Everything You Wanted to Know about Beta Exams: Part 1 (Beta Invites)

Liberty Munson (Microsoft)

As some of you have probably realized by now, parts of the the beta exam process have changed. Let's start with the elephant in the room--the beta invite process. I'm sure many of you were expecting to receive an invitation to participate in a Windows Server 2012 or Windows8 beta but didn't get one. I've fielded a lot of emails from candidates just like you, so let me describe how the process works.

Microsoft offers a limited number of beta seats for free; these seats are available by invitation only. Invitations to participate in beta exams are first sent to qualified members of the Microsoft Learning SME Profile database (http://connect.microsoft.com/site862). People who have indicated experience in the newest version of the technology are prioritized. If we don't have enough people with experience in the newest version of the technology, we then look for people who have experience with the previous version of the technology or related technologies. If we still don't have enough people, we may post the beta information to Born to Learn; however, to truly understand the psychometric performance of the items, I need people who know the technology to take the beta exam, so I only do this as a last resort with the hope that only those with some experience are actually the ones registering for it. This is how the process works for most technologies; in these cases, if you were expecting a beta invite, you probably received one.

However, for some technologies (Windows Server, Windows operating systems), we have significantly more qualified candidates in the SME Profile database than we have available seats. In these cases, we randomly select an appropriate number of qualified candidates (usually a 2:1 ratio of candidates to available seats), and send the invitation to those that were randomly selected. We simply can't send a beta invite to everyone given the extremely limited number of free seats. We have found that dissatisfaction with the process is much higher for those who recieved the beta invite but didn't get a seat than it is for those who didn't get the invite even though they were expecting one. We use the random selection process to mitigate the potentially negative experiences with access to beta exams. (And because I know this question is coming...no, we cannot increase the number of free beta seats.) 

Want to increase the likelihood of being invited to participate in a beta exam? If so,

  • You MUST be part of the Microsoft Learning SME Profile database (http://connect.microsoft.com/site862). If you're not, add yourself today!
  • You MUST update your profile to reflect your skills related to the latest and greatest version of the technology if you want to be invited to participate in the associated beta. If you don't do this or do it after we have queried the database for a list of SMEs, you will not receive the invite. If you want to update your profile, but the latest version isn't listed, please let us know as soon as possible (email mslcd@microsoft.com

KEEP IN MIND that receiving an invitation does not guarantee you a seat in the beta exam. Participation in the beta is on a first come, first served basis. Due to popular demand, register as soon as the beta registration period begins.

  • MikeNsandiego
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    I received the beta exam invite for 71-688, Managing and Maintaining Windows 8...and my voucher code did NOT work! As an Information Technologist expert I was pissed off. This day and age this should NOT happen. I took time and effort  to follow through and register with Prometric and then get the ERROR my voucher code was NO GOOD thats BULL! If I you send me a invitation make sure and honor it! Many of us received these emails and the voucher code was already NO GOOD. Sure you placed the DISCLAIMER about the limits on seats and that gets you off the hook, but with the launch of a new OS and the choices of OS already on the market I would be a more respectful of the IT professionals Microsoft expects to sell and support your products.

  • 3steveco33
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    @michael_romine...It is hard to argue against the good gentlemans' points....feelings matter...

  • Fahad
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    waiting for the beta exams for sharepoint 2013 application development track. Please provide any updates on it as well.