How to Take Your Certification Exam Online: Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA
How to Take Your Certification Exam Online: Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA
| cert news - Team Nuggets

How to Take Your Certification Exam Online: Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cisco, CompTIA, and Microsoft are enabling learners to take most of the certification exams they offer online. All three vendors have partnered with Pearson VUE to offer online proctoring for exams, meaning learners can take exams in the safety and comfort of their own homes. 

The push to provide more online testing options for learners is largely due to the fact that Pearson VUE has closed its testing centers in the United States and Canada for the foreseeable future to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Pearson VUE delivers certification exams for many IT certification vendors.

Here's a look at how you can take cert exams from Cisco, CompTIA, and Microsoft online.

Cisco Online Testing

As of April 15, 2020, Cisco became the latest certification provider to offer online testing for learners, using online proctoring through Pearson VUE. Exam-takers can schedule exams at their convenience 24/7, seven days a week. All of Cisco's written and proctored exams can be taken online except:

  • 100-110 ENU CCENT (invite only) 
  • 352-011 ENU Cisco Certified Design Expert Practical Exam
  • 352-001 ENU Cisco Certified Design Expert Qualification Exam

To be able to take Cisco certification exams online, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Have access to a quiet, private location
  • Have a reliable device and webcam
  • Have a strong internet connection
  • Have downloaded OnVUE software
  • Have government-issued identification

Candidates also must be able to pass a system check to be able to participate in online testing. You can test your system here

Hear CBT Nuggets trainer Knox Hutchinson's thoughts about Cisco moving to online testing and what it means for test-takers.

Also, fellow trainer, Jeremy Cioara, shares his advice and tips for successfully taking Cisco's new CCNA exam at home in this clip.

A quick refresher: Cisco has extended the expiration dates for its active certifications by six months as of March 16. For example, a Cisco certification set to expire March 30, 2020, now will expire on September 30, 2020. 

Cisco also extended the expiration dates for active, unused, and unexpired exam vouchers by six months as of March 16. Any exam vouchers purchased in the next three months from that date will expire 18 months from their date of purchase.

For more information about taking Cisco certification exams online, here's their official FAQ page

CompTIA Online Testing

CompTIA, which provides vendor-neutral IT certifications, also offers online testing via Pearson VUE. As of April 15, 2020, the CompTIA certification exams that can't be taken online are the CTT+ TK0-201 exam and those that are available through CompTIA's Anywhere Proctored program. 

As far as requirements, because CompTIA is also using Pearson VUE, test takers should possess the following:

  • Have access to a quiet, private location
  • Have a reliable device and webcam
  • Have a strong internet connection
  • Have downloaded OnVUE software
  • Have government-issued identification

And CompTIA certification exam candidates also must be able to pass a system check to be able to participate in online testing. You can test your system here

If you decide to take a CompTIA cert exam online, CompTIA offered the following online exam day tips:

  • Take your exam on the same computer you ran your system test on. Don't use a different computer on exam day. 
  • On exam day, close all other applications before starting your test. The secure browser used for your exam that all applications be closed except OnVUE. Otherwise, your exam could be interrupted.

CompTIA extended all of its certification vouchers scheduled to expire between March 17 and April 30, 2020, through June 30, 2020.

Microsoft Online Testing

Microsoft is offering online testing for all of its role-based and fundamentals (also known as technical certifications) certification exams via online proctoring through Pearson VUE. For Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) cert exams, you'll need to register at Certiport

Please note that to register for Microsoft technical exams, test takers first need to sign in with Microsoft and then choose and schedule your exam through Pearson VUE. Like with Cisco and CompTIA, candidates need to meet the following requirements.

  • Have access to a quiet, private location
  • Have a reliable device and webcam
  • Have a strong internet connection
  • Have downloaded OnVUE software
  • Have government-issued identification

Microsoft certification exam candidates also must be able to pass a system check to be able to participate in online testing. You can test your system here

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft has made arguably the biggest changes to its certification program. Most notably, they extended the retirement date of their MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE certifications from June 30, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2021 — so learners have more time to earn those certs. 

They also extended the expiration dates for role-based certifications set to expire between now and Dec. 31, 2020 by six months. For example, a Microsoft role-based cert that was set to expire Sept. 30, 2020 will now expire March 30, 2021. 

Also, Microsoft certification exam vouchers through Pearson VUE that were set to expire between March 26 and August 31, 2020, it will be extended until January 31, 2021.

A New Era of Testing?

It's anybody's guess when it will be safe to re-open testing centers. In the meantime, it's great that IT certification vendors ramping up their efforts to support learners. Taking a certification exam at home presents its own challenges, but being able to stay safe is paramount. And who knows, perhaps online testing and proctoring will become the new norm.

The bottom line is that if you're studying for a certification or thinking about it, you can rest assured knowing that you have testing options — even during uncertain times.

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