OK, what now.


Hello, it’s me, on Prometric and the exam delivery decision. I have had a lot of conversations and e-mail exchanges with a lot of you–and it is clear that not everyone thinks this is the right decision. I respect that. But, here we are, still. We still want you to care about certification, I still want you to heckle me about certification and Heinlein on my blog, and you do, or might want to, take an exam at some point in the future. 


OK, what now.


Do this, please. If you’ve posted a comment here, or on your own blog or in a forum elsewhere – please send your comment, question, or rant–if you haven’t already–to msledp@microsoft.com. Why? I’m sharing/logging comments and others are doing the same in newsgroups – but this team can’t be everywhere, all the time… and I don’t want any of your feedback to fall through the cracks. There is a team of people (behind msledp@microsoft.com) responsible for logging, aggregating, and responding to your questions. Send your feedback so that we have a clear, unified picture of the customer viewpoint, that MSL and Prometric can be accountable to you, and we can prioritize answers and solutions to the highest concerns. 


OK, next.


Our teams are working really hard to get info out in response to your questions and concerns – but I get that not all of you have the answers you need yet. Prometric will post to their site, as specfics are available. A few things I’ve heard recently:  



  • Does Prometric offer academic (72-XXX) exams? Yes. If you find that that is not the case, send an e-mail to msledp@microsoft.com
  • On January 1, where will you take an exam? Prometric is really pushing to bring on new centers. From our FAQ – the goal is to have a test center within 30 miles of you.
  • Will there be weekend testing at Prometric? According to Prometric, weekend testing is available already at many centers. It sounds like it is a center-by-center decision. If you have a specific question about this, log it with msledp@microsoft.com 
  • How can I submit feedback to both Microsoft Learning and Prometric. The msledp@microsoft.com goes to a joint team.

  • <added Aug 30> Questions on registration and cancellation polices? or on delivery requirement minumums? See Prometric’s update.

OK, next.


If you have an exam coming up, you have until August 31 to buy a VUE voucher and until December 31 to use it. So do that if you want – or make a note to go to Prometric for your next exam and give it a shot. This last bit is borrowed (thanks Ken) but it says better what I’d like to say. “Keep taking exams. Stay with VUE to their last day if you like…switch to Prometric as soon as you are ready. When you take exams with Prometric, don’t hold back on the criticism if your expectations are not met… <but>…don’t hold back on the praise if you have a great experience. It’s the best way to identify positive change and ensure that it continues.”

Comments (18)

  1. Kjetil says:

    It actually looks like people’s voice is heard. I am still sceptical about only one provider (competition makes things better!), but hey.. guess we have to give them a chance. To bad you can’t just change to another provider if you’re not happy.

    Keep us informed.

  2. Actually the big problems here in Italy is that Prometric doesn’t cover well the territory as VUE (and VUE center for my experience offers a great service than Prometric).

    Having only one exam provider will help us to have a better service or not? I’m sceptic…

  3. Erwin Blonk says:

    My next exam will be in September. I will return to the testing center I avoided for a couple of exams after 3 out of the last 4 there were aborted at different points into the exam (which Prometric eventually responded to in a satisfactory manner – to be fair, out of 3 times, only once the cause was Prometric and one other time their aftercare was a bit sloppy but as I said, they made up for it).

    My general experience is positive. Because I live in a densely populated area, coverage is not a problem I ran into but I see how it will be for many people.

  4. Todd says:

    I wrote 291 this week at a VUE location. I asked them about becoming a Prometric location, and they had already applied, which is promising. The microsoft exams are their biggest draw, so they want to keep that up. I’m going to try to do my best to get two more exams in before August 31st.

  5. Dave S says:

    I’m standing up and putting in a good word for prometric here.

    In the face of what I’ve been reading a lot of, I *have* had a lot of good experiences with them. I have a choice of prometric and vue centers, and I’ve been using prometric for all my MS exams (9 at the last count) and the ordering, booking, locations, I like it all. I get a good clean room with modern computers and decent TFT screens, the only bad thing at all being a really mean lady in the cafeteria who makes you pay for the coffee that used to be free.

