I’ve taken many Microsoft exams over the years, but this was the first time sitting one in the comfort of my own home.
Honestly, I was dreading the experience, but I’m not too sure why?
I had the exam booked for my local test centre well before the lock down and I’m sure, like most who had exams booked, received an email to say that I had to reschedule it.
I kept following the test centre’s website for updates to see when they would re-open and subsequently set another date for my exam. Great!
I had spent months revising for the AZ-203 Azure Developer Associate exam before the new AZ-204 exam came along, so wanted to continue down that path. Luckily the expiration dates for certain exams (including AZ-203) had been extended.
So why the change to take the exam at home? Curiosity! I had seen a number of the #AzureFamily and others in the Twitter-verse taking their exams in the comfort of their own homes and thought why not give it a go.
I was meant to be on holiday the last two weeks with the family, but like everyone else, our plans had to change. With the next two weeks on annual leave, it was a golden opportunity to catch up on the revision and get the exam under my belt.
After reading through the do’s and don’ts of taking exams at home, I took the plunge. I cancelled my exam and re-booked it for home for the penultimate day of my annual leave.
There are a few things you need to do to prepare your exam area. They basically boil down to nothing on your desk, no watch, external monitors disconnected, keeping your mobile phone within arms reach (just in case you need to contact the exam invigilator; equally you can use in the in-exam chat) and most important of all, no noise in the house. Which is difficult if you live in these new build houses where the walls are paper thin. Was this my major apprehension?
I’m not going to lie, my office space is small, lots on the desk as I share with my wife and the office also doubles up as my daughter’s play room. I needed an alternative!
Ah ha! My daughter has a small table in the living room, there’s very little tech in the living room and it’s all spaced out. Great! I’ll set up in there. I made sure to cover the TV just in case too!
On the morning of the exam, I started the check in process 30 minutes early just to make sure I didn’t run into any technical issues. My advice, definitely try and get in there early. You’ll need to go through a system check, verify your identity, take pictures of your work area (front, back, left and right). Once this is done, you’ll be connected to an invigilator who will run through some final check with you to make sure there’s nothing in the area e.g. other tech, people. They’ll make sure you’re not wearing a watch and ask that you place your phone just out of arms reach. Once you’ve got past that, you’re good to go.
Honestly I couldn’t tell the difference between the test centre exam experience and the experience of sitting it at home. The testing platform was very much the same. The only thing you’ll notice is that you can see yourself being filmed and that you have access to a chat window in case you run into any issues.
If I can take anything from the experience, it’s that I actually preferred taking the exam in the comfort of my own home.
As you can tell, I did successfully pass.
I appreciate that AZ-203 is shortly going to expire in lieu of AZ-204 being released, but should anyone be going down that path and want to know what study material I used, I used Pluralsight.
The course can be found here. Be prepared, there’s 59 hours worth of content! It’s a couple of years out of date so expect some things to look and work a little differently, but nothing major to worry about.