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.

Gerry

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  • Hi Gerry,

    When will we get the results from the Windows Mobile 6.5 Development exam? :)

    Thx

    Marton

  • Hi Marton,

    The exam is set to go live this week which means you should be seeing the results next week.

    Gerry

  • Hi,

    I am eagerly waiting for the post about how we register for the exam, do you have any idea when the post with those details will arrive.

    Sorry to be pushing.

    Kim

  • to Kim:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/gerryo/archive/2010/02/10/free-certification-exams.aspx#9971958

    PS. I envy Gerry's patience (answers to most of questions above can be found in this blog).

  • Thanks Ulugbo, for trying to answer my question.

    I took the patience and read through the link you posted me once more (as I did before I posted my comment). And even if it does announce that the details for registering for the exams, will be posted in a little bit, it doesn't actually say how to register.

    Kim.

  • Kim,

    The details on how to register will be included in the announcement with the links to the prep guide for each exam, the beta code, and a link to Prometric who delivers these exams.

    Have pateience, the details will be posted soon.  Again, subscribe to the RSS feed and you will know as soon as it is posted.

    Gerry

  • Hey Gerry,

    Will any kind of Windows Mobile 7.0 exams be aviable in the future?

    Anyway I passed the Windows Mobile 6.5 development beta exam, so I will have some beer today. :)

    Marton

  • Congratulations Marton!

    I fully suspect we will have new Windows Phone 7 Series exams in the future.

    Obviously I have no idea on timelines yet but it is a big product launch for our Windows Phone 7 division and we will be certain to support that with certification.

    Gerry

  • Hi Gerry - thanks for your prompt reply of everyone's questions it's great.

    I'm currently half way towards MCPD 3.5 Enterprise Developer having done

    • Application Development Foundation

    • ASP.NET Application Development

    • ADO.NET Application Development (data access)

    With the following to go:

    • Windows Forms Application Development

    • Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)

    • Pro: Designing and Developing Enterprise Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

    My goal however would be to obtain the 70-519: Pro: Designing and Developing Web Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4

    As I am focussing more on web.

    If I want to upgrade to this - I am gathering that it would make more sense for me to take the MCPD ASP.NET Developer 3.5 PRO exam now to get that (instead of Enterprise MCPD) and then wait for the 4.0 MCPD Web App Developer upgrade? I would have done 1 more exam than necessary in that case (ADO.NET) but that's ok.

    Thanks in advance,

    Hamish

  • Hi Harrish,

    We will also allow the upgrade from MCPD Enterprise on 3.5 to MCPD Web Developer so you can still continue with your intended 3.5 path.

    Because there won't be an Enterprise Pro exam for .NET 4, you may want to obtain that certification on 3.5.

    Gerry

  • Hi Gerry

    The anticipation is killing me ;)

    What will be taking the place of the Enterprise Pro Exam for .Net 4?

    Thanks

  • Hi Robert,

    There is no Enterprise Pro and no replacement at this time.  For various reasons we didn't create one this time around.

    We're looking at how Azure, SoA, SSaS, other Cloud Computing technologies and ALM all play into the certification landscape so you may see something coming around those technologies.

    For now, the Web and Windows Pro certs require passing ADO.NET and WCF exams along with the requisite Web or Windows TS exam so each is similar to Enterprise without having both client technologies included in one exam.

    Gerry

  • Hi Gerry,

    May I contact you in private?

    Best wishes,

    Marton

  • Hi Marton,

    Yes.

    first.last@you know where

    Gerry

  • Hi Gerry,

    Any update on this?

    Regards,

    Datta

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