It's Not a Second Shot: Microsoft Learning's New Exam Replay

Second Chance Avenue street sign

Over the past few years, Microsoft Learning has routinely run promotions for most (but not all) of each calendar year to make it possible for MCP exam candidates to get a second attempt at no extra cost whenever they signed up for a certification exam. For much of that time, this program was known as the Second Shot.


As I documented in previous blogs for Tom's IT Pro, IT Career Jumpstart (TechTarget), and elsewhere, Second Shot used to provide a complimentary exam retake within 30 days of a failed attempt. Second Shot is no more, alas, gone along with it, apparently, is the free retake.


The new Microsoft Learning promotional program, which launched at the end of October, is called Microsoft Exam Replay. For $65 (U.S.) more than the cost of the exam by itself — $165 (U.S.) or equivalent local currency — candidates who opt into Exam Replay can retake the exam any time within the 12 month period following the purchase date of the exam voucher.


In slightly different terms, this means those who fail on their first attempt must sit for a second try within one year of the date they purchased the exam voucher with Exam Replay. It's not a bad deal, to be sure, and the timing is more flexible — but it's not as good a deal as Second Shot used to be.


There's another option also available under this umbrella. It's called Microsoft Exam Replay with Practice Test. For just $35 (U.S.) more than the standard Exam Replay package price — a total cost of $265, or equivalent local currency, if you go all in — candidates also get to download a MeasureUp practice test for the related exam.


Package pricing takes about $64 off the usual list price for such an exam, which means you can either look at it as a free retake and a full-price practice test, or as a half-price retake and a (roughly) 65 percent discount on the practice test.


Either way, it's a much better deal overall than the Exam Replay offer is by itself. It's also worth noting that MeasureUp has a sterling reputation. Its practice tests usually garner good-to-great reviews from exam candidates who use them to prepare.


My advice: If you're going to take the Replay route, then you'd be better served by spending the extra $35 to get a practice test along with your retake. Most people need to buy one (or two) practice tests during the prep process anyway, so why not take advantage of this deal while you can?


See the Microsoft Learning Special Offers page for details (along with links to purchase either Replay offering at the Pearson Mindhub site). If you or someone you love has an MCP exam on his or her radar for 2017, then this would make a peachy holiday gift that potentially keeps on giving all the way into next year's holiday season.


Good luck with your next Microsoft exam. And Happy Holidays to one and all, from me and my family to you and yours!


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About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.