You won’t find Adelaide’s Academy IT on a list of places you can sit the Microsoft Certified Master exams yet (maybe one day). However, if you choose the remote option for the MCM Lab exam, they can probably help.
Academy IT do training, with easily the best training centre in Adelaide…
…They recently expanded to have a third large training room, with machines that each have 32GB of RAM and dual 23” monitors – one hooked up to the trainer’s desktop and an interactive whiteboard. It’s very impressive, and an excellent option for courses. On top of that, they’re also a great place to take Prometric and Pearson VUE exams – including the Microsoft ones. When the beta exam period came in for SQL Server 2012, LobsterPot Solutions staff used Academy IT’s facilities to take them. Whenever LobsterPot staff need to take any exams, Academy IT is the location of choice.
LobsterPot’s Rob Farley successfully took the SQL Server MCM Knowledge exam (88-970) at the PASS Summit in Seattle. However, the real test with the MCM is the Lab exam. Many people take this exam and fail – passing at the first attempt is rare. Rob took the exam on December 20th, 2012, at Academy IT, using the remote option.
What the remote option means is that the candidate provides their own hardware, with an internet connection and an external web cam. During the session, a web cam broadcasts what’s going on in the room to a proctor, who keeps an eye on both that and what is happening in a LiveMeeting or Lync session, sharing the full screen. It’s like having a test centre without having a test centre. In Rob’s case, the proctor was based in Charlotte, NC, USA.
There are Prometric testing centres venues around the world where the MCM Lab exam can be taken without using the remote option. However, the exam involves a remote desktop session to a computer somewhere else in the world, and there is typically latency hassles. Furthermore, testing centres don’t tend to have a reputation for providing particularly good hardware for their exam machines. Monitors don’t always offer particularly good resolution, and machines are often quite laggy in themselves. We heard stories of a candidate who took the exam just this past week at a testing centre in the US, who had an awful time, losing time from unplanned reboots, an insufficiently large monitor, and more.
Taking the exam at Academy IT won’t stop the latency problem – the signal still needs to get to somewhere in America and back. But Academy IT were able to offer Rob a well-spec’d PC with a large monitor and an easily fast-enough internet connection. As it was, he opted to use his laptop for familiarity of the keyboard, and he had brought his own external webcam too. But Academy IT had excellent facilities to be able to ensure that there was no technical reason for Rob not to pass the exam. They want people to have the best experience in taking exams, and were able to provide an opportunity to take the MCM exam in an excellent environment.
Hopefully Rob passed, and will soon officially be a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server. Big thanks also to Academy IT for playing their part in the process.
This post was originally published on January 3, 2013.