MS Exams….. how much worse can they get ?

I sat 70-412 this morning, as part of my “exam updating” process that I go through every 3 years or so. I’ve now passed 30-ish (I think it might be 33) MS exams since 1997, so I think I’m reasonably qualified to talk on the topic.

While I agree with many people out there that think MS exams are of little real value, due to the poor nature of the questions, the unrealistic scenarios and obscurity of some of the questions, they do help us keep our partner status (which is a whole ‘nother argument) and every now and again, there is a question in there that makes me go home and read up on a topic I don’t know well enough.  The dumps commonly available around the web and the “certification factories” running in places around the world de-value any real test of knowledge the test may have represented from an employer point of view.

So the price is ludicrously high and the value minimal, but the fact that we need them for partner status makes it a moot point – they have to be done if we want to be a MS partner.

Anyway…. onto todays specific exam:

  • Fair enough you can’t take phones etc in… but today, I made the mistake of being sick….. and I wanted to take in a cup of tea… nup… can’t take in a cup of tea… because… well, I might cheat by… umm….. reading left over tea-leaves ? (that weren’t there because there were only tea bags available at the testing centre). Just as well prometric cracked down on that security loop-hole! Well done!
  • Test machine only hung once during todays exam…. was typically slow, but only the one hang – this is very good for MS exams.
  • Question refered to Server1 and Server2 in the question, but all the answers were about Cluster1 and Cluster2…. not a disaster, but would it really hurt to get someone to proof read exams before they go out ?
  • Question about Hyper-V test failover…. all of the answers were about failing over the entire cluster…. and well, all wrong
  • Question about setting up a failover cluster, where the user is an administrator on both nodes, but not a domain admin…… I don’t remember the exact wording, but the first two answers were absolute gibberish (and one of them should have been the correct answer if they had said what I *think* they were trying to say). Clearly written by someone who does not speak english well….. and when the outcome of an exam can depend on wording – I think that’s pretty bad. I completely agree that my spelling and grammar are average at times too – but this is a blog read by a few thousand people – not an exam taken by (I assume) 10’s, if not 100’s of thousands of people, some of whom may need to pass for career progression etc.
  • There were the standard couple of questions in there that had “correct” answers, but talking about methods which you would never, in real life, use. Would it really be that hard to get someone who has actually used the products to write… or at least proof-read the exams ? (the SCCM 2007 exam was a pearler for this too)

So… whats the point of writing all this ?

How about some basic QA on exams before they go out ?

How about getting one of the 1/2 decent MCS techs to look over it before they go out ?

How about getting someone who speaks english as their native tongue to look over it before they go out ? (for english exams) or even someone that write good n stuff ?

But alas – none of that will happen… so really its just an opportunity to blow off some steam. Microsoft and their partners don’t seem to “do” criticism, constructive or otherwise.

I’ll go back to knocking off exams and ignoring the MCM program due to its excessive cost.

One thought on “MS Exams….. how much worse can they get ?

  1. I went in with a runny nose, and was told I was not allowed to take in the unopened little pack i had with me, but could have 2 tissues from the test centres box.

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