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lady_mcse

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Three years ago, I moved out to the boonies. I love living in a place where I can roam around on 90 acres (3 is "mine" that I rent, and 87 belong to the landlord), and I can head out my front door to go hiking on a 160 mile backpack\horse trail. But the down side is being 2.25 hours from the nearest major airport and decent medical care.

So when I went to sign up for a Microsoft exam, I was elated to find out about PearsonVUE's "Online Proctored Exam" option.  I have two decent laptops available, a good camera, two network lines, and I work from home all the time and do meetings by screen share and webcam regularly.  Yay, no having to drive two and half hours to take an exam!!!

oooh boy was I so wrong.  

On my first attempt, I had run their "System Test" and that went flawlessly using my work computer.  For the real exam I was ready to sign in 15 minutes prior, and was doing so from my home computer. Two laptops, one docking station, same camera.  With my home computer, I couldn't get the dang camera to focus.  Tried several times, and finally decided OK I'll use the camera built into the laptop.  But then I'd have to undock and it wouldn't work so well for panning around the room to show my instructor that I had a clean workspace. So I switched to the work laptop.  And of course it chose right then to have an issue with recognizing the keyboard.  Every now and then it would happen and all I had to do was pull it out and re-dock but on this day Nooooo, no keyboard.  The clock was ticking.  When I finally did get it up and running, I was 2 minutes past exam time and poof, no more exam.  Pearson was kind to me however and allowed me to re-schedule because of "technical difficulties." Yay!

My second attempt was 30 days later.  So in that time, I fixed the camera problem on the home laptop (driver update), and completed their "system test" from each computer successfully.  Should be all set now, right?!?  *sigh*  This time I got started THREE HOURS before the exam time, trying out their system test again which kept failing. It seemed to lock up, and briefly flash a message I couldn't make out or screenshot.   

So the successful tests just a couple weeks earlier meant nothing.  I even tried downgrading the software because I'm a packrat and had kept the earlier download.  But on logging in, it forced me to take a new version, no option not to.  In the next three hour and a half, I kept trying various permutations, then finally contacted tech support, with all those feelings of frustration and panic were all setting in again.

I had finally gotten to realize I was getting a notification in my system tray about a Virus. Ooh yay.  So the first thing the guy with a heavy foreign accent tells me to do is disable the antivirus. (And of course the guy's name was "Bob" or something silly like that.)  Yeah, that gives me the warm and fuzzies ...disable the antivirus that tells me I'm being attacked. So here's where I have to admit to a huge fault ... there apparently WAS a spot in the instructions that tells you to disable the antivirus.  After a very animated rant at the poor guy on the phone, my eyes and brain finally comprehended that I had missed that information.

But of course, the work laptop is configured in a way that I'm not allowed to disable it.  I'm a domain admin, but my role is not one that is involved with antivirus at work in any way.  So I wasn't about to call up my company's helpdesk to ask them how I could disable it.  

So I switched back to the home laptop, very grudgingly disabled the antivirus, and after three more tries, finally got in to my exam, about 5 minutes before it was going to evaporate.  

The rest of the experience was rather interesting ... started with at two-way webcam with the proctor, who had me hold my ID up to the camera, then pan the camera around the room. I had to shut the door, pull down the shades, and remove pictures from my wall.  I had to disable my second monitor, show that the desk was clean, and then empty my pockets on camera.  I even had to hold up my glasses to the camera, showing they weren't google glass, I guess.  

Once the exam started, the webcam was trained on me the whole time. The camera had previously been fixed to my monitor with double-sided sticky tape which now had been unstuck, and so the camera slipped a half dozen times.  I finally got new tape out of a drawer to fix it up.  The voice of a proctor god came thru my speakers to tell me that I had to stay in view of the camera at all times.  Yes, this is all conducive to concentrating on a test!  

So all in all, between the two attempts at the tests, and that waste of time system check between them, I figure I spent somewhere between 4-5 hours on this online proctored exam business. I decided that the online proctored was definitely NOT for me.  Hopefully some of what I'm sharing here isn't just purely a rant, but may be helpful to those considering doing the same.  


