Performance based testing pilot


I know many of you have heard about our emulation technology that we’re developing and rolling out with the Prometric team. We’ll have a lot more information on this soon, but in short: it is a new type of performance-based testing that has you kids performing tasks in a full, virtual version of the technology. This is different from the simulations many of you have run in to on our exams; in simulations you perform tasks in built out mock-ups of the technology. "Simulations restrict you to a small number of expected paths, whereas emulations allow for any path, as long as the end result is correct."

Emulations will be pretty much the same experience you would have on the job. But it’s a test. Nice. 

We’re doing some testing of the technology now, and you are invited to participate in a pilot. This is a pilot of the testing experience – not a beta. So, please check yourself bywy:

  • You won’t ever get a score or credit for taking this exam–you participate to be a part of improving the certification program. Though there is an exam voucher involved…
  • Not all Prometric centers offer the exam (about 1,000 of them do right now) so you might not have an opportunity in your area yet.
  • You should be familiar with Active Directory, that’s the subject matter.

If you’re interested, here’s the invitation, please read it carefully!

—————————————

Register for New Performance Based Testing Pilot Exam 70-113: TS: Windows® Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring

Microsoft Learning is testing a new Performance Based testing system that will be integrated into the existing certification programs in order to better evaluate and validate candidates’ skills using Microsoft products and technologies.

The Performance Based testing method we are piloting is an exam which emulates a Windows Server 2008 infrastructure. In this infrastructure you will be tasked with completing a series of tasks. Once complete, the system will evaluate each tasks end-state to determine if the tasks have been completed and correctly implemented. This process is different from simulations because you will have every tool and path available that you would normally have in a real world scenario. Simulations restrict you to a small number of expected paths, whereas emulations allow for any path, as long as the end result is correct.

This pilot exam will not provide you with a score as with normal beta exams. This pilot is a test of the exam experience, delivery system and infrastructure, so only a portion of the final exam will be presented to you during this pilot. This pilot exam will not be added to your transcript and you will need to take the exam in its released form in order to be awarded the credential.

By participating in this pilot exam, you have the unique opportunity to provide the Microsoft Certification program with feedback about your exam experience, and exam content, which is vital to the future development of Performance Based exams in their released version. We depend on the contributions of experienced IT professionals as we continually improve and expand our certification program and testing technologies to grow the value of Microsoft certifications.

Upon completion of this pilot exam, the first 3000 candidates will receive a free exam voucher that can be used to register for any Microsoft Certification exam delivered at a Prometric testing center.  The voucher will be distributed electronically 4 weeks after the end of the Pilot.  If you have not received your voucher within this timeframe, then unfortunately, you were not part of the first 3000 candidates.


Availability

  • Registration begins: July 29, 2008
  • Pilot exam period runs: July 31, 2008– September 12, 2008
  • In order to facilitate exam availability in as many testing centers as possible for this pilot, registrations must be made 7 days in advance.
  • Receiving this invitation does not guarantee you a seat in this pilot; we recommend that you register immediately. This pilot will have limited availability and are operated under a first-come-first-served basis. Once all pilot slots are filled, no additional seats will be offered.
  • Testing is held at Prometric testing centers.

Registration Information

  • You must register at least 7 days prior to taking the exam.
  • Please use the following promotional code when registering for the exam: H640
  • Receiving this invitation does not guarantee you a seat in the pilot; we recommend that you register immediately.
  • To register for this pilot: Go to the Prometric Website: http://www.register.prometric.com/ClientInformation.asp
  • Find Microsoft exam 70-113: TS: Windows® Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring
  • Use Promo Code H640
  • if you have any issues registering or taking this pilot exam please email Performance Based Exams (pbexam@microsoft.com).


Test Information and Support

  • You are invited to take this pilot exam at no charge.
  • You will be given four hours to complete the pilot exam. Please plan accordingly.
  • Though not all of the exam will be presented to the pilot candidates, we would appreciate it if you were familiar with the exams objectives. This will help us better evaluate the data from this pilot.
  • Find exam preparation information: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exams/70-640.aspx 
Comments (56)

  1. I think it goes without saying, that we love you Trika!

    Thank’s for this little gem!

    http://www.pkguild.com/?p=125

  2. Martin says:

    What does first 3000 mean?

    – First 3000 registered?

    – First 3000 exam taken?

    – Best 3000 score?

    And – do you really expect more than 3000 participants?

  3. Pedro Sayanda says:

    Hello Tryka

    Any info if the pilot will be available in Portugal ??

    I´m interested in taking part .

  4. Lukas Beeler says:

    Okay, this definitively sounds interesting. I already have the MCTS from 70-640, as part of the 70-649 upgrade exam i did. So i think this will be an interesting experience.

    Unfortunately, very few test centers here in Switzerland offer the test, so i’ll have to drive quite a bit.

