In the last weeks, while I was preparing for one of the certification exams, I got a lot of questions from collegues, asking questions such as How do you Schedule and Pay for the exam? Where do you train? How hard is it? Does it gives you any value?
Based on that common questions which I also had in the past and pretty much had to solve it by my self by looking all over, is that I decided to do this as my first blog post.
How do you Schedule and Pay for the exam?
I think the first question would be, are you informed as to which career path do you want to follow? The Microsoft certification program has been constantly changing and last year new paths were rolled out that anyone can follow.
If you want to pursue an SQL Server 2012/2014 MCSA this is the path that you need to follow: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mcsa-sql-certification.aspx#cp-section3-head
If you want to pursue the SQL Server 2016 MCSA this is the path that you need to follow:
If you look in detail, you will noticed that for 2012/2014 you require 3 exams to be passed, for 2016 you need only 2, this doesn't means the one for 2016 is easier, it simplifies the process? yes, and is mainly because it is more specialized for each path, you can see there are 3 different areas that you can get certified (Database Development, Database Administration and Business Intelligence Development).
In this post in particular I'll be focusing on the Database Administration path, which is the one I followed, the process would be similar for each one though.
What are the exams that you need to pass?
You need to pass two exams 70-764 and 70-765.
So now, how do you schedule those exams? In both URL's provided above, it gives you an option that says "Take Exam ###" that will redirect you to an URL, in there you will need to select the country where you will be presenting the exam, the cost varies from country to country so be sure that you choose the correct one. Also, there might be times where you can buy offer packs, such as Exam, Exam retake and Practice test, you can look for it in here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/offers.aspx?intcmp=lexexampage_belbutton however be sure if you buy that complete package that an practice test is available, for instance, when first looked at the career path there was only practice test available for the exam 70-765 and not for the 764 so first be sure if the practice test for the exam that you will be presenting is available, if that's not the case, you can buy either just the exam or the exam + the retake, When I purchased mines I bought it with the retake, thankfully didn't had the need to use the retake for any of the exams, but it reduces the anxiety when you are presenting it. If you buy any of this options you will receive and email with the coupon code that you will need when scheduling the exam.
Either if you bought the coupons or not, you will be back at this URL: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-764.aspx this one in specific is for the 764 exam but you can only change the exam code in the address line so you are sure you schedule the right exam. Next you will need to click on "Schedule Exam" which will take you to login with your MSDN account. Make sure that you are using your correct address, whether if you would like to have your profile with your personal account or the one created with your corporate account as if you use the incorrect one and pass the exam, but later you want to transfer it to the other account you will need to create a ticket with the Regional support center so your Microsoft IDS can be merged or just transfer what you have earned.
If this is the first exam that you are presenting, you will need to fill in some personal details. Once you are done with those details you then need to click on "Submit" which will transfer you to the Pearson portal which will give you 4 options:
I will be scheduling for a future date at a test center. (You will go to a test center)
I want to take this exam as an online proctored exam. (You will be presenting it at home)
I am taking this exam at a Certiport test center.
I have received a Private Access Code for this exam.
If you choose the Test Center or Certiport test center it will then ask you to select your test center, it will show you the available dates and times for each center near you. Once that you have chosen your center, date and time you will be asked to go to the Checkout page, in there it will ask you to confirm your information, to you agree to the policies and then the payment information, if you purchased any of the options mentioned above and received the coupon information already, is here where you enter the information provided in that email, it won't ask you to pay for anything else as you already buy what you need, lastly you just need to confirm and submit, and you are done and scheduled to present your exam.
Then is just matter to be prepared the best as you can for the exam date.
The other questions will be resolved in the upcoming entries.