I took the 70-441 exam last week and passed, which is good since I'm working on part of the exam prep book. Not much of a confidence builder if the author can't pass the test.
I'd taken the Beta for this exam back in December and got the results a
couple months later that I'd failed. Not by much, but still it was
surprising to me since I understood most of the material. I had a
number of comments since I thought some of the questions weren't that
well worded and said so in the comment period. However the comment
period is only like 12 minutes, which isn't enough time to type that
much about many questions. I was a little annoyed, but it was a free
exam,so I wasn't that worried. Add to that I have my own issues
generating Questions of the Day, and I could forgive Microsoft a little.
So this week I was surprised to get an email from Microsoft. Apparently
they realized there were issues with the exams and went back and
restructured them, regraded, and a bunch of people were sent notices
they'd "passed". I was one of them and as an apology, I got a code for
a free exam. I guess now I have no excuse not to take the other exam to
get my MCITP or whatever the cert is :)
But it kind fo tourqed me, just as I was tourqed when I passed the
exam. Even though I scored 850 or 860, there was one of the 5 areas
that was marked as midlevel on the graph. Four of them were near the
end, as in very proficient, but one needed work. However I have no idea
what in that area or even which questions in that are I need work on.
Or more importantly, if MS made an error on their grading of the exam.
Unlike a college or academic exam, I don't get a graded exam back that
I can appeal the results of with anyone. MS has the final word in
saying how I did and they don't even disclose how I did. I think at the
least I should get the results on screen, showing me which ones I got
right and wrong. Even if they dont' give me the right answer, let me
glance over the ones I got wrong.
I know they don't want an appeal process since it would result in an
appeal from everyone who failed. And I know that if they show you which
questions you missed they'd need a much larger pool of questions for
exams than they have. But they make money off these exams and I don't
think asking them to come up with 600 or 700 questions instead of the
apparent 100 or so in the pool is too much to ask.
I've written about it before and it hasn't changed. The entire process
needs to be improved with more certs and more transparnecy. And more
Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest