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Is MS doing anything about flakey test software

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by dales, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    It seems to me that the prometric testing software is so flakey its unbelievable. I've got used to the long delays between some questions (although I thought it had crashed the time I took the 271).

    I've read alot of horror stories on the forums where they have crashed entirely and have had to start again, most thankfully passed. But I think its just common courtesy that we have spent this time/money and effort on studying the exams but they cannot seem to give us a dependable testing software environment. Can you imagine when you did your school exams if your papers suddenly caught fire and you had to start all over again.

    Just find it disappointing that at one of the key areas where MS is promoting its products to us (the people who will proberbly buy/build solutions with its products) cant seem to give us a decent testing environment.:rolleyes:
     
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  2. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    I think this is really worrying and very unprofessional as well as most of these problems were not encountered with VUE.

    To be honest I think they know about it but just don't want to do anything to rectify this. Shameful it is and disheartening for the test taker.
     
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  3. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    "but they cannot seem to give us a dependable testing software environment"

    Dare I say, they can't provide it in a production environment either :biggrin
     
  4. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Sorry, that made me LOL for some reason! :biggrin

    Seriously though, there is definitely is an issue but I’m not sure if it’s a prometric problem or an issue with particular test centres.

    I do remember there being a 5 minute delay between a few questions in one Microsoft exam, I was just about to walk up to explain that the system had crashed but then it suddenly jumped to the next question. I think the clock locked up as well so I didn’t lose the 5 mins though.
     
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  5. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Certainly the Prometric engine seems a little flaky... but I don't have that problem in test centers with newer equipment. I suspect that the problem lies in test centers that try to "get by" using older, outdated equipment that barely meet the specifications required by Prometric.

    EDIT: To answer your question directly... it's not Microsoft's fault that Prometric's software is flaky... that would be Prometric's problem. The only thing Microsoft could do is to stop using Prometric and renew their relationship with VUE. Now, if it's a hardware problem, not a software problem, then Prometric should force those test centers to upgrade their equipment to realistic specifications.
     
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  6. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    I'm sorry Michael but I have to disagree. We were test centre for Prometric AND Vue. We use the same sort of equipment for both centres (not physically, but in build). The Prometric server is only running prometric software. Our Vue server is also running Lamark and Exim exams. We have lots of problems with prometric and almost none with Vue. Our machines are well build and are even overdimmentioned (3.4 GHz processor, 2 gigs of RAM and a 60 GB harddisk running on windows XP SP2.)
    I once spend an entire day on the phone with one of the technicians from prometric completely rebuilding the exam server from scratch: It still did not work. They even send some techies over to our centre to check themself. They could not find the problem.
    Then 3 weeks after that the problems vanished miraculesly only to re appear after a few weeks.
    If you call them and ask if we are the only centre with problems, they say there are a few problems in other centres as well.
    The strange thing here is that tech nr 1 claims the problem centres are in Spain and Britain, tech nr 2 claims they are in South Africa and Russia, tech nr 3 says they are in Brazil and Poland, tech nr 4 claims they are in Italy, greece and Sweden.
    When I fired this list at tech nr 6, he admitted they had lots of problems, but were not allowed to admit.

    Well, the good part is, they are working on it and severe problems do appear less often.
     
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  7. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Hmm... in that case, I would guess that it might be an incompatibility with the type of hardware, then... works well with some models... poorly with others.
     
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  8. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Not sure the responsibility for this should fall on Microsoft's shoulders. First off, these testing centers offer cert exams from a wide variety of vendors besides MS such as Cisco, CompTIA, and the like. Also I would think that Prometric and VUE should be the responsible parties for making sure the test environment they administer functions as it is supposed to. In fact, if it doesn't (and this is just my opinion), I think they should pop for a free re-take for anyone who tries to sit an exam, has their computer crash multiple times, and then fails the exam. :wink:
     
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  9. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Couldn't agree more...
     
  10. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    Intel processors??? Prometric checked our machines and found nothing wrong with them.
     
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  11. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    I have no experience of Prometric thus far, only Pearson. Never had so much as a glitch with Person tests.
     
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  12. Toadeh

    Toadeh Nibble Poster

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    rubbish machines to run it on is the problem I have noticed. Would be nice to get some decent kit, Wise terminals or somit there.
     
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  13. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    I wouldnt count WyseTerms as decent kit. Nowhere near infact. In fact, it even increases the workload on the server in question, since it has to support and transmit multiple citrix sessions.
     
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  14. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    At least they are quiet. :biggrin
     
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  15. Toadeh

    Toadeh Nibble Poster

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    They don't have to work with just Citrix.
     
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  16. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Perhaps not, but the point is that it increases the load on the server, by taking all the processing power off the terminal. So its the server that has to do all the work, meaning that the server has to be even higher spec than it currently would need to (since it doesnt just need to host the test system, but whatever client system you are choosing to use, be it citrix or something else).

    Sparky, thats a fair point, and a plus side on the WT argument.
     
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  17. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    You will if you take an other MS test.
    MS is now doing business with Prometric only.
     
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  18. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    Hmm not convinced about wyse terminals myself, we have bought a few in to give out to remote workers so far they have been a pain in the back side to get working with our citrix farm. Perhaps I was unfair in blaming MS straight away for the problem, but its frustrating when your anxcious enough as it is taking the exam without the constant fear in your mind that it might keel over and die on you any second. Also mild pop at the testing centres, first time I went to take my 271 I drove an hour to the test site only to be told they are not running any tests because their systems had gone down, wasnt happy with that considering I always give home and mobile tel numbers when registering for the exams a call would have been nice!

    Still as long as it seems to be getting better then Im happy with that.
     
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  19. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    What's more, prometric does not want you to run ANY other software on the server. In our case they claimed our problem came from running Terminal service on our server (which we did/were not). We even had to uninstall our virusscanner to be sure it was not that. Did not work for us. It turned out they patched it wrongly and interpreted the messages by their software on our server wrong, so they kept sending the wrong patches. Then some clever guy there had a brainwave to looked a bit further and (hopefully) fixed the problem. Took only 8 months.
     
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  20. Toadeh

    Toadeh Nibble Poster

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    Was just a thought to save them getting the old pc's from under the desks of the staff when they are obsolete and sticking them in the testing rooms. They are not going to spend money on higher spec machines just for a test.
     
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