Online, Proctored Cert Testing for Microsoft MCP and MTA Credentials Now Available in More than 40 Countries
In 2014, Microsoft started rolling out online proctored exams in beta format — where you are required to have a live microphone and camera running while taking an exam online at a location of your choosing.
At the moment, that beta continues, but it now embraces all available MCP and MTA exams, as long as you live in one of more than 40 countries worldwide. Microsoft Learning says that online proctored (OP) exams are "coming soon" to the rest of the countries it serves around the world, so methinks the status for online proctored exams will be changing from beta to production sometime soon as well.
Sometimes, it really does pay to read the fine print. Writing about Microsoft exams just recently, I started rooting around in the online proctored exam delivery page at Microsoft Learning. As noted, the program has now been around for more than a year, but is still in beta, and not yet available everywhere.
A closer reading of this phrase, "Online proctored delivery � is currently available for all MCP and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams in participating countries," followed by some random checks on the exam list page, caused me to realize that, for many interested readers, online across-the-board MCP and MTA exam access is now available as long as they live in one of the following locations:
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
French Southern Territories
U.S. Minor Outlying Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
As far as I can tell, this embraces all of North America, most of South America, all of the European Union and other non-member states in Europe (e.g. Switzerland), as well as plenty of countries in other parts of the world. This means many people wishing to take Microsoft cert exams need no longer travel to a Pearson VUE testing center to take them, as long as they and their systems meet the necessary requirements (see the proctored online exam delivery page under these headings: "Confirm that your ID is compliant" and "Review the system requirements").
Those system requirements aren't too onerous either — namely, Windows 8/8.1 or 7 (32-bit or 64-bit; no RT for 8, nor "Starter" for 7 versions), minimum 1024x768, 16-bit color display, minimum 512 kbps Internet bandwidth for both upload and download (no dial-up connections), wired network connection recommended, running IE version 9, 10 or 11, cookies enabled, 640x480 10 fps webcam (built-in or external acceptable), microphone (headset with microphone acceptable, as is external mic), Adobe Flash Player 10.1 or newer, Adobe AIR 14.0 or newer, and it may be necessary to disable security software to keep it from disrupting the exam. Microsoft also provides a pair of test programs that prospective online exam-takers must be able to run to participate in online proctored exams
Otherwise, the coverage and cost ($150 in the United State; prices vary elsewhere by location and local or acceptable currencies) are the same as if you went to a nearby (or distant) Pearson VUE testing center. I, for one, am totally jazzed to understand that Microsoft is serious about offering online delivery and is planning to make everything in its exam arsenal available to interested test-takers online. Since most of my readers probably live in a country on the list above, that means they can already take advantage of that program. Others will have to wait, but probably no longer than another year, to join in on the fun.