I failed a Microsoft Exam last Friday – yes it’s true, on occasion I fail an exam. One (amongst the many) fantastic attitude at my current employer is that a Microsoft exam fail is part of the journey of discovery. A couple of my new colleagues also remark that any significant score over the “pass” mark is a waste of study time and I can kind of see where that comes from.
If you’ve booked exams for the last few years you will have been informed of the latest on retake policy which has been tweaked and firmed up to an extent to give candidates a proper chance between resits and not to try to brute force the attempts. At the time of writing the Exam retake policy states:
If a candidate does not achieve a passing score on an exam the first time, the candidate must wait at least 24 hours before retaking the exam.
This time I was particularly keen to book my resit as soon as possible, the practicalities of availability in Edinburgh means that I was expecting to have to wait a couple of weeks at least for availability so I didn’t expect the 24 hours to be a problem. I went through the exam details page, clicked “Schedule Exam”, confirmed my details and the link accounts page and got redirected back to the same page with a light yellow banner “50055: This exam is not currently offered. Please select another exam.”
So I tried a few different ways without success; inprivate, different devices and all gave the same error. I tried telephoning to be told that I would have to wait 24 hours to book. So I waited 24 hours after the end of my exam and still couldn’t book.
I was finally able to rebook through the Pearson Vue site at 18:30 on the Monday after my exam on the Friday; the exam was scheduled to end at 12:30 (My times are BST). The half hour seems more than coincidental and the take away is that the systems will prevent the booking taking place until at least a number of hours have passed on business days.
I don’t fail exams often and I certainly don’t plan to, and hopefully you don’t either. So when the unthinkable happens don’t panic and take time to regroup and make plans. And wait a day and a bit before you try to rebook!
Where do I start? Migrating this blog over the weekend has led to a bit of a review and the realisation that a lot of the blog posts relate to my journey preparing for and sitting (and generally passing!) Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exams.
The last exam related post on this blog is Passed 70-631 WSS Configuring Today which was posted just under 10 years ago – yikes. I’m delighted to see that posts in the meantime related to Motorcycling and Off Road Skills so that would indicate some wider interests other than work.
It is an interesting exam, partly because it covers such a broad base, and partly because it was a great reminder for me as to what is included in the “free” download.
The exam itself is a broad brush affair, with bits on dns setup, network load balancing, ISA Server, MOM, basically the stuff in the exam outline is covered – so go read it up.
I got a pretty good score, which I put down to project work earlier in the year. I had a couple of decent sized projects involving Network Load Balancing on an Intranet, and another for an extranet-only site. This got me hands on with ISA, NLB, Alternate Access Mappings and all that.
To prepare I used on the job experience, Transcender test exam preparation and I built a couple of networks with WSS 3.0 in Virtual PC at work and at home.
Microsoft have announced the retiral in 2008 of a batch of Microsoft Certified Professional exams. The retiral page features a list of exams to retire on 31st March 2008, mostly coming from the Windows 2000 Server MCSE and MCSA exam tracks, plus an NT4 exam for good measure.
Looking at the list pop up some old “favourites” or what I would call one-off anomalies like the rather strange Commerce Server 2000 exam (70-234) which didn’t even merit a simulation exam from Transcender, but was a credit to MCSD.
My pass of 70-215 went up on the prometric site on Thursday, but I’ve been watching the MCP Site to see when the pass would get through. Went up on the online transcript today, up there at the top is the “Legacy” cert for Microsoft Certified Database Administrator for SQL Server 2000. Yay 🙂
My 15th exam and I’ve been at this Malarky for over 10 years.
Passed 70-215 Administering Old Windows Servers this morning. Got 850, which was a pleasant surprise. A well broad spread of questions, including more on subnetting and routing than I expected. Expected stuff on UNIX was in there, and a total blinder on SNMP although I’d not covered much if at anything on it, the question looked simple.
I am pleased to report that I got my other SQL Server exam passed today. 70-228 Installing, Configuring, and Administering SQL Server 2000. I had been looking at the exam materials over the last few months in the absence of any other specific objectives. With my objectives set to .NET, I managed to get the exam in quickly this week to get a result for my studies before I get my head down for the next exam.
That means I have one core exam to sit if I want MCDBA, but my focus is now on the three c# .NET exams to take me to MCSD.NET.
The exam I passed ? As you would expect, lots of stuff on administration – backups, security, indexes and the like. And for some reason it wasn’t as scary as the developer exam, but that was probably down to timing.