  5. Packetboy says:

    Like Lukas I already have the TS from 649.. We must be exam junkies!!

    Im booked in for Sep 4th in London, that was the earliest date the only testing center in London offering the exam had..

    Trika could you answer Martin’s question? I am also interested in what "the first 3000" actually means 🙂

    Glad to see MS is really trying to make the exams as hands on as possible I think these new exams will really test exam takers real world skills and increase the value of the certs we work so hard to get!!

    Thanks,

    Packetboy.

  6. Charles says:

    Thanks Trika! Registered for the exam, and I already have 640 so I will comment on all the questonz.

  7. AdamV says:

    I’ve registered. It seems there were no dates offered before the 7th, which I assume is because of the requirement to register that far ahead.

    Hopefully by taking it on the first day possible I’ll be in the magic 3000. Fingers crossed!

    I just hope there’s not 3000 Aussies and Kiwis lining up to take this and getting in first because of the time difference 🙁

  8. Helmer says:

    Wauw…the second round is finally there 😉

    Due to my upcomming wedding I don’t think I’m able the attend the exam… 🙁

    But Trika…thnx for the info!

  9. Dave Lawlor says:

    I am in and registered for the 7th!  Thanks for pointing this out!

    Dave

  10. as says:

    What do you think the odds are I can use this Exam Voucher for the Microsoft Certified Master test?   🙂

    I know.  Dream, dream, dream.

  11. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    H, remind me when the big day is?

  12. It looks like Microsoft is working with Prometric to put out a different way of testing for certification

  13. Chris says:

    Hey there,

    I registered for this at the end of September, although it says it runs until 12th of sept… the Prometric registration form let me select by the end of sept.

    the balance is still 0…. would I still be eligible for the free exam voucher bonus? 🙂

    Tks!

  14. tbessi says:

    I’m form Algeria.

    The nearest Center from me is in Tunis (Tunisia).

    Unfortunately this Exam is not available in Tunisia.

    Algiers = 600 miles.

  15. Chris says:

    tbessi… I had the same problem with a previous beta exam…it wasn’t available in Romania but this one is. you’ll be lucky in the future. keep checking 😉

  16. Darril says:

    This sounded great, but I think I was prematurely excited.

    I tried to take the exam yesterday.  Every time I clicked the Launch Lab button, the only response I ever received was "The lab is not ready, please try again."  The proctor told me they have a lot of problems with Microsoft exams using Prometric.  

    After clicking more than five times in each of the two labs, I finally gave up and left.  

    Still, it sounds promising.  I hope the technical details can be worked out.

    Darril

  17. Dale Braun says:

    Trika,  thanks for the heads-up.  I took the test yesterday, and dang, it was fun!  At least, the lab portion was… the question portion was the same old stuff from ages past.

    I had a question about one of the tasks that was unfamiliar to me.  I won’t go into any detail, but I was wondering how can I supply feedback about the test outside of the Prometric exam comment section?

  18. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    @tbessi: Not all of our centers are set up for this pilot but I think they are adding more all the time, so you might want to check in another week or two.

    @Darril, hmm. I don’t know what’s up there. Hopefully that’s part of the beta growing pains; we sacrifice YOU (sorry!) so that when the live exam rolls out that won’t happen to everyone else. If you want to report it specifically as an issue, you can send it to MSLEDP@microsoft.com

    @Dale: drop me a line i’ll pass it on.

  19. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    @Darril, can you send me an e-mail with your contact details and the test center name? I sent your note on and our peeps want to look in to it… OK??

  20. Tom says:

    Just returning from the pilot exam. The lab part was better than the usual simulations. Except for the fact that I had a German keyboard in front of me and the keyboard locale in both the VPC and the test software was set to US English. So naturally entering text in the lab and writing a comment afterwards were a little bit difficult.

    What you need to do ‘though is to mute the VPCs (they tend to beep every so often depending on your action like in real life-tad annoying in a test center) and to increase the difficulty of the lab tasks. They were SO easy it is laughable. And no, I am NOT a Windows Server 2008 expert; in fact the test was the first time I really worked with a system like that. But I do know Windows Server 2003 inside out, maybe that helped.

    That PBT thing could be so good to better measure one’s skills if it weren’t for the second part of the test ‘though: The multiple choice questions are still as strange as ever. And by giving us almost 40 questions and only 60 minutes time to answer them I think you won’t get rid of dumpers so easily.

    Good luck on your task to increase the value of your certifications. This is certainly a first step towards the goal.

  21. Ann says:

    Unfortunately 70-113 was a two-time flop for me. The first time, back in July, the Prometric test center never got it to load up. They rescheduled me for today. After about 10 minutes the labs finally loaded, but like Darril, I never got past the "Launch Lab" screen. It would timeout and flash the error message "The lab is not ready, please try again."

