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Why are the exam dates so few and far between?

Discussion in 'MCDST' started by No Guts No Glory!, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. No Guts No Glory!

    No Guts No Glory! New Member

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    Hi All

    I was hoping to take my 271 exam this month, but unfortunately my three local test centres, chosen from the Prometric website are all coming back with the message ‘No Dates Found’. It would appear that the only way that I can take my exam, is to travel 70 miles!:(

    I never experienced these issues when I booked my A+ exams via Pearson.

    Why are the exam dates so few and far between???
     
    Certifications: HNC, A+ and Network+
    WIP: MCP 70-271
  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Actually call up the test centres directly, you have a much better chance.

    As an FYI, I booked and sat an exam within 10 minutes last week so speaking directly to the test centre is definitely the thing to do.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  3. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Might be worth phoning or checking back now and again.

    I had the same problem when I was booking my last MS exam, no dates for weeks but when I logged in the following day a couple of free days popped up. Not sure if it was cancelations or what but it worked out in the end.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  4. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    Sometimes the test centres are based at companies who also offer training and they block book exam dates for their own course candidates.

    If they don't then run a course or have only a few students they release the dates again.

    I've had that several times.
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  5. adencool

    adencool Bit Poster

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    i didnt know you could phone up to book a test, how do you sort out payment etc (use of second shot?)


    i have done about 6 tests this year, and basically i have noticed that you have to check every day to try to get a slot around the time you want (i.e. people must cancel / reschedule).

    i have just sat a test early, there was no availability except for the slot i had on prometric (i think they have two prometic test machines). yet on their list of who taking what today, i was the only person listed?
     
    Certifications: HNC,Mcdst,MCITP:SA,MCTS,MCSA
    WIP: mcitp:ea
  6. gosh1976

    gosh1976 Kilobyte Poster

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    You can pay with a credit card and have your voucher number handy when calling and your prometric id. I am thinking about taking a test tonight and the testing center that I would go to also accepts cash for walk in test takers but of course there is no guarantee that you'll have a seat.

    The test center that is close to my house and that I have used before has apparently closed down. I had been trying to get a feel for seat availability before scheduling the exam and I kept getting the ‘No Dates Found’ page like the original poster thought it was weird that the calendar didn't come up at all. I tried to call the center direct and got a voice mail tried back again a couple days later and the number was disconnected. So now I'll have to drive at least 45 minutes to sit an exam. If I do it tonight you can add a good 30 minutes to that for traffic. I guess I'll decide whether to brave the traffic tonight and get it over with or give my self a couple days extra study time and alter my plans this weekend and take it saturday or sunday. Disappointed that the place that was 5 minutes from house closed down but glad that this place I found is open 7 days a week.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCDST, CCENT, MCTS: Win 7 Configuring, CCNA
  7. adencool

    adencool Bit Poster

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    tried this today at eze lichfield, and was given the answer that booking can only thru the prometric website
     
    Certifications: HNC,Mcdst,MCITP:SA,MCTS,MCSA
    WIP: mcitp:ea
  8. supernova

    supernova Gigabyte Poster

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    I often have to wait a month when booking mine.

    I have booked all mine over the phone.

    Did you call prometric or the exam centre? you have to call prometric
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
    Certifications: Loads
    WIP: Lots
  9. supernova

    supernova Gigabyte Poster

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    Interesting , i'll try that. Mine are run by QA-IQ although i dont use them for training i self-study
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
    Certifications: Loads
    WIP: Lots
  10. adencool

    adencool Bit Poster

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    i contacted the test centre.

    what is the phone number / contact details for prometric?
     
    Certifications: HNC,Mcdst,MCITP:SA,MCTS,MCSA
    WIP: mcitp:ea
  11. trebor_88

    trebor_88 Byte Poster

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    Seems its different for every test center, I can book mine within 2 days normally.
     
    Certifications: MCP, MCDST, MCSA, MCITP:EDST, MCTS:7
    WIP: VMware VCP 5, MCSE and CCNA
  12. billyr

    billyr Kilobyte Poster

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    Unfortunately most test centres are run by Training Providers. Primarily to be able to offer testing to their own students taking courses with them.

    Each provider receives £2.78 per person that sits an exam from Prometric. Even then they may receive nothing unless a certain number of candidates test that month.

