Friday, 28 November 2008

Sitting your MS Exam

So previously I did a whole post on preparing for the exam, what about sitting it.

You have booked your Second Shot, booked your exam paid your money, now its down to the crunch. What on earth happens now?

If this is your first exam be sure to take a look at the Exam Question Types demo. What this is, is a collection of the common exam question types. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with them so that it is one less thing that is new to you when you do your exam. And if its your first exam at a particular level e.g. Pro again take a look at them.

So by this stage you should have a confirmation mail about your exam with the test centre details, your exam details (verify that it is the correct one!).

Onto to arriving at the testing centre. Depending on your testing centre they may have different requirements. So this will be a general overview of the most common practices.

Arrive in plenty of time. Some centres require you to be there at least 20 minutes ahead of the exam scheduled start so that they can get your checked in etc.

Now the following bits are important. Go to the bathroom! Seriously. Some exam centres aren't too good with bathroom breaks and you don't want to be concentrating on that while trying to work out the answer to a question now do you?

You cant bring a lot of stuff into the exam room, actually its nearly nothing. No laptops, pdas, mobile phones etc. There is a countdown timer on the exam in the top corner so you wont need a watch and depending on your watch they may ask you take it off.

Also food and drink. Some exam centres do, some don't. If in doubt ask. The are a couple of reasons for this, hygienic reasons, concentration (doing an exam while someone is eating pungent chips isn't good!) and finally for cheating. Yes, cheating. I wont go too deep into it, but it is a topic that MS are very aware of.

So, now the waiting is over. The exam is starting. The key to it is to read what is in front of you. You will be presented with an NDA you must agree to and the exam will start from then. Also if you are doing some of the development exams, it will ask you which language you want to do it in. Be aware you cannot change this once you confirm it.

You will see the number of questions and the passing mark. No one is aware of the question marking scheme and those that are cant tell you! So don't bother asking.

A handy tip for doing these exams is the following.

Read the answers first. Due to the fact that each question is in itself a small exam i.e. they don't relate to previous questions. So its important to check what they are are expecting before you read the question. It will focus your mind when you read the question to eliminate certain answers quickly leaving you with less of a choice. Remember there is a correct answer.

Keep an eye on your time and you will have a chance to review your question (though if its a test let you will only be able to review for that test let)

Best of luck and if it at first you don’t succeed there is always Second Shot

4 comments:

richard.laird2 said...

Good tips - especially the part about getting in that potty visit before the test.

I also liked the part about reading the answers first. I'm not sure I *always* do that but it seems to work a lot. One other thing: Focus on what's *different* about the answers. Sometimes, you're looking at four fairly lengthy blocks of code...it becomes a blur and you break out in a cold sweat because you think the machine is all hosed up and that clock keeps ticking. But just relax and look closer. The subtle differences in the four different answers are the key to what the question is all about.

Alan.. said...

Thanks for the tips.

Will I be allowed to bring in a pen and notepad with me?

Alan.. said...

Thanks for the tips. Will I be able to bring in a pen and notepad with me?

Niall Merrigan said...

Hi Alan

No you wont be able to bring a pen and paper in, they will supply one for you