It looks like Microsoft is working with Prometric to put out a different way of testing for certification. Basically, it's an emulation, there are tasks to complete, and the emulation grades based on how well the tasks are completed when all is said and done. This is different than from what Microsoft calls a simulation where there's only a limited number of paths. Having seen the various Cisco router/switch "sims" I guess those are better described as emulations, especially the more robust ones where you can set up several switches and routers and issue almost the entire set of IOS commands. But in any case, it sounds like a step in the right direction. More here:
The pilot is just that: a pilot. It's not a beta exam, there's no score, it's to test out how well the new mechanism works. However, the first 3000 folks to participate will get an exam voucher out of the deal. One proviso, the pilot is based on simulating Windows Server 2008 Active Directory configuration.