    When you think the price of a M.S voucher is £88 in the U.K thats some markup Prometric and Microsoft are making.

    Now factor the following in to the equation:

    Prometric rules enforce that the test centre needs at a minimum of two staff to run the test centre.
    Staff wages: in the U.K minimum wage for an adult £5.93 per hour.
    Employers national Insurance etc.
    Cost of buying and maintaining the P.C's, printers, servers, camera equipments etc.

    As you can see it is just not financially viable to run a testing centre for profit, therefore a lot of providers only open their doors on the days that their own students would be testing anyway.

    Unfortunately this situation will only get worse as more training providers go to the wall or stop offering testing services to save money.
     
    Certifications: CCNP, CCSI, MCSE W2k/W2k3, MCITP_SA
    WIP: Taking it easy for a while.
  13. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    ...that they use to administer and maintain the certification program, coordinate the testing centers, schedule the exams, deliver the exams, ensure security of the exams, and CREATE the exams (which I can promise you, that ain't cheap).
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  14. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    I check Prometric website daily hoping to reschedule my 70-680 exam. Until now I've managed to move my exam date from 02/06/2010 -> 28/05/2010 -> 15/05/2010.

    So it seems that every time someone else cancels/reschedules I'm able to reschedule mine.
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  15. billyr

    billyr Kilobyte Poster

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    Very true, they have their own costs to cover, but when the test centres are operating at a loss its only going to lead to problems further down the line.
     
    Certifications: CCNP, CCSI, MCSE W2k/W2k3, MCITP_SA
    WIP: Taking it easy for a while.
  16. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    <shrug> As far as I know, our test center isn't operating at a loss.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  17. billyr

    billyr Kilobyte Poster

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    Maybe not. Ours closed earlier this year for public testing and is now only open to course candidates.

    It operated 6 seats Tuesday - Saturday, 8 am till 5.

    At max capacity that would allow for approximately 3 exams per day per seat = 18 exams per day or 90 per week, or £250.20 per week remittance from Prometric. Even though based in a large U.K city we would only be operating at max capacity on the Friday and Saturday. The remittance would often be much less.

    Staff wages on the other hand:
    7:30 am til 5:30 pm x 5 days per week at U.K minimum wage of £5.93 per hour = £593 per week for the 2 required test centre administrators. That figure also doesn't include the additional employers national insurance contributions etc..
     
    Certifications: CCNP, CCSI, MCSE W2k/W2k3, MCITP_SA
    WIP: Taking it easy for a while.
  18. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    That doesn't mean it's operating at a loss. In truth, it costs just as much to let the computers sit as it does to administer exams.

    Okay... but those employees are gonna be there anyway. You're not gonna send employees home just because there's nobody taking exams... there are still classes going on. :rolleyes:

    The reason that testing centers decide to be closed to public registration is for one reason only: to ensure that the seats are open and available to paying students. That's done to artificially "motivate" you to be a student there, particularly if you'd have to drive 70 miles out to the next nearest testing center,
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  19. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    This

    Most test centers have regular paying students that is why they are closed sometimes unless you are a student with them. This is why prometric and pearsonvue give you a choice of your nearest 5 test centers because they know that some centers won't be available on certain dates to people of the street.

    My nearest two test centers are 54 and 64 miles apart, one is based in University of Lancashire so obviously I can't go there when there are university exams going on and the other is just a test center linked to a training provider and they would rather have their own students in the center taking exams than the guy of the street.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  20. davelee212

    davelee212 Nibble Poster

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    I used to take tests at the QA site in Middlesex Street but there are never weekend slots available these days. A colleague suggested I try the college in Southend so I always use that now. It does sometimes get booked out over weekends but I usually find something within 2 or 3 weeks that suits. If more colleges (i.e. not for profit organisations, well, the ones here anyway) were encouraged to do Microsoft courses that then would help I think!

    Dave
     
    Certifications: Network+, CCNA (expired), MCSA 2000/03 + Messaging, MCSE 2000/03, MCTS:Sharepoint Config, VCP4-DCV, VCP5-DCV, VCP5-Cloud, VCP6-DCV, MCSA 2012, MS Specialist: Hyper-V
    WIP: Dunno yet

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