In my previous post I wrote about Az-900 exam I took recently. Today I will write in general about taking exams online. Maybe somebody find it useful, in times of COVID-19 pandemic.
How does the process look like?
The short version – you learn for some time, you decide you are ready to take the exam, you sign up for it (ex. here ), choosing the place, date and time that suits you best, you pay for the exam (or enter your voucher code) and that’s it.
As long as I know, the amount of possible dates varies – in my area it was plenty of free ‘slots’ but my colleagues from other cities (like Warsaw) had to wait surprisingly long. So, I think it’s good to check (and even book) the available date when you are in the halfway of preparation.
Is it better to take an exam remotely?
To be honest – I have no comparison 😉. I planned to take Az-900 in a certification center but because of the COVID-19 and legal restriction linked to the pandemic, my exam was cancelled. I still believe, it would be easier and less stressful to go to a certification center and have all the stuff arranged but in fact it’s not a big deal to do it on your own 😉.
When taking the exam online, you have to keep in mind that there is a few things that may go wrong and if any of them occur, you simply fail and have to pay for another try! The things that will may affect the exam’s result:
- You will get disconnected during the exam
- If anybody enters the room – it doesn’t matter if the person will be seen or heard (I am a proof that it doesn’t have to be absolute silence – my kid screamed a few times from the downstairs during the exam😊)
- If you talk or cover you mounts (so whispering questions, reading them for yourself will be probably immediately admonished but not necessarily result in other ‘penalty’)
- If you (even involuntarily) put on the headphones. Better check if your laptop’s speakers and microphone work properly (mine didn’t!)
Additionally, your desk has to be empty – no additional screens or devices other than just the basic staff (in my case – a laptop and a mouse).
You have to close the door and put the cell phone away (but you have to keep it in the same room in case something went wrong and the proctor will need to call you).
How does it look like?
At the date of the exam, you have to:
- download the exam-application (you find it on the website where you register for the exam). You will need it to connect to the proctor
After running it, you will be asked to take a photo of:
- your driving license (both sides) or passport (the last pages).
- the room, from the perspective of all four sides. So, you know, it’s good to clean it before the exam :P.
You upload the pictures (directly from your cell phone) and wait. The information states that usually it takes about 10 minutes. I don’t know if it’s because of the pandemic (more people take exams online) or not – I had to wait about 45-50 minutes. With the camera turned on, I was looking at my face and waiting, waiting, waiting… Oh my, it was a long hour! 😀
Of course, during this hour I wondered many times how likely it is that the application just hanged and my exam was cancelled or marked as failed 😉. But I could do nothing to check it! That’s the next reason why I will take the next exam in examination center (if it will be possible).
When the proctor finally connected, I had to retake my driving license photo and assure him that it didn’t expired, show my wrists to the camera (to prove I didn’t write anything on them), take off beverages from my desk etc.
During the exam I was observed by another person but both of them spoke English. There was also a chat window available, in case you prefer written English rather than the spoken. The exam questions were also in English. I know, that’s the official IT language but you know, it’s worth to know earlier 😉.
You can’t have a notebook or even a piece of paper on your desk but luckily, in the application used during the exam, you will have a calculator (that was a huge relief because I was afraid I will have to calculate SLA in my mind :D) and a drawing app where you can make notes, draw something etc.
There were about 42 questions and you can mark the ones you want to come back to later. There was (about 6) questions you cannot come back to (in my case – these were the first questions). But you are warned about it, so don’t worry.
You have 60 minutes for the answers and trust me, it’s a lot. Answering the questions took me about 20-30 min and I spent the remaining time on reviewing the answers. Remember to read questions carefully, sometimes one small word can make its meaning 😉.
The exam’s result.
In case of Az-900 you get the result immediately when you finish the exam. From my colleagues I heard, that in case of other Microsoft exams, you have to wait a few hours. And that’s it! You can download the certificate proving you passed the exam and update your LinkedIn profile ;P.
If you have any questions about taking the exam remotely/online, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment!