Microsoft Picks Prometric for Exam Delivery into 2008

Next year, Prometric will be sole company to deliver exam services officially for Microsoft.

For years, Microsoft has offered certification and Dynamics exams through two official exam providers, Pearson Vue and Thomson Prometric. That's about to change next year, as Microsoft pares the offering to just one company in 2008: Prometric.

According to information posted on the Microsoft MCP Web site, exam takers can continue to register for MCP and Dynamics exams through Vue until Aug. 30, 2007, and take exams through Vue until Dec. 31, 2007. Thereafter, exam delivery worldwide will be through solely through Prometric centers.

The change doesn't affect MCP transcripts, as both exam delivery companies send all reporting information immediately to Microsoft soon after exam takers finish an exam.

Microsoft has posted an FAQ that explains further details, including how Vue exam vouchers can be exchanged later on for Prometric vouchers.

MCP reaction has been mixed. "At a local city level, not all test centers are opened daily -- certainly not weekends or longer opening hours -- which severely restricts the choice of a suitable test center even more," explained Desmond Lee, an MCT and consultant based in Switzerland, who believes quality will become an issue at some point. "The lack of any competition usually leads to higher cost ... [and] complacency results in no motivation or push to innovate or improve, a drop in quality, inattention to details ... etc.," he added, echoing many of the sentiments other trainers have posted on private MCT newsgroups.

"By limiting themselves to one provider, they won't be able to service as many test takers," observed Mark Horninger, an IT consultant and trainer with Haverford Consultants in Philadelphia. "It's a step in the wrong direction."

A good exam experience counts real high with frequent exam takers and if Prometric can deliver at the local level, the matter may be moot.

"I don't necessarily prefer one over the other," said Andy Barkl, an MCT with WeTrainIT in Phoenix. "It all boils down to the local test center staff, location and equipment when I make my choice." Horninger agreed: " I've taken exams at both Vue and Prometric and find the quality is relatively the same."

Barkl said he's been taking exams since the beginning of the MCP program and remembers a time when "you could only take a Microsoft exam at Sylvan Prometric."

Noteworthy: Pearson Vue has announced a release that it is the "primary vendor" for Cisco Systems' CCNA and CCIE certification programs. To view the release, click here.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.