none
Testing Centres' Operating Sytems RRS feed

  • Question

  • Should a Testing Centre be able to tell you with 100% certainty which operating system will be used for an exam? My view is that they should be able to do that no problem at all since they know the pc you are going to be using to sit the exam.

    For example say I want to do the EXCEL 2010 Expert exam and I have done the training for that on Windows 7.

    I want the exam environment to be identical to the envionment in which I have learnt because my experience tells me that software runs differently (not much I admit) on different operating systems. This difference can have an impact on the answers to the exam questions.

    I am looking for unequivocal replies please.

    Thanks in advance for any replies.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011 9:36 PM

Answers

  • Correct.

    Not at all.  The outcome of the exam would be exactly the same.

    Excel 2010 does exactly the same thing in Windows XP. Windows 7, Windows Server, Windows Virtual PC, Hyper-V, VMWare and the list goes on and on.  A function in Excel 2010 doesn't behave differently depending on the OS.  If it did, no one would be able to share Excel spreadsheets as they'd produce different calculations depending on the OS it was opened on.

     


    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Please mark answered if I've answered your question and vote for it as helpful to help other user's find a solution quicker
    • Marked as answer by trip_to_tokyo Friday, November 11, 2011 9:19 AM
    Friday, November 11, 2011 7:37 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • As far as I'm aware, the exam will be exactly the same no matter what operating the exam centre PC's run.  Where have you heard that the exam will be different?
    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Please mark answered if I've answered your question and vote for it as helpful to help other user's find a solution quicker
    Friday, November 11, 2011 4:07 AM
    Moderator
  • The exam won't be different because the questions are the same but the results might be because the software can be run on different operating systems.
    Friday, November 11, 2011 5:54 AM
  • Results will be exactly the same irrespective of the OS on the PC as exams are run in an application host environment, not directly on the OS
    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Please mark answered if I've answered your question and vote for it as helpful to help other user's find a solution quicker
    Friday, November 11, 2011 6:53 AM
    Moderator
  • Am I right in thinking that an Application Host Environment is simply some specially constructed environment in which the test is run?

    If that is the case does that not, strictly speaking, invalidate the test results altogether since nobody would ever use this Application Host Environment in a live situation?

    In a live environment the software would be run on a, "true" operating system like, for example, Windows 7.

     

    Friday, November 11, 2011 7:29 AM
  • Correct.

    Not at all.  The outcome of the exam would be exactly the same.

    Excel 2010 does exactly the same thing in Windows XP. Windows 7, Windows Server, Windows Virtual PC, Hyper-V, VMWare and the list goes on and on.  A function in Excel 2010 doesn't behave differently depending on the OS.  If it did, no one would be able to share Excel spreadsheets as they'd produce different calculations depending on the OS it was opened on.

     


    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Please mark answered if I've answered your question and vote for it as helpful to help other user's find a solution quicker
    • Marked as answer by trip_to_tokyo Friday, November 11, 2011 9:19 AM
    Friday, November 11, 2011 7:37 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for that Jeff.

    However I do not agree with you when you say that the software will operate the same on all operating systems.

    The only way to establish that, as a matter of fact, is to test the software on each of those operating systems and make sure that the results are the same.

    When I have tested (the same) software in the past on different operating systems my experience has been that running the same software on different operating systems can, and does, produce different results. OK the results were not significantly different but they were different.

    If I therefore practise for a test on say Windows 7 at home and then get tested by Microsoft in their Application Host Environment different results might be seen and this could result in a loss of marks to the student.

     

     

    Friday, November 11, 2011 7:53 AM
  • Sorry but I don't agree and having done 30+ Microsoft exams, I can say without a doubt that the OS makes absolutely NO difference whatsoever to the result of the exam. 

    If you can prove 100% that it will and does, I suggest that you contact Microsoft as they will need to revoke thousands (maybe even millions) of certifications around the world as they cannot guarantee that test takers actually passed their exams because all the test PC's weren't running the same OS.


    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Please mark answered if I've answered your question and vote for it as helpful to help other user's find a solution quicker
    Friday, November 11, 2011 8:01 AM
    Moderator
  • Jeff, we will have to agree to disagree.

     

    You cannot say, with 100% certainty, that, "without a doubt that the OS makes absolutely NO difference whatsoever to the result of the exam" since Microsoft are conducting the test in, what you say, is an Application Host Environment. The only way to be 100% certain that the tests that they run within this environment will give the same results on other operating systems is to test that and make sure that identical results are seen.

     

    If a student has done their preparation in an environment different from Microsoft's testing environment (let's say Windows 7 for example) any testing / preparation that they might have conducted in Windows 7 might yield different results when conducted in Microsoft's Application Host Environment and that can only be established by documented testing and verification of the results.

     

    The results I see as a student in Windows 7 might be different from those that I see in the said Application Host Environment.

     

    It is not therefore accurate to say, "without a doubt that the OS makes absolutely NO difference whatsoever to the result of the exam".

     

    I (or anybody else) can only prove that the results are different between say Windows 7 and Microsoft's Application Host Environment by running documented tests in the 2 different environments and making sure that identical (or not) results are seen.

     

    I have not conducted that testing so I am not in a position to say whether or not the operating system used had an objective and measurable effect on the results.

     

    The certifications that Microsoft have issued are clearly fundamentally flawed because their tests have been run in an Application Host Environment that does not exist (please correct me if I am wrong) outside of their Testing Centres.

     

    Microsoft certifications, if they do not already, clearly need to come with a, "health warning". This should state that the candidate has been tested on an operating system (or perhaps more accurately a testing environment) that does not exist in any other place other than our Testing Centres.

     

    The certifications would be more meaningful and accurate if they stated that the candidate had passed the test when it was run on this particular operating system (for example Windows 7).

     

    Notwithstanding the above I shall mark your contribution as the answer since you have answered my original question: Microsoft don't really test on any one particular operating system but they do test candidates within a specific testing environment (that you refer to as an Application Host Environment).

     

    Thanks for your help.

     

    Friday, November 11, 2011 9:19 AM
  • Given that the majority of exams are multiple choice, I can in fact state without reservation that the result of multiple choice questions are exactly the same regardless of the OS or environment the questions are hosted in.  I’ve yet to see an OS that has the power to change a person’s multiple choice answer.

    There are some simulation exams and these exams are hosted in the environment being tested i.e. Windows Server simulations are hosted in a Windows Server environment, not in Windows 7 or Windows XP.

    Having also participated in Alpha and Beta testing of certifications, I’m very aware of the rigorous testing that is undertaken on exams.

    Given that Microsoft Certifications have been around for many years, it is extremely unlikely that these certifications would still exist if they suffered from the types of flaws you allude to in your post.

    If you feel so strongly about this issue and believe that Microsoft certifications have been compromised due to your stated reasons, may I suggest you contact Microsoft and voice your concerns.

     


    Jeff Wharton
    MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCITP, MCDBA
    Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings
    MC ID: Microsoft Transcript

    Please mark answered if I've answered your question and vote for it as helpful to help other user's find a solution quicker
    Friday, November 11, 2011 9:35 AM
    Moderator