    Eventually I skipped both labs and just did the MC.

    Waah, I’m not one of the cool kids; I wanted to see the  emulations!

  22. a-davebo@microsoft.com says:

    I was in the first round of the 71-113 testing, are we included in the first 3000 people or is it just the group that starts on July 29th.

  23. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    @a-davebo: I hear that all y’all are in the first group.

  24. Mark says:

    I’m a tech setting up the Microsoft emulation at our Prometric lab and am getting the "Web Item: The lab is not ready, please try again" error.

    Has anyone come up with solutions for this error?

  25. Ralf says:

    I’d like to take part in PBExam Pilot, but I can’t schedule any appointment in the North of Germany (MV) e.g. Rostock or in the near.

    Is the PBExam not available in Germany or are all "Pilot seats" occupied 🙁

  26. Stephen says:

    Took the Exam today,

    My First LAB "Loading lab… Please wait "

    25 minutes later (trying to stay awake) I clicked done and moved on to the next LAB question (as it never loaded).

    The next lab loaded OK, allthough the desktop experience was showing a slight lag/time delay. This LAB finished OK.

    It was then onto the "normal questions", ansered question 10 or so and the test died/crashed/indicated complete and returned me to the prometric logon screen (i.e enter prometric ID).

    Did not bother talking to prometric staff as they seem to have no idea re beta exams, and I know I was testing a beta interface.

    I just hope that my crashed exam still counts as 1 in 3000 as it did not even print out a report.

    I guess thats what happens with BETA

  27. Yanze says:

    Took it today also, here’s my story:

    When launching the first lab my testcomputer could not connect to the internet. The tech-guy solved this by changing the default gateway on my testcomputer to point to the internal Prometric-server (which has internet access). He also enabled the internal Prometric-server as a router by changing a registry-key. He did have to reboot the server for that, but another student was live in an exam. So I had to wait … two hours!

    After that, the labs loaded and I could succesfully finish the exam. I really liked the labs, it’s totally different to do it this way, far more enjoying 🙂 Luckily the Windows-help function was available in the VM’s, very handy if you quickly needed to remember something 😉

    I would love to see more of this in the future!

    One thing, tell Prometric to make all displays 21" at the centers, because working with the labs on this screen was not fun … much scrolling 🙁

  28. hartplaza says:

    Hi roel,

    That is the one thing I’m affraid of most. The small displays at the testing sites. I think that, with a regular exam, the display is to small, but now I will go for the PBT next tuesday, I really think the displays are to small…

  29. Yanze says:

    In the left window was the VM, in the middle the tasks-window and on the right the time. When you want to see both the tasks and VM simultaniously you only see the start-menu in the VM, the VM-window is that small!

    Have fun tuesday, if it loads up you’ll like it 😉

  30. Jason says:

    I have scheduled the exam for this Friday (09/05/08).

    I need a little clarification on the first 3000. Is that the first 3000 to register or

    the first 3000 to complete the exam?

    Also, how do you find out of the # of 3000 has already been reached.

  31. hartplaza says:

    Indeed, I like’d the exam, but the screen was way to small. Also, the lab was to slow. The mouse went real slow across the screen. I really had to move the mouse, wait a second to make sure the mouse was at the right place, and then press the mouse button. I experienced problems starting the first lab. Because of this delay, I only had time to do both labs, and had no time left for the last part of the exam. I did go quickly through those questions, and found those much more difficult than the labs of the PBT.

  32. Packetboy says:

    I am about to go and do this exam in my lunch break.. I hope I dont get the slow loading lab or my boss wont be happy about a 3 hour lunch break!!

    Packetboy

  33. Yanze says:

    In my country a lunch break is about half an hour and that really is too short to finish this exam.

    Good luck and have fun Packetboy!

  34. Packetboy says:

    Ok so my exam did not work either. I got the "Internet Cannot be Found"  error message. So obviously a lot of the testing centers are not ready for these exams. I tried to tell the testing guy about changing the default gateway but he had no idea what one was haha… He would not let me try to fix the machine which is fair enough.

    Trika, will the people who turned up to the exam but could not do it still get a voucher? This still took two hours out of my life..  Dont get me wrong I would have loved to do the exam but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

    I have a prometric incident ID number.

    Packetboy.

  35. Yanze says:

    That’s too bad Packetboy, I’m feeling your pain …

    When I was waiting my two hours before the server could be rebooted I talked a little with the testcenter-guys. They told me their center had to do a test to show Microsoft that they were capable of offering exam 70-113. What the test was all about is that it was just a simple bandwith-test …

    And my guess is that this test was performed from within the internal Prometric-server which has internet access. They didn’t require the center to show that the test-pc’s also had internet-access (which we didn’t need in the past).