    They’ve shown me good service, and good support since my first exam in 2004 to my most recent, this morning about 10am.

    I intensely dislike monopolies, but, I also think it won’t be a great problem, because I imagine Microsoft will probably have final say for pretty much anything exam related.

    So, I’m gonna say WHASSSAP?? prometric … you guys are my main men. Keep up the good work, and hang in there you vue-using brethern. There is hope for you with prometric šŸ™‚

  6. Ive taken some really stupid number of exams (17? 18?) at a combination of Vue and Prometric testing centers.

    I have had satisfactory experiences at both.  I have had an unsatisfactory experience with a testing center affiliated with either one.

    At a geographic coverage level, I can see some of the… shall we call it ‘anxiety’… when you may soon have to be driving 50 miles or so to go to a prometric location?

    My advice?  Spend the time now.  Find out what is availible in terms of Vue and Prometric locations and then visit ones that you might be interested in going to, even if they are right now an exclusive Vue location.  Locations which are now Vue can apply to take part in the Prometric testing program as well!

    Express your desire to continue testing with them and asking if there is someone you can talk to about the upcoming Microsoft changes.  Be polite but open that you have/would-like-to take exams at thier center but right now you cannot because they dont do prometric-affiliated testing.

    In the US, I would encourage you to visit http://www.newhorizons.com .  Since my first exam taken at an NH learning Center, I have made every effort to take my exams there and they do both Vue and Prometric testing.  The few times I have tried to take exams elsewhere (Vue/CompUSA and an actual Prometric testing center), I have been sorely disappointed in the experience by comparison.

    2 years, a CompTIA exam, 12 released microsoft pro exams (13 if you count my once-ever fail), 4 microsoft beta pro exams, and 1 microsoft dynamics exam later, I can honestly tell you that it makes a real difference in being comfortable with your testing location.  Find one you like with reasonably up to date equiment and then either they already are prometric, encourage them to go Prometric, or find a close by location you do like and can test at.

  7. Wayne has made a great point. Having worked for New Horizons in the past, I have had the opportunity to visit numerous NH centers and all, IMHO, had excellent testing centers. For what ever reason, I began sitting exam at one of my local community college campuses. This too has been a positive experience. Both my exam centers were clean and quiet. No equipment failure šŸ™‚ and the staff was professional. As Trika asked, just give it a shot guys. And be humble. If you have a positive experience, share it. You can still have a positive experience but have small concerns about specific area. This is called feedback. Use the email address provided and help make the change better for you and others.

  8. andy (ajs1976) says:

    Let me tell you about my New Horizons experience.  Went into take an exam and with about 20 minutes left the fire alarm goes off.  I look out the window to see everyone leaving.  No one comes in to say anything.  I decided to blow through the last couple of questions and hit submit.  Ended up failing by one or two questions.  I know most of you are thinking that it was just a fire alarm, I shouldn’t have worried about it and just taken my time.  The date was 11/2001, just two months after 9/11.  It wasn’t worth it.

    Six years later and I’m still holding a grudge.  Prometric’s response was that the proctor waved and told us to stay in the room.  I guess that fact that I was in a cubicle behind sound proof glass didn’t matter.  I don’t remember, but maybe Prometric gave me a voucher or discount, but I don’t think they did.  To this day I avoid Prometric when I can and will not have anything to do with New Horizons.

  9. Erwin Blonk says:

    Funny you mention the voucher, because that´s exactly what Prometric did for me.

    Of the 3 equipment failures, 2 happened between December and July, in which period I was studying real hard to get my MCSE fast. I was on schedule for May/June, so having to go back and find a slot for a new exam twice was costing me about a month extra to a 6 months schedule. It also meant an extra month before I got the raise and participation in the bonus structure that was attached to it, so it was costing me money.

    The voucher was welcome because it largely made up for that (an exam costs $190 tax not included).

    Again, my overall experience with Prometric is a good one.

