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.


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  • Hello Gerry,

    If 70-536 will not longer exists, will we have another (new) exam about "core" of .NET Framework, like it?!

  • Mads,

    Short answer is no.


  • Hi Gerry,

    Will these exams be available in USA ??

    Didn't you forget to add USA in the banned list ??

    Also, do you know why those countries are beta-excluded ?? and who makes the translation for exams ?

  • Ok, that's it, Phil just got the US on the excluded list.  :-)

    Yes I do know why the listed countries are excluded from the beta exams.  Am I allowed to make allegations?  No.  Am I allowed to speculate?  Yes.  Am I allowed to post my speculations?  Probably not.

    If you think hard enough about it, I am certain you can come to the appropriate conclusions.  :-)

    Who makes the translations?  I do.  I speak 140 different languages fluently and am well versed in all developer technologies.  

    Not really.

    We actually put the language translations out for bid and have various partners perform those translations for us.  So, as to who, many different vendors have worked on the exam translations.


  • Hi Gerry.

    Where can I find the 70-515 and 70-519 exam contents?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Hi Andres,

    As I mentioned above, the prep guides are not posted yet but will be shortly.  They will outline what is covered on the exams.

    Look for that announcement soon.

  • Hi Gerry,

    I am planning to take 70-536 and 70-528 in May 2010. Will I still hold the credit of a MCTS when the new .NET 4.0 Exams come in?



  • Hi Gerry,

    I am planning to take 70-536 and 70-528 in May 2010. Will I still hold the credit of a MCTS when the new .NET 4.0 Exams come in?



  • Hi Jaweed,

    Yes, you will still have the MCTS certification.  You will continue to be certified until we retire the exam and certification.   This won't happen until Microsoft ends mainstream support for that Visual Studio version.


  • Hi Gerry,

    The skills being measured for each of .NET 4.0 exams (70-511, 70-513, 70-515,70-516, 70-518, 70-519) are available from:

    What will the prep guides provide in addition to the above? Thanks.



  • Hi Lino,

    These are the prep guides.

    Somebody hit the publish button before I had a chance to post here that they were available.


  • 28% of the exam is web forms and only 10% is mvc?  good to see some love for MVC but not as much as there should be.

  • Hi Brandon,

    Keep in mind that your peers decided "what" whould be on the exam and then another larger group of your peers decided "how much" coverage each component should get.

    An important consideration here is not how cool, new, or useful a technology is but rather what is important from a skills and knowledge perspective at this time in the industry.

    Microsoft does not dictate to the subject matter experts that design these exams, what they must include or not.  We do indicate that new technologies should be covered when they are included in a product release or part of a technology but that is it.  

    There will never be 100% satisfaction between all developers when it comes to what is on an exam but we expect the subject matter experts that help use design and create these exams to tell us what is most important from a day-to-day perspective with the covered technologies.

    As MVC grows and gains in usage, you will likely see more coverage on the exam in future versions but for now, the industry has spoken and this is where this exam sits in terms of MVC.

    I don't say this to remove blame or responsibility from Microsoft for what is covered on the exam, merely to help you and others not familiar with the process to better understand how these percentages are arrived at.


  • Hello Gerry, why is it that if we sum up the relative weight of each topic it adds up only to 75% and not 100%  ?


  • My last question was refering to the 70-515 exam.

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