In the weeks to come, Microsoft will start to tip its hand on testing approaches and techniques for upcoming Windows Server 2003 exams with the release of "refreshed" versions of two key Windows 2000 core exams: the Windows 2000 Professional exam 70-210 and the Windows 2000 Server exam 70-215.
In this context, "refresh" means that Microsoft will introduce new test items, take out old, tired questions and eliminate poorly phrased questions that don't provide meaningful information about test takers' skills or knowledge of the subject matter. Things should get interesting with these new refresh tests. For example, I've heard that Microsoft will use new question types and techniques such as the "drag and drop," "hot area" and "active area" questions described on Microsoft's Exam Innovations Web page. The company will also include questions that introduce topics and technologies it says are more germane to Windows Server 2003 than some older existing items. This will give test takers an opportunity to experience what the next-generation exams will feel like before tackling the first round of betas or live exams for Windows Server 2003 that starts in June.
Refresh exams are like betas in that they're offered at no cost, may only be taken once and are longer than normal tests to expose more items to test takers. Unlike a real beta, however, Microsoft provides scoring on refresh exams instantly so that test takers needn't wait the typical two or more weeks it normally takes to get beta results. Individuals who qualify and subscribe to the MCP Newsflash Newsletter may be invited to take these refresh exams. Otherwise, candidates can sign up at VUE or Prometric Testing testing centers before the end of May using exam codes 076-210 and 076-215. They can try their luck to see if they can sign up to take these refresh exams for free. Whatever happens, the results should be interesting!
Ed Tittel runs a content development company in Austin, Texas, and is the series editor of the Que Exam Cram 2 and Training Guide series. He's worked on many books on Microsoft, CompTIA, CIW, Sun/Java, and security certifications.
This was first published in May 2003