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Microsoft introduces simulation for MCSE, MCSA


Microsoft has announced a "dramatic change in the testing protocol" by introducing performance-based testing for its Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certifications. Microsoft stated that presently the simulation-type questions will appear on the MCSA/MCSE core exams and additions to other exams in future will be based a case-by-case evaluation. 

According to Microsoft, newly developed hands-on simulation questions are will begin appearing in March 2005. These new simulations have been developed with Microsoft and testing organizations such as Pearson VUE and Thomson Prometric.

Though these changes have implications for MCSE testing, the MCSE syllabus is not affected and the MCSE certification content has not changed. The essence of simulation questions is to test the hands-on capabilities of candidates. According to Microsoft, the intention is to "mimic the real-world tasks that someone would have to accomplish using Microsoft software in the real world." The thinking is that certain capabilities are best assessed through performance based simulated questions. "Advantages of the new approach to certification exams include: Candidates perform the task rather than just answer questions about it. Candidates turn practice for the exam into hands-on experience: Practicing equals performing."

Microsoft announced that the performance-based questions would be introduced with exams 70-290, Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment, and 70-291, Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure. 

Microsoft indicates that it had been working for sometime on developing the simulation questions, but it has only just been able to get it right in terms of exam delivery and testing. The questions are delivered using proprietary software developed by ATA, a China-based company. Pearson Vue and Thomson Prometric were also actively involved in the development. Cisco, which features simulation questions in its exams uses Flash-based simulations.

Microsoft has assured that simulations will only feature in exams where there is a need for performance-based testing to assess capabilities. In addition these changes do not affect candidates who have already achieved certification or passed exams that will be affected by the simulation changes. And as a matter of policy Microsoft will not differentiate between MCPs who took the exams with simulations and MCPs who do not.

There will be implications for mcse certification testing as well as for providers of mcse courses. There changes in mcse certifications are also expected to lead to changes in mcse study material.

Get more details about Microsoft's new simulation questions for mcse certifications here:
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcpexams/simulations/default.asp

More on Microsoft and Certification Resources:

 

Microsoft Windows Network Certifications

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IT Certifications

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Your Guide to taking the Right IT Career Decisions

 

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