When I decided to take my first MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) exam, there was a decision to make. I could either make a reservation to take the test at an exam center or take it with an online proctored option at my home/office. Being unfamiliar with online proctored exam concept, I spent a couple of days to research and asking coworkers. I decided to take the online proctored exam, in this post I will explain the differences from the testing center.
I checked the location and availability of nearby exam centers, all were at least 20-25 miles away from my home and the earliest availability on weekends was two months.
Or I could just register and start the exam in 15 minutes with an online proctored option which would help me to save the drive time. After some reading reviews online which were mostly positive, I decided to go with this option.
Requirements Needed for the Test
Make sure you have a video cam and microphone, also make sure you pass system requirements on the same computer you are planning to take the test. Otherwise, you need to repeat the system check before the test and reschedule it if your system can not pass. Be aware that there are updates to the software and you might have to uninstall and reinstall the software before the test. If you are taking the test at your office, you need to be aware of your company’s IT policies which may not allow you to install the required software without having admin privileges.
During the Exam
It is not allowed to have any items on the table other than your computer and mouse. My request for a glass of water was denied. The online proctor uses the webcam to observe you throughout the exam, and will not allow you to take any breaks for 2 hours.
Technical Support During Test
Technical Support might try to call me for support in case of any technical issues. So I put the phone on a table where I cannot reach it immediately but can see and hear the vibration. At the end of the exam when I couldn’t submit my test due to server communication error and received a call from support representative. He helped me to restart the test which resolved the problem. The support representative told me even if I were at exam center I still have to call and get help from support center. Exam centers are just providing you a proper exam environment and equipment.
The online option brings some disadvantages concerning privacy. At the beginning of the exam, after the ID check, greeter asks you to show your home/office by turning your webcam around the room making sure there is not anybody or any other devices, screens, exam materials in the room. As a prerequisite to starting the exam and registration requires acceptance of the disclaimer about that. Procter will also inspect your computer desktop/task manager and ask you to exit any inappropriate applications such as screen sharing and other collaboration tools. You are going to be asked to roll up your sleeves, show your front/back pockets are empty and ears to prove that you are not hiding any notes or have any earphones.
As a person who had poor experiences with GMAT and TOEFL exam centers, I enjoyed taking my first Microsoft certification exam in the comfort of my home. You just need a quiet room. Just read the instructions carefully and follow the guidance of your proctor. I highly recommend you choosing the online proctored option of Microsoft by Pearson VUE whenever you need to take an MCP or MTA exam.
I hope this blog will help you to understand online proctored exams. You can find more details and system requirements on Microsoft website.