Training and Certification

Rubel Khan's Blog

71-663 beta exam update from Born to Learn

Posted by Rubel Khan on December 7, 2009

“Betas are very important to us here at Microsoft Learning, but so is releasing an exam in a timely manner. Not only because we like to strike while the iron is hot, but also because we have commitments to support the Product Team’s launch. We also have many partners, MCTs and other folks who depend on MSL to release an exam that is in synch with their readiness activities like qualifying for a partner competency or certifying to teach a new class. A long beta also inconveniences those candidates that just want to take the live exam but have to wait for us to process the all the beta data we collect. To this end, it is always a balancing act between collecting all the data we can for psychometric reasons and the time it takes to read and act on each and every comment we receive from each beta candidate.

Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned.
For the new Exchange 2010 beta (71-663: Pro: Designing and Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010) the beta cap limit was inadvertently left blank. This means that more than three times as many candidates have registered for the beta than we had planned for. Why is this an issue? It primarily goes back to time. As I said above, each candidate has the opportunity to comment on the exam questions, and there can be a lot of questions in a beta, which means a lot of comments. Microsoft Learning reads EVERY comment to evaluate whether a question meets our standards for an MCP exam and determine next steps. This can involve technical research to verify if the question is indeed correct (or incorrect), evaluating if the wording of the question is confusing or a host of other factors that we use to decide if the item can be fixed or even should be kept at all. This takes time. With a product such as Exchange that has already launched we simply don’t have the time to process thousands of extra comments that will be generated by the extra beta candidates that signed up for this exam and still release our exam in a timely fashion.
Because of this, Prometric will unfortunately be contacting some candidates that were inadvertently allowed to register for 71-663 after we had reached the beta cap. I don’t know who these folks are so I would plan on taking the beta unless you are contacted by Prometric. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience of the situation, and as a token of our appreciation Microsoft will provide those folks who were inadvertently allowed to register with a voucher to take the Exchange exam for free when it goes live after the first of the year. You won’t be able to take the exam early but at least you won’t have to pay for 70-663.  If you are contacted, Prometric will have the voucher details. Obviously this will have been a frustrating week for many of you when it comes to beta exams. We appreciate your patience and are working to be sure this never happens again.”

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