Security and Testing Centers

Security and Testing Centers

Kerri Davis - MSL Anti-Piracy PM

Exam security starts with preparation (i.e., ensuring that candidates are using legitimate materials and resources to prepare; training candidates to recognize those that may not be on the up and up), but this is only part of the security story. What happens at the test center matters, too. Microsoft’s exams are delivered through independent exam delivery providers worldwide. We rely on the practices of these testing centers to provide a fair and secure environment for all of our test-takers.

The testing centers are provided with security policies that must be enforced in order to acquire and maintain testing center status. Ongoing inspections ensure that each testing center maintains the security outlined by Microsoft and the exam delivery provider. In addition, proctors at testing centers are authorized to immediately take appropriate measures against candidates who violate testing rules.

You should expect that your ID will be verified, that you will sign a log-in sheet, your registration for the exam confirmed, and a locker provided for your possessions. You will not be allowed to take anything into the exam room with you except your ID and locker key. You will be asked to empty your pockets. (I was even asked to unzip my boots at one test!) Some testing centers may ask for biometric identification or pass a metal-detecting wand over your body, depending on the exam. In certain countries you may be asked to verify proof of residence, in accordance with our Out of Country Testing Policy. Mobile sites, academic sites, and event testing may have additional requirements. You should verify the testing experience with the exam delivery provider prior to your test, so that you know what to expect.

Knowing what to expect can help you identify if a testing center is not acting in accordance with these security policies. Testing center administrators act inappropriately when they fail to follow any security policies of Microsoft or the exam delivery provider. Examples could include, but are not limited to, overlooking inappropriate candidate identification; failing to ask for an ID from each candidate; failing to conduct periodic walkthroughs; failing to keep partitions between testing stations; overlooking the presence of crib sheets or electronic devices; providing answers or aid in any form with regard to any exam item; and allowing the release of Microsoft intellectual property in any form.

You have the right to a secure testing environment. If you have a concern about the security of your exam experience, please send an email message to mlsecure@microsoft.com.

If Microsoft determines that a testing center has acted improperly or fraudulently, Microsoft has the right to cease delivery of all exams at that center.

For specific information about the expectations for candidates, please contact the exam delivery provider, either Prometric or Certiport.

Got a tip for me? Let me know at mlsecure@microsoft.com.

Comments
  • Sidney Andrews - MCT
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    You would be surprised how many testing centers don't follow these procedures.  I've been to some that don't check your ID or ask you to empty your pockets.  Then again one of the centers is completely isolated and only has a single employee.  She can't be the receptionist and walk through the room so it doesn't happen.  Then again I go to one testing center consistently that is excellent at following all the rules.  It's just an extra 45 miles away from my home.

    After every exam, I fill out the Prometric survey. Many times I have mentioned these issues.  So far it seems not much has changed.  I wouldn't go to the offending center, but it's the closest one to me.  I fear that if we e-mail mlsecure that it will just be passed on to Prometric to not act on.  Is there anything else we can do?

  • Rogerio Prudente
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    It is not related to security, but I think for the exams that would take more than 3 hours it should have a way to allow people go to a bathroom at least once or eat something small like "M&M's" during the exam because after 3 hours and a half answering questions I just got dizzied and it is very hard to stay focused over the last questions. Some like a long distance runner in the final miles...

  • ImmoRhys
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    I'd say the availability of exam questions online, just weeks after a new exam is released, is a clear indication that the security policies are not enforced, and are not working.

    I've never had a test center enforce every policy, but I'm sure somewhere its a lot worse where the braindumps are coming from.

  • Umapathy
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    More than the security one prometric centre here at my home town in Jaffna, Sri Lanka is only allowing those who have studied at the center only allowing to take the exam. Or they asked to pay course fee irrespective of whether they have followed the course or not. What sort of policy is this? Frind of mine got certified by paying like thi but I am unable to do so as I got married last year and I only earn monthly income around 250$ and it's not possible for me to pay like this. There are prometric centers in Colombo but then needs make 2 over night travels which itself adds around 20$ as travelling plus the leave as well. There is one Certiport exam center in Colombo but they only allows to take office 2010 even though office 2007 is good enough for my work.  As Microsoft is present in Sri Lanka why don't you conduct the exam directly if there is competition then others will offer more service. Now for certiport only one man show in Sri Lanka. Appreciate if this been addressed. Thanks in advance.

  • Kerri Davis - MSL Anti-Piracy PM

    Sidney--and everyone else--letting us know through the mlsecure alias is the best way. I can assure you we would take any reports quite seriously, and we leave your name out of it of course, so don't hesitate to let us know if you see impropriety. Since I can't be at every testing center for every test, I rely on the tips I get from our examinees. So I do appreciate it!

  • Sidney Andrews - MCT
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    Awesome thanks,  I tried to anonymously spill the beans about the center to Prometric using the survey but nothing happened after doing it multiple times over 6+ months.  I will definitely forward an e-mail.

  • sergey
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    Kerri, thanks for the great post. I will pay more attention to security policies now and will definitely drop you a line, when I will find something wrong.

  • SRMcEvoy
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    I have never seen a walk through but the current test centre I use has three camera's in the room and all stations are visible. I have seen a number of infractions but usually minimal. One time I was fighting a terrible cold and was not allowed to take in Kleenex or Vicks stick, another time was given a bottle of water to take with me (for a 5 hour exam).

  • mark.spiers.konicaminolta.co.nz
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    Since all these comments are negative, i may as well throw a postive one in.

    Ace Training in New Zealand follow all the procedures mentioned above that apply (IE: i have never been metal wanded or had biometric identification, but i assume that doesnt apply to the exams that i take).

    even through i speak to them and know the people on front desk on a first name basis, i have ALWAYS been asked to supply ID (Two forms), i have always had to empty my pockets of everything and place it in the supplied locker. i also have always been escorted into the test room regardless of how many people are currently taking tests in that room (ranging from 0 to 3 other people)  which has cameras pointing towards every computer which are seperated into cubicals to prevent wandering eyes.

    So yeah, Some testing centres hit the Mark perfectly.