ACE NewsByte: (Exam) Times... They Are A Changing

Liberty Munson (Microsoft)

We are making some changes to exam times that should make it easier for you to plan for your exams. For those of you who are transitioning from a previous version of our technology to the newest and do this through our upgrade process, we are also making a change to how time is allocated during upgrade exams. Want to know more? Of course, you do!

Check out this ACE NewsByte where Briana and I discuss how we're standardizing exam times by "type" and the change we've made in the way time is allocated during upgrade exams...

Short story:

Exam time varies based on the type of exam you take.

Exam time*

Seat time*

MTA exams delivered by Certiport

45 minutes

50 minutes

MTA exams delivered by Pearson VUE

45 minutes

75 minutes

MBS/Dynamics exams

90 minutes

120 minutes

MCSA exams and exams not specified elsewhere

120 minutes

150 minutes

MCSE exams, any exam with case studies, and upgrade exams

150 minutes

180 minutes

Recertification exams

140 minutes

170 minutes

As for upgrade exams, we are no longer timing each component exam separately. The time you see for upgrade exams in the table above is the time you get for the entire exam rather than having it split between the component exams. For example, on 417, rather than having 50 minutes to complete 410, 50 minutes for 411, and 50 minutes for 412, you will have 150 minutes to do use as you wish. You might choose to spend 60 minutes on 410 and less time on 411 and 412 components.

What's the difference between seat time and exam time? Want to know why we made the change to the timing of upgrade exams? Watch the video to learn those bytes.

  • Damien Soukhavong (MCT)
    | |

    That's great to see Dynamics exams finally reduced to 90 minutes (2 hour seat time).

    3 hours for a Dynamics exam was ridiculous (as they can be done under 30 minutes if you know your stuff). I think my big comments (and probably other people comments) finally got read when I took Dynamics exams.

    Upgrade exams should have more questions for the allotted time, I think About 20 questions for a part of an upgrade is not very easy, as it means you need to know everything and not miss one question. I know that myself, passing Windows 7 -> Windows 8, but not Windows XP -> Windows 8 due to a specific set of questions I did not have an answer to give (fail with about 660, which probably means only one question to pass...) - although my scores remained constant (which probably means that Microsoft exams are doing great to normalize your level on different set of questions, but still involves a bit of "RNG luck" as every exam does).

    However, something that should be allotted MUCH more time are exams with only case studies AND that have no way to transfer time over each case study (I think they were 210 min or 240 min). I target specifically Volume Licensing exams (and other exams that are similar). Those exams are the most tiring exams you can find at Microsoft certification exams. At least one (1) short break (even 5 minutes is good to go) should be given in the middle of the exam, and a count of remaining case studies shown. Yes, most tiring, but also most comprehensive. I'd rather take those exam types (you know and you understand, or you don't know - not easy to reverse engineer the questions) than regular MCSA exams which rely on pure luck (you know and do not need to understand, or you don't know - reverse engineer the questions to answer when needed).

    Otherwise, it is great now to know the seat time per exam before trying to register for an exam. It was not easy previously, as we had to try to register to an exam to look up the seat time (and now we cannot make them overlap!).

  • Mehdi HAMMADI (Regioanal Lead - Algeria)

    Hi Liberty,

    Good news but what about the 30 minutes that was added if a candidate take an exam in a non native language. (French candidate taking an exam in English).