This came up recently, and I thought maybe some of you would like to hear these answers, too.
- Does Microsoft update exams after their initial release?
- Does Microsoft alert customers when exams are updated?
- Are training materials updated when the exam is updated?
Does Microsoft update exams after their initial release?
Yes. There are a very few scenarios in which we make changes to an exam after we release it to the public. In general, when an exam needs an update, we “seed” new content into an exam without changing the focus or difficulty of the exam. There are many complexities to these processes, and additional scenarios, but a few examples are:
- when the underlying technology has a significant update that makes questions within the exam incorrect or irrelevant
- when a question’s performance indicates that the question is not a fair/good representation of your skills and should not be on the test
- when we feel an exam’s integrity may have been compromised.
- we may update an exam to implement a new testing technology (i.e. simulations).
Does Microsoft alert customers when exams are updated?
No. Every question on the exam maps to one of the objectives that are published as part of the prep guide for this exam on the Microsoft Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/exams/70-291.mspx). Exam items are updated on an as-needed basis, but the updated exam items still map to the existing prep guide. In other words, we’re still testing on the same skill set, even if a particular question changes. We do not announce or publish any record of updates to exam content. The subject matter experts who develop our exam questions have determined that the skills tested are ones that a minimally qualified candidate should possess to be considered proficient in this subject matter area, and we stick to that. In other words, nothing that we change on an exam should change how, or what, you study to prepare.
Are training materials updated when the exam is updated?
No. In accordance with ANSI and ISO accreditation standards, any Microsoft-developed learning materials related to this exam are developed independent of the exam content. Authors have access to the published objective domain, just as you do via the prep guides, but they do not have access to the exam questions themselves. Although these materials (e.g. training kits, courses, e-learning) are designed to help you prepare for the technology or an exam, it is expected that qualified candidates will have sufficient experience in working with the technology to successfully perform the tasks described in the test questions. Microsoft exams are not intended as post-tests on any preparation or training product. Our certifications are designed to measure experience-based skills without bias in regard to the manner in which candidates obtain these skills. This is the intended value of the certification and is in keeping with the standards (ANSI, ISO) mentioned.