  10. Daniel says:

    I took the windows 2008 beta exam some days ago in a prometric test center… The guy came 2 or 3 times during the exam to ask.. "is everything ok?" lol.. pretty annoying when you are trying to concentrate on the exam…

    and he left my wallet and my cell phone on a desk in the same room and left..  I had to leave the room to try to find him when I finished..

    Well, in this case the problem is not Prometric, but this specific test center…

  11. And I really think that many of the problems that people are talkling about right now are along the same lines.  Aside from test reporting issues and distance to closest center issues, its the test center not the overarching program association.

    I think one of the critical initiatives that needs to be acted on is providing an effective feedback process where real problems with test processes can be reported and acted on.  

    E.g. Your personal effects are supposed to be placed in secured storage, out of your presence during th exam.  This center failed.  You send an email to an address or fill out a web form.  Prometric actually sends a warning letter based on the incident report.  Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly reports are executed against the reports to look for either geographic, reporting person, and test center correlation to identify either frequent individual reporters accross test centers , indicating possible unreliability of the reports, or identifying trends in service or potential experience/process deficiencies at a given center.

  12. Erwin Blonk says:

    The only problem I have is that, whatever guarantees are given, gone is my ability to vote with my wallet, which is the ultimate power for a consumer. If for some reason I decide I don´t like Prometric, I can take my business to….. Prometric.

    Ironically, I was about to do that. To be sure, seeing that Prometric has resolved the issue with me, I wouldn´t have done so. Yet, I had the option (I had already opened an account with VUE and was looking for centers and dates for my September exam).

  13. Jonathan says:

    I was very critical of this process as well (see my other rants) and I still have some serious doubts about Prometric customer support. I also like having a choice in testing. That being said I received a phone call from MS today asking about my posts to the blog and my thoughts. I have to say that I felt they expressed genuine concern and respect for my views and experiences with Prometric. I was actually shocked to hear from them! It was a very welcome move. I am scheduled for an exam in two weeks and I promised to email my unbiased review of the exams / testing experience. So we shall see. Iā€™m not going to start singing kumbaya yet ļŠ

  14. Daniel says:

    am I the only one getting an error message after choosing "IT" -> "Microsoft" in the Prometric website?

  15. Drew says:

    Trika:

    This is a horrible decision on Microsoft’s part.  The nearest Prometric testing center to me is a 2 hour drive (4 hours round trip).  Also, due to work and school obligations, I am pretty much limited to Saturday testing.  The nearest Prometric center with Saturday hours is 3 and a half hours a way.  2 hours is unacceptable and 3.5 hours is incomprehensible.  If Microsoft is really going to stick with Prometric only, my days of Microsoft exams will be done.

    It makes no sense to eliminate Pearson-Vue.  Many of the colleges in the area are Pearson Vue and these tend to have a much nicer environment and much more stable PCs than several of the fly by night Prometric operations I’ve been to.

    I think Microsoft is making a horrible decision here that they will regret.

    The worst thing to me is how this decision was made with absolute zero input from your customers (us test takers) who are supposed to be very important to you.  Shameful!

    Thanks

    Drew

  16. Drew says:

    Trika:

    I was wondering if you could comment on why the change was done with some specificity.  Even Pearson-VUE seems to have been shocked by the decision.

    See questions #5 and #6 at http://vue.com/ms/testtakerfaq.pdf

    From that, it seems that Microsoft has had nothing but good things to say of VUE and has no idea why they are being dropped.

    Just curious.  I still haven’t really heard the reasoning behind the change.

  17. Flair says:

    Sorry about all – I don’t think that MS did make a good decision, but we must wait and try – or cry šŸ˜‰

    The Website von Prometric is still unusable (the click stream is so bad, that I’m really  sad about that) as same as MTM was a long time. I’m very glad that I’m not have to rely on the MTM Services at all. So I’ll stay as a MCT I hope for better Service from Prom. will be be available in future – who cares? My next exam will be at the end of next year – hopefully MS went back or Prometric does a really BIG change. Go On!!

    Maybe MS does big pressure to EDPs as sometime big and ugly companies do with their customers and partners – I know a lot of them inside and even MS might be on the better side – communication around the decision process is horrible and I hope for the future that transparent decisions become much more important