Safety net: Microsoft offers free certification exam retakes
Posted on
January 9, 2015
If at first you don't succeed, try again for free!

It's tough to get something completely right, or even just sufficiently right, the first time around. Look at the French Revolution, for example. That was just one long string of thinking everything had been settled, once and for all, until the next bump in the road upset the applecart AGAIN and left everyone scrambling to pick up all the spilled fruit and start over. It got so bad that they just started cutting off people's heads.

Fortunately for all of us, modern certification organizations are far more forgiving of mistakes than the Revolutionary Tribunal. Most of them, of course, still expect you to pony up the exam fee if you need to take the test a second time. It's just how business is done. For a limited time, however, Microsoft Learning is offering a literally golden (as in it will let you keep the gold in your pockets) exception to the standard practice.

From now through May 31, Microsoft Learning is offering a free second attempt on any Microsoft Certified Professional or Microsoft Dynamics certification exam that you don't pass the first time around. The pressure's off, right? Even if you don't actually wind up needing any free certification exam retakes, just knowing that they're available should make it much easier to concentrate on any MCP or MD certification exam that you take before May 31.

Dubbed "Second Shot," the program has proven enormously popular in the past. So like the McRib sandwich at McDonald's, or Disney animated movies that have been in the metaphorical vault, it's back.

There are, naturally, a number of terms and conditions. Because even when life gives you a free lunch, it's never really completely and entirely free. For example, your free retake has to be scheduled within 30 days of your first attempt. So even though the program runs through the end of May, if you bomb a test in January, then you only have until sometime in February (or possibly the first couple of days of March) to book a retake. In other words, don't sit around forever intending to bounce back when the moment feels just right.

Also, Second Shot applies only in the current Jan. 5 to May 31 window. So if you blew an MCP exam, say, right before Christmas, you don't get a free retake. There are also a few quirks in the process as a result of Microsoft's recent transition to Pearson VUE as its exam provider — if you enjoyed a Second Shot at some point in the past, the current process isn't 100 percent identical to what you may remember. You can immerse yourself in all of the details at Microsoft Learning.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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