, some obvious and some not, but I won’t be going into those here.  To alleviate the issue of the exams filling up, we are increasing this maximum limit to address two problems, not enough open seats and no-shows.  That’s right, people actually register for an exam and then don’t show up to take it.  Even it is free.  No-shows result in exam seats being unavailable to someone who wanted to take it but could not. 

8) When will these be available? – All but one exam will be available between the dates of March 31, 2010 to April 20, 2010.  Mark your calendars now!  We will also be opening registration earlier for these as well.

9) What exams are we talking about?

70-511 TS: Windows Applications Development with Microsoft® .NET Framework 4
70-513 TS: Windows Communication Foundation Development with Microsoft® .NET Framework 4
70-515 TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft® .NET Framework 4
70-516 TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft® .NET Framework 4
70-519 Pro: Designing and Developing Web Applications using Microsoft® .NET Framework 4

70-518 Pro: Designing and Developing Windows® Applications using Microsoft .NET Framework 4 will not be available in this time frame but should be available in the April time frame.

10) How do you sign up? – In a little while, I will be making a post to this blog again with the link to the prep guide, Prometric’s web site for registration and the all important beta exam codes that change that cost in your shopping cart to $0.

As always, if you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please start the dialog here.


Leave a Comment
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  • Hi Mahesh,

    When the prep guides for these exams are published, they will list the Microsoft training resources that are, or will be, available.

    Most third-party training vendors don't get started on prep materials until they have seen the prep-guides to ensure they are matching the exam objectives.  I cannot tell you who will create training material for these exams as we don't control third-party vendors and what they develop.

    If you have followed any of my previous posts, you will know that I am of the opinion that to prepare for these exams, it is best to use the prep guide to identify the areas you need to be proficient on, use the product and MSDN to learn and practice those skills that you are weak on.


  • Hello Gerry, given that the beta exams will begin soon, can you tell us when will the non-beta exams be available ?

    I was starting studying for 70-536 when I read about 4.0 certs and now I'm waiting for the prep guide to study for the 70-515 certification

  • afortaleza,

    The live versions of the exams will be available the first week of July.


  • Is this exam available for india as well??

  • Hi Amit,

    The beta will not run in India or China.  THe live version will be available in July however.


  • Hi Gerry,

    Will the beta exams be avaliable to take in the UK?



  • Tony,



  • Hi Gerry

    When do you think we will know the syllabus (skills measured) for VS2010 exams ?



  • Hi VJ,

    I will be publishing the prep guides in the next week or so.


  • Hello Gerry,

    Will the beta exams be avaliable in Germany?



  • Hi Marcel,

    There seems to be some confusion about a previous answer posted above so I will clarify here.

    These exams will be available worldwide with the only exceptions being China and India.  All other countries with a Prometric testing center will have access to these beta exams at the same time.


  • Gerry.

    God wot the heck m here for?

    Iam a student learning c, c++ and also starting java now(nothing formal).

    Wondering if i can apply for any of those after going through the course material u'll provide.

    If the answer is yes or no then wot would be the best for me?

    Hope m not bugging u hun :)


  • nicks,

    If you are just starting out in C/C++ or Java, I wouldn't recommend that you consider taking these beta exams.  The material covered in these exams is on developing applications using various .NET technologies such as ASP.NET, ADO.NET, WPF and WCF.  If you are not familiar with these technologies and have some experience developing with them, you are not a good candidate for these exams.

    And no, you are not bugging me.  :-)


  • Hello Gerry,

    Will the beta exams be avaliable in Norway?

    with best regards, Anna

  • Hi Anna,

    Two posts above I answered that question.  :-)

    However, I'm glad you posted because I did make one mistake in that post.

    I said worldwide availability except India and China.  I forgot to add Pakistan to the excluded list.

    So, the answer to you is yes, it will be available in Norway.

    However, the next person that asks me if these will be available in their country will automatically exclude that country from the beta.  :-)

    Not really, just a little morning humour.


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