  36. hartplaza says:

    yep, the testcenter I took the test at, also told me, that a weak before the exam, they where required to do a test (internet connectivity).

    To bad the test was only about the connectivity and not about the physical hardware (display) in the test center.

    In my case, there was connectivity, but the lab was not ready ???

  37. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    @ All Y’all (Darril, Hartplaza, Stephen…)

    If you’ve posted here about an error where the lab wasn’t ready or available – can you please send me an e-mail.  

    Our team/Prometric wants to get a little more info from you to confirm that what you’re talking about here has been captured and is being worked on… probably yes – but they keep an eye on your comments here, too, and want to know a little more to confirm that it’s the same root cause

    Thanks you guys, for participating in the pilot. And for posting to my blog, too.

  38. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    @ Jason, don’t worry, you’re in it. (the first 3,000)

  39. Ciprian says:

    Hi, I have taken yesterday the test. It was really good. In this way all MS tests should be in the future. I’ve got only one problem on the test center. I don’t think the fault was on MS or Prometric side just on test center maybe because I received some error message (I have been disconnected from server or something like this). And I’m not the only one that took test at that hour and the same thing happened for the other person also.

    Like somebody else from here already point out should be mandatory requirement for test centers to have larger LCD screens (at least 19”). Also the sounds that are “played” on the exam should be disabled somehow.

    Regards,

    Ciprian

  40. Jason says:

    I was actually wrong about my test date and it was today. The test center had technical difficulties and I couldn’t complete the exam. Trika, I sent you an email.

  41. Jason says:

    Trika, I am surprised at the level of support I just received. You were included on my first email and here’s the response from mcphelp@microsoft.com:

    "Please contact Prometric about the ticket #******."

    Prometric says contact Microsoft. Microsoft says contact Prometric. Not liking how this looks.

  42. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    Hi, Jason. Hope someone will come to our rescue. Thanks for looping me in on mail.

  43. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    Ralf, you there? Will you please send me an e-mail asking about centers in Germany? Trikah@microsoft.com

    My dad was born in Rostock. I was there a few years ago for holidays. Hmm.

  44. Denise Hofmann says:

    I saw the "The lab is not ready, please try again." error message several times. I had to Alt + Tab to the Prometric testing screen and click Proceed on the Prometric screen before the Launch Lab button would take me into the lab again.

    I also clicked on the Launch VM once and got booted out of Lab 1 (of 2) entirely. It scored the lab without me even closing out of it.

    I really liked the emulations though. Very slick.

  45. Trika do you know New version 70-113?:

    „Upon completion of this pilot exam, the first 3000 candidates will receive 3 (!) free exam vouchers”

    All you can read:

    http://blogs.technet.com/danstolts/archive/2008/10/09/windows-server-2008-active-directory-configuring-exam-70-113-free-exam-vouchers.aspx

    I have one question for you. What about people who register from your information http://blogs.msdn.com/trika/archive/2008/07/31/performance-based-testing-pilot.aspx  ?

    They receive 1 or 3 free exam vouchers?? If only 1 – why?

  46. chris says:

    hello,

    i took this exam today in a german testcentre. the response times are very slow compared to the clp exam i took in the same test centre. maybe ms amd prometric should work on the perfomance. Its like administering a server with a 56k connection via rdp… welcome to the future. The testcentre said they use a 16MBit connect to the inet. but lets be patient and hope for the best.

    Chris

  47. Brian Hinkle says:

    I agree with all who posted about the ease of the lab questions. I just took it this morning and breezed through the first lab in about 25 minutes, and finished almost all of the tasks in the second lab within 40 min (for two I just poked through help files until I remembered how to do it). That’s with a weeks worth of cramming the 70-640 book and only getting 2/3 of the way through it, although I’ve been working with AD and Server 03 for 18 months…Make the MC questions more relevant, the lab questions harder and MUTE THE BLOODY SYSTEM SPEAKER please!

  48. Andrew Collins says:

    Do you know if there’s any locations in TX doing the test? I’ve clicked through several and can’t find one.

    collinsam [at] gmail.com

  49. John Gallogly says:

    I just read about this pilot. Any idea if the 3000 spots have been filled yet? I will be taking my test on Nov 28.

    Also, does anyone know what a "private site" is on prometric? That was the only center that was close to me offering the test and I was able to sign up at it.

    Thanks!

  50. Alex says:

    Guys, I am going to take the exam after Xmas, not sure still within 3000 but so far anyone already receive the voucher?

  51. tbessi says:

    Assalam alaykom

    Hi

    Its me again, I am in London, this means I can pass the 70-113 there is one Center test available in December.

    Unfortunately this exam is not eligible in Tunisia, I am Algerian, and Algiers is 600Miles from Tbessa my town.

    Why MS.

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