After those experiences, I signed up for an exam at a college that wasn't too far away.  Compared with the online version, this one was a piece of cake.  Although, I did manage to make my life difficult again, none of the problems was exam related.  The night before, I had gone to fill up with gas.  I drove the 10 miles I always do to get to the station, and just as I pulled into station, I realized I didn't have my purse with me.  GAAAH.  Thankfully I always keep a bunch of quarters on hand because of parking meters. So between them and a couple of dollar bills stuffed here or there, I scrounged up $13, enough for gas to get me thru the weekend.  Yay me.  

Of course, when I got to the college and found parking ... the meter only took quarters!  I had smaller coins in my purse, but no quarters.  *groan*  I found a couple of very nice college students and gave one of them $1 bill in exchange for two quarters.  He was so apologetic for not having correct change that I very nearly threw a second $1 at him! I was extatic that I didn't have to be worried about a parking ticket during the exam! 
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jsclmedave

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Reply with quote  #2 
Sooooooooo,,, did you pass?
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donoli

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Three years ago, I moved out to the boonies.


Is that why you say "Dang" now?

Quote:
there apparently WAS a spot in the instructions that tells you to disable the antivirus.


That would have made me very suspicious.  What are they running that they want you to disable your AV?

Quote:
I realized I didn't have my purse with me.


When are women going to realize that a purse is one of the worst inventions, in the world?  It's time to buy clothes with pockets or at least one of those pouches.

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lady_mcse

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsclmedave
Sooooooooo,,, did you pass?


Dude! Harsh!!!

Was it too obvious that I was omitting that information?  [sneaky]

Sadly, I've flunked exams before, but this is the first time I've flunked the same one twice.  Grrr.  Combination of too much goofing off with summertime fun instead of studying, and honestly this is really not my area. For the SharePoint MCSE, I need to pass 4 exams, two of which are O365.  So I'm doing the two O365 first, and going to do the SharePoint later on.  So I'm having to learn things about Lync, Exchange ONline, and Azure, none of which I use day to day. Correction, none of which I use at all, except Lync as an end-user. 

Sure the cert will end up being a "paper cert" without the practical experience behind it, but it's still giving me valuable info that I'm sure will come in handy as things move more toward the cloud and away from on-prem. 
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lady_mcse

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Reply with quote  #5 
Donoli ...

Dang - yep. 

Antivirus - I know, right?  Really didn't want it going on my work laptop!  My guess is they  need it to spy on the test taker during the exam, make sure I'm not pulling out answers or giving away the questions. 

Purses - Ironically, my old purse died so I was recently shopping on Amazon for a new one, and the ones I kept liking all turned out to be a "man purse."  He hee!!  Maybe one of these days I will pull a Caitlyn Jenner and start calling myself Andy. But for now, I went went the gurly route and got the same model that just died. 
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donoli

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
make sure I'm not pulling out answers or giving away the questions.


& who knows what else?

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But for now, I went the gurly route and got the same model that just died.


Those things just aren't secure.  Install Lojack in the new purse.

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jsclmedave

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lady_mcse


Dude! Harsh!!!

Was it too obvious that I was omitting that information?  [sneaky]
 


Oh My Gosh! So Sorry!  I'm slow sometimes, apologies...

I had one that I had an issue with.  Drove me nuts.  Then I went in and aced the next one, of which I thought I had failed as well.  I was just thinking too much...  Making it a lot harder than it was...

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lady_mcse

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Reply with quote  #8 
As I prepare to flunk the test for the third time, I finally found this document:

http://download.microsoft.com/download/B/7/0/B7012C5B-5153-4CC9-8651-BC8FA1B15FCC/OD_70-346_changes.pdf

Turns out my study materials were all from 2013-2014, and I was taking the exam literally one week after they changed the contents.  Lovely.

I say I'm not going to pass this time because once again I've let time slip away from me ... spent the weekend studying but have a feeling that still won't be enough.  At least this time I knew some of the historical changes to focus on the new things not old.

Furinstance DirSync is now Azure AD Connect
ADFS Proxy servers are now Web Application Servers, or WAPs
Windows 2008R2 is no longer the answer to everything, Win 2012 is
SQL 2005/2008 are no longer the answer, SQL 2012/2016 are
No more OnRamp, use the testconnectivity website ...

Etc.  Keep in mind I"m not saying what is on the exam, I'm just saying at least I know better what I need to be studying.  :-) 
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donoli

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Reply with quote  #9 
mcsa.jpg 


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wobble_wobble

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Reply with quote  #10 
Yeah

Hope it's real

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donoli

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Reply with quote  #11 
Of course it real!  Do you want a cert too?
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