Sorry for the late notice, but I've just been informed that there's a free Visual C++ 2005 certification exam available (#71-526). While this is a "beta" exam and is only good until January 31, it does count towards certification in the same way as the final version of the exam. Note that the exam can be taken using Visual C++, Visual C# or Visual Basic - you specify your desired language when the exam begins.

The story here is that Microsoft has launched a "new generation of certifications" consisting of two distinct series of credentials for .NET Framework developers:

  • Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) - The MCTS credential highlights your ability to develop Windows, Web, or distributed applications using the .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005.
  • Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) - The MCPD credential highlights your job role, featuring your specific area of expertise and allowing you to distinguish yourself as an expert in Windows Development, Web Application Development, or Enterprise Applications Development.

To explain how these exams fit together the bigger picture:

Exam 70-526 (the "final version" of this exam") is one of two exams required for the “Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications” (MCTS) credential. To achieve this credential you will also need to pass exam “70-536: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 - Application Development Foundation”.

After achieving the MCTS credential for Windows applications, you will be able to achieve the “Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Windows Developer” (MCPD) credential by passing one additional exam: “70-548 PRO: Designing and Developing Windows-Based Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework.”

Special Notes

Please be aware of the following:

  • Promotional Code and Exam Number - The exam number is 71-526 and the promotional code is TSB526
  • Passing the exam - Candidates who take and achieve a passing score in the beta exam will receive a free exam voucher for any Microsoft Certification Exam. Vouchers will be sent after exam scores are tabulated.
  • Restrictions - The beta exams are not offered in China, India or Pakistan. Please don't waste your time sending me emails about this issue as I have no control over it.

Registering For and Taking the Exam

This is an in-person exam only (not an online exam). However, there is information online about the exam itself, including a self-test evaluation that you can take to measure your preparedness.

To register for the test in your area:

  • Thomson Prometric: (800) 755-EXAM (800-755-3926)
  • Pearson VUE: 800 TEST Registration (800-837-8734)

Outside the U.S./Canada, please visit the following Web sites for registration information: