Certification in home – advices from Elitmind experts
29 May 2020
Despite the blooming weather, we still #stayathome and Elitmind is still operating in remote mode. In the new reality, we continue to work on current projects, conduct training and webinars, and even take certification exams from home! I asked our #DataHeroes how to take certification exams at home and what advice they have for you.
Jacek Szczurowski – one of our Team Leaders and Senior Bi Consultants as well as Kacper Kucięba and Kamil Kowolik – our BI Consultants have prepared their best exam hacks and pro-tips. If you want to know how taking exams at home looks like – you will find out in this article 😊
How did you prepare for the exam?
Hmm, that’s a tough question. In fact, I did not have to prepare for the exam, because all aspects of the exam were elements of individual projects I’m involved in – ranging from Azure SQL Database to Azure Cosmos DB. To be honest, my preparations involved reading the documentation of individual services, reviewing forums for various cases- that reported by developers, active usage of Azure and discussions with colleagues. As for taking the exam at home, I have prepared a basement to entertain the children with games and toys during the exam. I had to prevent them from wasting the internet on Netflix or Youtube. The worst what could happen was them storming into the room, yelling ‘dad wants to pee’:]
In addition, it should be verified that the camera is on, as it is a priority during taking an at-home exam. Unfortunately, as in my case, from time to time the vision breaks, which would result in FAIL result. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity, so I borrowed the camera from my parents:]
First of all, before I signed up for the exam, I read all the information about the exam requirements themselves. I downloaded the dedicated PearsonVUE software and carried out all the testing steps to make sure that my internet connection is stable enough for the exam to be carried out. Thanks to this, I also learned what steps I will have to take before the exam (job pictures, ID document). Going through all these steps earlier meant that I didn’t stress before the exam itself. When it comes to preparing the exam stand, I made sure that it doesn’t arouse any suspicion. I removed or covered all the equipment around the stand (I literally put a blanket on the TV). I also took care to disable all applications that could display notifications during the exam (Skype, Teams, Browser, Mail) before the exam.
Basically, as if I had passed it at the certification center, except that this time I had to prepare a place for myself. As a result, I took all the books and other unnecessary things out of the room and all I really needed was a computer, mouse, desk and chair (I had to get rid of the additional monitor).
What surprised you the most?
It was a surprise that Microsoft wants to know my room – and in this particular case my bedroom. Unfortunately, this room was the only one that did not require additional cleaning 😊 Takin an exam required complete sterile environment – no books, calculators of additional messengers for help etc. And not wanting to risk that AI or some other sheriff will identify an object as a potential issue, I preferred not to risk. In addition, you should disable any applications and services that can generate pop-ups and this is a great challenge, because there are processes that can run in the background and inform me about anti-virus updates, etc.
My feelings surprised me the most. It seemed to me that the exam taken at home would cause me less concentration, I was afraid of frequent control by the examiner would additionally distract me from work. However, as it turned out during the exam, I was never asked for anything by the examiner, and I was focused at the same level as during the stationary exam. I was also surprised by the meticulous verification of the workplace. Despite the fact that I spent a lot of time bringing the workplace to a level that would not raise any objections, before the exam I was asked to remove the painting from the wall – it was a big surprise for me.
Verification procedure of the candidate: I had to take a photo of my driving license from two sides, photograph the desk from each side and then wait for the exam to start, during which I was recorded all the time, and I couldn’t run anything on the computer except for the examination software. Even on the background, no program other than system applications could run.
What was the most difficult?
The most difficult in my case was choosing the right date for passing. Not wanting to lock children in the basement, as I mentioned before, I chose 22 as the start time. As it turned out, it was not enough, because already when taking pictures of the room my son came to me with information that the neighbors in the car had an alarm. Fortunately, it was not yet the stage of passing the exam, so I could continue the whole process.
Maybe not the most difficult, but the most stressful is when I waited 20 minutes to run the exam and nothing happened. Finally, I started it again (undergoing the entire verification procedure) and after 2 minutes my test started. An additional difficulty, of course, can be sitting and waiting a few minutes without a phone, tablet, etc. 😊
The exam was the most difficult. When it comes to taking it at home, in the end it wasn’t very different from taking the stationary exam. Of course, I say this from the perspective of a single who lives alone so I did not have to worry about being disturbed by others (which in the case of children can be a huge problem).
Tips for other candidates
There is nothing to worry about, for me it was less stress than a visit to the Center
There is nothing to be afraid of when passing the exam at home. The most important thing is to reserve more time to start the exam and be sure to pass the test run test (available on Pearson’s website) to avoid potential problems, e.g. with anti-virus blocking access to the webcam or microphone.
First of all, it is best to behave freely so as not to arouse suspicion of the examiner. During the exam, it’s worth focusing only on it and not thinking about the fact that someone is constantly looking at us. It is also worth wearing pants, because during the exam it may be necessary to get up and show the examiner again the workplace.
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