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Why Pay to Take a Beta Exam? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I just finished reading the Microsoft Windows Server Certification Overview web page, and everything now is clear as day. That page answered all my questions, and disabused me of my misconceptions.

    However, I am curious about one thing. The last section of that page deals with beta exams, stating that beta exams are the same cost as "live" exams, unless you are specially invited by Microsoft to take them for free.

    When you take a beta exam, you are helping Microsoft test and fine tune their exams in preparation for going live. In other words, you are doing free product testing for Microsoft.

    Therefore, my question is this. Who in their right minds would pay to do free product testing for Microsoft? I'm sure there is a logical reason for this, but I can't figure it out. So, can someone please explain it to me? Thanks.

    Thursday, August 9, 2012 9:23 PM

Answers

  • In my own opinion, I suggest you wait. If it takes 8 to 12 weeks for you to get your results, the exam often goes live before that time limit. It absolutely drives me crazy not knowing the results for two to three months.

    If Microsoft wants more people to take beta exams (and now expects people to pay for them), they need to respect the test takers enough to mail/email them their results (pass or fail) as soon as they are determined. I understand the beta testers often spend weeks constantly logging into the Prometric site, checking their results (over, and over, and over...) hoping to see PASS or FAIL.

    As well, Microsoft needs to ensure all beta test takers have been notified BEFORE the exam goes live. That has never been the case for me when I took beta exams...

    If you take a beta exam, plan to spend a few hours answering all the questions in the exam pool. Normal test takers of live exams only get a subset (guessing about half of the pool) of all the questions.

    Good luck to you on your certification conquests!


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Friday, August 10, 2012 2:04 AM
    Answerer
  • When you pass the beta exam you actually get the certification. I believe before Beta exams were free to take and if you passed - you received nothing. Now when you pass you actually get the certification the Beta test is for.
    Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:11 PM
  • The statement that you referenced is completely true.  Usually they are testing out a large pool of questions instead of the actual smaller pool that you get in the real exam.  So to answer your question...what is the advantage?  In my case, I have always been able to take the beta exam for free by being invited (have a valid voucher code) and get credit for the exam if I pass.  So the advantage is taking the exam, without pressure, for free, and possbily getting credit for the real exam if I pass.

    Tim Harrington | Lync: MCM/MVP | Blog: http://HowDoUC.blogspot.com | Twitter: @twharrington

    Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:55 PM

All replies

  • When you pass the beta exam you actually get the certification. I believe before Beta exams were free to take and if you passed - you received nothing. Now when you pass you actually get the certification the Beta test is for.
    Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:11 PM
  • I have taken a lot of beta exams and have never paid for one of them.  Usually you can get a voucher code from Microsoft (hence you "invited" statement).  Also, when taking beta exams, whether free or paid, you do get credit for passing them (you will get credit for the real exam) if you do in fact pass the beta exam.  This has been my experience.

    Tim Harrington | Lync: MCM/MVP | Blog: http://HowDoUC.blogspot.com | Twitter: @twharrington

    Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:18 PM
  • Thanks, Terrahertz and TWHarrington. What you both said makes sense, so I will rephrase my question.

    According to Microsoft, "Beta exams are typically longer than "live" exams and do not provide a score to candidates immediately upon completion. The beta exam results are provided 8-12 weeks after the first beta exam has been taken."

    So this means you take a longer exam including "experimental" questions, and you don't get a score until 8-12 weeks after the first beta exam has been taken. Why not wait and take a "live" exam with proven questions and an immediate result?

    Therefore, is there any advantage to doing a beta exam over a "live" exam, if you're paying for both?

    Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:37 PM
  • The statement that you referenced is completely true.  Usually they are testing out a large pool of questions instead of the actual smaller pool that you get in the real exam.  So to answer your question...what is the advantage?  In my case, I have always been able to take the beta exam for free by being invited (have a valid voucher code) and get credit for the exam if I pass.  So the advantage is taking the exam, without pressure, for free, and possbily getting credit for the real exam if I pass.

    Tim Harrington | Lync: MCM/MVP | Blog: http://HowDoUC.blogspot.com | Twitter: @twharrington

    Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:55 PM
  • Thanks, TWHarrington.

    What you said makes perfect sense to me since you get your beta exams for free. I wish all of us could be so lucky :-)

    Thursday, August 9, 2012 11:00 PM
  • In my own opinion, I suggest you wait. If it takes 8 to 12 weeks for you to get your results, the exam often goes live before that time limit. It absolutely drives me crazy not knowing the results for two to three months.

    If Microsoft wants more people to take beta exams (and now expects people to pay for them), they need to respect the test takers enough to mail/email them their results (pass or fail) as soon as they are determined. I understand the beta testers often spend weeks constantly logging into the Prometric site, checking their results (over, and over, and over...) hoping to see PASS or FAIL.

    As well, Microsoft needs to ensure all beta test takers have been notified BEFORE the exam goes live. That has never been the case for me when I took beta exams...

    If you take a beta exam, plan to spend a few hours answering all the questions in the exam pool. Normal test takers of live exams only get a subset (guessing about half of the pool) of all the questions.

    Good luck to you on your certification conquests!


    Best wishes, Davin Mickelson

    Friday, August 10, 2012 2:04 AM
    Answerer
  • Hi Davin,

    Thanks for your reply. Your sentiments echo my own. Some test takers like a challenge, and are happy to put up will all the inconveniences you outlined once they get to do the beta exam for free.

    However, for the rest of us, if you're paying anyway, it seems to make sense to wait for the live exam.

    Good luck to you on your certification conquests as well.

    Friday, August 10, 2012 10:15 AM
  • Hi Folks. I just found an answer to my question in the following thread, in a post by Mr. Wharty.

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en/CertGeneral/thread/09ce0203-74cf-4ff2-96b8-5b07acf4fafe

    Mr. Wharty wrote:

    I'd just like to add that the reason why people take (or should take) beta exams is to assist with the process or creating and releasing quality certifications.  If people are sitting beta’s purely because they thought it was a great way of getting a freebee, then they’ve misunderstood the beta process and why beta’s are released in the first place.

    Microsoft does release codes to allow people to sit beta’s for free however these are now being released to selected participants and Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) instead of the wider community.  I think charging people to sit beta’s is a great idea as it weeds out all those only taking the exam so they don’t need to pay for it in the future.

    To register as a SME, please visit https://connect.microsoft.com/site862 (Please note, registering as a SME doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be invited to sit beta exams for free.)

    When you see answers and helpful posts, please click Vote As Helpful, Propose As Answer, and/or Mark As Answer Jeff Wharton MSysDev (C.Sturt), MDbDsgnMgt (C.Sturt), MCT, MCPD, MCSD, MCITP, MCDBA Blog: Mr. Wharty's Ramblings Twitter: @Mr_Wharty

    Monday, August 13, 2012 9:16 PM
  • If you pass a beta exam, your certificate will show "Charter Member", though I think that you still get that if you pass the exam "within six months from the first date that the certification can be earned".

    Thursday, November 22, 2012 6:21 PM